Which ‘Game of Thrones’ wedding would you RSVP to?.
Every Friday, Ringer staffers who haven’t read any of the ‘Game of Thrones’ books gather to answer one key question ahead of Sunday’s ‘House of the Dragon’ episode. This week’s topic: wedding invitations.
As you’re probably aware by now, House of the Dragon is a prequel. The Game of Thrones spinoff, based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, takes place nearly 200 years before the events of the original HBO series. Unlike the original series, which ran out of material to adapt by the end of its fifth season, key details from the Targaryen dynasty already have been published in Martin’s fictional history. If you want to know how the story ends, you could easily Google it—or, you know, read a book.
But since some of The Ringer’s staff have yet to read any of Martin’s novels, we decided to create this weekly precap for those of you who remain blissfully unaware of what’s about to happen next. This is a dialogue for the viewers treating House of the Dragon like a good ol’ mystery box that twists and turns from week to week. Without further ado, let’s get to this week’s prompt:
Arjuna Ramgopal: Can I just skip all of them? Every Thrones wedding involves death, destruction, and worst of all, wasted food. Weddings are a time of celebration, harmony, and partying! You want good food, good music, and a good time. I don’t want to have to worry about who’s going to kill who, whether my drink is poisoned, or how to best watch my back so that I don’t get stabbed or get my throat slit. The Red Wedding BY FAR would be last on my list. Too much death and sadness. Also, not my favorite venue spot, if I’m being honest.
If I had to pick one of the bigger ones across the franchise, the Purple Wedding would be the pick, because seeing Joffrey die would at least be somewhat rewarding. I’d like to think if I was a citizen of Westeros I would hate Joffrey as king. I’d pretend to be devastated so I wouldn’t get beheaded, but secretly be excited to know that guy was gone. Honestly, the best wedding to go to would probably be Lyanna and Rhaegar’s secret ceremony. It checks all the boxes; intimate, quick, and romantic. Sure, it was a doomed marriage, but the actual ceremony seemed nice. Plus, who doesn’t like to go to an exclusive event?
Miles Surrey: If you’re chilling in Westeros and get invited to a wedding, there’s only one thing you should do: toss that save the date into the trash. (And, if anyone asks, say the invite never arrived—surely ravens don’t have a 100 percent success rate on delivering mail.) With the exception of a literal battlefield, weddings have repeatedly proved to be the deadliest affair in Westeros, whether it’s the Dothraki killing for the love of the game or House Frey being very [clears throat] inhospitable hosts.
Now that the realm’s penchant for lethal weddings has extended to House of the Dragon, where a second character named Joffrey met an untimely end at one of these things, you have to wonder why anyone bothers to have a lavish ceremony. Where’s the Westerosi equivalent of going to a courthouse or being married by an Elvis impersonator in Vegas? When there are so many ways for characters to meet an untimely end—war, disease, famine, breathing in the direction of Daemon Targaryen when he’s in a bad mood—skipping out on weddings is a small price to pay for surviving another day in Westeros.
Jonathan Bartlett: The Purple Wedding, and it’s not even close. Of course, Joffrey being the absolute worst, it’s not that I want to attend out of respect for the couple, but rather the party seemed like a total thrill. A quick little marriage ceremony that didn’t drag on, followed by an outdoor feast with beautiful weather at which, it’s been written, 77 courses were served. 77! That’ll get any foodie excited. And hey, with weddings in Westeros being what they are, a single death is the sort of matrimonial blessing you hope for.
So while this affair already has the makings of a perfectly nice way to spend an afternoon, getting to watch that little monster Joff perish is a real cherry on top. Good food, great drink, a front-row seat to the hottest drama in all the land, what more could you ask for?
Katie Baker: Well, I *was* going to sadly lament having missed the wedding between Daemon Targaryen and the late, great Lady Rhea of Runestone. Because sure, the two clearly hated one another in their lone, deadly House of the Dragon scene together, but they also made me curious to know more! For example, pre-cracked-head and all, I could absolutely see them briefly having the same crackling chemistry of, say, Gretchen and Jimmy in You’re the Worst. (“Bronze bitch” is totally something Jimmy would say.) But when I looked it up, I learned that their marriage was arranged young and they always hated one another. Oh well: I’ll crash the wedding of Jason Lannister and whoever he winds up with instead! You know the wine would be flowing, the speeches would be cutting, and maybe a lacrosse game might break out.
Claire McNear: There is no doubt in my mind that the (presumed, based on next episode’s teaser) wedding of Daemon Targaryen and Laena Velaryon would set a new record for bloodshed at Westerosi nuptials. There is also no doubt in my mind that it would be the most magnificently unhinged and depraved event of the century. This place has everything: incest, dragons, naked ambition, spurned lovers, patterns of wanton violence, fraught familial relations, and extraordinarily attractive principal characters, plus a royal budget and the traditional matrimonial risk of violent dismemberment and/or poisoning. When a Targaryen wedding invitation arrives, the gods flip a coin. I’ll take those odds.
Megan Schuster: Give me the Purple Wedding. Yes, Margaery and Joffrey’s wedding was a gauche affair, with feasts, singers, pyromancers, and a dancing bear. And it was also very offensive, featuring a play whose characters were portrayed by little people solely for Joffrey’s amusement (and Tyrion’s torment). Very few people had a good time, the bride and much of the groom’s family among them.
But compared to other Thrones weddings, it at least has relatively little death—Dothraki weddings are famously only considered good if at least three people die, and we don’t even need to talk about that masquerade at the Twins. The only person who died in this wedding—and what a death scene it was—more than deserved it. And in later seasons it’s revealed that Olenna Tyrell, my true queen of Westeros, was the one who poisoned Joffrey. Imagine being seated at her table as that all went down!
Aric Jenkins: As tempting as it would be to make an appearance at Joffrey and Margaery’s ceremony—a grand, splendid festivity in which the second worst character throughout both series (shout-out no. 1, Ramsay Bolton) dies at the end of it—I’m going to do the sensible thing here and attend a wedding actually born out of love. That’s right, Robb Stark and Talisa Maegyr, you have officially earned my RSVP. What I love about this wedding, particularly in the context of the Game of Thrones universe, is that there are no guests present—except, uh, me now, I guess. That means I’m free to celebrate this matrimony without fear of being slaughtered, poisoned, or beaten to a pulp, which is obviously a requirement for every other wedding in Westeros. Nah, I’m good on that: Give me a quiet nighttime ceremony that lasts no longer than 15 minutes so I can slink back to my castle and drink mead or whatever in peace.