Last night, citizens around the world stood and applauded. Impromptu celebrations were held, excited phone calls were made, and everyone who forgot to watch live cursed their rotten luck. Usually Game of Thrones waits until its fourth episode to give us a truly devastating plot twist, but things are moving quicker this season. Don't read on if you don't want to be spoiled.
King Joffrey died at his own wedding reception, undoubtedly poisoned (by someone or other), but more metaphorically choking on his own bile, reduced to a vomiting wreck in his mother's arms in the middle of delivering one last humiliation to his poor uncle Tyrion. I can only imagine the reaction in every room, from book-readers and newbies alike, to Joffrey's miserable end. Unlike most characters on Game of Thrones, this was a remorseless, sadistic villain with little shading. The show wanted you to hate him, and you wanted him to die. Watching Joffrey expire in such humiliating circumstances almost felt voyeuristic and cruel; audience wish fulfillment, certainly, but it was undeniably satisfying.
The best evidence of all for the "wish fulfillment" angle is that literally everyone at Joffrey's wedding feast had pretty good cause to want him dead. Like a classic murder mystery, everyone is a suspect, save maybe Cersei and Jaime (who are aware of how monstrous their son is, but rushed to his side as he died). Joffrey's psychotic behavior and impetuousness were too unpredictable for his grandfather Tywin to bear. The Tyrells feared for daughter Margaery's safety as his bride. Tyrion obviously hated his nephew (who hated him back), although he's more obvious as a patsy for the crime; Sansa, spirited away by Dontos the fool, had plenty of reason to whack Joffrey but maybe lacked the know-how to execute such a conspiracy. And then of course there's the Dornish Prince Oberyn in the background, basically announcing his hatred of all things Lannister from the second he set foot in the capital.