Purple Wedding

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Artist depiction of the Purple Wedding by Conor Campbell©

The Purple Wedding is the fan-given nickname for the wedding between King Joffrey I Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell on the first day of the new century, 300 AC. The wedding is a lavish affair, but ends in disarray when Joffrey dies after drinking poisoned wine. Unlike the Red Wedding, this wedding is not called so in the books.


House Tyrell aligns itself with Renly Baratheon at the start of the War of the Five Kings, with Renly marrying Margaery Tyrell. After Renly's death, the small council sends Lord Petyr Baelish to negotiate an alliance between Houses Tyrell and Lannister, supporting the claim of Joffrey Baratheon. After the alliance was formed, Joffrey discards Sansa Stark and is betrothed to Margaery. Her grandmother, Olenna Tyrell, questions Sansa about Joffrey to see if the stories of the boy king's cruelty are true. Instead of Joffrey, Sansa marries the king's uncle, Tyrion Lannister.


Breakfast for House Lannister, the men of House Tyrell, and other nobility is held in the Queen's Ballroom within the Red Keep; the Tyrell women break their fast separately with Margaery. Queen Cersei Lannister gives Joffrey a wedding cloak which has been passed down from her mother, Joanna. The king receives a bow of golden wood from Jalabhar Xho, riding boots from Lady Tanda Stokeworth, a jousting saddle from Ser Kevan Lannister, a scorpion brooch from Oberyn Martell, silver spurs from Ser Addam Marbrand, a tourney pavilion from Lord Mathis Rowan, and a model of King Joffrey's Valor from Lord Paxter Redwyne.

Tyrion gives Joffrey a copy of the illuminated Lives of Four Kings, while Lord Mace Tyrell gives the king a seven-sided wedding chalice decorated with great houses: ruby lion, emerald rose, onyx stag, silver trout, blue jade falcon, opal sun, and pearl direwolf. Lord Tywin Lannister gives his grandson a Valyrian steel sword; Joffrey names it Widow's Wail and then uses the blade to destroy Tyrion's gift.[1]

Marriage Ceremony

The marriage of Joffrey and Margaery occurs at midday in the Great Sept of Baelor, before statues of the Father and the Mother. The High Septon performs the ceremony.[2]

Wedding Feast

King Joffrey Baratheon dies of the poison © Josu Hernaiz

The wedding feast takes place in the throne room in the Red Keep. Seventy-seven dishes are planned for the dinner. Hamish the Harper is the first performer, premiering "Lord Renly's Ride" and also singing "A Rose of Gold", "The Rains of Castamere", "Maiden, Mother, and Crone", "My Lady Wife". Hamish is followed by a trained bear and Pentoshi tumblers. Collio Quaynis sings "The Dance of the Dragons", a song of the Doom of Valyria, "Bessa the Barmaid", and another version of "The Rains of Castamere". The fools Moon Boy, Butterbumps, and Dontos Hollard also perform for the guests. Further entertainment comes from pyromancers, pipers, trained dogs, sword swallowers, and a juggler. Galyeon sings a song of the Battle of the Blackwater with seventy-seven verses. Dancers from the Summer Isles also perform during the wedding feast.

Tyrion is seated several seats away from the other Lannister attendees along with Sansa. Joffrey, while drunk, continually attempts to provoke his uncle, who is a dwarf. A pair of dwarf jousters enter the throne room atop a dog and a sow and proceed to mock the Starks and Joffrey's Baratheon uncles; Joffrey encourages Tyrion to join them. After Tyrion refuses and embarrasses the boy king, Joffrey empties the large royal chalice of wine over his uncle and orders him to be his cupbearer. Alaric of Eysen is scheduled to perform, but the great ceremonial pie arrives, served by six cooks. Ilyn Payne cuts the pie, allowing doves to fly free from it.

At some point during the feast, Joffrey's wine is poisoned. After deeply drinking wine from the wedding chalice, and eating several handfuls of the pie, Joffrey begins to cough, each one more violent than the last. Chaos descends upon the feast, as guests struggle to get out. The knights Garlan Tyrell, Meryn Trant, and Osmund Kettleblack run to the aid of Joffrey while the court scatters, some fleeing and others looking on. Joffrey points at Tyrion in his dying moments; Tyrion empties the remainder of the chalice on the floor. After Joffrey is confirmed dead, his mother, Cersei Lannister, orders the arrest of Tyrion and Sansa.[2][3]


The murder of Joffrey is revealed as a murky plot organized by the Tyrells and Petyr Baelish, but Tyrion and Sansa are falsely implicated. The poison is the strangler, smuggled into the feast in the hair net of an unsuspecting Sansa. The silver hair net with purple gemstones had been given to her by the fool, Dontos Hollard. Sansa escapes to the Fingers with Petyr, who has Dontos murdered by Lothor Brune's men to hide his involvement.[4][5]

With the exception of his mother, Cersei, Joffrey is not particularly mourned by anyone; even his biological father, Ser Jaime Lannister, feels that Joffrey deserved his fate. Tyrion states that Joffrey would have become a worse king than the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen. Ser Arys Oakheart thinks that the only good thing that could be said of Joffrey was that he was tall and strong for his age.


George R.R. Martin revealed that the inspiration for the Purple Wedding came from the death of Eustace IV.[6] King Stephen of England, Eustace's father, had usurped the crown from his cousin, the empress Maude, and they fought a long civil war. The anarchy and war would have been passed down to the second generation, as both Stephen and Maude had sons. However, Eustace had choked to death at a feast, bringing an end to the English civil war. Historians have debated whether he actually choked or was poisoned.


The wedding of Joffrey and Margaery has been dubbed the Purple Wedding by fans for various reasons. The poison used to kill Joffrey is smuggled to the wedding in the purple amethyst hairnet of Sansa Stark, while the wine the king drinks is described first as dark red and soon after as purple. Joffrey's face turns red and then darker as he chokes from the poison.[2] Purple is also a color often associated with royalty.


My own wedding is looking much better in hindsight.[2]

Tyrion Lannister's thoughts of both the Purple Wedding and the Red Wedding

The northern girl. Winterfell’s daughter. We heard she killed the king with a spell, and afterward changed into a wolf with big leather wings like a bat, and flew out a tower window. But she left the dwarf behind and Cersei means to have his head. [7]


Weddings have become more perilous than battles, it would seem.[8]

Stannis Baratheon

References and Notes

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