The ‘Game of Thrones’ Mystery: Who’s Behind the Purple Wedding?

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Warning: The following contains major spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 2.

Ding-dong the king is dead! Okay, we know, we shouldn’t cheer for the death of a teenaged boy (no matter how badly he treated Tyrion, Sansa, Ned Stark, the whole Stark family, or the entire kingdom). But now that we’ve had time to react and come to terms — as well as laugh at everyone else’s reactions on Twitter — let’s break down who’s behind the Purple Wedding.

(Book readers, we’d appreciate it if you could keep your psychic-level knowledge of the aftermath to yourselves because we’re only going to talk about clues directly from the show.)

Clue #1 – The Cup

Given the nature of Joffrey’s death, we can assume he was poisoned and didn’t choke on a piece of pie, but what exactly poisoned him? Well, if you watch closely, the last thing Joffrey eats or drinks is wine out of his goblet. But how or what was used to poison him?

Clue #2 – The Necklace

In the season four premiere, “Two Swords,” Sansa is given a necklace by Dontos — a knight that Sansa saved Joffrey’s wrath in Season 2. When he originally gives her the piece of jewelry, it has seven crystals. However, when Sansa wears the necklace during the wedding scene, only six crystals can be seen. So one of those crystals makes it into Joffrey’s cup and, inevitably, poisons him.

Clue #3 – The Misdirect

Since it’s Sansa’s necklace that would mean she’s the killer, right? Nope. Although Sansa has the perfect moment when she picks up the cup and hands it to Tyrion, she isn’t the killer. We know because after the king drinks from the cup, he’s fine. So, although you might easily suspect Sansa, she’s not the culprit.

Clue #4 – The Monster

That’s not to say Sansa isn’t important to the plot to kill Joffrey, though. Remember in season two when Sansa has lunch with Margaery Tyrell and her grandmother, Olenna? In that scene Olenna asks Sansa to be frank about Joffrey’s nature. When Sansa admits he’s a monster, Olenna replies: “Ah, well, that’s a pity.” Hmm.

Clue #4 – The Queen

If Olenna is concerned for Margaery’s well being as Joffrey’s bride-to-be, couldn’t the Tyrells just back out of the wedding? Nope. In season two after Renly is murdered, nullifying Margaery’s engagement to him, Petyr Baelish asks Margaery if she wanted to be queen. She responds, “No. I want to be the Queen,” and she can only become the queen if she marries the rightful king of Westeros. 


So who had motive and means to kill Joffrey? Olenna Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns.

Technically, Tyrion handed Joffrey the poisoned cup, but before that it sat on the table right beside Olenna throughout the entire pie-cutting ceremony. (And who had put it on the table? Margaery.) Olenna had plenty of time to slip the crystal into the cup.

You know, the crystal that the Queen of Thorns stole from Sansa’s necklace as she told the young Stark girl how horrible it was that Robb had been murdered at a wedding. We see what you did there, Olenna, you sly fox — or should we say “flower”?