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Synopsis

The story of Joffrey Baratheon from A Song of Ice and Fire and Game Of Thrones.

Background

Joffrey was born of incest to Queen Cersei Lannister and her brother Jaime. However, the truth of his birth has been kept a secret (with only Stannis Baratheon to question it and confide his suspicions to Jon Arryn) and he was presented to the world as the son of King Robert Baratheon and heir to the Iron Throne. He grew up as a spoiled and indulgent child with a cruel streak within him. Robert never questioned the boy's parentage, but it is made clear throughout the books that he was deeply disappointed with his 'son' and felt little affection for Joffrey. By contrast, it is also implied in the book that Joffrey craved Robert's respect and approval, and many of his acts were done in an effort to live up to his 'father's' standards.

Once after learning a kitchen cat was pregnant, Joffrey killed the animal and cut open her belly to see the kittens inside. He showed one of the unborn kittens to his "father". Robert was so shocked and angry he hit the boy so hard it knocked out two of his baby teeth, in front of Cersei and Stannis. With Robert's strength, the hit was too much for Joffrey, who fell unconscious. Stannis looked him and thought he was dead, which caused Cersei to panic and rage at Robert, telling him to never hurt her son ever again, though Robert ignored her. It is also implied Joffrey bullied his younger brother Tommen.

Game of Thrones (T.V. Series)

Season 1

Joffrey along with the rest of the royal family made the trip to Winterfell after Jon Arryn's death. There he began to court the pretty Sansa Stark, Eddard's daughter, to whom he was betrothed. He sparred with Robb Stark in the yard and insulted Robb.

Game of Thrones S01E02 - Tyrion slaps Joffrey

Game of Thrones S01E02 - Tyrion slaps Joffrey

Tyrion gives Joffrey what he deserves best: a good ol' slap to the face.

While at Winterfell, it is implied that Joffrey himself, hired an underling to murder the critically injured Bran Stark after hearing Robert drunkenly mention that the boy should be mercifully killed. The attempt failed, and was later blamed on Tyrion Lannister, which furthered the growing enmity between House Stark and Lannister.

On the way from Winterfell to King's Landing, Joffrey spends a day riding with Sansa, she enjoys it greatly whilst he drinks summerwine. They come upon Arya Stark and her friend Mycah, the butcher's boy, practicing sword fighting. Joffrey was drunk and commands Mycah to spar with him; Mycah doesn't take up the challenge, and Joffrey pricks him with his sword, ignoring pleads to leave him alone. Arya then smacks him with the stick allowing Mycah to escape, enraged Joffrey slashes at Arya and is injured when Nymeria protected her. Joffrey later claimed before Robert's court that he had been attacked by Mycah and Nymeria. This resulted in the deaths of Mycah and Lady and earned Joffrey Arya's hatred. It was at this time that Joffrey lost Lion's Tooth, when Arya took it from him and sent it hurling towards the Trident, an incident that humiliated Joffrey, particularly when his uncle Renly openly laughed at his nephew for being beaten and disarmed by a girl younger than him.

Acting as the new Hand of the King, Eddard Stark discovered that Joffrey, along with his siblings, were actually bastards born of incest between Cersei and Jaime. Cersei protected her children's secret by arranging for King Robert's death. Following Robert death, Joffery summons the council and commands that they make arrangements for his coronation. When Ned produce Roberts will, declaring him regent and his true son heir to the Iron Throne, Cersei tears it down and advises Ned to swear fealty to her son. Ned in turn reveals that her Joffrey has no claim to the throne and is born of incest, but he is quickly arrested for treason.

Joffrey Baratheon on the Iron Throne HBO

Joffrey Baratheon on the Iron Throne; also his malicious smile

After taking the Throne as Robert's heir, Joffrey started his first court session by naming Tywin Lannister as the new Hand of the King, appointing his mother to small council and Jaime Lannister as lord commander of the Kingsguard, dismissing the legendary knight Barristan Selmy from his service, against all traditions; when Selmy stormed out in disgust, making a remark about the ease with which Stannis Baratheon would take the throne from him.

