The suspects have all been rounded up and now we see who would have been capable of killing King Joffrey Baratheon?
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
One week ago, King Joffrey Baratheon met a very violent end just moments after his wedding to Margaery Tyrell when a poison gripped his throat, shutting down his airways, and as he spewed up blood and muck from his mouth and nose, the life seeped out of the cruel ruler of Westeros.
His mother Cersei laid on the ground, holding her son’s head in horror at what was happening, unable to do anything except sit there with him in those last few seconds of his life. Even his faux father Jamie rushed to be by his side, partially because of his duty as the head of the Kingsguard but mostly due to his son laying on the ground writhing in agonizing pain. The poison took hold in just seconds, and with that King Joffrey was gone.
In the fallout from Joffrey’s death, his younger brother Tommen will now take over the Iron Throne (despite the fact that he’s also not actually Robert Baratheon’s son) and it puts his mother back at Queen regent and the real power for the kingdom sitting with his grandfather Tywin Lannister, who will undoubtedly remain Hand of the King.
As things pick up this week on the episode titled ‘Breaker of Chains’, the accusations about who murdered Joffrey begin with the sole suspect Tyrion Lannister sitting in the dungeon, wrapped in chains. In Joffrey’s last moments he pointed at his uncle as the culprit, and it certainly didn’t take long for Cersei to follow suit and have her brother arrested for the crime. But did Tyrion actually kill the king/his nephew or is he just a patsy set up to look like the murderer?
Let’s look at a few key people that could be involved in this plot to kill the king as well as some moments during the final throws of Joffrey’s life that may lend evidence to who actually committed the murder.
The prime suspect currently is none other than the king’s uncle Tyrion, who was in the midst of being humiliated by Joffrey in the moments leading up to his death. Joffrey tormented Tyrion throughout the wedding reception, first chopping up his gift prior to the ceremony and then continuing things when he hired a group of dwarves to put on a mockery of the ‘war of the five kings’. When Tyrion took a snide shot at Joffrey, the king wasted no time to take it out on his uncle as he poured wine on his head and then commanded him to be his cup bearer for the rest of the ceremony.
Tyrion would have had ample time while holding the king’s goblet to slip something in that would quickly be ingested by his nephew, poisoning him until he fell over dead. To this point, however, there were no guarantees that Tyrion was even going to get into a position to be able to poison Joffrey. He was only acting as cup bearer and the giver of wine due to his nephew’s insistence, otherwise he would have been nowhere near the drink, and this murder screams of an elaborate plot.
The biggest problem with this entire theory is Tyrion is no murderer and while he’s absolutely capable of pulling off a scheme of this magnitude, nothing he’s done or said recently would lead you to believe that he was going to attempt to kill Joffrey. In reality looking deeper at the situation, Tyrion may have been in a better position with Joffrey as king, as strange as that sounds. His father Tywin was still sitting soundly as the Hand, wielding power from his tower, and while Joffrey was cruel and unrelenting in his constant bullying towards his uncle, ultimately Tyrion had to feel he was at least somewhat safe (or safer than the alternative).
The alternative in this case is what’s about to unfold this week as his other nephew Tommen, who is supposed to be maybe 10 years old, will once again see his volatile sister Cersei back on the throne as the queen regent. Cersei might be the one person in Westeros who most wants her brother gone, and this is a golden opportunity to do it.
So while the queen desperately wants her brother to pay for killing her son, the fact is nothing points at Tyrion outside of him being in the wrong place at a very wrong time.
The king’s new wife is fairly low on the suspect scale, but it’s still possible. She was closer to Joffrey than anyone else during the entire wedding, and was sitting to the side where he set down his goblet before going back to torture Tyrion some more for his own whit and whimsey. Let’s also not forget that while Margaery was all about the power of being queen, it was about to come at the cost of her own body and those of her children due to Joffrey’s extreme penchant for cruelty and malevolence towards virtually every living thing on Earth.
Unfortunately, Margaery’s play in this entire story has been about landing in a powerful position. From her arrangement with Renly Baratheon to this marriage with Joffrey, Margaery wanted to be a place of authority where she would rule as queen. She just landed in the cat bird’s seat and now she’s out again before even having a chance to consummate the marriage, thus giving her the chance to give birth to the next male heir of Westeros.
If anyone is capable of putting all of the pieces in place to unfold a conspiracy of this magnitude, it’s master of ceremony behind the Red Wedding himself, Tywin Lannister.
Much like Margaery, Tywin is low on the suspicion scale but it’s still possible that he plotted to rid the kingdom of Joffrey to put his little brother in power and do away with the masochistic tendencies of his elder grandson. Tywin had opportunity to get to Joffrey’s drink due to his placement at the wedding feast, but the exonerating factor for the Hand of the King would seem to be his dedication to family.
Tywin’s self-righteous speech to Tyrion last season about the man who puts family in front of all else will always win, coupled with his decision to leave the imp alive despite his grandest instincts to snuff him out at the moment he was born prove at least on some level that while he may not have much use for a member of his family, the Lannister name is too important to rub out. Granted, Joffrey was technically a Baratheon, but it’s clear which branch of the family tree he was really from.
