We’ve seen our fair share of gruesome, bloody deaths over the six-and-a-bit seasons of Game of Thrones – Viserys Targaryen had his head boiled with molten gold, Oberyn Martell had his skull crushed like a ripe grape, and even the great, noble Tywin Lannister met his maker while sat on the toilet, taking a shit.
We’ve fist pumped watching Arya slit Walder Frey’s throat and feed Meryn Trant his own eyes, we’ve cheered as Sansa fed Ramsay Bolton to his own hounds and laughed as Joffrey Baratheon choked on his poisoned wine, but this week’s episode might have given us our most satisfying death yet, against all the odds.
There was no blood or gore in this scene – we didn’t even see the character actually die. It was also a character that everyone loves, and no one wanted to see go, and yet Diana Rigg somehow turned Lady Olenna Tyrell’s death into a glorious moment worthy of closing out a fantastic episode – the best of the season so far.
After Cersei out-thinks Tyrion yet again, sending half her forces to Highgarden to take down the Tyrells instead of leaving them to defend Casterly Rock, Jaime marches up to Olenna’s chamber to tell her the game is up; it’s over.
Jaime has talked Cersei out of giving Olenna a brutal end – painless poison will do the job – but after the scene ends and he storms out of the room with tears in his eyes, while Lady Olenna sits there calmly waiting for death, you can be sure he regrets being so merciful.
Lady Olenna continually throws jabs at Jaime throughout their conversation. First, in reference to his defeat on the battlefield to Robb Stark, Jaime tells her: “There are always lessons in failures.” “You must be very wise by now,” Olenna snaps back.
Next, Jaime is speaking about Joffrey, and Olenna chimes in: “He really was a cunt wasn't he?"
And then finally, after she necks the poisoned wine almost with an air on nonchalance, she delivers the final, killing blow. Somehow, she manages to win the exchange resoundingly, despite being the one to die at the end.
A glint appears in Olenna’s eye as she reveals to Jaime is that it was she – not Tyrion – who poisoned Joffrey all that time ago, at his wedding to Margaery. She downs the wine and then looks directly into Jaime’s eyes, telling him: “I’d hate to die like your son, clawing at my neck, foam and bile spilling from my mouth. Eyes blood red, skin purple.
“Must’ve been horrible for you, as a Kingsguard, as a father. It was horrible enough for me – a shocking scene. Not at all what I intended. You see, I’d never seen the poison work before.”
"Tell Cersei I want her to know it was me,” she adds – her final words – leaving the Kingslayer practically frothing at the mouth, and ensuring that even after her death, Lady Olenna will get one over on her nemesis, the Queen.
It was a perfect end for a character everyone has fallen more and more in love with as the season have drawn on, and while we’re gutted she’s gone, the brilliance of this scene kind of makes it worth it.
Will Jaime carry out Olenna’s command and tell Cersei how their son did, or will he refuse to give her that satisfaction? For the good of the viewers, I really hope he tells her, I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t wait to see Cersei’s face when she finds out.