Joffrey ordered Selmy seized and questioned, though the old knight escaped. When Sansa kneels and begs for him to spare her father's life and ask that Joffrey to do this for love of her, and finally Joffrey promises Sansa that he would be merciful, but after Eddard Stark confessed of his "crimes" and declares that Joffrey Baratheon is the true heir to the Iron Throne, his mercy turned out to be Eddard Stark's quick public beheading before Sansa's own eyes. This rash act was against his family's wishes to minimize further bloodshed and deal freely with his uncles Renly and Stannis, and led to the intensification of hostilities as Ned's son Robb Stark declared himself the King in the North and the Trident and initially vowed to kill Joffrey in retaliation (was later willing to make peace), thus plunging Westeros into devastating civil war. Meanwhile Renly Baratheon prepares to leave the south with his army, while no one knows what is Stannis doing.

Joffrey continued to mistreat and abuse Sansa Stark, a penalty for each of Robb's victories. Forcing her to look at her father's severed head was the start of a string of beatings he commands his Kingsguard to abuse her. He threatened to force her to look on her brother' s head when he kills him, as he boasts, in single combat. He often ordered his Kingsguard to beat her for disobedience.

Season 2

Joffrey continues to rule the realm with cruelty and brutality. On his Nameday celebration he holds a tourney and attempts to have Ser Dontos Hollard drowned with Wine after showing up to the tourney drunk. This act is only stopped when Sansa cleverly convinces Joffrey it is bad luck to kill someone on his nameday, Ser Dontos is spared and made the court fool.

After hearing rumors of his true parentage by Stannis' s letters, Joffrey had all of King Robert's bastard children in King's Landing brutally massacred, including a small infant child Barra (however in the book version it was Cersei who gave the order because of her paranoia, and to prevent Stannis from using them as proof for his claim). After Robb Stark wins the Battle of Oxcross, which resulted with the death of Ser Stafford Lannister, Joffrey further torments Sansa by having her stripped and beaten in front of the whole King's court by King guardsman Ser Meryn Trant.

The beating is stopped by Tyrion, which fuels Joffrey's hatred for his uncle, and Tyrion viewing his nephew as a monster. Later Tyrion, on advice from his sellsword Bronn, decides to let Joffrey relieve some of his tension in a sexual way and has two of Littlefinger's prostitutes sent to his chambers. However instead of sexual pleasure Joffrey has the two women humiliated by having one beat the other to the point of screaming in pain, and sodomize her with a large staff. Meanwhile Balon Greyjoy rebels against Joffrey's rule as well and declares the Iron Islands independents.

After Renly Baratheon's death he attends his sister's departure from King's Landing to Dorne. Joffrey is attacked by an angry starving mob in the streets, after someone throws cow feces in his face, and he orders everyone in the crowd executed. Soon, many of his knights are overrun, causing Joffrey to flee in fear and orders Sansa to be left for the angry mob, she is however saved by the Hound.

Not long after the riot, King's Landing prepares for a siege on the city by Robert's younger brother, Stannis Baratheon, who is approaching with his fleet of ships from Blackwater Bay. On the eve of the battle Joffrey shows his cowardice with his panicked state and anger at Tyrion not sharing his battle strategy with him, and fearing that there are no Lannister ships in the Bay to meet Stannis and his forces.

However, Joffrey is quite pleased when his uncle unleashes the wild fire on Stannis ships, almost completely decimating his fleet. His joy quickly turns back to terror, when Stannis and a large shore party land on the beach and advance on the city gates. After his disenchanted personal bodyguard, Sandor Clegane, his cousin Lancel informs him that his mother is asking for him to return to his chamber, Joffrey (once again showing his cowardice) jumps on this opportunity and abandons the battle and his men.

This leaves his uncle Tyrion to rally the men and attack Stannis and his invading army, after Tyrion is wounded and the City Watch is about to be overrun, Tywin Lannister, leading Lannister and Tyrell forces, saves the city and routes Stannis and his army.

