Spoiler Warning: Tonight's episode of the Game of Thrones will feature the Purple Wedding. We will have a recap of the episode after it airs. In anticipation of the episode, we've prepared a summary of what happens in the Game of Thrones books during the Purple Wedding. These are spoilers from the book and not from the episode itself.
The Purple Wedding is the name given (by fans, it is never used in the books) to the wedding day of Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell.
The day begins with breakfast in King’s Landing. As is tradition, the King is presented with many gifts by his family and soon-to-be in-laws. Tyrion Lannister gives Joffrey an illuminated copy of a book called Lives of Four Kings, which tells of the reigns of four great Targaryen kings. It is one of only four copies of the book still in existence and Tyrion hopes that Joffrey will learn something about what it means to rule by reading it, but Joffrey doesn’t care for his uncle’s gift.
Tywin Lannister gives his grandson a Valyrian steel blade (the second blade re-forged from Ice). Joffrey immediately names the blade Widow’s Wail and uses it to destroy his copy of Lives of Four Kings.
The actual wedding ceremony is performed by the High Septon at the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing. It’s a ceremony befitting a king, but otherwise uneventful.
The 77-course long wedding feast is a true spectacle. There are jugglers, sword eaters, pyromancers, and bards. Tyrion and his wife, Sansa, are seated far from the rest of the royal family and Joffrey spends much of the event taunting his uncle, Tyrion. Eventually, Joffrey brings out two dwarves, one on the back of a dog and the other on the back of a sow.
The dwarfs put on a mock battle, pretending to be the Starks and Joffrey’s Baratheon uncles. Joffrey encourages Tyrion to join them but Tyrion refuses. The King dumps wine on Tyrion’s head and orders him to be the King’s cupbearer.
The wedding pie is brought out. Ilyn Payne cuts the pie, allowing the live doves stuffed inside to fly out. Joffrey gorges himself, stuffing fistfuls of pie in his mouth and drinking wine, until he suddenly begins to choke. He chokes more and more violently until his face turns purple. His Kingsguard rush to his aid, but are able to do nothing. Joffrey point to his uncle, Tyrion, as he falls to the ground, dead.
Cersei is distraught and immediately assumes that Tyrion is responsible. She has Tyrion and Sansa arrested. However, the actual culprits are Petyr Baelish and the Tyrells. They acquired a poison called the Strangler and hid it in Sansa’s hairnet, given to her just for the occasion. During the course of the feast, someone took it off of her without her knowing and placed it in Joffrey’s wine.
The name “The Purple Wedding” comes from various reasons, including from the color of the wine, from the color of Joffrey’s face when he died, and from purple being a color associated with royalty.
The Purple Wedding will be part of tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones, “The Lion and the Rose,” airing at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.