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chrisdaw

Explaining the Tyrells and why Olenna could not have Poisoned Joff

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I've done this topic before but it was a long time ago and I pretty much derailed it myself. The near blanket misunderstanding of the Tyrells annoys me.

Olenna could not have poisoned Joffrey because it would mean Margaery is an inconsistent senseless creation, and GRRM doesn't write inconsistent characters. Margaery is no true player, she is not a murderer or knowingly involved in any murder plots, as I will explain.

There was undeniably a plot for Olenna to poison Joffrey, Littlefinger says so and as Olenna did fix Sansa's hairnet and a "gem" is missing it shouldn't be doubted. The plot would require Olenna to put the poison in Joffrey's wine, but as Joffrey and Margaery were drinking from the same cup (chalice), a unique situation, for this plot to have proceeded Margaery would have to have known about it, there'd have to be communication about it, else wise Olenna would risk poisoning Margaery and she wouldn't do that. Olenna's poisoning plot did not proceed, because Margaery is no player and as such Olenna couldn't communicate to her such a plot. Who really did poison Joff or how he did really die is not the topic of concern here, but it couldn't have been by Olenna's hand or anyone who cared for Margaery's life.

There is no doubt an effort on the author's part to make people believe Olenna did carry out the act, and that Margaery is a player. And there is a particular point to doing so, Margaery is mostly elaborated to us through Cersei's POVs, and Cersei is often evil, selfish, greedy for power and paranoid by prophesy. Through Cersei's eyes the reader falls to the same prejudices as Cersei. Margaery's actions and words could be read either way throughout the series, kind natured girl or masterful player, until Cersei X AFFC of which a careful reading should make clear Margaery was never a player.

Margaery is simply the sweet kind-natured girl she seems. She is The Reach, she is Highgarden. Flowers, lush green, rolling hills, sunny fields, hawking, games, family, friends and frivolity. She's never had a problem one of her brothers were unable or unwilling to solve. She knows nothing of hardship, nothing of the evils of men, stories of the Ironborn and fairytales are all she has had for context.

It is alleged Margaery marries kings in search of power. The truth is Margaery marries where her Lord father instructs her as a faithful diligent daughter ought do in Westeros. For reasons not elaborated on in text (because it would probably give away the game), Littlefinger is of the opinion Margaery doesn't especially want a crown at all.

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Margaery will marry Tommen. She'll keep her queenly crown and her maidenhead, neither of which she especially wants, but what does that matter? 

It is alleged Margaery pays attention when Olenna presses Sansa for the truth about Joff's nature because she's looking for confirmation to proceed with the murder plan. This is not the least bit damning, of course she interested in his nature, in learning about him, because she's going to marry him, and Littlefinger circulated rumours around Highgarden about him. Of course she is going to want to know if they're true. That doesn't imply she's part of a murder plot with granny against him.

She doesn't seem particularly scared when Sansa confirms he's horrible, another alleged damning fact. But she tells us why.

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"I shouldn't think so." Margaery smiled confidently. "It's brave of you to warn me, but you need not fear. Joff's spoiled and vain and I don't doubt that he's as cruel as you say, but Father forced him to name Loras to his Kingsguard before he would agree to the match. I shall have the finest knight in the Seven Kingdoms protecting me night and day, as Prince Aemon protected Naerys. So our little lion had best behave, hadn't he?" She laughed, and said, "Come, sweet sister, let's race back to the river. It will drive our guards quite mad." And without waiting for an answer, she put her heels into her horse and flew.

And it is exactly what it is. She's every bit as naive as she seems here, and even Sansa coming around a bit by now sees it too.

Unlike murder plots, marriage plots she is teaming up with gran to make, and see here,

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"You will love Highgarden as I do, I know it." Margaery brushed back a loose strand of Sansa's hair. "Once you see it, you'll never want to leave. And perhaps you won't have to."

"HER HAIR! HER HAIR! THE MAID WITH HONEY IN HER HAIR!"

"Shush, child," the Queen of Thorns said sharply. "Sansa hasn't even told us that she would like to come for a visit."

She's rebuked for outting their plan before they've had chance to take stock of Sansa's willingness and loyalties. Because Margaery doesn't actually understand the game here. The intricacies of the marriage plot is beyond her, much less a murder plot.

That Olenna Tyrell is a master player and Margaery her pupil is complete fantasy contradictory to the text. Olenna is not out for power, she is an isolationist.

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"A great oaf," said the Queen of Thorns. "His father was an oaf as well. My husband, the late Lord Luthor. Oh, I loved him well enough, don't mistake me. A kind man, and not unskilled in the bedchamber, but an appalling oaf all the same. He managed to ride off a cliff whilst hawking. They say he was looking up at the sky and paying no mind to where his horse was taking him.

"And now my oaf son is doing the same, only he's riding a lion instead of a palfrey. It is easy to mount a lion and not so easy to get off, I warned him, but he only chuckles. Should you ever have a son, Sansa, beat him frequently so he learns to mind you. I only had the one boy and I hardly beat him at all, so now he pays more heed to Butterbumps than he does to me. A lion is not a lap cat, I told him, and he gives me a 'tut-tut-Mother.' There is entirely too much tut-tutting in this realm, if you ask me. All these kings would do a deal better if they would put down their swords and listen to their mothers."

