(Spoiler alert: Don’t read this if you don’t want to know what happened on Sunday’s “Game of Thrones”)
Is it wrong that I really enjoyed that?
“Game of Thrones” fans just watched a teenager gag to death from poison, at his wedding, and I don’t think anyone felt sad.
I first watched a critic’s screening copy of the episode a few weeks ago, and struggled not to share my joy with everyone around me. A few days ago, I needed a pick-me-up, so I watched King Joffrey die again.
Still great the second time.
Ned Stark, one of the many people Joffrey killed in cowardly fashion, said long ago that poison is a woman’s weapon. So maybe a woman killed Joffrey.
Good for her.
Joffrey has deserved to die for a long, long while. At the very start of “Game of Thrones” he humiliated the butcher’s boy, attacked a little girl, and ordered the death of a direwolf that defended her.
If he didn’t deserve to die for that, he certainly deserved to die for killing Ned and making his daughter, Sansa, look at his head on a pike.
And even if he had done none of those things, he would deserve to die for naming a sword “Hearteater.”
But he did more. He ordered his men to kill civilians when someone in a crowd hit him with a well-earned cow pie. He abandoned his troops during the attempted invasion of King’s Landing, and took the credit when they — led by his uncle — saved the city. He ordered one of his knights to cut out a man’s tongue. And then there was that business with Uncle Tyrion at the wedding.
I know, I know: Joffrey was spoiled from the beginning, the child of an incestuous affair between his mother and his other uncle. He probably had a bit of a complex about being smaller than his knights and servants, mostly because he is still a child. His father was a drunkard who died early and his mother did a bad job with him after that, and probably before.
But he still didn’t have to be as awful as he was, especially after he got to be king. He could have risen to the position, instead of becoming more horrible than ever. He was the rare person who indisputably does more harm than good.
I actually kind of wish he’d had a little more time to realize he was dying. Or that justice had been a little more poetic: Joffrey was a king who never sullied his own hands. So maybe he could have been killed by one of the Unsullied. Or perhaps by accidentally stabbing himself the first time he tried to wield his Valyrian steel.
But why quibble with great news? It’s a testament to the power of “Game of Thrones” that I was invested enough to pump my fist and cheer as I watched him die. You’re not supposed to enjoy watching anyone die.
Since things turn around quickly in Westeros, I’m confident this happy moment will quickly be replaced with a very sad one. We’re all about to learn some sort of lesson here, aren’t we? Something about never delighting in another’s misery?
God, I hope not. But all the more reason to treasure the moment now.