- "We've had vicious kings, and we've had idiot kings...but I don't know if we've ever been cursed with a vicious idiot for a king!"
- ―Tyrion Lannister, summarizing King Joffrey
He was once betrothed to Sansa Stark, but now as part of a marriage-alliance he is betrothed to Margaery Tyrell. He is widely believed to be the son of Cersei and the late Robert Baratheon but is actually a bastard of incest fathered by Cersei's own brother Jaime Lannister. He had Eddard Stark executed for challenging his legitimacy.
Joffrey is presented as the oldest son and heir of King Robert Baratheon and Queen Cersei Lannister. In reality, his father is Jaime Lannister, the queen's brother. He has a younger sister, Myrcella, and a younger brother, Tommen - both also the children of Jaime and Cersei. Cersei and Robert made a political marriage alliance after Robert took the throne by force from the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen.
Joffrey takes after his mother in terms of looks and personality. King Robert largely ignores Joffrey. Joffrey is usually accompanied by his bodyguard and retainer, the formidable Sandor Clegane, who is better known as the Hound. Joffrey is spoiled, arrogant, cowardly, and sadistic.
Prince Joffrey accompanies his parents to Winterfell and is betrothed to marry Sansa Stark as part of King Robert's plan to more closely ally House Baratheon to House Stark. Both seem happy with the prospect, and Joffrey is charming and polite towards Sansa. However, he shows no sympathy when Bran falls from a tower and is severely injured, and has to be physically chastised by his uncle Tyrion before he will pay his respects to Bran's parents.
Whilst on the Kingsroad to King's Landing, Joffrey and Sansa chance upon her sister Arya practicing sword play with a commoner, Mycah. Joffrey sees a chance to have some fun with Mycah and cuts him with his sword, but Arya and her direwolf Nymeria overpower Joffrey, injuring him and throwing his sword in the river. Joffrey begs for his life. Later, he lies about the incident and says he was attacked in an unprovoked manner. King Robert agrees to forget about the incident in return for the death of Nymeria. When she cannot be found, Sansa's direwolf Lady is executed instead.
In King's Landing, Joffrey tells his mother about how he would handle the people of the North as she treats his injury. He suggests capturing Winterfell, taxing the people hard and forcing their warriors to join a 'royal army'. Cersei elucidates the flaws in his plan and warns Joffrey that a king needs to be more careful in choosing his battles. Cersei tells her son that, "Anyone who isn't us is an enemy". She also urges Joffrey to do something nice for Sansa to win back her goodwill.
Eddard Stark discovers that Joffrey isn't King Robert's son and rightful heir, by examining the family history and realizing that black hair is a dominant trait in the Baratheon line. Joffrey's true parentage can be attributed to the incestuous relationship between his mother and his "uncle" Jaime Lannister. Joffrey wins back Sansa's affection by giving her a pendant.
When King Robert Baratheon dies of a grievous hunting injury, Joffrey ascends the Iron Throne. He orders that preperations be made to crown him within the fortnight. Eddard refuses to recognise Joffrey's claim to the Iron Throne. He presents a proclamation from Robert making him Protector of the Realm to enforce his authority, but Cersei destroys the document. Eddard expects Lord Petyr Baelish and Commander Janos Slynt of the City Watch to take Cersei and Joffrey prisoner, but is betrayed. Eddard is taken into custody and his remaining guards and household are murdered.
Joffrey dismisses Ser Barristan Selmy from the Kingsguard and names Jaime as the new Lord Commander. Joffrey listens to Sansa's plea for mercy for her father. He agrees to spare Eddard if he recants his claim that Joffrey has no right to the throne. Sansa is sure that he will.
Joffrey is present at Eddard's public confession of treason where he acknowledges Joffrey as the true king. Joffrey, playing to the crowd, reveals that his mother and his betrothed have both urged him to spare Eddard and exile him to the Wall. Joffrey says that they have the weak hearts and constitutions of women, whilst he has no mercy for traitors. He orders Ser Ilyn Payne to bring him Eddard's head. Payne carries out the order, whilst Sansa faints from shock and Cersei - aware this will fuel the war with the Starks - angrily tries and fails to overrule her son..
Days later, Joffrey holds court. Marillion sings a song he wrote about King Robert and Queen Cersei; Joffrey is displeased by the song and its insults against his parents. He forces the minstrel to choose between having his fingers or tongue removed. Joffrey takes Sansa to the wall where there are several heads on long spikes - one is revealed to be Ned's, and another her Septa's. Joffrey forces her to look at the severed heads, and then presses the point that she will still marry him; he says that he will give her Robb's head on a spike, too, and she retorts, "Or maybe he'll give me yours." Joffrey has Ser Meryn Trant slap Sansa as he claims, "My mother tells me a king should never strike his lady."