. . .

'What does it matter?' you ask, and of course it doesn't, except to oafs like my son. The thought that one day he may see his grandson with his arse on the Iron Throne makes Mace puff up like . . . now, what do you call it? Margaery, you're clever, be a dear and tell your poor old half-daft grandmother the name of that queer fish from the Summer Isles that puffs up to ten times its own size when you poke it."

"They call them puff fish, Grandmother."

"Of course they do. Summer Islanders have no imagination. My son ought to take the puff fish for his sigil, if truth be told. He could put a crown on it, the way the Baratheons do their stag, mayhap that would make him happy. We should have stayed well out of all this bloody foolishness if you ask me, but once the cow's been milked there's no squirting the cream back up her udder. After Lord Puff Fish put that crown on Renly's head, we were into the pudding up to our knees, so here we are to see things through. And what do you say to that, Sansa?"

This is the proper introduction to her character, it defines her, it is lengthy textual elaboration so that we know what she's all about. It isn't some lie told because Varys might be hearing or any other annoying bullshit brought about to dismiss the text. It is what it is, her motivation in all this is the protection of her grandchildren, simply because she loves them. That Margaery Tyrell is learning to play the game of thrones from Olenna is contradictory in the first place because Olenna wants nothing to do with the whole game of thrones. All the Tyrell political ambition is Mace's alone.

Olenna is not revered by her family. She's loved and is not without any sway where she can convince Mace something is in his own interest, but she is thought of primarily as that awkward old family member who says inappropriate things at dinner. And Olenna doesn't consider Margaery to be any great thinker.

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"Hush, Alerie, don't take that tone with me. And don't call me Mother. If I'd given birth to you, I'm sure I'd remember. I'm only to blame for your husband, the lord oaf of Highgarden."

"Grandmother," Margaery said, "mind your words, or what will Sansa think of us?"

"She might think we have some wits about us. One of us, at any rate."

And it isn't like she is this way about everyone, she thinks well of Willas.

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"Loras?" Lady Olenna sounded annoyed. "Don't be foolish, child. Kingsguard never wed. Didn't they teach you anything in Winterfell? We were speaking of my grandson Willas. He is a bit old for you, to be sure, but a dear boy for all that. Not the least bit oafish, and heir to Highgarden besides."

Margaery Tyrell is no game player, she is about family. She married Renly because she is a dutiful loving daughter. She mourned him because she is simply a decent enough person. She surrounds herself with family and friends and spends all her leisure time with them. When she says to Sansa,

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"Would you like that, Sansa?" asked Margaery. "I've never had a sister, only brothers. Oh, please say yes, please say that you will consent to marry my brother."

It is her real sentiment and reason for the match, not some power fantasy of a Highgarden born and bred Tyrell family member being handed the north.

This is the sort of shit she says and means.

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"Willas has a bad leg but a good heart," said Margaery. "He used to read to me when I was a little girl, and draw me pictures of the stars. You will love him as much as we do, Sansa."

And as a young girl mindful of her place and duty, with a particular sincerity for family, Margaery considers the most important thing in her life is to be a proper loving wife to Tommen. And so that's exactly what she tries to do. Cersei sees it as Margaery conniving to take power through Tommen, and brings the reader along with this mindset. She's wrong, Margaery is doing exactly what she's supposed to do, there is no contrivance, until, Cersei fucks with her innocent attempts to do her noble duty. At every turn to properly and rightfully ingratiate herself to her young kingly husband she is met with resistance from Cersei. This annoys Margaery and causes friction, as it should, it doesn't make her a game player, just a young wife annoyed at her overbearing mother-in-law. On Margaery's side that's all it is. And that is put beyond doubt in Cersei X when Cersei visits her.

It begins with Margaery distraught over her family, as is her character.

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Cersei found Margaery barefoot and shivering, clad in the roughspun shift of a novice sister. Her locks were all a tangle, and her feet were filthy. "They took my clothes from me," the little queen told her once they were alone. "I wore a gown of ivory lace, with freshwater pearls on the bodice, but the septas laid their hands on me and stripped me to the skin. My cousins too. Megga sent one septa crashing into the candles and set her robe afire. I fear for Alla, though. She went as white as milk, too frightened even to cry."

"Poor child." There were no chairs, so Cersei sat beside the little queen on her pallet. "Lady Taena has gone to speak with her, to let her know that she is not forgotten."

"He will not even let me see them," fumed Margaery. "He keeps each of us apart from the others. Until you came, I was allowed no visitors but septas. One comes every hour to ask if I wish to confess my fornications. They will not even let me sleep. They wake me to demand confessions. Last night I confessed to Septa Unella that I wished to scratch her eyes out."

A shame you did not do it, Cersei thought. Blinding some poor old septa would certainly persuade the High Sparrow of your guilt. "They are questioning your cousins the same way."

"Damn them, then," said Margaery. "Damn them all to seven hells. Alla is gentle and shy, how can they do this to her? And Megga . . . she laughs as loud as a dockside whore, I know, but inside she's still just a little girl.

I love them all, and they love me. If this sparrow thinks to make them lie about me . . ."

"They stand accused as well, I fear. All three."

She betrays here no understanding that this was all Cersei's doing. The master player with all this time to think doesn't show any understanding of how she came to be in this situation, or any contemplation that she is a victim of political manoeuvring. She thinks plainly, that everything is as it seems.