After the battle, Joffrey names his grandfather, Tywin savior of the city and the new Hand of The King. He also grants Loras Tyrell an audience, with the court, where he offers Joffrey a marriage to his sister Margaery Tyrell in order to unite their houses, and after a contrived dialogue concerning breaking his betrothal to Sansa Stark, he accepts the proposal.

Season 3

King Joffrey is passing through Flea Bottom, heavily guarded. The Riot that almost cost him his life recently occurred in this part of the city. His convoy suddenly stops, much to his irritation, to find that his betrothed Maergery is interacting with the peasants. Joffrey defends her actions later to his mother showing several that Maergery can manipulate and control Joffrey to a certain extent, causing much friction between her and Cersei.

Later after Ros, one of Littlefinger's prostitutes, is caught spying on her employer for Varys. Because of this Littlefinger hands her off to Joffrey, who once again shows his sadistic side, when he chains her to his bad post and uses her as target practice with his crossbow until he finally kills her with a bolt to the heart.

Eventually Joffrey requests a personal report on the happenings in the realm and beyond from his Hand, Tywin. After Joffrey's disrespectful nature Tywin menacingly approaches the Throne and an intimidated Joffrey, worriedly asks about Daenerys Targareyn and her dragons. Joffrey's worries however are shot down by Tywin who tell the king to leave such matters to his council and advisors.

When news of the massacre known as the Red Wedding and Robb Stark's death reaches King's landing, Joffrey assembles a small council meeting, inviting his Uncle Tyrion as well. Joffrey makes it plain that he fully intends to serve Robb's head to Sansa, at his wedding feast, an idea that horrifies and offends several at the table including Lord Varys. Tyrion flat out forbids Joffrey's cruel request and threatens his life, causing Joffrey to lash out in anger and remind him he is the King. Tywin then chides Joffrey for insisting he is King, noting that someone who must do so is not true ruler, with this Joffrey fires back and insults Tywin's lack of action during his father Robert's rebellion, openly calling him a coward in front of the small council. Because of this slight Tywin orders Joffrey to bed and to be sedated without having his supper, an action that greatly pleases Tyrion.

Season 4

On the verge of his royal wedding, Joffrey has left all planning to those around him, taking almost no interest in security leaving that all to Jaime and the kingsguard. Joffrey states that he believes the people of King's landing view him as their savior and savior of the city and that the war had already been won. When Jaime, points out the flaw in his thinking, Joffrey openly insults him and his lack of a sword hand.

At the Wedding breakfast Joffrey is presented with many gifts, one a priceless book given to him by Tyrion, to the surprise of everyone present, Joffrey seems to genuinely appreciative of the gift. However after Tywin presents him with a valryian steel sword, which Joffrey names "Widow's Wail", The king slices Tyrion's book in half, showing his malice and contempt towards his uncle.

Later, after Joffrey and Maergery are wed, he holds a lavish wedding feast in the sept of Baelor, with many noble guests attending.  Joffrey is especially cruel, going to great lengths to humiliate and offend many attending guests. He hires a group of dwarves to mock the war of five kings with each one dressed as one of Joffrey's opponents. To Sansa's horror, one is crudely dressed as her deceased brother Robb wearing a wolf's head. Joffrey soon moves on to Tyrion himself by first pouring wine over his head and demands him to be his cup bearer, Joffrey further humiliates him by dropping the cup and making him pick it back up. He then orders Tyrion to kneel before him which Tyrion refuses, however before Joffrey can respond, the wedding pie arrives drawing the King's attention. Joffrey then uses his new Valyrian steel sword to cut the pie sending doves flying from the pie, and killing several with his strike.

Bun

Joffrey killed by poison.

