Major spoilers from the most recent “Game of Thrones” episode, “The Lion and the Rose,” are ahead. Proceed at your own risk.
The Lannisters always pay their debts, and true to the house’s motto, a massive debt was paid last night on “Game of Thrones,” with the death of a character fans have rooted against since the very beginning of the series.
In “The Lion and the Rose,” King’s Landing played host to the most shocking wedding Westeros has ever seen — and that’s truly saying something, considering the death of Robb and Catelyn Stark during last season’s Red Wedding.
This time, the jaw-dropping twist came at the expense of House Lannister, and the feather in their cap: King Joffrey Baratheon, the wicked little boy-king who ordered Ned Stark’s death, promised to cook and serve Robb’s head to Sansa on a silver plate, and ultimately choked to death at his own wedding.
“It was really difficult to watch [Joffrey actor Jack Gleeson] do that,” Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa, told MTV News about filming Joffrey’s death scene, the crowning moment of an event known by fans as “The Purple Wedding.” “It was like a five-day period that we filmed that. It was a week. We filmed that whole scene over five days.”
Joffrey’s death happens so suddenly, that it’s hard to know what’s happening until it’s too late. But in the preceding scenes, Joffrey truly sings and dances for his demise, reminding viewers why they hate him so. He secretly orchestrates and launches a humiliating recreation of the War of Five Kings, replacing the major figures of the war with dwarves.
“The moment where the dwarves came out, we didn’t actually know what was going to happen,” said Loras Tyrell actor Finn Jones. “The director said, ‘I don’t want to tell you what’s going to happen. Just react to it.’ They came out, and it was shocking.”
The cruel display comes alongside Joffrey publicly shaming and dumping wine all over his uncle Tyrion, played by Emmy-winner Peter Dinklage.
“Having Peter there, the whole vibe, and Joffrey just sitting there — you could feel it in the air,” said Finn. “The malice that Joffrey was bringing on everyone.”
Now, that malice is gone. Joffrey is dead, and Tyrion stands accused of his murder, by Cersei at least. It’s a difficult situation for The Imp to be in — but for Dinklage, there was a certain joy in the scene.
“It was a great experience,” he recalled of shooting Joffrey’s death scene. “It was a warm afternoon in Croatia, and suddenly, a rainstorm came in. We were fighting a rainstorm.”
The episode was written by George R.R. Martin, the author of the novels “Game of Thrones” is based on. “The Lion and the Rose” marked Martin’s second time killing Joffrey and telling the tale of the Purple Wedding, and some events got lost in translation.
“The book is a huge scene that has even more than is in the show, so writing it was partly a challenge of what to take out and what to leave in,” he said. “Part of me was like a protective daddy, wanting to leave everything in. But that would’ve led to a three-hour long episode.”
Not that fans would have complained about a three-hour death scene for Joffrey, easily the most loathed character on “Game of Thrones.” But it’s not that way on the set. By all accounts, Jack Gleeson, the actor who plays Joffrey, is one of the most beloved actors among the “Game of Thrones” cast.
“Character-wise, it was like, ‘Aw, yeah!’” Turner recalled with a laugh. “But as a person, it sucked, because we love Jack.”
Are you surprised or sad to see Joffrey go, or are you thrilled and jumping for joy?