***SPOILERS if you have not seen up to S4E2 Stop reading now***
Psst…Have you heard what happened to the King? Joffrey was poisoned at his wedding reception at King’s Landing.
Before we get into it, you may want clarification over the line of succession over who is king next at King's Landing. That is discussed here:
Basically it goes: Tommen, Myrcella and then Stannis.
What whispers have your little birds told you?
Here’s what clues my ears on the grounds have detailed to me with regard to our suspects:
#1. The Rains of Castamere (Lyrics, sung at the end credits of S2E9):
And who are you, the proud lord said,
that I must bow so low?
Only a cat of a different coat,
that's all the truth I know.
In a coat of gold or a coat of red,
a lion still has claws,
And mine are long and sharp, my lord,
as long and sharp as yours.
And so he spoke, and so he spoke,
that Lord of Castamere,
But now the rains weep o'er his hall,
with no one there to hear.
Yes now the rains weep o'er his hall,
and not a soul to hear.
How ironic would it be if the Lannister song foreshadowed the demise of itself rather than about a House who dared challenge the Lannisters?
Let’s look first to the challengers (Starting with the two most obvious Houses)
House Tyrell: I overheard Cersei talking to Margaery about House Reyne of Castamere that is detailed in the song that Margaery likes ‘The Rains of Castamere’. A warning from House Lannister to House Tyrell. Cersei threatened to have Margaery strangled in her sleep if she ever called Cersei her sister again. Jaime Lannister told Loras Tyrell 'If you were to marry Cersei she'd murder you in your sleep'. House Reyne like House Tyrell was once the second richest house in Westeros; the Lannisters are the wealthiest.
*Motive*: One rich family trying to eliminate another one; one member at a time. Perhaps after Olenna and Margaery sat down and spoke with Sansa and heard Joffrey was a "monster" they both tried to figure out a way to protect Margaery so she didn't become Joffrey's next victim. As well as Margaery was handling Joffrey you knew it would have only been a matter of time before he started torturing her. If they poisoned him after she became pregnant with his heir perhaps she figured the Lannisters would suspect her of poisoning Joffrey. If they did it during the wedding then it could be anyone and the Tyrells would be the least suspected in the whole matter.
There is also a possible financial destabilization motive. The Crown borrowed money from the Lannisters and has no way of paying it back. The Lannisters also had to pay for Tyrion and Sansa's wedding. Baelish was also treating the crown's money like his own personal piggy bank driving up more debt. Therefore the Lannisters could be financially hurting. The Tyrells on the other hand are doing just fine. Lady Olenna takes a jab at Tywin on their walk relaying that the Iron Bank (another lender to the Crown) is going to start closing in on them.
The Tyrells also get a second Lannister out of the way (Tyrion) since he is being accused of poisoning the King by Cersei. If Sansa became a widow (upon Tyrion's execution) someone technically could marry her and perhaps gain the North (although Tywin gave the North to Bolton if he could hold it.)
*Why not?*: Does it make sense for a house to kill its own ability to generate heirs and hold power over all of Westeros? I believe Cersei is again Queen Regent to Tommen since Margaery bore Joffrey no heirs.
House Martell: "There's bad blood between the Martells of Dorne and the Lannisters of Casterly Rock" (Tyrion Lannister to Bronn). Could the Red Lion of the song really be a Red Sun of the Martell sigil? Tyrion as hand of the king betrothed his niece Myrcella to prince Trystane Martell of Dorne.
*Motive*: I believe if Joffrey is out of the way the next in line on the throne is Tommen Baratheon. If Tommen is killed then Myrcella has rights to the throne before Stannis Baratheon (Daughters of the same family branch have succession over Uncles and cousins. http://imgur.com/a/nWbds) Eventually if Myrcella is Queen, Trystan Martell will be King of all Westeros.
Lord Oberyn contemptuously said "Not You" to Tyrion as he was greeting the contortionist with Ellaria Sand.
Perhaps Lord Oberyn was looking at way to bring down the Lannisters; frame Tyrion and get him executed so some one from House Martell could Marry Sansa and take over the North.
*Why Not?*: Indeed why not?