Then she asks Cersei to get her out.

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"My cousins?" Margaery paled. "Alla and Megga are hardly more than children. Your Grace, this . . . this is obscene. Will you take us out of here?"

"Would that I could." Her voice was full of sorrow. "His High Holiness has his new knights guarding you. To free you I would need to send the gold cloaks and profane this holy place with killing." Cersei took Margaery's hand in hers. "I have not been idle, though. I have gathered up all those that Ser Osney named as your lovers. They will tell His High Holiness of your innocence, I am certain, and swear to it at your trial."

"Trial?" There was real fear in the girl's voice now. "Must there be a trial?"

"How else will you prove your innocence?" Cersei gave Margaery's hand a reassuring squeeze. "It is your right to decide the manner of the trial, to be sure. You are the queen. The knights of the Kingsguard are sworn to defend you."

Margaery understood at once. "A trial by battle? Loras is hurt, though, elsewise he . . ."

"He has six brothers."

Margaery stared at her, then pulled her hand away. "Is that a jape? Boros is a craven, Meryn is old and slow, your brother is maimed, the other two are off in Dorne, and Osmund is a bloody Kettleblack. Loras has two brothers, not six. If there's to be a trial by battle, I want Garlan as my champion."

"Ser Garlan is not a member of the Kingsguard," the queen said. "When the queen's honor is at issue, law and custom require that her champion be one of the king's sworn seven. The High Septon will insist, I fear." I will make certain of it.

And it isn't until now, with Cersei literally in front of her explaining why she can't get her out and the circumstances that are contrived against her, with a terrible attempt at acting sorrowful, does Maegaery catch on.

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Margaery did not answer at once, but her brown eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Blount or Trant," she said at last. "It would have to be one of them. You'd like that, wouldn't you? Osney Kettleblack would cut either one to pieces."

Seven hells. Cersei donned a look of hurt. "You wrong me, daughter. All I want - "

" - is your son, all for yourself. He will never have a wife that you don't hate. And I am not your daughter, thank the gods. Leave me."

Only when she does catch on, still, she doesn't get it, she doesn't understand it is a fight over power, she thinks it's about Tommen's love. That the problem is she's Tommen's wife and Cersei would never accept any wife of his because they'd steal his love from her. She's still thinking in terms of family, she tells Cersei she is not her daughter, because she thinks it's an actual meaningful insult, because it would be to her, she doesn't get that Cersei isn't concerned with family like she is, that she couldn't give a fuck she won't call her daughter.

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"You are being foolish. I am only here to help you."

"To help me to my grave. I asked for you to leave. Will you make me call my gaolers and have you dragged away, you vile, scheming, evil bitch?"

And here she understands at least Cersei will happily let her die, she still doesn't get that Cersei orchestrated the whole arrest though. Using vile, scheming, evil bitch as an earnest insult makes no sense if she herself plotted and murdered Cersei's son. If it was the case that Margaery were playing the game of thrones then she holds no moral ground over Cersei or has any moral issue with her, they're both scheming evil bitches, playing their way to the top or trying to hold on when they're there, only Cersei has gotten the better of her.

If Margaery were a player in the game of thrones this whole scene and conversation would not work, the character would be a contradictory mess. Try reading it with the belief Margaery plotted and carried out the murder of Joff firm in your mind to see how it doesn't work. A player at war with Cersei for the throne, who is comfortable with murder, would at least understand the situation, would acknowledge it as there's no reason not to, and probably try and deal. If she were the player she's thought to be the whole conversation and scene would have to be entirely different.

Margaery is no player. And not being a player she's not taking part in any murder plot. And as both Margaery and Joff were drinking from the same cup, Olenna (or any other Tyrell) couldn't have poisoned Joffrey without putting Margaery at risk too, and Olenna (or another Tyrell) would not do that.

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"You are mistaken, my lord. The Fat Flower of Highgarden is quite convinced of your guilt, and determined to see you die. His precious Margaery was drinking from that chalice too, as he has reminded us half a hundred times."

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"No," the Knight of Flowers said, unamused. "Sansa Stark was the poisoner. You all forget, my sister was drinking from that chalice as well. Sansa Stark was the only person in the hall who had reason to want Margaery dead, as well as the king. By poisoning the wedding cup, she could hope to kill both of them. And why did she run afterward, unless she was guilty?"

There was a plan as presented by Littlefinger, the gift of the chalice meant Olenna couldn't carry out the plan. Oaf Mace's wedding gift threw a spanner in Olenna's plan, true to their characterisations, and Joff died anyway. What caused Joff to die is not the subject of this thread, but there are no shortage of suspects or theories around.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

There was a plan as presented by Littlefinger, the gift of the chalice meant Olenna couldn't carry out the plan. Oaf Mace's wedding gift threw a spanner in Olenna's plan, true to their characterisations, and Joff died anyway. What caused Joff to die is not the subject of this thread, but there are no shortage of suspects or theories around.

Interesting assessment of Margaery's character.  She''s not a player, she's a pawn advanced to a queen, but not through her own devices.  She is the naive version of Sansa.

On the question of how Joffrey was poison, there is this:

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A Storm of Swords - Tyrion VIII

"I would be most honored."

