In an upcoming Rolling Stone interview with George R.R. Martin, the writer behind the popular Game of Thrones novels offers the following comments during a discussion of whether his characters’ deeds can be redeemed:
Martin: Who kills Joffrey?
Rolling Stone: That killing apparently happens early in this fourth season. The Song of Ice and Fire books, of course, are well past the poisoning of King Joffrey.
Martin: In the books — and I make no promises, because I have two more books to write, and I may have more surprises to reveal — the conclusion that the careful reader draws is that Joffrey was killed by the Queen of Thorns, using poison from Sansa’s hair net, so that if anyone actually did think it was poison, then Sansa would be blamed for it. Sansa had certainly good reason for it.
The reason I bring this up is because I think that’s an interesting question of redemption. That’s more like killing Hitler. Does the Queen of Thorns need redemption? Did the Queen of Thorns kill Hitler, or did she murder a 13-year-old boy? Or both? She certainly had good reasons to remove Joffrey. Everything she’d heard about him, he was wildly unstable, and he was about to marry her beloved granddaughter. The Queen of Thorns had studied Joffrey well enough that she knew that at some point he would get bored with Margaery, and Margaery would be maltreated, the same way that Sansa had been. Whereas if she removed him then her granddaughter might still get the crown but without all of the danger. So is that a case where the end justifies the means? I don’t know. That’s what I want the reader or viewer to wrestle with, and to debate.