Joffrey rules with cruelty and arrogance as the King on the Iron Throne while his uncle Tywin Lannister fights to secure his position. Joffrey celebrates his name day with a tourney and continues to torment the captive Sansa Stark. He is perturbed when his uncle Tyrion Lannister is made acting Hand of the King. Rumours about his parentage begin to circulate and he confronts his mother, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister with them. He asks her about King Robert Baratheon's bastard children and she slaps him. He threatens her life and then arranges for a city wide massacre of the bastards. Tyrion responds by exiling Janos Slynt and installing Bronn as the replacement Lord Commander of the City Watch.
Robb Stark continues to win victories against Joffrey's supporters in House Lannister. Joffrey has Sansa Stark publicly stripped and beaten as revenge. Tyrion interrupts the proceedings and criticizes Joffrey. Tyrion then sends Joffrey two prostitutes as a belated name day present. Joffrey forces one prostitute to beat the other as a message to Tyrion.
Joffrey attends the departure of his sister Myrcella Baratheon for Dorne as part of a marriage alliance pact. Joffrey is confronted by an angry populace as he makes his way back to the Red Keep. He is struck by thrown cow excrement and triggers a city wide riot by ordering the deaths of hundreds of citizens in response. He barely escapes the riot under the protection of his Kingsguard and Tyrion publicly berates him for his vicious idiocy.
King Stannis Baratheon sails on King's Landing with a fleet of over 200 ships. Joffrey is determined to fight personally, scaring his mother. Cersei suspects that Tyrion is encouraging Joffrey and plots to blackmail him into ensuring Joffrey's safety by imprisoning his lover. Joffrey tours the sea wall of the city with Tyrion and insists that he will kill Stannis himself. His bravado is undercut by his woeful lack of appreciation of the danger he is in; he stupidly suggests that they should be planning to assault Robb rather than defending their capital.
Joffrey procures a new sword for the Battle of the Blackwater, naming it "Hearteater." He forces Sansa to meet him in the Throne Room before going to the city walls, making her kiss the blade and claiming that when he returns it will have Stannis' blood on it. Sansa carefully undermines his claim by questioning if he will fight in the vanguard. Joffrey is frustrated by not being made aware of Tyrion Lannister's plans to defend the city and angrily threatens his uncle. The absence of the Royal Fleet frightens Joffrey. He is pleased when Tyrion's wildfire explosion decimates Stannis' fleet. However, his courage wanes when he sees the size of the landing force that comes ashore. A sortie led by the Hound fails to drive the attackers back. The Hound then deserts his place on the Kingsguard rather than go back out. Joffrey is relieved when Ser Lancel Lannister tells him that the Queen has ordered him back to the Red Keep and ignores Tyrion imploring him to stay and lead. His cowardly exit damages the morale of the men but Tyrion is able to rally them into a further sortie, protecting the gates from a battering ram. Tyrion is wounded during the fighting but the battle is won by the arrival of a host of House Lannister and House Tyrell soldiers under the command of Lord Tywin Lannister.
Joffrey rewards Tywin by naming him savior of the city. He also grants a favor to House Tyrell for their aid and Ser Loras asks Joffrey to unite their houses in marriage. Joffrey balks at setting aside his betrothal to Sansa, but is easily convinced by his courtiers and agrees to marry Margaery Tyrell.
Joffrey is cruel, arrogant, sadistic, and a tyrannical ruler. However, he is also incompetent, unintelligent, naive, cowardly, and prone to rash outbursts of violence. Much like earlier Targaryen kings, it is suspected that Joffrey's incestuous bloodline has resulted in severe defects in his sanity. Nonetheless, Joffrey is consumed by megalomaniacal delusions of grandeur. Even though he is absurdly unskilled at ruling, making far more problems than he solves, he is convinced that he deserves praise and utter devotion from everyone around him. Despite the fact that at the start of the War of the Five Kings most of the realm rises in rebellion against him, to the point that his faction essentially controls only the Westerlands, the Crownlands, and a narrow strip of the southern Riverlands between them, Joffrey is convinced that he is the greatest king in the history of the Seven Kingdoms.
Joffrey is deceitful, but shows even less tact than his mother. He was willing to take advantage of the trust that Sansa Stark initially placed in him, when she was blinded by fantasies of marrying her handsome prince. However, in general, Joffrey is usually too short-sighted to bother lying, often simply committing various atrocities in public, without concern for the consequences.