"It's not meant to be an honor!" Joffrey screamed. "Bend down and pick up my chalice." Tyrion did as he was bid, but as he reached for the handle Joff kicked the chalice through his legs. "Pick it up! Are you as clumsy as you are ugly?" He had to crawl under the table to find the thing. "Good, now fill it with wine." He claimed a flagon from a serving girl and filled the goblet three-quarters full. "No, on your knees, dwarf." Kneeling, Tyrion raised up the heavy cup, wondering if he was about to get a second bath. But Joffrey took the wedding chalice one-handed, drank deep, and set it on the table. "You can get up now, Uncle."

This may be where the poison was introduced.  Some slight of hand when all eyes are elsewhere.

We dislike Meryn Trant but he also answers the question:

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A Storm of Swords - Jaime VIII

He wondered what Ser Arthur Dayne would have to say of this lot. "How is it that the Kingsguard has fallen so low," most like. "It was my doing," I would have to answer. "I opened the door, and did nothing when the vermin began to crawl inside."

"The king is dead," Jaime began. "My sister's son, a boy of thirteen, murdered at his own wedding feast in his own hall. All five of you were present. All five of you were protecting him. And yet he's dead." He waited to see what they would say to that, but none of them so much as cleared a throat. The Tyrell boy is angry, and Balon Swann's ashamed, he judged. From the other three Jaime sensed only indifference. "Did my brother do this thing?" he asked them bluntly. "Did Tyrion poison my nephew?"

Ser Balon shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Ser Boros made a fist. Ser Osmund gave a lazy shrug. It was Meryn Trant who finally answered. "He filled Joffrey's cup with wine. That must have been when he slipped the poison in."

Tyrion doesn't poison the flagon, the poison was already present.

Edited by LynnS

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There is a possibility that old lady had already given working antidote to her grand daughter. After all if she knows that there is a chance that Margaery would drink poison X and lady Olenna  just happens to know effective antidote for that poison and made sure that antidote is active then potential widow could safely drink that wine. Besides doing that would give very strong alibi to new widow.

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37 minutes ago, Loose Bolt said:

There is a possibility that old lady had already given working antidote to her grand daughter. After all if she knows that there is a chance that Margaery would drink poison X and lady Olenna  just happens to know effective antidote for that poison and made sure that antidote is active then potential widow could safely drink that wine. Besides doing that would give very strong alibi to new widow.

Or if the two simply discussed the plans for the wedding and there was some cue where Margaery knew it was time to stop drinking from the wine after the poison had been dropped in.

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Why don't people write longwinded text about how Ned Stark never died or how Tywin Lannister is still alive? That would make more sense than this thing.

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4 hours ago, Vaith said:

Or if the two simply discussed the plans for the wedding and there was some cue where Margaery knew it was time to stop drinking from the wine after the poison had been dropped in.

Yeah, I don't know why this is so hard to believe.

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15 minutes ago, Lady Anna said:

Yeah, I don't know why this is so hard to believe.

Mainly because this indicates that Olenna and Margaery are these masterful schemers trying to obtain power. If thats the case, then their competence is called into question because their hold on power is mych more secure if Joffrey dies only after Margaery provides a son. On the flip side, if Olenna is killing Joffrey not to give House Tyrell rulership but instead to protect her granddaughter from him, then she took a massive risk in poisoning a drink they were sharing.

Because of the timing of Joffrey's death; i.e. the worst possible time for a Tyrell plot; my personal opinion on it is that either the Tyrell's had no immediate plans to kill Joffrey or they planned to do it to protect Margaery but couldn't for some reason (Mace unintentionally foiling Olenna with the  chalice gift Marg and Joff ended up sharing is a good idea I hadn't considered actually). So ultimately no, whichever situation it was I don't think the Tyrell's killed Joffrey.

That besides the fact that its just too obvious. Sansa (and us) are led to this conclusion by Littlefinger (a known liar) presenting all the clues Agatha Christie mystery style. That's not Martin's style and it makes me instantly dismiss the 'easy' solution.

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12 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

snip

Your confusion stems from the basic misunderstanding that there was no poison in the wine (until Joffrey barfed it there) and Joffrey was never the target. The poison was in the pie, which makes Tyrion the target.

You misunderstand the dinner conversation as well. Lady Olenna already knows everything that Sansa "reveals" about Joffrey. How do we know this? Because everyone knows. The initial offer of mercy, Ned's death, Sansa's beatings . . . all of this happened in open court in front of numerous high lords and ladies, including Lady Olenna's own grandsons. She has multiple trusted sources who can say they saw this with their own eyes, and prior to this she had her grandsons, their squires, pages, stewards and others feeding her all kinds of tidbits about the royal family and everyone else at court. It's what the highborn do. Plus, she had Renly at Highgarden for however many weeks or months, and he would have regaled her nightly about all the inside dirt on House Baratheon. She is under no illusion as to exactly what kind of person Joffrey is, of the fact that he is nor Robert's son, nor is she under the impression that he poses a threat to Margaery -- certainly not one so immediate and so dire that she has to kill him at the wedding.

