Purple Wedding

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Purple Wedding
The Purple Wedding Fin.JPG
Artist depiction of the Purple Wedding by Conor Campbell©
Conflict War of the Five Kings
Date 300 AC
Place Red Keep, King's Landing
Result Death of King Joffrey Baratheon
Arrest of Tyrion Lannister
Escape of Sansa Stark from King's Landing
Orchestrator Lord Petyr Baelish
Lady Olenna Tyrell
Perpetrator Lady Olenna Redwyne
Dontos Hollard
Target King Joffrey Baratheon
Victims King Joffrey Baratheon
Perpetrator casualties Dontos Hollard
Captives Tyrion Lannister (arrested)


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 chokes to death. Unlike the Red Wedding, this wedding is not called so in the books.[1]

Background

House Tyrell aligns itself with Renly Baratheon at the start of the War of the Five Kings, with Renly marrying Margaery Tyrell.[2] 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.[3] After the Battle of the Blackwater, Joffrey discards Sansa Stark and is betrothed to Margaery.[4] Ser Dontos Hollard tells Sansa she will be able to escape captivity during the upcoming wedding, and he gives her a silver hair net decorated with black amethysts from Asshai.[4] Dontos insists that Sansa wear the hair net during the wedding.[5]

After arriving in King's Landing, Margaery's grandmother, Olenna Tyrell, questions Sansa about Joffrey to see if the stories of the boy king's cruelty are true.[6] Instead of Joffrey, Sansa is forced by Lord Tywin Lannister to marry Tyrion Lannister, Joffrey's uncle and Tywin's son.[7]

Breakfast

On the morning of the royal wedding, 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 the book he received from Tyrion.[8]

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. Afterward, the royal procession travels from the Great Sept to the Red Keep.[9]

Wedding Feast

King Joffrey Baratheon dies of the poison © Josu Hernaiz

The wedding feast takes place in the evening within the throne room of 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", and "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.[9]

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, Renly and Stannis; 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. Ser Ilyn Payne cuts the pie with his new greatsword, allowing doves to fly free from it.[9]

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. The knights Garlan Tyrell, Meryn Trant, and Osmund Kettleblack run to the aid of the choking Joffrey while the court and guests scatter, some fleeing and others looking on. Joffrey points at Tyrion in his dying moments; Tyrion empties the wine remaining in the chalice onto the floor. After Joffrey is confirmed dead, Margaery is consoled by her mother, Alerie, that the boy choked to death. Queen Cersei Lannister insists that her son was poisoned, however, and orders the Kingsguard to arrest Tyrion and Sansa,[9] although the scared girl had already fled from the feast.[10]

Aftermath

A drunken Ser Dontos Hollard helps Sansa Stark escape the Red Keep, and Oswell Kettleblack rows them into Blackwater Bay. When they reach a waiting ship, however, Lord Petyr Baelish has Dontos killed by Ser Lothor Brune's men.[10] Petyr and Sansa sail on Merling King to the Fingers. Once at Petyr's tower, Sansa learns that her silver hair net secretly contained poison within its amethysts. Olenna Tyrell took the poison from an unsuspecting Sansa when she straightened the girl's hair during the celebration. Sansa determines that the poison was then put into Joffrey's wine, and Petyr explains he had plotted Joffrey's death so that Margaery Tyrell could marry Joffrey's younger brother, Tommen Baratheon.[11] According to George R. R. Martin, the conspirators wanted Joffrey to appear to die accidentally by choking, rather than a public assassination like the Red Wedding.[1]

Tyrion Lannister, Sansa's husband, is also falsely implicated. While in custody, he believes that Sansa had poisoned Joffrey with other conspirators.[12] At the start of his trial, Tyrion states that Joffrey had accidentally choked to death on the pie.[12] Maesters Ballabar and Frenken concur that Joffrey was poisoned, however, and Grand Maester Pycelle testifies that Tyrion killed the king with the strangler.[12] Lady Taena Merryweather swears she saw Tyrion drop something into Joffrey's wedding chalice, and Lord Estermont, Josmyn Peckledon, Galyeon of Cuy, and Morros and Jothos Slynt all recall having seen Tyrion empty the chalice of wine while the king died.[12]

Tyrion eventually insists upon trial by combat, but he is found guilty after Ser Gregor Clegane kills Oberyn Martell.[13] Ser Jaime Lannister has Lord Varys help him free Tyrion from the black cells the night before his execution, however. After Jaime tells his brother about Tysha, the angry Tyrion falsely claims responsibility for Joffrey's death. Before escaping the castle, Tyrion kills his father, Lord Tywin Lannister.[14]

Smallfolk tell various stories about Joffrey's death, including that Tyrion slit the boy's throat with a dagger and drank his blood from a chalice,[15] or that Sansa killed Joffrey with a spell and then escaped the Red Keep by turning into a wolf with bat wings.[16]

With the exception of his mother, Cersei Lannister, Joffrey is not particularly mourned by anyone; even his biological father, Jaime, feels that Joffrey deserved his fate.[17] Tyrion states that Joffrey would have become a worse king than the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen.[14] 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.[18] With poison in mind, Jaime, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, orders Ser Boros Blount to taste all food for King Tommen I.[19]

Influences

George R. R. Martin revealed that the inspiration for the Purple Wedding came from the death of Eustace IV, Count of Boulogne. King Stephen of England, Eustace's father, had usurped the crown from his cousin, Empress Matilda, leading to the Anarchy. War would have been passed down to the second generation, as both Stephen and Matilda had sons. However, Eustace choked to death at a feast, helping to bring an end to the English civil war. Historians have debated whether Eustace actually choked or was poisoned.[1]

Terminology

The wedding of Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell has been dubbed the Purple Wedding by fans.[1] The strangler, the poison used to kill Joffrey,[12] is smuggled to the wedding in the deep purple amethysts in Sansa Stark's silver hair net,[4] and 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.[9] Purple is also a color often associated with royalty.

Quotes

Joffrey and Margaery shall marry on the first day of the new year, which as it happens is also the first day of the new century. The ceremony will herald the dawn of a new era.[20]

Joffrey: It's, kof, the pie, noth—kof, pie. I, kof, I can't, kof kof kof kof ...

Margaery: He's choking.

Olenna: Help the poor boy! Dolts! Will you stand about gaping? Help your king![9]

Alerie: He choked. We all saw.
Cersei: He did not choke. My son was poisoned.[9]

My sister outdid herself, I'm told. Seventy-seven courses and a regicide, never a wedding like it.[15]

Weddings have become more perilous than battles, it would seem.[21]

Whenever she closed her eyes she saw Joffrey tearing at his collar, clawing at the soft skin of his throat, dying with flakes of pie crust on his lips and wine stains on his doublet. And the wind keening in the lines reminded her of the terrible thin sucking sound he'd made as he fought to draw in air.[11]

—thoughts of Sansa Stark

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.[16]

References