Another 'Game of Thrones' wedding, another shocker

By Kirk Enstrom, Digital Managing Editor
Published On: Apr 14 2014 06:18:00 AM HST
Updated On: Apr 14 2014 06:55:13 AM HST
Game of Thrones

Courtesy HBO

Warning: The following story contains spoilers for this past Sunday's "Game of Thrones" and details of other major events that have happened on the show.

If you want to have a nice, joyful wedding, you probably shouldn't plan to hold it in Westeros.

"Game of Thrones" on Sunday continued what seems to be a trend, showing a shocking death during a wedding ceremony. This time, though, the victim is someone whose death fans of the show might be celebrating.

King Joffrey, the sadistic ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, died choking on an apparently poisoned glass of wine during his wedding feast. His death came after he stooped to new lows in his mockery of his uncle, Tyrion, who was blamed for the killing.

Fans of the popular HBO show have become used to seeing major characters killed. Much of the show has been set during a war, after all, so deaths should be expected. But it still has been surprising, for those who haven't read the books upon which the show is based, to see so many protagonists killed.

The next-to-last episode of the first season saw the death of Ned Stark, who was not only considered the main character of the show but also represented a moral center of decency and honor. His death, at the order of King Joffrey, showed that honor doesn't necessarily triumph in this world.

Last season, also in the penultimate episode, showed the infamous Red Wedding. Fans who thought they were upset by the death of Ned Stark had no idea what was in store before his son, Robb Stark, and widow, Catelyn Stark, among others, were betrayed and brutally killed during the wedding of Catelyn's brother.

Both those events inspired Internet themes of videos of people watching the show and reacting with shock and horror. Fans took to Facebook and Twitter each time to announce that they were done watching the show, though each subsequent episode had higher ratings than the last.

After Sunday's show, the reaction was a bit more gleeful. Twitter user Lorenzo may sum up the reaction best when he said: "I'm glad Joffrey got poisoned man."

Actor Jack Gleeson earned wide praise for his portrayal of the young king, who took sick pleasure in torturing and mocking those around him, even as he was too cowardly to engage in actual battle. Many fans said they would miss his acting, even if they were glad to see someone killed who seemed to deserve to die. Gleeson has also said that he planned to leave acting after this role was done.

Book author George R.R. Martin, who also wrote Sunday's script, told Entertainment Weekly that while Joffrey's death is something of a counterweight to the deaths of Robb and Catelyn Stark, he also wanted to provide some "pathos" to his death.

"Joffrey in the books is still a 13-year-old kid," Martin told the magazine. "And there's kind of a moment there where he knows that he's dying and he can't get a breath and he's kind of looking at Tyrion and at his mother and at the other people in the hall with just terror and appeal in his eyes -- you know, 'Help me, mommy, I'm dying.'"

Now, speculation, for those who haven't read the books, turns to who did it. Joffrey's mother, Cersei, immediately blamed Tyrion, who had been forced into serving as Joffrey's wine server.

But Joffrey was so despised that almost anyone in Westeros, not to mention a certain Mother of Dragons overseas, might have had a desire to see him dead. Fans of the show hope that an answer will be forthcoming, even as they brace for a long season ahead that has already seen one major shock.

What could possibly happen next to top this? Fans may want to remember how HBO has been promoting this season: "All men must die."

Note: Those who haven't read the books might want to stay out of the comments. Some people just can't help letting spoilers slip.

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