House Baratheon of Dragonstone: This goes back to the first season of GOT. Stannis feels Joffrey, Tommen and Myrcella are children of Cersei and Jaime Lannister, so Robert bore no heirs and he has the right to the throne. http://imgur.com/a/nWbds
*Motive*: He looks markedly aged and beat down; dejected. He took a huge hit troop and shipwise at Blackwater. He’s running out of food and he's still got to keep his army fed and going. He’s sacrificing members of his wife’s family to strike blows against his enemies. Melisandre’s leech burning included ones for Joffrey and Balon Greyjoy and one of those men are now dead. The sooner his brother's children are all out of the way the sooner he gains the throne without having to wage war anymore.
*Why Not?*: Indeed why not?
House Greyjoy of The Iron Islands:
Poison would certainly be a sneaky way of taking what you want isn’t it? It fits the credo “paying the Iron price” for the Iron throne doesn’t it? Only problem is how does killing Joffrey put Balon on the throne? At the most killing Joffrey is just one more Baratheon out of the way. All of them would need to be gone in order for him to seize the throne right?
Then again Viserys and Danaerys weren’t dead when Robert Baratheon took the throne from the Targaryens right?
*Motive*: The Iron Throne at King’s Landing.
*Why Not?*: Balon knows Lord Bolton has Theon. Yara is on the way to get him back. He is also preoccupied with just taking the North. He seems to be a man of increments and practical victories. It also strikes me that he has far less resources at the moment than his challengers.
“…now the rains weep o'er his hall, and not a soul to hear.”
House Reyne in the song is gone, so let’s cover houses that have nearly no souls (nearly extinct) :
House Stark: Sansa is assumed the only one alive (Arya is presumed dead to most. No one knows Bran and Rickon are alive except Ramsay, Theon, Houses Bolton and Umber. That situation could change quickly if Bolton tells King’s Landing.)
*Motive*: Revenge for the deaths of Ned, Catelyn and Robb Stark.
*Why not?*: Sansa was terrified of Joffrey. Revenge is not in her character although she does call Joffrey a monster to Margaery and Olenna Tyrell. As relayed in the feedback podcast by Robin and Roberto here:
However, I think she became an unaware accomplice to regicide, which is why Dontos is trying to get her out of there.
House Hollard: Dontos is the only one left. A drunk, a jester who has given a family heirloom to Sansa Stark (another symbol of a failing house in S4E1.) Does the song spell the death of House Hollard for sure?
*Motive*: Revenge for nearly being killed by Joffrey and tortured for life as a fool of the King.
*Why not?*: In his eyes he may not have much to lose.
House Targaryen: Daenerys is the only heir (Aemon is the only other and a man of the Night’s Watch);
“mine (dragons claws) are long and sharp, my lord,”
*Motive*: Command over all of Westeros.
*Why not?*: Dany has not shown us she has spies in Westeros that keep her up on what’s going on in Westeros. Barriston Selmy saved her life in S3E1 from an assassin and told her Robert Baratheon was dead.
Let us look to House Lannister:
Tyrion: Does love playing the game doesn’t he? I believe he did want to be Lord of Casterly Rock. I don't see how he benefits in that regard with Joffrey's death.
*Motive*: Protect Sansa (and everyone) from Joffrey’s cruelty.
*Why not?*: As we have seen at the end of S4E2 Cersei would accuse Tyrion of killing Joffrey and that would just lead to his death. Tyrion doesn't stand to inherit the throne or gain anything other than Sansa not getting tortured anymore.
Cersei: Mad yes, insane enough to kill her son? No… Cersei has done everything in her power to hide her children’s illegitimacy to the throne: She got rid of Lord Arryn, Lord Stark and no doubt had a hand in trying to kill Bran. Why spend so much time protecting him to only kill him once he was married?
*Motive*: Insure she is still Queen Regent. http://imgur.com/a/nWbds Margaery becoming Queen takes the power away from Cersei doesn’t it? Now Tommen will be on the thrown and Cersei will be Queen Regent for at least 8 more years. She could also frame Tyrion for killing Joffrey. She has been trying to kill Tyrion since the Battle of Blackwater when Mandon slashed his face (confirmed by Varys to Tyrion in S2E10.)