Joffrey is obsessed with the self-conception that he is a great warrior like King Robert was, but displays no martial skill whatsoever. Even Arya Stark was able to overpower him. Particularly, despite the fact that his faction was losing the war and bracing for a siege in King's Landing, Joffrey insisted that he was "striking" against Stannis' incoming invasion force, at which point even Sansa pointed out that Stannis was striking against him.
|Season One appearances|
|Winter is Coming||The Kingsroad||Lord Snow||Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things||The Wolf and the Lion|
|A Golden Crown||You Win or You Die||The Pointy End||Baelor||Fire and Blood|
|Season Two appearances|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
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- "Killing you would send your brother a message."
- ―Joffrey Baratheon to Sansa Stark
- "You're here to answer for your brother's treason."
- ―Joffrey Baratheon to Sansa Stark
- "The king can do as he likes!"
- ―King Joffrey I
Behind the scenes
In the books
In the Song of Ice and Fire novels, Joffrey is twelve years old when the story begins. He is described as a handsome young man, but not especially skilled at arms. His uncle Tyrion occasionally tries to teach him something of politics and learning, but he is uninterested in such matters. He and Robert have a distant relationship, but his mother dotes upon him. Throughout the books, Cersei is willfully blind to Joffrey's insane and homicidal behavior, no matter how ridiculous. Rather than recognize the monster that she has unleashed on the Seven Kingdoms by putting Joffrey on the throne, Cersei embraces the fantasy that he is a great king, or at worst "willful", and chides her younger son Tommen that he should try to be more like Joffrey. Later books also retroactively reveal that Joffrey's siblings Prince Tommen and Princess Myrcella have lived in terror of Joffrey their entire lives.
The reason for Joffrey's sociopathic, borderline-insane behavior is suspected to be due to his incestuous parentage, much like the earlier Targaryen kings. Joffrey had a distant relationship with his "father" Robert, and his mother spoiled him, but he grew up as a pampered crown prince, thus there does not seem to be any non-biological cause for his mental instability. From a strict technical standpoint Joffrey is not "insane" in the sense that King Aerys II Targaryen was, in that he doesn't have hallucinations or hear voices. Otherwise, Joffrey is a megalomanical sociopath by any measure.
In the second book, A Clash of Kings, Joffrey at several points shoots and kills peasants with his crossbow, for largely imagined insults. When crowds of refugees from the war he started come to the castle gates to beg for bread, he picks them off with his crossbow from the battlements, for daring to consider him "a baker". He then brags about doing this in open court, before having Sansa stripped and beaten in front of everyone.
- Joffrey Baratheon at A Wiki of Ice and Fire (MAJOR spoilers from the books).
- ↑ HBO viewer's guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Baratheon of King's Landing entry
- ↑ HBO viewer's guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Baratheon of King's Landing - Joffrey Baratheon entry
- ↑ "Winter is Coming"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "The Kingsroad"
- ↑ "Lord Snow"
- ↑ "A Golden Crown"
- ↑ "You Win or You Die"
- ↑ "The Pointy End"
- ↑ Baelor"
- ↑ "Fire and Blood"
- ↑ HBO viewers guide, season 2 map, special features - Areas of Control, Joffrey Baratheon entry
- ↑ "The North Remembers"
- ↑ "The Night Lands"
- ↑ "Garden of Bones"
- ↑ "The Old Gods and the New"
- ↑ "The Prince of Winterfell"
- ↑ "Blackwater"
- ↑ "Valar Morghulis"
- ↑ Digital Spy interview
|Lord:||King Joffrey I||Heir:||Prince Tommen Baratheon|
|Seat:||King's Landing||Lands:||The Crownlands|
|Title(s):||King of the Andals and the First Men · Lord of the Seven Kingdoms · Protector of the Realm|
|Current members:||Queen Regent Cersei Lannister · Princess Myrcella Baratheon|
|Deceased members:||Robert Baratheon|
|Household:||Lord Tywin Lannister · Margaery Tyrell · Ser Loras Tyrell · Tyrion Lannister · Grand Maester Pycelle · Lord Varys · Ser Meryn Trant · Ser Preston Greenfield · Ser Arys Oakheart · Ser Boros Blount · Ser Balon Swann · Ser Ilyn Payne · Lord Gyles Rosby · Ser Lancel Lannister · Ser Aron Santagar · Septa Eglantine · Dontos Hollard|