'Game of Thrones' Season 4, Episode 2: spoiler discussion

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The night is dark and full of spoilers. Below we’ll be talking about the HBO series Game of Thrones, up through and including tonight’s episode "The Lion and The Rose." Any discussion of future episodes — or information from the books — is off limits.

It was the moment Game of Thrones fans had been waiting for since the show’s very first season.

There was Joffrey, the cruel, pompous fool of a boy-king, grandstanding at his own wedding before a group of advisors that were simultaneously aghast at his ignorant cruelty, yet terrified to stop it. As usual, his uncle was the only voice of reason — but Tyrion was in the king’s sights, and moment by dreadful moment we seemed to be building towards a confrontation that would almost certainly leave the elder Lannister lying on the floor as the series killed off one more beloved character.

Then it happened. Joffrey coughed, clutching at his throat. I expected a tease — perhaps a brief moment of misdirection before Tyrion lost his head — but as Joffrey crashed to the floor it became horribly, wonderfully clear. The moment had arrived for one of the most hated characters on television to exit, stage left.

Fans of the books have no doubt been waiting to talk about the turn, and it’s sure to send the series off into all sorts of interesting directions. Clearly it was poison, but from where? Joffrey’s cup of wine — or his wedding pie? (I haven’t read the books, but my money’s on the latter.) And who was responsible? Tyrion would make sure he was far away if it came time for him to make this particular move, despite Cersei’s spur-of-the-moment accusation. Was it Tywin, tired of dealing with his grandson’s erratic behavior? Cersei herself, sick of the same? Could it have been Margaery Tyrell, the king’s new bride, or someone from her family? And just why was Ser Dontos there, ready to whisk Sansa Stark away from the scene of the crime at the perfect moment?

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It’s sure to be a Who Killed J.R. kind of season, but for the audience it’s a matter of wondering who we should high-five. Sure, it may sound cruel to celebrate the death of a 17-year-old character — and Joffrey certainly seemed to be in pain— but it was the kind of cathartic payoff that the show excels at building towards. Who can forget such hits as The Time Joffrey Got His Ass Kicked By Arya and Her Dire Wolf and Had The Wolf Killed? Or what about The Legend of the King Who Ran Away From the Battle of the Blackwater Because His Mom Called? And of course, there’s The Ballad of the War Started By the Moron That Killed Ned Stark Even Though All His Advisors Said Not To.

Actor Jack Gleeson has done a tremendous job over the last few years creating a character that wasn’t just unlikeable; he was a character you outright despised. Everything from his smirking delivery to Joffrey’s seemingly endless reservoir of cruelty worked in concert, to the point where a mere twitch of Joffrey’s lip could bring on a sense of dread. I wouldn’t say I loved to hate Joffrey. I’d say I straight-up hated the character, and loved that the show and Gleeson made me feel that with such unrelenting precision.

So adios, King Joffrey. Tonight’s episode won’t make up for all of the horrible things you’ve done, and your absence won’t turn Westeros into Disneyland. But as someone that’s always been on Team Stark, I can say one thing about tonight’s episode: it felt just.

How did you feel about tonight's events? Weigh in below!