Yesterday was what could only be described as a day of national rejoicing. Jubilant people tweeted about the #PurpleWedding over 23,000 times. One of my favorites was Stephen King’s tweet:
Around the same time, George RR Martin revealed that the Purple Wedding is partially based on the death of King Stephen’s heir, who was one of the principal combatants in the Anarchy. (Think: the Pillars of the Earth war that began with the sinking of the White Ship.) Martin’s exact words in the Entertainment Weekly article were, “I based it a little on the death of Eustace, the son of King Stephen of England…” [emphasis mine]
In the interview, Martin continues to discuss the similarities between Joffrey and Eustace’s deaths:
“Stephen had usurped the crown from his cousin, the empress Maude, and they fought a long civil war and the anarchy and the war would be passed down to second generation, because Maude had a son and Henry and Stephen had a son. But Eustace choked to death at a feast. People are still debating a thousand of years later: Did he choke to death or was he poisoned? Because by removing Eustace, it brought about a peace that ended the English civil war. Eustace’s death was accepted [as accidental], and I think that’s what the murderers here were hoping for — the whole realm will see Joffrey choke to death on a piece of pie or something. But what they didn’t count on, was Cersei’s immediate assumption that this was murder. Cersei wasn’t fooled by this for a second. She doesn’t believe that it was an accidental death.”
But, if Martin only based the Purple Wedding “a little” on Eustace’s death, what else did he base it on? In this Grantland article, Emily Yoshida and her mother suggest the death of Attila the Hun inspired the Purple Wedding. Over the next few days, we will be running a series of articles examining the similarities between the Purple Wedding, Prince Eustace’s death, and Attila the Hun.
If Martin also used Attila the Hun as a source, did he not mention it because it could contain historic spoilers? Stay tuned for the series and you can be the judge.