[SPOILERS ahead for those not caught up on Game of Thrones.]
Episode 3 of Game of Thrones season 7, 'The Queen's Justice,' ended with quite the revelation for Jaime Lannister: the full truth about Joffrey's death. The one-handed head of the Kingsguard (or is that Queensguard now?) took his troops to Highgarden to dispatch with the Tyrell threat, and it was during these final scenes that viewers were reminded of just who killed his and Cersei's eldest son - the one and only Lady Olenna.
The inimitable head of the House Tyrell had been working with Daenerys Targeryen to take down the Lannisters, after Cersei murdered all her family at the end of season 6. She delivers Jaime the truth of his son's death, brutally, after drinking up the fatal poison meant to cause her death. No doubt Jaime regretted the kindness he proffered Lady Olenna after hearing her final words to him:
"I'd hate to die like your son. Clawing at my neck, foam and bile spilling from my mouth, eyes blood red, skin purple. It must have been horrible for you, as a Kingsguard, as a father. It was horrible enough for me, a shocking scene, not at all what I intended. You see, I'd never seen the poison work before. Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me."
Since season 4, Cersei has believed that Tyrion was her eldest son's murderer. His tyrannical reign came to an end in episode 2 of season 4, 'The Lion and the Rose,' or more fondly known as the "Purple Wedding," since the event occurs after the marriage ceremony of Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell (Olenna's granddaughter). Tyrion was accused of his nephew's murder because he was the one who had inadvertently delivered the wine that fatally poisoned Joffrey. Dying in his mother's lap, the awful child points his finger accusatorially at his uncle before succumbing to asphyxiation.
In reality, it was Olenna who had poisoned the wine. She had arranged with Littlefinger to end Joffrey's life and used Sansa Stark in the process. Littlefinger had worked with Dontos Hollard to deliver the poison, which was hidden in a stone attached to a necklace given to Tyrion's wife by Olenna. During the feast, the Tyrell matriarch sneakily took the poisoned stone from Sansa's necklace and put it in Joffrey's wine glass while he was mocking his uncle, cutting open his wedding cake with a sword, and just acting the pompous fool in general. The Kingchild drank the toxic alcohol and died - painfully.
So why did she murder Joffrey when he had just made her granddaughter his Queen? The Tyrells were in a pretty good political position at the time thanks to this royal match and Cersei's marriage to Loras. However, Joffrey's cruel reputation had preceded itself far too much and Lady Olenna did not want Margaery to become a victim to his evil and malicious whims. left. She explains as much two episodes after the Purple Wedding, while trying to get Margaery to seduce her late husband's brother Tommen:
Olenna: The Queen Regent is rather distracted at the moment mourning her dear departed boy and accusing her brother of his murder, which he didn't commit.
Margaery: Well he could have done.
Olenna: He could have done but he didn't.
Margaery: You don't know, grandmother.
Olenna: Oh but I do know. You don't think I'd let you marry that beast, do you?
Thanks to Olenna, Joffrey's death immediately led to some devastating consequences. Tyrion was arrested and accused of his nephew's murder, as was Sansa Stark, but she had already fled King's Landing with Littlefinger. Tyrion then called for a trial by combat after realizing his real trial would be corrupted by Cersei's vengeful influence, leading Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne to volunteer as his champion just so he can exact his own revenge on Cersei's champion, Ser Gregor Clegane (who had raped and murdered his sister Elia), but his arrogance only resulted in his own death. Despite the loss, Jaime helped Tyrion escape but before he set sail to the Free Cities, he murdered his own father, Tywin, and traitorous lover Shae.
Jaime's reaction to learning the true killer of his son was certainly priceless but the truth could also cause a massive upset in King's Landing. He never really wanted to kill Tyrion, nor did he believe that he was responsible for Joffrey's murder, but because of Cersei's unrelenting hatred and narrow-mindedness, his younger brother is now a full-on enemy, allied with Daenerys Targaryen.
Jaime has changed a lot since he pushed Brann Stark out of the window in the first season, and as time has gone on, viewers have seen him develop more of a conscience, while Cersei's disappears. The fact that he arranged for Olenna to die swiftly and pain-free goes to show what type of man he's become since his time with Bron and Brienne of Tarth. Now that he has Lady Tyrell's confession, he will no doubt want to share the truth with his sister-lover and may well try to get her to send an olive branch out to Tyrion. Of course, Cersei is highly unlikely to want to let her younger brother back into the Lannister fold, now that he's the Hand of Daenerys, which could end up causing even more of a rift between the twins.
Could Jaime finally turn on Cersei and reunite with Tyrion? More shocking twists have occurred in Game of Thrones but we'll just have to wait and see until next week...
- Game of Thrones release date: Oct 20, 2018