If you read between the lines, you'll see that Lady Olenna is actually trying to puzzle out the true character of the person show knows next to nothing about: Sansa. She is considering Sansa to be the next Lady of Highgarden, a very important position that can either do a lot of good or a lot of harm to House Tyrell, but she knows very little about her. All she has is whatever sparse information that may have come out of Winterfell over the years, and then her presentation at court as the pretty, polite, dutiful daughter of Ned Stark, all full of practiced courtesies and shadowed by her septa wherever she goes. But Lady O knows better than most that the person at court is not necessarily the real person; in fact, it rarely is. So by putting Sansa on the spot like this and asking her these questions about Joffrey to which she already knows the answers, Lady O can take a measure of Sansa's character herself without having to rely on Sansa's word:

  • Is she a good liar? No, she's terrible. 
  • Is Sansa smart? Not particularly, but she is young and tractable, which is not a bad quality for a wife
  • Is she brave? Yes, she told the truth about Joffrey despite her fear, and that is the only time anyone can be brave.
  • Does she have a good heart? Yes, in her mind, Sansa risked her own position, and perhaps even her life, by warning a complete stranger away from danger.

This is how Lady Olenna determined if Sansa was suitable for Willas, and the offer was made immediately after.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

There is a possibility that old lady had already given working antidote to her grand daughter. After all if she knows that there is a chance that Margaery would drink poison X and lady Olenna  just happens to know effective antidote for that poison and made sure that antidote is active then potential widow could safely drink that wine. Besides doing that would give very strong alibi to new widow.

It's not a bad idea but if it were the case you'd expect to be able to draw from the text to outline such a possibility, and there's nothing in-world regarding taking antidotes prior to poisoning that I'm aware of. It's also really risky.

9 hours ago, Vaith said:

Or if the two simply discussed the plans for the wedding and there was some cue where Margaery knew it was time to stop drinking from the wine after the poison had been dropped in.

No because that would mean Margaery is a scheming murderer or Olenna would be ok with Margaery knowing in hindsight that she murdered Joff. Neither of which are plausible as per the original post.

3 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Your confusion stems from the basic misunderstanding that there was no poison in the wine (until Joffrey barfed it there) and Joffrey was never the target. The poison was in the pie, which makes Tyrion the target.

No the target was Joff, LF's logic for Olenna's motivation is perfectly sound and consistent with Olenna's own words and actions, Olenna converses with Sansa to confirm the rumours. And GRRM throws this in there.

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"I shouldn't think so." Margaery smiled confidently. "It's brave of you to warn me, but you need not fear. Joff's spoiled and vain and I don't doubt that he's as cruel as you say, but Father forced him to name Loras to his Kingsguard before he would agree to the match. I shall have the finest knight in the Seven Kingdoms protecting me night and day, as Prince Aemon protected Naerys. So our little lion had best behave, hadn't he?" She laughed, and said, "Come, sweet sister, let's race back to the river. It will drive our guards quite mad." And without waiting for an answer, she put her heels into her horse and flew.

She is so brave, Sansa thought, galloping after her . . . and yet, her doubts still gnawed at her. Ser Loras was a great knight, all agreed. But Joffrey had other Kingsguard, and gold cloaks and red cloaks besides, and when he was older he would command armies of his own. Aegon the Unworthy had never harmed Queen Naerys, perhaps for fear of their brother the Dragonknight . . . but when another of his Kingsguard fell in love with one of his mistresses, the king had taken both their heads.

Pointing out the volatility of the situation, making it so even underdeveloped Sansa can grasp it.

Edited by chrisdaw

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23 minutes ago, chrisdaw said:

No because that would mean Margaery is a scheming murderer or Olenna would be ok with Margaery knowing in hindsight that she murdered Joff. Neither of which are plausible as per the original post.

Until we have a Margaery POV, it's a pretty quick conclusion to jump to that it would be OOC for her to be in on the plan. 

Her being as naive as you make out to be doesn't stack up with some of her other actions, like immediately knowing that Sansa is a persona non grata once wed to Tyrion, or Jaime thinking that she is rather clever to place the roses at Tywin's corpse but keep one to mask the smell.

Marg is not some personal schemer who plans to kill off her husbands. That's obvious. But that doesn't mean she's some ingenue who'd pale at the thought of killing someone. There's a middle ground where she's fine for someone to die to protect herself; the idea was most likely Olenna's to begin with.

It's just very suspicious that there's a separate breakfast for the Tyrell ladies on the day of the wedding, where anything could have been discussed...

 

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16 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

No the target was Joff, LF's logic for Olenna's motivation is perfectly sound and consistent with Olenna's own words and actions, Olenna converses with Sansa to confirm the rumours. And GRRM throws this in there.

Pointing out the volatility of the situation, making it so even underdeveloped Sansa can grasp it.

Sorry, but it's not consistent with anything. Joffrey poses absolutely zero danger to Margery, and Lady Olenna and Margaery know this -- Margaery even acknowledges it. There is no indication that Joffrey is upset with Margaery in any way; in fact, his attitude toward her at the wedding shows exactly the opposite. Nor is there any reason for him to be secretly hostile toward her. Nor is there any way that Jaime or Tywin will allow Joffrey, who is still under regency, to harm Margaery and jeopardize the very alliance that is keeping him on the throne -- and I daresay even Joffrey knows this, but it's irrelevant because, again, there is absolutely no reason in the world for him to harm her in any way.

