Warning: There be spoilers ahead. Many spoilers.

I stopped reading George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series on purpose.

Not because I didn’t enjoy the man’s writing or having metric shit tons of pertinent information (and every waking thought and desire of every character) inundate my brain space and enhance the overall experience — but because the HBO series Game of Thrones, especially episodes like 4.02, “The Lion and the Rose”, instills a sense of perplexity and “not knowing” in me that I haven’t felt in a long time. And I didn’t want to ruin that excitement by reading ahead.

Which brings us to the probing after-discussion to be had in the wake of the latest episode and the question on every non-book reader’s mind. Whodunnit? Who killed Joffrey Baratheon?

The supects:


Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)


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Height: 3’11”

Known Aliases: The Imp

Why he could have done it: There’s no hiding the obvious: Joffrey and Tyrion didn’t get along. Their hostility was only exacerbated when Joffrey became king because he resented having someone call him out on his bullshit and (attempt to) keep him in check. Joffrey’s treatment of Tyrion was not that of a normal nephew and uncle but of bitter enemies; Joffrey treated Tyrion with malice and it was only a matter of time before the shrewd Tyrion reached his breaking point.

Alibi: The Season 4 trailers and previews for next week’s episodes show us that Tyrion is taking the fall thus far for Joffrey’s murder and serving time in a holding cell. Why would he go to the trouble of surreptitiously murdering the boy-king only so he could rot in prison? A man of Tyrion’s intelligence would likely have had an escape plan.

His Likely Defense: “No. Though not because the inexhaustible list of reasons were ever once in jeopardy of being inadequate ::closes a book shut and places his palm on it:: but because a person of my stature with fratricide of King Joffrey the Short-Lived attributed to his name would feel no bigger, I’m afraid.


Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance)


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Known Aliases: Lord of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West, Hand of the King

Why he could have done it: Tywin’s a boss. The man has demonstrably flexed his intelligence, political influence and tactical muscle since he first appeared in Season 2 and has thus far been without equal. He knows that Joffrey has been grossly misusing his power on the throne and even sent the king to bed when defusing an argument between Joffrey and Tyrion. If anyone on the show could devise a plan to commit regicide and get away with it, Tywin would be that person.

Alibi: Killing his enemies is one thing. But killing his own grandson? Perhaps a line not even Tywin Lannister, a man who has professed to be put his family name and family’s honor before anything else, dare not cross.

Likely Defense: “The boy was becoming a major threat to the Lannister dominion” ::evil eye stare:: “… of the Iron Throne. And the Lannister name itself. He had to be taken care of.”


Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg)


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Known Aliases: The Queen of Barbs

Why she could have done it: Sure, she may look like a harmless, tottering old woman — but Olenna Tyrell, the mother of Mace Tyrell (the current Lord of Highgarden) and grandmother to Margaery and Ser Loras Tyrell, is no pushover. As for why she might have done it? She’s known about Joffrey’s vile demeanor ever since she questioned Sansa Stark about him in Season 3 episode “Dark Wing, Dark Words,” and likely doesn’t want her granddaughter paired with such a monster… even if it means Margaery becoming Queen and the Tyrells securing a substantial upgrade in power.

More Evidence: She shoos her son away after Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding ceremony and says “Not now Mace, I’m talking to Lord Tywin.” As in, “I’m talking business right now, son. Let the grown-ups talk.” (A shining example of who really wears the pants in the Tyrell household.)

She also asks Sansa Stark “What kind of monster would murder a man at his wedding?” after extending her condolences for Sansa’s brother, Robb. Do you like foreshadowing, kids?

Alibi: Her granddaughter Margaery would have been queen; why give up that sort of power hours before the act had been consummated?

Other Suspects:


Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen)


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Known Aliases: Littlefinger

I know what you’re thinking. “But Baelish wasn’t even at the wedding.”

Fools.

That doesn’t discount the man from having a hand in the murder because… well, he’s Littlefinger. Wherever there’s weakness to be exploited and dreams to be dashed, you have to at least consider Littlefinger for having had a finger in the proverbial cookie jar. You can bet that someone at King’s Landing right now is acting on Littlefinger’s behalf; and we’ll soon find out how important that is in the upcoming episodes.


Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner)


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Ser Dontos did seem really eager to cart her ass out of King’s Landing in the previews for next week’s episode. Could it be Dontos is predicting the fallout that will hit Sansa on account of her husband Tyrion being the main suspect right off the bat or could she have played a bigger part in the deed herself?

Then again, Sansa hasn’t shown us any evidence of being capable of murder or betrayal. Even someone who put her through absolute torment like Joffrey. Still, having your entire family systematically butchered and then having the fact rubbed in your face at every opportunity can make a gal pretty resentful.

Likely Defense: “He was so wicked” x 100.


Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal)


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Oberyn’s already made it clear he doesn’t like Lannisters. He talked smack to both Tywin and Cersei right in front of their faces and got away with it. (One of the few to do so with impunity thus far.) Could his convenient appearance at Joffrey’s wedding (which he wasn’t technically invited to) be a little too convenient?


Murder Weapon?


Was it the wine that did the sadistic boy king in? Was it the pie (which he remarks as being “dry”?) Was it some other unseen poison that someone slipped inside a goblet of Joffrey’s drink that we didn’t notice?


The Verdict


I think that Tywin Lannister orchestrated the poisoning of Joffrey Baratheon at the Purple Wedding. (Olenna Tyrell was also involved, although to what degree is uncertain. At the least, she certainly talked with Tywin about it and knew it was going to happen.) Olenna’s confidential discussion with Tywin, in addition to bringing up on several occasions that her family is financing much of the Iron Throne’s activities seems too conspicuous to ignore.

Tywin knew that his grandson was a reckless, sadistic maniac unfit for the throne and that his every action only further threatened the Lannister’s position of power.

Non-book readers, who do you think murdered Joffrey Baratheon? Sound off in the comments. And book-readers, be nice and let’s not spoil it for the rest of us, huh?

  • Milly

    If you ask me it was Olenna there were lots of little shots and nods to her that just made me suspicious I might be completely off but I just have a gut feeling.

    • Russ Whiting

      I noticed those as well; the way the camera lingered on her when she mentioned “Killing a man at a wedding… horrid. What kind of monster would do something like that?” solidifies my belief that if she didn’t have an active hand in the act, she at least had some prior knowledge that it was going to take place.

      • Milly

        Yeah and her face during that scene with the dwarves talk about daggers she was not happy. I think Sansa is also involved somehow because of how quickly she got out of there.

        • Russ Whiting

          We still haven’t seen Sansa exhibit even a flash of the ability to take revenge, but that’d be a pretty surprising twist.

          We’ll have to see how the whole Ser Dontos storyline unfolds; he doesn’t seem the type to orchestrate such a mapped out plan. (Unless he really likes Sansa and his love/trying to impress her is what Martin is mapping out; not likely though.)

          • Milly

            I think maybe she was involved without realising. A lot of people are saying Olenna took something off her necklace (that Dontos gave her) which may have contained the poison.

  • It was definitely Olenna who did the deed. If you look carefully she removes one of the crystals from Sansa’s necklace, and the cup was right in front of her before he drank. Baelish was also involved.
    Tywin certainly didn’t seem all that upset about it but I doubt he was a part of the plan. While I think he would have approved as Joffrey was undoubtedly a threat to the Lannister name, can you imagine someone bringing up the idea of killing his grandson with him and asking if he wants in?

    • Milly

      Yeah I re watched the scene and she stares at the cup very intently when Tyrion is pouring the wine (which I’m assuming is what kills Joffrey). I agree that she may not have done it herself maybe it was her and Tywin or Margery. It’s really interesting re watching series 3 (with my sister to get her caught up) because there are so many hints to this event and different people’s involvement (especially Tywin and Olenna).

  • RipVanMinkus

    The part where you had Tyrion slam a book shut and place him palm on it… I LOLed.

  • RamblingBeachCat

    Whoever did it deserves a damn medal.