He (Tyrion) deliberately pours away the residue left over in the wine cup which could have been analysed for poisons. This in turn could have helped his case.

So why did he throw it away?

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    i cant remember 100% but i believe he had fear it was sansa who had poisoned the drink.
    – Himarm
    Oct 20, 2014 at 12:55
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    @Himarm: I thought so too, but when I checked the books before answering, I could not find a hint during the scene up to the point where he pours out the cup. It only says that he "considered it (the cup) briefly". Oct 20, 2014 at 13:36
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    There is no explanation given in the books. Not during the event, or afterwards in Tyrion's own thoughts.
    – TLP
    Oct 20, 2014 at 20:54
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    My guess is that he(like everyone else) recognized that he had been poisoned. There were few people in Kings Landing that could so effectively poison someone as high profile as the king and they were both allies of Tyrion so he was probably trying to protect them. Plus, it was public knowledge that Sansa hated Joffrey, he was probably trying to protect her as well. Or, he could have just absent mindedly done it.
    – Robert
    Nov 25, 2014 at 14:39
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    My reading of this was that: he was very drunk (this was changed in the TV show), and angry, on an adrenaline high after a faceoff resisting the humiliation of being made to play a servant. He didn't yet realise the seriousness of the situation (it's much less obviously poison in the book). Him pouring the wine away was a stubborn, drunken gesture of petty defiance. Like "All that over some stupid wine? Here's what I think of you and your stupid wine. I'm not your bloody cupbearer, stupid boy choking on pie. Wait, is he dying? Why is everyone looking at me?" Dec 13, 2014 at 18:28

4 Answers 4


I think he simply wanted to remove the deadly poison from the drinking receptacle - a reasonable "first responder" precaution. You know, "better that nobody else drink that."

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    Especially as Cersei would make Sansa drink. Oct 20, 2014 at 15:56

I don't think Tyrion foresaw that he would be blamed for it, and figured that the best possible outcome for the realm (and, really, everyone) would be to have the event chalked up as an accident or fate, rather than an assassination, because the latter would most likely cause yet another war.

  • But he was very clearly poisoned. Everyone involved knew it was a murder immediately, whether the motivation was political or otherwise. Oct 20, 2014 at 13:30
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    @JasonPatterson: Well, things rarely turn out as one might wish. Without proof, nobody actually knows, and the only one who is really 100% convinced right away is Cersei who sort of draws in everyone else. According to GRRM himself, it wasn't supposed to be clear what happened: insidetv.ew.com/2014/04/13/george-r-r-martin-why-joffrey-killed Oct 20, 2014 at 13:38
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    But if someone dies by choking, the chicken bone is stuck in their throat and it's found shortly after death. He choked on nothing in a world where rulers die frequently; they'd have been fools to not assume murder, regardless of Martin's intent in writing the scene. My point was that it was unknown whether it was an assassination or a murder with a nonpolitical motivation; it was very clearly not an accident. Oct 20, 2014 at 13:49
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    Alternatively, he hated Joffrey enough to want his killer to get away. Oct 20, 2014 at 16:59

I've been back over the chapter and this is the paragraph where he pours out the wine:

Tyrion found himself thinking of Robb Stark. My own wedding is looking much better in hindsight. He looked to see how Sansa was taking this, but there was so much confusion in the hall that he could not find her. But his eyes fell on the wedding chalice, forgotten on the floor. He went and scooped it up. There was still a half-inch of deep purple wine in the bottom of it. Tyrion considered it a moment, then poured it on the floor.

My thought is that, upon thinking about Robb Stark, and then Sansa, he was probably considering that Joffrey dying was probably justice for his wife. He didn't know that she was trying to escape, so he was hoping to provide her with the best life possible, and Joffrey not being in it would certainly help that to happen.

At this point in time, everyone still believes that Joffrey is choking on the pie, it is only Cersei that jumps to the conclusion of poison right away. I'm guessing that he thought Joffrey, or someone on his behalf, might still want to try to use the wine to dislodge the pie stuck in his throat, so he poured it away giving him nothing to drink.

It would explain why he felt some semblance of guilt over Joffrey's death. Whilst he actually had nothing to do with the poisoning, he still wanted Joffrey to die.

  • "He didn't know that she was trying to escape" Minor addition: at the time of Joffrey's death, Sansa didn't know about being ferried away from KL either, so Tyrion couldn't have even read Sansa's reaction. The argument about Tyrion not wanting Joffrey to drink to dislodge the pie makes no sense; the table was filled with cups, why would they only use Joffrey's cup? Tyrion also seems to inspect the wine he pours out, so he's probably already considering poisoning.
    – Flater
    Sep 1, 2017 at 9:42
  • @Flater It's not necessarily a rational thing for him to do, as he's very drunk at the time. My interpretation was that he tried anything he could to help the death happen. If it was Joffrey trying to get a drink, he would go for his own cup first, wasting precious seconds when he finds that it's empty. Sep 1, 2017 at 9:57
  • No offense, but doing illogical things due to inebriation is a facile argument. It's a catch-all explanation that makes it possible to ignore logical fallacies in any theory that is presented. In absence of explicit evidence, answers should rely on logical conclusions, not just unprovable claims (cfr Russell's teapot)
    – Flater
    Sep 1, 2017 at 10:03
  • @Flater Every single answer here is an unprovable claim, because his reasoning is never specified. And it is a logical conclusion based on the evidence: he was just thinking about Robb and Sansa, he thought that Joffrey was choking on the pie, and he doesn't seem particularly panicked about the situation enough to consider that it might be an assassination attempt. Your own assessment in the earlier comment that he thought it was poison is a much less logical conclusion, as up until that point no one has mentioned or considered poison. Sep 1, 2017 at 10:31

I think he was trying to see if there would be anything left at the cup's bottom that could explain what was happening to his beloved Nephew.

  • This would be a good approach, given that the actual poison that was used was in the form of a crystal that dissolved in the cup (or was crushed beforehand). Either way, residue could be found at the bottom of the cup. However, I doubt that this was Tyrions actual reasoning at the time (most poisons we see are liquid anyway)
    – Flater
    Sep 1, 2017 at 9:47

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