'Game of Thrones' Purple Wedding Explained: 4 Scenes That Reveal The Mystery

Game of Thrones Season 4 - Purple Wedding

[WARNING: MAJOR Game of Thrones SPOILERS Follow!]


Well, it finally happened! Season 3 of Game of Thrones had the Red Wedding; this season it’s the Purple Wedding, and with it comes King Joffrey’s death, which fans of the series have been hoping for since he took Ned Stark’s head in season 1. How did it happen? Who did it? Let’s walk through everything that led to this moment!

The death of Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), or Purple Wedding – as the fans of the book series call it – is not a response to Robb Stark’s Red Wedding, as many may think, which Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) set up in an attempt to bring an end to the war, albeit brutally. This week's act of killing the child King is, for all intents and purposes, a terrific example of the underhanded double-speak and behind-closed-doors deals which fuel the complicated world of Westeros. Of course, things may have played out differently if Joffrey wasn’t such an awful person and insecure king.

The plan for the Purple Wedding ultimately began in season 2, was confirmed in season 3, then put in to motion in season 4. Did you catch all the clues?


Phase I: “Do you want to be a Queen?”

Game of Thrones Season 4 - Purple Wedding

In season 2, episode 5, “The Ghost of Harrenhal,” Littlefinger - aka Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) - asks Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) after her soon-to-be husband Renly is "mysteriously" murdered, "Do you want to be a queen?" “No. I want to be the Queen,” is her response – and so the plot began!

Littlefinger then convinces the Tyrells to ally with Joffrey, allowing Margaery to remain a queen, while at the same time removing Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) from Joffrey’s grasp.


Phase II: “Now, tell me about this royal boy, this Joffrey.”

Game of Thrones Season 3 - Queen of Thorns & Sana

In season 3, episode 2, “Dark Wings, Dark Words,” Sansa meets with Lady Oleanna (Diana Rigg) - the Queen of Thorns - and is asked, bluntly, to speak the truth about the type of person Joffrey is, as she would know better than anyone else. Lady Oleanna is a bit concerned with the man her granddaughter is supposed to marry.

After a bit of hesitation, Sansa says, “He’s a monster,” to which the Queen of Thorns replies, “Ah, well that’s a pity.” It is this moment which seals Joffrey’s fate. The ladies of Highgarden are playing the game of thrones to win, not die, it seems.


Phase III: Purple Wedding is a GO!

Game of Thrones Season 4 - Purple Wedding

In the season 4 premiere, Sansa is surprised by Dontos Hollard (Tony Way) at Red Keep’s godswood who, after thanking her for saving his life, gifts her House Hollard's last remaining heirloom, an amethyst-filled necklace. In the book, she’s gifted a hairnet with amethysts, instead.

At the wedding, the Queen of Thorns makes sure to visit Sansa and covey her condolences about Robb Stark’s death, after which she says, “War is war, but killing a man at a wedding – horrid.” During this skillful misdirection, the Queen of Thorns channels her inner-pickpocket and makes off with a single "stone" from Sansa’s necklace. Check out her slight of hand in the pics below:

"Sorry about Robb!"


"Got it, lol!"

Now that the Queen of Thorns has the poison, all she needs to do is to sneak it in Joffrey's cup. Fortunately, the ceremonial dove pie cutting provided enough cover to sneak it into his kingly cup without being noticed.

Just one drink and it's all over!

Game of Thrones Season 4 - Purple Wedding


Phase IV: Die! (Sorry, Tyrion!)

Game of Thrones Season 4 - Purple Wedding

Of course, before Joffrey dies, Dontos Hollard returns to the wedding and attempts to help Sansa escape, tipping his hand - not to mention who all is involved - just a bit early. "Come with me now. If you want to live, we have to leave," is all he needed to say.

As Sansa makes her exit, Tyrion is left holding the murder weapon (the goblet), and Joffrey points to his uncle as the one who poisoned him, making Tyrion the prime suspect and (perhaps) final victim of Joffrey's horrific reign.


Game of Thrones Season 4 - Purple Wedding

R.I.P. Joffrey Baratheon

What did you think of the Purple Wedding? Did you catch all of the clues, as well as the Queen of Thorns' sleight of hand? And how many little fingers does Lord Baelish have in this plot? Keep watching to find out!

...And until then, pay your respects to your fallen King in the comments!


Game of Thrones airs Sundays @9pm on HBO. You can check out a preview of next week's episode, "Breaking of Chains," below:

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