category: films and TV shows

thoughts on Game of Thrones’s “Purple Wedding” episode

Time to dissect last night’s Game of Thrones episode!

My general overview: this was quite a disappointing and weak episode. Those of us who read the books have eagerly anticipated this scene since the series began, secondary in importance and gravitas only to Ned’s beheading and the Red Wedding. Yet it fell horribly, terribly flat — everything from the set design (which looked like it was put together in a few hours by some “Party City” trucks in some dude’s backyard), to that awkward scene of the dwarves re-enacting the warย (how long did that go on? it seemed like agesโ€ฆ i.e., an episode suffering from awful pacing), to the unsatisfying conclusion (Joffrey’s death should have had much more of ‘oomph’ yet it did not — some of my Twitter Tweeps agreed, see e.g.,ย here).

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Some great lines, though.

Jamie: “You’ll never marry her.”
Loras: “Neither will you.”

Good for Loras — he’s not just a pretty face who sulks and pines for Renly.

Roose Bolton to Ramsay: “OUR sigil??? You’re a Snow, not a Bolton.”
Who’s worse as a father — Roose or Tywin? Probably a toss up.

Oberyn’s snide back-and-forth with Cersei and Tywin, especially when he mentions bastards are accepted in Dorne (Snows and Sands) since they’re born out of passion. Heh. Very true. Point Oberyn. Dorne sounds like a chill place.

But onto the important stuff: Who done it?!

If you think we’re going to definitively find out who killed Joffrey next week, you’re in for a disappointment. The obvious answer is the Tyrells (Margarye along with her grandmother, in order to spare her the horror of being married to sadisticย Joff) and, indeed, that’s what is relayed — Littlefinger tells Sansa that it was the Tyrells. So folks will think the mystery has been solvedโ€ฆ but stop yourselves. Remember: this is Littlefinger saying so. He could be lying. There is no one actually admitting to the deed. And, as of the latest book published, we still don’t have a definitive answer. So the mystery will continue for quite some time but hopefully it will be settled in a future book and thus in a future season of the show.

The reason I’m skeptical that it will ultimately, in fact, prove to be Olana and Margarye is because it’s just too obviousโ€ฆ? Martin loves to throw curveballs — and to have us think we know something only to find out we don’t (e.g., Jon Snow isn’t the product of Ned Stark’s affair). So I think he’ll let us believe it’s the Tyrells — as Littlefinger and all sense would have us believe — only to throw in a curveball in a later book.

So how to approach thisโ€ฆ

First, for whom as the poison intended? It would be foolish to assume it was definitely intended for Joffrey. What about Margarye? No one has a motive to kill her? What about Cersei?

Second, what was the poisoned item? The wineโ€ฆ or the pie? When Joffrey slices open the cake with his sword, there is a quick shot of dead doves inside the cake. Now, why would the show go through the trouble of showing that? It could just be a comical, “Look at this idiot — slicing open a pie with a sword so he killed the doves that were supposed to fly out” OR it could be a sign that the pie was poisoned, and thus the unfortunate doves, or those on the bottom at least, died.

Third, who did it? And, was it more the one person? Was it a team?

I have a theory (which I have not heard or read anywhere so, if you could point me to someone that agrees with me, that would make me feel less crazy!) that Cersei was the culprit (or one of them) and that the poison was intended for Margarye, not Joffrey. We’ve all seen how angry Cersei is at the prospect of Margarye taking her place (recall Oberyn’s jabs about Cersei now being the EX-queen and the EX-queen-regent), at the prospect of Margarye controlling Joffrey, at the prospect of having to marry Loras (which would probably go out the window if Margarye were killed), etc. So why wouldn’t Cersei pull off some plot? And here’s the part that really got me thinking — the remarks Cersei made to Pycelle. In Game of Thrones, nearly every scene has a purpose. Why then did David Benioff and company take precious screen time to include a scene where Cersei approaches Pycelle (under the guise of stopping him from perversely hitting on yet another girl) to demand that, instead of the food going to the poor, it should go to the dogs. Why? Because Cersei knew the pie was poisoned and, her cruel nature notwithstanding, did not want to poison a bunch of innocents in King’s Landing (if only because it could create a problem).

Soโ€ฆ my theoryโ€ฆ even if it takes a couple of more George R.R. Martin books and a couple more GoT seasons to vindicateโ€ฆ is Cersei as the culprit (perhaps working in tandem with others, perhaps alone), with Margarye as the intended victim, via the pie. (I suddenly had a flashback of playing “Clue”.)

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Now, that said, of course, the obvious answer is the Tyrells, with that necklace involved somehow, and the intended target as Joffrey. See this layout that a Twitter Tweep sent me which goes over the necklace theory quite perfectly.

But, OK — what if the the necklace contained an antidote? For instance, what if Olana knew that Margarye was going to be poisoned and pretended not to, instead having her granddaughter down an antidote during the feast?

I’m getting a headache. Too many options.

What say you?

UPDATE (4/15): My mom’s take is that Sansa is involved! At first, I laughed off her theory when I first heard it today but… it’s actually not that crazy. Sansa definitely has the motive AND, more importantly, it would make for a great twist if the daft, silly Sansa turned out to have a dark side. Moreover, it would explain why she was wearing the necklace. The common theory is that “the fool” gave Sansa the necklace containing the poison and that Olenna took the poison from unknowing Sansa, while speaking with the latter and grabbing a piece of the necklace. BUT… for this plan to have worked, the culprits would have needed to know Sansa would definitely be wearing that necklace to the wedding. Who’s to say she would definitely wear it? Who would be silly enough to have their plan dependent on Sansa choosing to wear that necklace, instead of just shoving it in a drawer? (If the plot indeed turns out to be that way, it’s terribly sloppy writing by Martin.) So, I believe the key is that Sansa was in on the plot. I don’t know — could be…

UPDATE (May 20): Last night’s “Mockingbird” episode may lend some credence to my mom’s (crazy?) theory that Sansa was in not Joffrey’s killing. While I know it goes against everything the show has ‘told’ us (i.e., that Littlefinger did it; and we have Sansa asking WHY he did it, etc), maybe Martin intentionally wants to lead us off course, only for a big reveal in later seasons/books. While Sansa is talking to Robin in the show, and he asks about Winterfell and what they did there with people they didn’t like, sans a moondoor, Sansa remarks: “Girls don’t take part in things like that where I come from.” The smile on her face… I don’t know — there was something odd about that statement.

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