Following two full seasons of torture courtesy of King Joffrey, there may not be a person alive in Westeros who would enjoy seeing him dead more than Sansa Stark. She had to watch her father get beheaded, then hear about her brother and mother being butchered at the hands of the Lannisters not to mention several threats of torture and rape at the king’s hands.
At the royal wedding, Sansa’s opportunity to slip something into Joffrey’s goblet happened after he kicked the cup under the table and she reached down to hand it up to her husband Tyrion, who was being forced to act as cup bearer giving the king his wine. Also let’s not forget the moment Joffrey started to struggle with his breath, Ser Dontos warned her that this was the only time that she would have to escape by going with him right away. Obviously, Sansa would likely be indicated as at least a co-conspirator along with Tyrion, but how did Dontos know Joffrey was about to fall dead?
Was he acting under orders from somebody else that had Sansa’s best interests at heart?
The Red Viper wants to see every Lannister dead, and he seems to be a popular choice for this murder plot, but a few things eliminate him as a suspect in my mind. The main one being he had no time or way to get close to the king’s drink during the wedding. Sure, he spoke to Cersei and Tywin while making a few veiled threats along the way, but he never even met the king during this time and there just seems to be no reason he would go through all this to get Joffrey when his real target is Tywin Lannister and his gargantuan soldier Gregor Clegane aka The Mountain.
Of course what better way to hit Tywin than to eliminate one of his grandsons and the king of the seven kingdoms, but from the little we’ve seen from Oberyn this far, his attention seems focused on two people in particular and I don’t see him veering off course until those are the ones in his crosshairs.
If there’s anyone that plays the Game of Thrones as well as Tywin Lannister, it’s Lady Olenna Tyrell. She got one upped last season when she quietly attempted to wed her grandson Loras to Sansa Stark, to help protect the girl and get her far away from Joffrey’s monstrous grasp. Unfortunately, Tywin found out about her plan and quickly moved to wed Sansa to Tyrion, while also giving Loras to his daughter Cersei.
Given everything that unfolded during the wedding, Lady Olenna would be the prime suspect for a few reasons.
First is opportunity. Go back and watch the scene just before Joffrey’s death once again and notice that he sets the goblet down on the table right in front of Lady Olenna, and during the ruckus he caused dealing with Tyrion, it gave the elder Tyrell a chance to slip something into his cup without anyone noticing. The only person nearby to Lady Olenna was her son Mace, and as we saw last episode this is one guy who is not talking back to his mother. If she says they are killing a king, they are killing a king and there better not be any back talk about it!
Second is motive – Time and time again, Olenna saw the torment and torture that Joffrey was capable of, even against those that were supposed to be his most trusted supporters and family members. Given the fear he managed to put into poor Sansa Stark, it’s likely she didn’t want to see her granddaughter put through the same thing and maybe even worse over time.
Third is the Sansa factor — let’s not forget that Sansa was ushered out of the wedding immediately by Ser Dontos, meaning he knew Joffrey’s death was coming, but he wasn’t the one who did it. Lady Olenna is plenty crafty enough to use the former knight to her advantage, getting him to grab Sansa and take her out of the capitol, while she relieved King Joffrey of his life. Olenna won’t implicate herself of course and she knows Sansa would be arrested immediately if she was still sitting there, so as a final courtesy to the ginger-haired heiress to the North, she could have planned her escape before the entire ordeal unfolded.
Was It the Pie?
Another theory I’ve been looking at since the Purple Wedding unfolded is the chance that the king’s wine wasn’t actually poisoned, but instead the pie he ingested seconds before his death. Remember, Margaery fed him the first bite of pie and just after that is when Joffrey started to choke and struggle to breathe. While the wine appears to be the most popular theory, could it actually be the wedding pie instead that was laced with something deadly?
Lest we forget, Grand Maester Pycelle headed back to the kitchens just before the pie was served. Is there a chance he added his own potion to the recipe before it was presented to the king? Again, doesn’t seem likely but with everyone screaming ‘It was the wine!’ makes me believe it could be another culinary culprit all together.
As much as I’d like to point the finger at one person and believe they acted alone, I’ve seen JFK too many times to think this wasn’t all part of a massive conspiracy with the intended target being King Joffrey.
Now that could mean that any one of the people listed above was involved in the murder, but how the plan was hatched and executed remains another story entirely. Lord Varys looked awfully annoyed at that wedding and he knows all and sees even more. Could he have supplied the poison and come up with the plan?
Or what about Lord Petyr Baelish aka Littlefinger — remember we haven’t seen him yet this season, nor since the end of last year when he went off to the Vail to marry Lysa Arrin while becoming the temporary lord of the Erie until her son Robbin comes of age.
Littlefinger was deeply in love with Catelyn Stark, and hearing of her murder at the hands of the Lannisters could have forced this master of chaos to finally switch teams and move over to the side hoping to eliminate the Lannisters all together. Let’s also not forget he tried to get Sansa to leave with him last season, so this could be a way to get rid of Joffrey and force her to join him at the Vail.
Lady Olenna Tyrell – given the opportunity and motive, she seems like the real suspect in this case. She had help though from at least Ser Dontos and maybe even another conspirator who provided the poison. She protects her granddaughter, gets rid of a vile king, helps Sansa to escape (something she was already trying to do last season) and the finger is immediately pointed in a different direction. Seems quite plausible.