‘Game of Thrones’ showrunners: ‘Godfather’ inspired Purple Wedding

April 14, 2014 | 10:32 a.m.
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Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Hound (Rory McCann) meet some unexpected travelers. (Helen Sloan/HBO)

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Meera (Ellie Kendrick), Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) on their way to the sacred tree. (Helen Sloan/HBO)

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A scene from "The Watchers on the Wall," the ninth episode of Season 4 of HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan/HBO)

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A scene from "The Watchers on the Wall," the ninth episode of Season 4 of HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan/HBO)

760005 got 409 cut l pub 04 01 Game of Thrones showrunners: Godfather inspired Purple Wedding

A scene from "The Watchers on the Wall," the ninth episode of Season 4 of HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan/HBO)

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Rose Leslie as Ygritte and Kit Harington as Jon Snow in HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan/HBO)

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Oberyn (Pedro Pascal) and the Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) in battle. (Macall B. Polay / HBO)

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Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) speaks harshly to her once-trusted adviser Jorah (Iain Glen) while Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) looks on. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) rewards his bastard son Ramsay (Iwan Rheon). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) sits on the Iron Throne as judge at Tyrion's trial. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) advises his brother (Peter Dinklage). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) is crowned king by the High Septon (Paul Bentley). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Arya (Maisie Williams) shows the Hound (Rory McCann) her sword-fighting moves. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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The lead mutineer (Burn Gorman) threatens Bran's friends (Ellie Kendrick and Thomas Brodie-Sangster). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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The Lannisters pay their respects to the fallen King Joffrey. With Lena Headey, Dean-Charles Chapman, Jack Gleeson and Charles Dance. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) to the supposed rescue of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) gives Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) a lesson on his power. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Natalie Dormer in Sunday's episode of "Game of Thrones," "The Lion and the Rose," written by George R.R. Martin.

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Natalie Dormer and Gwendoline Christie in a scene from "Game of Thrones." (Macall B. Polay / HBO)

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Jacob Anderson and Nathalie Emmanuel in a scene from "Game of Thrones." (Macall B. Polay / HBO)

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Michiel Huisman, Nathalie Emmanuel and Emilia Clarke in a scene from "Game of Thrones." (Macall B. Polay / HBO)

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage in a scene from "Game of Thrones." (Neil Davidson / HBO)

Another season — another deadly wedding.

In Sunday’s episode of HBO’s breakout hit fantasy series “Game of Thrones,” a major (and majorly unlikable) character died at the royal nuptials of King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), and if you haven’t seen the episode, “The Lion and the Rose,” you might want to stop reading now.

Adapting one of the most memorable scenes from the second half of “A Storm of Swords,” the third book in George R.R. Martin’s bestselling “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss brought to the screen the famous Purple Wedding, which ends with Joffrey dead at his own wedding feast — the sadistic royal is poisoned after publicly humiliating his uncle Tyrion (Peter Dinklage).

Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in "Game of Thrones." (HBO)

Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in “Game of Thrones.” (HBO)

In a recent telephone interview with Hero Complex, Weiss described the Purple Wedding as a “devastating, powerful” event to read on the page.

D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, creators of HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan / HBO)

D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, creators of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” (Helen Sloan / HBO)

“One of the things about the Purple Wedding, aside from the punch of the ending, one of the things that we realized as we were putting it together was that this was probably one of the largest number of main characters we would ever have together in one scene, in one space at the same time,” Weiss said. “One of the things that was most fun in the writing of it was letting us go back and watch ‘The Godfather’ again and see how to best handle an event like that where many story lines are crisscrossing and happening simultaneously in the same space.

“Most shows get to have those character reunions pretty frequently and in our show it’s a pretty rare special event to have these story lines come together. It happens not even once a season to be honest.”

Added Benioff: “There are actors who have been on the show from the beginning who have barely ever met.”

“You’ll be in Croatia at dinner and somebody will come in and another actor will come in and you assume that they know each other and they look at each other kind of waiting awkwardly for that introduction, then you realize, ‘Oh, these two people have never been in the same room together even though they’re on the same show together,’” Weiss said.

Martin wrote the script for Sunday’s episode — which inspired an outpouring of reaction online, though it was a much different reaction than was elicited by Season 3′s Red Wedding, which ended with a bloodbath that decimated the Stark clan.

QUIZ: Test your ‘Game of Thrones’ knowledge

Any “Game of Thrones” fan understands that it can be difficult to survive for long in the world of Westeros, and Benioff and Weiss, who are already writing scripts for the series’ fifth season, said that the current run of episodes will see more than one soul meet with an untimely end.

“In the first season when Cersei told Ned Stark, ‘In the game of thrones, you win or you die,’ she meant it,” Weiss said.

— Gina McIntyre | @LATHeroComplex

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