Lady Olenna's words and actions show the exact opposite of what Littlefinger claims. After confirming these "rumors" about Joff, she shrugs it off with "Ah, that's a pity." A pity? News that Joffrey is going to starting beating the tar out of her beloved granddaughter that moment he gets her alone is just a pity? I think not. And again, these are not rumors. Everything that Sansa "reveals" about Joff has been witnessed by Lady O's own kin and numerous other trusted sources, and is actually part of the public record of the reign of King Joffrey I Baratheon. None of this is news to Lady Olenna. That's a fact.

And let's also acknowledge the fact that if this is the moment that Lady Olenna discovers the truth about Joffrey, then it is also the moment she realizes that Littlefinger has lied to her. LF is the only person to ever tell her that Joffrey is anything but a rotten little shit, and it was on his word and his word alone that they agreed to the match. So now we have Lady O finding out the truth, not from any admission by LF but through Sansa, and yet she then blithely enters into LF's plot to kill the king despite him being a known liar and double-crosser, and she continues to trust him implicitly right up to the point where the "plan" is to first give Joff the giant chalice that is that much more difficult to poison and is to be shared with Margaery, then wait for Joffrey to leave it somewhere in plain view of no less than a thousand people -- after dumping wine on Tyrion and naming him cup-bearer -- and then drop the poison in. All the while, the entire Tyrell family minus one is in the throne room surrounded by Lannister guards. And where is the known liar and double-crosser when all of this is happening? Why, he's on his boat, way out in the bay, waiting to collect his prize, or split to Braavos if the plan is a bust and Lady O and the rest of the Tyrells are dragged down to the black cells to be put to the question.

So no, this is not a perfectly sound explanation. This is a blatant and obvious lie. Lady Olenna Tyrell, the woman who successfully navigated her way through a hopelessly patriarchal society to become the titular head of the most powerful house in the realm - and who very likely killed her own husband in the process -- is not this stupid.

The quote you posted is interesting, but not for the reasons you think. Here, Margaery is confirming that the reason Loras was appointed to the KG was to protect Margaery, even from the little lion. So now, after having done that, we are supposed to believe that they now have to kill Joffrey because Loras might actually do the very thing they intended for him to do? Huh? It's only Sansa's imagination of a bloodbath, something that LF would rightly play on because he has no other plausible excuse to give her for Lady O's involvement. This is exactly the kind of lie that Sansa would believe, and LF knows it.

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23 hours ago, Vaith said:

Until we have a Margaery POV, it's a pretty quick conclusion to jump to that it would be OOC for her to be in on the plan. 

Her being as naive as you make out to be doesn't stack up with some of her other actions, like immediately knowing that Sansa is a persona non grata once wed to Tyrion, or Jaime thinking that she is rather clever to place the roses at Tywin's corpse but keep one to mask the smell.

Marg is not some personal schemer who plans to kill off her husbands. That's obvious. But that doesn't mean she's some ingenue who'd pale at the thought of killing someone. There's a middle ground where she's fine for someone to die to protect herself; the idea was most likely Olenna's to begin with.

It's just very suspicious that there's a separate breakfast for the Tyrell ladies on the day of the wedding, where anything could have been discussed...

The conversation in Cersei X isn't plausible if Margaery murdered Cersei's son, it doesn't work. Those things don't make her anything of a player, in her mind Sansa rejected her brother and family and keeping a rose to mask a bad smell doesn't need addressing. Involving yourself in the murder plot of anyone, much less a boy king isn't really a middle ground, but even if it were it doesn't happen without any kind of internal acknowledgement as to the impact on others or moral implications.

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I disagree with your interpretation of Margaery. I read her conversations with Sansa as faked nativity and as a conscious effort to appeal to Sansa’s younger, more ‘fairy tailed’ worldview, especially when she says Loras will protect her. We know this would have been effective before and her thinking she’d marry Loras showed some of this fairy tail thinking remained within Sansa even around this time. Sansa was doubtful but bought it.  @Vaith gave some other indications of her being smart in the ways of Court life. 
And you wouldn’t dismiss Cersei as a player for her actions during the Walk of Shame. Marge is in prison long enough to realise she isn’t getting out easy so she begs and pleads, perhaps despite realising who is responsible. She is at her lowest there. But she is still smart enough to play on the one humanising ‘weakness’ Cersei has, her children, by stressing her cousins are just children (too). 
 

I think she could be aware of the plot to kill Joff. 

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@John Suburbs You seem to be confused about some things.

The only beating or mistreatment of Sansa that was public was the one after Oxcross, that Tyrion broke up.  All the others were done out of public view.  They may have been witnessed by servants or guardsmen, but not nobility in Court.  And Sansa was making efforts to hide the injuries as well, so it is quite likely that her mistreatment was not widely known.

At Highgarden, Littlefinger was dealing only with Mace Tyrell.  It was his servants and the like who were spreading stories about Joffrey's abuse of Sansa.  The addition of Loras to the Kingsguard was Mace's idea, at Littlefinger's suggestion.  Not only can he protect Margaery, but Mace no longer has to find a wife for him, an added feature.  Of course,, Mace knows nothing about Joffrey's behavior issues.

It is quite possible that Littlefinger had no personal contact with Olenna at all, especially given his frequent mantra about keeping your hands clean.  One of the rumor-mongers might have made the suggestion of murder.  Hence the indications of mistrust, such as having a third party bring in the murder weapon.