*Why Not?*: As much as she knows Joffrey was a monster he was still her son.
Jaime: A maimed Knight of the Kingsguard. He cannot marry or have children in that role. Tywin even offered the Lordship over Casterly Rock to him, which he turned down. He tried to kill Bran when Bran found him having sex with the queen.
*Motive*: I could not think of a motive. Perhaps he was hurt because Joffrey never thought he ever achieved anything. (That’s a bit weak though isn’t it?)
*Why Not?*: There is nothing for Jaime to gain by the death of his son.
Tywin: The song originates from the acts of this man. He is quite capable of dealing out cruelty and severe punishment to everyone (including children.)
*Motive* Joffrey challenged Tywin’s authority more than a few times. Now Joffrey’s out of the way it will be a lot easier to control all of Westeros with Tommen as King and Cersei as Queen Regent.
*Why Not?*: Indeed why not? As Tywin has told Tyrion you don't have to be King to be the most powerful man in Westeros. He's proven it and if he did this, he really has proven it hasn't he?
#2. House Hollard necklace around Sansa’s neck.
Olenna Tyrell was adjusting Sansa’s hair pretty close to that necklace Dontos gave her. Could Dontos be working with the Tyrell’s to poison Joffrey? Is the necklace really a House Hollard necklace or was it a necklace Olenna gave to Dontos to pass off as a family heirloom? Is there a missing gem on the necklace? Are the gems poisonous and Olenna knew this and pulled one off of Sansa's necklace to poison Joffrey? What if all the gems are there and the one we think that is missing is just being covered over by the neckline cloth of Sansa’s dress? Dontos does tell Sansa "Take it, wear it. Let my name have one more moment in the sun before it disappears from the world." Was killing Joffrey House Hollard's moment in the sun?
#3. The dead birds in the Wedding Pie.
I would say this is the second most deliberate clue (or misdirection.)
A picture of the birds in the pie can be found here:http://i.imgur.com/K1IpPNO.jpg
(Brought up in feedback by Dan B. and Michael S.)
Was the pie poisoned? The birds could be dead from Joffrey’s sword or some of them could have been munching out on a bit of poisoned pie. If the birds were hungry and ate the pie wouldn’t most of the birds be dead if the pie was poisoned? Here's a question, if the pie was poisoned and this was done by the Tyrell's since they paid for the food, would they really be willing to send the food leftovers to the poor folks? If the pie was poisoned wouldn't everyone else be poisoned since they were going to eat it too?
#4. One of the Wine Goblets was poisoned possibly?
There appeared to be two different goblets used for Joffrey to drink from:
A. His original cup which he kicked under the table Tyrion and Sansa were sitting behind.
B. Sansa manages to get the cup and hands it (empty) to Tyrion to pour wine for Joffrey.
C. Joffrey drinks from a cup off of his table when he started to cough.
So it looks like there were two goblets. Someone went to an awful lot of trouble to confuse us didn't they? Also if it was one cup and it was poisoned wouldn't Tyrion also be poisoned because Joffrey dumped wine on top of his head and he took a few slurps as it was done? I believe the goblet on Joffrey's table with Margaery and Olenna was the poisoned one.
#5. Dontos urging Sansa Lannister to leave with him as Joffrey was choking. This clue pairs rather well with Clue #2 and #4 and House Tyrell with Clue #1.
I would say this is the most deliberate clue. Why would Dontos suddenly urge Sansa Lannister to get out of there as quickly as possible?
#6. Joffrey's fork could have been poisoned. It's reasonable to assume a king would have different pieces of silverware and one of those is a desert fork. This was pointed out by Roberto on the feedback podcast:
#7: Lady Olenna fixing Sansa's hair and necklace.
You can see that here: http://gifl.it/1n9vK2S
Perhaps that is nothing or perhaps she grabs a gem off of Sansa's necklace because it has some type of poison?
Then there is the problem of getting that gem into the King's cup right?
(Amazing detective work by someone in feedback.)
#7: Where is Lord Baelish?
Did your ears make you aware of where Little Finger might have gone? Did you see him at the Wedding? I didn't...Hmm...
What other clues did you hear swirling around the winds of Westeros?
Game of Thrones: Threads at the TV Critic