One of the great ironies of Game of Thrones is that so many different people want to be king in spite of the career hazards.
After all, with great power comes great responsibility, and so far nobody with a firm grip on the crown has managed nearly so firm a grip on their own skulls. Heads roll, and no head rolls faster or further than a king’s.
Especially at a wedding.
Weddings, it turns out, are really quite deadly in Westeros, especially if your name starts with “Joff” and ends with “rey.” At least, that’s the case in Sunday night’s episode “The Lion and the Rose” (the “lion” being house Lannister and the Rose belonging to house Tyrell of Highgarden, even though perhaps that family should adopt the symbol of the Thorn rather than the Rose.)
Joffrey is merely the latest casualty of nuptial regicide I can recall; we can add his name to that of Robert Baratheon (killed during a mysteriously dangerous boar hunt) and Robb Stark (shot down by marksman musicians courtesy of Walder Frey and Ramsay Bolton.) Not to mention the many kings who fell before him, including the Mad King who Joffrey’s uncle Jaime killed in his one great act of infamous bravery.
Karma is alive and well in the seven kingdoms, if only in short bursts. But at least Margaery Tyrell won’t have to bed Cersei’s eldest psychopath—a stroke of incredibly good luck.
We’ve grown accustomed to watching our favorite characters die, so it’s a nice change of pace to see one of the show’s most grotesquely evil ones to shuffle off this mortal coil. As wonderfully despicable as Joffrey has been these past few seasons, it’s high time he choked to death on a poisoned wine goblet. And it’s fitting he’d make his final exit at a wedding, with only Cersei shedding any tears.
There’s always a downside to this sort of thing, and once again it’s Tyrion who takes the brunt of it, thanks to the rage of his big sister, Cersei. When Tyrion protected King’s Landing from Stannis we had a case of “no good deed goes unpunished.” This time, Tyrion is even more blameless.
As was the case in the books, this doesn’t work nearly as well as it ought to in the show. Tyrion is too clever by half to poison his nephew in front of an audience while Joffrey publicly humiliated him. But nobody, including Tywin, intercedes on Tyrion’s behalf. It’s not odd that Cersei would accuse her brother of the murder; it is a bit odd that nobody would step in on his behalf. Then again, few people ever publicly stand up for Tyrion because few characters in this story are as brave as he is.