I know that the poison at the Purple Wedding was provided by

Littlefinger, in the necklace that Dontos gave to Sansa. And I know that Lady Olenna then procured the poison from the necklace while talking to Sansa at the wedding. However, I don't understand how the poison was then transferred into Joffrey's cup (presumably by Olenna)?

Can someone help explain this part of the plot, and let me know if it differs in the book?

  • 1
    Spoi-LERS!!! Gad!!!
    – Omegacron
    Jun 22, 2015 at 19:48

4 Answers 4


I answered this question over at Movies & TV.SE The question was How was the cake poisoned at the Purple Wedding?. Posting that answer as is:

In the show, it is not explicitly explained how Joffrey was poisoned. Whether it was the wine or the cake.

But in season 4 episode 6, Pycell presents Sansa's necklace as a proof in the trial against Tyrion. Since Sansa was wearing the necklace throughout the wedding & nobody but Olenna goes up near her for a small talk, there would be no time to mix the poison in the pigeon pie (cake). Hence, conclusively & certainly, the poison was mixed in the wine.

Littlefinger & Olenna were directly involved. Olenna confessed to it in front of Margery in episode 4. Ser Dontos was hired to transfer the poison onto the unsuspecting Sansa.

If you go back to episode 2, you can clearly identify the point at which Olenna takes the poison from Sansa's necklace & puts it in Joffrey's wine.

If you don’t want to rewatch the episode, here is a detailed explanation with screenshots from that episode thanks to r/zephytr

  • 1
    Nice, although “If you go back to S04E03” — I think you mean season 4, episode 2. Jun 22, 2015 at 13:58
  • Presumably, one of the jewels on Sansa's necklace was actually a capsule containing the poison. Olenna took the capsule off the necklace when she was handling it, then broke the capsule and poured it into the wine. Or it was something solid that would dissolve.
    – Omegacron
    Jun 22, 2015 at 19:50
  • @Omegacron Presumptions are unnecessary, as 'the strangler' is explained quite clearly in the books. It wasn't a "capsule." The stone itself was crystallized poison. The poison is harvested from the leaves of a plant, and the harvested liquid is then left to crystallize (and subsequently turns a deep blue color.) We can only assume the crystal was placed in Joffrey's goblet, where it was dissolved by the wine.
    – arkon
    Jan 23, 2016 at 18:57

I believe the correct term magicians use here is


If you remember, during the Purple Wedding, Littlefinger was the one who hired those little people to perform for the king. He also knew there was tension been Joffrey and Tyrion, and all he needed was for them to cause a scene, taking attention away from the Queen of Thorns. It was also all too convenient that the king's wine was right in front of Olenna.

  • What I don't understand is why Olenna didn't just bring the poison in her pockets, why did she need Sansa to carry it to the wedding? It gives the impression that Olenna took the poison from Sansa hairnet right before they got to the feast.
    – Hoffmann
    Jun 22, 2015 at 14:24
  • @Hoffmann That would make a good site question. go and ask it; "why they used the necklace instead of bringing the poison themselves" Jun 22, 2015 at 15:00
  • @Hoffmann The necklace was a scapegoat; it was later used in the trial to prove Tyrion's guilt.
    – Arm0geddon
    Jul 10, 2015 at 21:46
  • @Arm0geddon An object can't be a "scapegoat." A scapegoat is a person or animal who takes on the blame/sins of others. When assigning guilt, three pieces of evidence are essential; motive, means, and opportunity. Sansa had both motive and opportunity, and the necklace (hairnet in the books) itself was the means. Sansa, and by proxy, Tyrion, was the perfect scapegoat.
    – arkon
    Jan 23, 2016 at 19:17
  • @b1nary.atr0phy Touché.
    – Arm0geddon
    Jun 29, 2016 at 14:48

While the TV show goes a long way to make explicit of what happened according to their interpretation (see answer by @KharoBangdo), this is not necessarily the only truth.

As far as the information provided in the books is concerned, what gives you the idea that the poison in the cup indeed came from the necklace? In general, is it reasonable to deduct this?

The fact that someone is killed with a poison that can be identified from its symptoms at first glance, and someone else has a necklace with traces of that very poison does not mean that the poison that killed the victim came from the necklace, and it couldn't have been applied independently.

For the culprit, it is sufficient to place a single drop[1] of poison into the necklace, only just enough so that the zealous examiner (who, in this case, is not the brightest gem) will detect it.

Olenna could conceivably have carried a phial of Strangler on her, or a ring with a hidden compartment (akin to the murderers of Bravos, as explained when Maester Cressen attempts to poison Melisandre). She, or even someone completely different, could conceivably have poisoned anything, including the wine or the cake, without ever going near Sansa.

[1] In fact, the Strangler comes as crystals, not as liquid. However, for its application, it is usually dissolved. So, the culprit would either place scrapings of Strangler crystals or a watery solution for false evidence.

  • 1
    If you add in that one of the crystals on the poisoned necklace was missing after the fact, then yes, I say it's reasonable to deduce this. It's not ironclad proof, but the courts of Westeros seem to place a slightly lighter burden on the prosecution IMO.
    – Geobits
    Jun 22, 2015 at 13:07
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    @Geobits: Ah, but we are not at court in Westeros. We've been asked how (for real) Olenna could have done it when it seems so hard. I'm pointing out that she or an accomplice could have done it easily without needing to take poison from the necklace, and the fact that some Strangler was on the necklace, it doesn't mean that it's the same that was used for the murder. The missing crystal hardens the case against Sansa of course, but there are plenty of ways how it could in reality have disappeared (Ser Drinkalot could have been instructed to rip it off during the tumult, for example).
    – Damon
    Jun 22, 2015 at 13:54
  • You are trying way too hard, Damon. A key conspirator, Littlefinger, described to Sansa the purpose of the necklace. And Olenna herself confessed to Margery. By your logic, we could also claim that Joffrey did, in fact, simply choke on his pigeon pie. Perhaps it was an allergic reaction. But answers like that are hardly productive or useful, since they ignore evidence that is put right in front of your face. The confessions of both Littlefinger and Olenna in the TV series leaves us with more than enough evidence to logically deduce the sequence of events.
    – arkon
    Jan 23, 2016 at 19:39

You can actually see it happen in the background during the episode.

In the books it was less clear, as I recall the scene, until revelations happened later.

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