Warning: This post contains character and storyline spoilers.
Far be it from us to speak ill of the dead… so we'll do a happy little dance instead. Seriously, who didn't want to see "Game of Thrones" bad boy King Joffrey kick the royal bucket? We've been waiting three seasons for the sadistic little twerp to make his exit, and he did so in as dramatic a fashion as we could have hoped.
Now, the question becomes: whodunit? There's certainly no shortage of suspects with motive, so we're running down a list of the most likely culprits, along with their many (many, many) reasons for wanting to rid Westeros of its unruly ruler:
Relationship to Joffrey the jerk: His one-time fiancée, now his aunt via her marriage to Tyrion.
Motives for wanting to poison him: His general cruelty. Oh, and he ordered her father's head to be chopped off in front of her, and took great delight in sharing the news that her brother and mother had been murdered.
Likelihood she dunit: Though she probably goes to sleep every night and wakes up every morning wishing for nothing more than Joffrey's sweet, sweet death, she's also neither resourceful enough to get her hands on poison nor bold enough to go through with his murder.
Relationship to Joffrey the jerk: He's Joffrey's uncle (times two, considering Joffrey is the offspring of Cersei and Jamie's incestuous mating).
Motives for wanting to poison him: Joffrey's pure delight in mocking Tyrion and showing his uncle a complete lack of respect every chance he gets, as well as Tyrion's knowledge of how cowardly and cruel Joffrey is (er, was).
Likelihood he dunit: Again, no lack of motive, and he might even have seen killing Joffrey as sparing a lot of people who would be humiliated, tortured, or killed by his nasty nephew. Still, secretly poisoning Joffrey on his wedding day? Not Tyrion's style.
Relationship to Joffrey the jerk: His wife, though they didn't have a chance to consummate the marriage before Joffrey drank the poison.
Motives for wanting to poison him: Not having to consummate the marriage to the evil little troll, duh.
Likelihood she dunit: Probably not very. She knew who Joffrey was, and agreed to the marriage anyway, satisfied with the power a Lannister-Tyrell marriage brought to her family, and hopeful about the good she could potentially do for the populace as Mrs. Joffrey.
Relationship to Joffrey the jerk: Would-be grandmother-in-law.
Motives for wanting to poison him: To spare her beloved granddaughter having to consummate her marriage to the evil little troll, duh.
Likelihood she dunit: She could definitely be the perp. After her sitdown with Sansa, Olenna was very aware of the kind of man Joffrey is (was), and the kind of husband he is (was) likely to be, i.e., the marriage was not something she would want her granddaughter to suffer. The wedding was really the public acknowledgement by the Lannisters that the two families had thrown in together, so after the ceremony, Joffrey's continued existence could only be a negative for Margaery. Yep, we've definitely got our eye on you Granny Tyrell.
Stannis Baratheon and Melisandre
Relationship to Joffrey the jerk: Stannis is sorta Joffrey's uncle, since Stannis is a brother of the late Robert, who is supposedly Joffrey's father (assuming you're one of the few people who doesn't know Joffrey's actually the result of his mother's twincestuous affair). Stannis does not consider Joffrey to be the rightful king; because of Joffrey's true parentage, Stannis feels he should be the rightful heir to the throne, and his advisor/witchy pal Melisandre couldn't agree more.
Motives for wanting to poison him: Stannis believes he should be king.
Likelihood they dunit: We don't know them to be in the area during Joffrey's wedding. On the other hand, after that spirit Melisandre birthed killed Stannis' brother Renly, and Stannis expressed remorse about it, Melisandre did warn him he would commit far worse betrayals in his quest for the throne. Perhaps she was referring to the murder of Joffrey?
Relationship to Joffrey the jerk: He's Joffrey's grampy.
Motives for wanting to poison him: Though Tywin, the King's Hand, is happy to have the power of the throne in his family, Joffrey is so smug and spoiled he's unlikely to be his grandfather's puppet forever. Maybe Tywin has started to fret about the monster he helped create?
Likelihood he dunit: Nah, who are we kidding? Tywin is well aware of the monster he's helped create (and doesn't exactly disapprove of even Joffrey's most sadistic behaviors), And, as Tywin proved at the end of Season 3, he's not afraid of the monster… he'd simply have Joffrey drugged and sent to his room if he tried to get in the way of Tywin's plotting.
Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish
Relationship to Joffrey the jerk: The former Master of Coin and head pimp of King's Landing, now appointed the Lord of Harrenhal by Joffrey as a reward for turning on Ned Stark and siding with the Lannisters after Robert Baratheon's death.
Motives for wanting to poison him: Though he aligned himself with Joffrey, Littlefinger is also obsessed, creepily, with Sansa. And if Joffrey were murdered, Littlefinger would know that Sansa would be a suspect, and would therefore be forced to flee the city to ensure her safety. With him, perhaps?
Likelihood he dunit: Littlefinger probably didn't do the poisoning himself — he wasn't even at the wedding celebration — but we wouldn't be at all surprised to find out his little fingers have been all over this plot.
Relationship to Joffrey the jerk: Dontos was a knight who, after being accused of being drunk on Joffrey's name day, was nearly killed by Joffrey, until Sansa interrupted. Joffrey then made Dontos his court fool.
Motives for wanting to poison him: Joffrey nearly killed him, then made him his fool — and even humiliated him during his wedding feast. Dontos also feels protective of Sansa, who is largely responsible for preventing his death, and he is aware that Sansa is never truly safe as long as Joffrey is alive.
Likelihood he dunit: He did give Sansa that necklace, and he was right there to spirit her away the minute it looked like Joffrey had been poisoned at the wedding. Almost like Dontos knew in advance something was going to happen to Joffrey, right?
Relationship to Joffrey the jerk: He is a member of the king's small council, a group of his advisors, and, in Varys's case, a spy with contacts throughout the world.
Motives for wanting to poison him: As the keeper of all the local secrets, Varys is very aware of how rotten Joffrey could be, like when he wanted Robb Stark's head served to Sansa during his own wedding feast.
Likelihood he dunit: With his connections, we have no doubt Varys could make the murder happen. And it's possible he would see Joffrey's death as being for the greater good of the people of King's Landing. Yep, not ruling this one out.
Relationship to Joffrey the jerk: None.
Motives for wanting to poison him: A general quest for revenge against the Lannisters; Tywin's bannerman, Gregor Clegane, raped and murdered Oberyn's sister and murdered her children.
Likelihood he dunit: Eh, probably not. Where would he have found the time for poisoning, what with all his randiness at the brothel?
"Game of Thrones" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.