Olenna and Margaery have clearly heard accounts of Joffrey's mistreatment of Sansa.  But these were probably rumors from servants and guardsmen.  In other words, they are getting second-hand stories from sources they don't really know or trust.  Hence the visit with Sansa, who can give them first-hand information.  Their sanguineness is due to the fact that they already have a plan in place to deal with Joffrey.

His behavior towards Margaery at the wedding doesn't mean much.  Joffrey was kind and solicitous towards Sansa at the Hand's Tournament.  We know how that turned out.

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4 hours ago, Nevets said:

@John Suburbs You seem to be confused about some things.

The only beating or mistreatment of Sansa that was public was the one after Oxcross, that Tyrion broke up.  All the others were done out of public view.  They may have been witnessed by servants or guardsmen, but not nobility in Court.  And Sansa was making efforts to hide the injuries as well, so it is quite likely that her mistreatment was not widely known.

At Highgarden, Littlefinger was dealing only with Mace Tyrell.  It was his servants and the like who were spreading stories about Joffrey's abuse of Sansa.  The addition of Loras to the Kingsguard was Mace's idea, at Littlefinger's suggestion.  Not only can he protect Margaery, but Mace no longer has to find a wife for him, an added feature.  Of course,, Mace knows nothing about Joffrey's behavior issues.

It is quite possible that Littlefinger had no personal contact with Olenna at all, especially given his frequent mantra about keeping your hands clean.  One of the rumor-mongers might have made the suggestion of murder.  Hence the indications of mistrust, such as having a third party bring in the murder weapon.

Olenna and Margaery have clearly heard accounts of Joffrey's mistreatment of Sansa.  But these were probably rumors from servants and guardsmen.  In other words, they are getting second-hand stories from sources they don't really know or trust.  Hence the visit with Sansa, who can give them first-hand information.  Their sanguineness is due to the fact that they already have a plan in place to deal with Joffrey.

His behavior towards Margaery at the wedding doesn't mean much.  Joffrey was kind and solicitous towards Sansa at the Hand's Tournament.  We know how that turned out.

The mere fact that Sansa is walking around court with bruises and black eyes means one thing and one thing only: that Joffrey is behind it. Nobody else on the planet could do this to Sansa, the queen-in-waiting, and live. But OK, the only one in court was Oxcross. It was still witnessed by numerous high lords and ladies including Olenna's own grandsons. So she has plenty of trusted sources who can verify that they saw Joffrey do this with their own eyes. She does not need to confirm this through a complete stranger like Sansa. Sansa is not the only first-hand witness to this.

And none of this has anything to do with Margaery anyway. Joffrey does not just go around beating up highborn maidens at random. What happened to Sansa happened for reasons that are unique to Sansa. She is all alone in the capital, with no father, brothers, guards, soldiers to protect her. She and Joffrey have a bad history between them where she saw him humiliate himself on the Trident, and frankly it's like she goes out of her way to antagonize him whenever they speak. Sansa's family is also in open rebellion to the crown and her brother is winning battles in the westerlands, killing Lannisters on Lannister soil. None of this applies to Margaery. So the idea that Joff will start beating Margy just because he beat Sansa is as silly as the idea that he will execute Mace just because he executed Ned. Different people, different circumstances, different relationships with Joffrey, different results.

If we can believe Littlefinger, Mace blustered and bloviated about this and that while Lady Olenna "asked pointed questions about Joffrey's nature." And regardless of whose idea it was, Loras was put on the kingsguard specifically to protect Margaery from all threats, including the little lion. So now we have to believe that after doing this, the Tyrells are suddenly terrified that Loras might do what they intended him to do all along, so they have to kill the king. Furthermore, we have to believe that after asking the "pointed questions" and getting assurance from LF that they are all lies, they go ahead with the match based on LF's word and his word alone. Then, when Lady O discovers the truth, not from Littlefinger but from Sansa, she then jumps right into this plot with the man who deliberately got her into this fix, and continues to trust him implicitly even when his plan is to purposely complicate the poisoning itself and increase the risk of getting caught and/or killing Margaery in the bargain, all while virtually everyone Lady Olenna holds dear is in the throne room surrounded by Lannister guards. And all the while, the known liar and double-crosser is safe and sound on his boat out in the bay waiting to collect his prize or split to Braavos should anything go wrong. Sorry, but there is no way you can possibly argue that the Lady Olenna we see on the page can be this colossally stupid.

These are not rumors and accounts of mistreatment. This is eyewitness testimony from Olenna's own grandsons and numerous other lords and ladies. And all of this jibes with what everyone else, including Renly, has ever told her about Joffrey except for Littlefinger, and he has a clear motivation to lie: his mandate is to broker the marriage. Honestly, if your daughter or granddaughter was slated to be married to someone and you could stop it if you could, would you let it proceed just because one person out of a hundred says he's not a wife-beating madman? The whole idea that she would agree to this if she had even the slightest suspicion that Margaery was in any real danger is preposterous.

If they already have a place in plan to deal with Joffrey, then why are they bothering to find the "truth" about him at all? This would mean they've already determined who and what he is and are already plotting to kill him.

