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Massacre in King's Landing

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"Orders are orders."
―Lord Janos Slynt to Tyrion Lannister[src]

The Massacre in King's Landing was an event during the War of the Five Kings. Acting on King Joffrey's orders, the City Watch of King's Landing led by Lord Commander Janos Slynt tracks down and murders all of the bastard offspring of the late King Robert Baratheon.



After Joffrey learns of Robert's bastard children, as well as hearing the (unbeknownst to him, accurate) rumors that his real father is actually his own uncle Jaime Lannister, he realizes that his enemies may think that Robert's bastards have a better claim to the throne than he does. In response to this threat, he orders the City Watch of King's Landing to hunt down and kill all of the bastards.


Under the leadership of Lord Commander Janos Slynt, the Watch carry out this mission. They enter the brothel owned by Lord Petyr Baelish in search of Mhaegen, whose infant daughter Barra is one of Robert's bastards. Slynt is unmoved when Ros reminds him that Littlefinger is Master of Coin and the source of his income, as he states that his orders come from someone who does not care what Littlefinger thinks. Mhaegan and Barra are soon located, and Slynt orders one of his men to kill the baby. When the man cannot go through with it, Slynt carries out the deed himself, leaving Mhaegen devastated and everyone else horrified.

Three boys are discovered in Flea Bottom, and two are stabbed while another is drowned. Another baby is killed in plain view of a crowd.

Tobho Mott is interrogated and reveals that Gendry has left the city as a recruit of the Night's Watch. He says that Gendry can be identified by his bull's head helm. Gendry and Arya Stark are travelling north on the Kingsroad with Yoren's recruits.[2]


The massacre was held in plain view of the population of King's Landing, who were horrified at the slaughter of so many innocent children even if they weren't aware of their status as royal bastards. This caused tensions to rise among the smallfolk, who already despised the Lannisters and King Joffrey. For the more learned, who had heard the rumours that Joffrey was a bastard born of incest between Cersei and Jaime Lannister, the fact that the City Watch were directly targeting and killing Robert Baratheon's bastards heightened suspicions about Joffrey's true parentage.

Ros struggles to continue her work as a prostitute having witnessed the murder of Barra. Petyr Baelish threatens her with a tale about selling an unhappy girl to a depraved customer in order to recoup his investment. He orders her to return happy after a night off.

Janos Slynt dines with acting Hand of the King Tyrion Lannister, who questions him about the massacre of the royal bastards. Slynt freely admits his involvement but will not reveal who ordered the attack. Tyrion has Slynt arrested and exiled to the Night's Watch and installs Bronn as Commander of the City Watch in his place. Cersei confronts Tyrion about his actions. He warns that she is losing the support of the people but she claims that she does not care. He concludes that Joffrey ordered the massacre, having initially suspected that it was Cersei.[3]

A group of Lannister soldiers under command of Ser Amory Lorch ambush Yoren and his recruits in a second attempt to find and kill Gendry (a smaller group attacked Yoren and his party earlier.) They are believed to be successful when one of them, Polliver, kills one of the child recruits that Arya Stark identifies as Gendry (due to the bull's head helm lying next to him), but is in fact Lommy. Gendry is the only one of Robert's bastards confirmed to be still alive.

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the massacre of Robert Baratheon's bastards is ordered by Queen Regent Cersei Lannister (not Joffrey) shortly before the arrival of Tyrion Lannister to the capital. This was not the first time Cersei ordered the death of a bastard child of her husband; according to Littlefinger, a pair of twins Robert fathered on a servant at Casterly Rock had previously been murdered (it is unknown if the story is true).

Barra is the only one reported to die in the books, while in the show at least four others of Robert's bastards were killed too.

Gendry is spared from the massacre because Varys had foreseen this would take place and arranged his escape from the city in Yoren's caravan.


  1. Maggy said that Robert would have twenty bastard children. Gendry is the only known survivor, but it does mean not that all the rest were in King's Landing and killed in the purge.
  2. "The North Remembers"
  3. "The Night Lands"

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