Who is Joffrey Baratheon?
Before we delve into the whodunnit, let’s go back to the beginning.
Joffrey appears in the first episode of the show (and the early pages of the first book, if you’re following along there), as the son of King Robert Baratheon and his wife Cersei Lannister.
His parents have manufactured a strategic marriage between himself and Sansa Stark, the daughter of Ned Stark, who has just been made the King’s Hand. But as the Baratheons, Ned, Sansa, and Sansa’s sister, Arya, make their way towards King’s Landing, Joffrey’s true personality is revealed.
The cruelty of the character shocked a lot of viewers, as he consistently acted on sadistic and manipulative impulses. He advocates for the killing of Sansa’s pet direwolf, Lady, when Arya’s direwolf attacks him, and will often have innocent people harmed or even killed in order to keep feeding his ego.
He’s also the direct heir to the throne, succeeding Robert when he dies in a ‘hunting accident’, and going on to have Ned executed for treason.
While fans wished and wished for the character’s death, the show’s creators made them wait until season four.
While he nearly copped it during Stannis Baratheon’s attack on King’s Landing, he was saved at the last minute by the actions of his uncle, Tyrion, and his grandfather, Tywin, who struck up an alliance with House Tyrell to save the young king.
This new alliance saw Joffrey’s engagement to Sansa annulled, with Margaery Tyrell becoming his new betrothed, while Sansa instead is made to marry Tyrion. The switcheroo spells problems for Joffrey, who might have been better off marrying someone who had nobody to look out for her.
How does Joffrey die?
Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery was where he finally met his end, the victim of poisoning in probably one of the best scenes the show had to offer. As he asphyxiates in his mother’s lap, he points at his uncle Tyrion, who had handed him the poisoned wine.
As expected, absolute chaos ensues, with Tyrion charged with the murder of his nephew.
But Tyrion had nothing to do with the death, and we get our first hint a few episodes later, when Margaery meets with her grandmother, Olenna Tyrell. Olenna insists Tyrion was not the culprit, which Margaery responds to with a “you don’t know, grandmother”.
“Oh, but I do know. You don’t think I’d let you marry that beast, do you?” she responds.
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So, the killer was …
Olenna, obviously! Although she was helped by the fickle Petyr Baelish, who organised the poison for her.
Once the admission of guilt was made, fans flocked back to season four to see if they could pick up on Olenna committing the crime.
At the wedding, she is seen approaching Sansa to give her condolences for the recent murder of Sansa’s brother, Robb.
“War is war, but killing a man at a wedding – horrid,” she says as she fiddles with Sansa’s necklace.
“What sort of monster would do such a thing?” she asked. And as fans looked closely, they noticed a stone was then missing from Sansa’s necklace – later revealed to contain the poison.
But, we did have to wait until the first half of season seven before we finally had confirmation.
Olenna finally reveals her crime when she is murdered by Jaime Lannister, Joffrey’s uncle (and secretly, also his father). Jaime gives her the option to die with grace by drinking poisoned wine, leading her to confess her crime to him in the ultimate ‘mic drop’ moment.
“I’d hate to die like your son,” she tells Jaime.
“Must have been horrible for you, as a Kingsguard, as a father. It was horrible enough for me.
“Not at all what I intended. Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.”