His behavior toward Margaery at the wedding is like night and day compared to all other situations. We've seen him fake his gallantry, and it is laughably transparent. Even Sansa can see through it. At the wedding, him taking Margaery by the hand with "The pie. Come, my lady" and twirling her about "merrily" is proof positive that he his head-over-heels in love with her. And why wouldn't he be? He is a scared, insecure, skinny 13yo boy and she is a smoking hot 17yo. It's like the geeky freshman math club/chess team member is getting to marry and shag the senior head cheerleader/prom queen. Literally every young boy's fantasy come true. And he's even doubly jazzed about this because he almost had to marry scrawny, mopey Sansa.

So Joffrey is literally over the moon at this point, and Margaery has all the skills to keep him that way for months if not years to come. Look at the way she manipulates him to overrule his father, the fearsome Lord Tywin, to use a different sword to cut the pie. It's a minor thing, but she does it exactly right: a gentle hand, a soft coo, "Widow's Wail was not meant for cutting pies, Your Grace." First off, you can hear the sexual innuendo dripping off her tongue, "Oh might king, what a large and powerful sword you have." Secondly, she doesn't just tell him "no, you can't", the way Sansa or Tyrion or even Cersei and Tywin would. She lets him make the decision that she wants him to make. Thirdly, because she is a master seductress, having learned from the best in the business, Lady Olenna and Lady Taena Merryweather, you can bet your boots that Margaery is going to take Joff into that bedroom and do things for him and to him that he can't even imagine right now. It will be a long, long time before she has to worry about a cross word from Joffrey, let alone violence.

By then, of course, she could have one, two, even three heirs to the throne and she can get rid of Joffrey at any time, whether he's is cruel to her or not. And then Margaery wields the full power of the Iron Throne as the new Queen Regent, which is a far better outcome than serving as Tommen's powerless consort five years from now, and that's provided this unconsummated wedding is not undone in that time.

So sorry, but no. Sansa's mistreatment was not the stuff of rumors, it was witnessed by multiple reliable witnesses, including Lady O's own kin. Littlefinger did not discuss the marriage with only Mace, Lady Olenna was the one asking all the questions. Loras protecting Margaery was not a circumstance they didn't plan on, it was precisely why he was put on the KG. Joffrey is not faking it toward Margaery at the wedding, he is truly, genuinely smitten with her. Margaery is in absolutely no danger from Joffrey, and there is not reason to think she should be.

 

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I like the OP's use of the word isolationist for Olenna.  She has survived 6-7 decades of mad kings, civil wars, general plotting and suspicion, by doing...well, nothing.  Not a shred of evidence of her conniving and plotting all this while, sitting undisturbed in Highgarden whilst the acknowledged players rise and fall.  Yet we are meant to believe that suddenly, in her eighties, she turns kingslayer-assassin, for motives that are, to say the least, questionable, and which (as others have pointed out) do not obviously benefit her and her family.  All this on the word of Westeros' most notorious liar.  It doesn't stack up.

(Not being there is equally the historic MO of House Tyrell - owing their elevation in the first place to not being at the Field of Fire, non-participants in the Dance, absent from either side in the Blackfyre Rebellion, absent from the decisive stages of Robert's Rebellion...)

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This is a record, right? Four threads about Joffrey’s death in less than a month... and that’s what? 10 years after the fact? 

We do need TWoW so bad it hurts. 

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30 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

This is a record, right? Four threads about Joffrey’s death in less than a month... and that’s what? 10 years after the fact? 

We do need TWoW so bad it hurts. 

10 years? It'll be 20, come August. ;)

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2 minutes ago, Vaith said:

10 years? It'll be 20, come August. ;)

Phewww. You only made it twice as bad now! :lol:

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5 hours ago, Lord Browndodd said:

I like the OP's use of the word isolationist for Olenna.  She has survived 6-7 decades of mad kings, civil wars, general plotting and suspicion, by doing...well, nothing.  Not a shred of evidence of her conniving and plotting all this while, sitting undisturbed in Highgarden whilst the acknowledged players rise and fall.  Yet we are meant to believe that suddenly, in her eighties, she turns kingslayer-assassin, for motives that are, to say the least, questionable, and which (as others have pointed out) do not obviously benefit her and her family.  All this on the word of Westeros' most notorious liar.  It doesn't stack up.

(Not being there is equally the historic MO of House Tyrell - owing their elevation in the first place to not being at the Field of Fire, non-participants in the Dance, absent from either side in the Blackfyre Rebellion, absent from the decisive stages of Robert's Rebellion...)

Her motives for wanting to murder Joff are not in contrast with her isolationism, they are in accordance with it. She's an isolationist among other reasons because to play for power is to endanger those around you, that is one of the prices of playing the game of thrones. It is a point GRRM is making through the Tyrells, it is particularly for player Sansa's arc, but an overall point of the series. Mace's ambition is going to tear even a good loving family to shreds, it is very straightforward and provided us flatly in the text. 

Margaery's marriage to Joff is political and personally dangerous to Marge because of his personality. It is a result of Mace's ambition. In contrast the type of marriage Olenna makes, Willas and Sansa, is based on personality, Sansa is as expected (at the time) a harmless unassuming thing, no danger or ambition, happiness all around. The lie is that Olenna or the Tyrells besides Mace wanted her for some claim.

Olenna knows and fears the possible personal danger to Margaery of Mace's match, and the safety of her family is her priority, her actions in wanting to murder Joff are her attempt to address the danger.

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