As Joffrey is being fed the pie from his new bride he once again turns his attention to Tyrion, demanding he stay and bring him his wine. Tyrion once again complies and brings Joffrey a cup of wine from the King's own table and then attempts to leave with his wife Sansa. Joffrey sips his wine and again orders Tyrion to stay, but begins to cough excessively, he tries to drink more wine but it is to no avail.  Having been poisoned Joffrey then falls to the ground violently coughing and vomiting, causing Cersei and Jaime to rush to his side. The king's face begins to turn dark purple as blood now begins to flow from his eyes and nose, Joffrey manages to lift an accusing finger towards Tyrion before succumbing to asphyxiation in front of everyone attending the wedding. Cersei, believing Tyrion to be responsible, screams for him to be taken into custody while cradling the lifeless body of her son.

Joffrey's body was ultimately laid to rest in the Great Sept of Baelor, his uncle Tyrion being charged with regicide and put on trial for supposedly murdering his nephew. Utterly convinced that her brother is guilty, Cersei uses his enemies to build a strong case against him. When she uses Shae as the final witness against him, however, Tyrion becomes enraged at the injustice. Amid a vengeful tirade against the citizens of Kings Landing, Tyrion turns to Cersei and shouts right to her face that - 

Even so when a subsequent trial by combat works against him, Tyrion is ultimately declared guilty of murdering Joffrey and sentenced to death. The night before his execution, however, Tyrion is broken out by his brother Jaime who after conversing with Tyrion before and during the trial, realised that he was innocent. Realising that his father also knew he was innocent all along, and angered by the betrayal inflicted by his father and sister, Tyrion decided to confront Tywin one last time before leaving. When an unrepentant Tywin refused to apologise or admit to it, as well as mocking Tyrion's affections for Shae, Tyrion killed him with two crossbow bolts to the chest and left his father to die in the privy chamber - thus dealing a devastating blow to House Lannister.

Following his death, Joffrey was mentioned sporadically throughout the subsequent series of Game of Thrones, usually by the Lannisters and Starks. Those that spoke of Joffrey often referred to him as a monster and a worthless king who plunged the realm into civil war, and it was clear that few people felt sorry for him. The only person to feel any sense of loss for Joffrey was his mother Cersei. Having become much more bitter and vindictive following her eldest sons murder, Cersei spared no effort in trying to avenge him. She put a bounty upon Tyrion and Sansa's heads, still believing them to be the culprits, a fact which led to the deaths of many innocent people.

Joffrey's remains were ultimately destroyed when his mother destroyed the Great Sept of Baelor, an act which allowed her to take the throne, whilst simultaneously killing Joffrey's wife, Margaery Tyrell. Shortly afterwards, Jaime returned from the Siege of HighGarden and the devastating defeat at the Goldroad, with news that would shock Cersei to her very core. After years of accusation, she finally learnt that Tyrion and Sansa had, in fact, played no role in Joffrey's murder. It was Margaery's now deceased grandmother Olenna who carried it out, meaning Cersei's accusations and subsequent actions had all been for nothing.  

In ASOIAF Series

In the novels, Joffrey is twelve years old when the story begins. He is described as a handsome young man, taller than average for his age, 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. Joffrey killed and skinned several of Tommen's childhood pets, yet Cersei continued to dote on him. At one point Tommen even says that he used to "go away inside" mentally when Joffrey did certain things to him and Myrcella, though the exact extent of what he did (killing his pets or something far more sinister) has not been made clear.

The reason for Joffrey's psychopathic, borderline-insane behavior is suspected to be due to his incestuous parentage, much like some of 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. However, he also spent a lot of time with Sandor Clegane, seeing him as a surrogate father and admiring his talent for violent and cruel words. 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 psychopath with narcissistic, borderline, and antisocial traits 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. When Sansa asks if he killed any of the peasants, Joffrey matter-of-factly states that of course he did, he was trying to kill them. He also seems to have no problem in killing members of his own family, having stated various times that he would kill his legal uncles, Renly and Stannis.

Cersei is the only person to genuinely mourn Joffrey in A Feast of Crows. Behind closed doors, however, nobody else pretends to be the least bit sorry for him. This includes his biological father Jaime, who not only refuses to acknowledge Joffrey as his son but also admits that personally, he thinks Joffrey deserved his fate. Tyrion notes that had he lived, Joffrey would have become a worse ruler than the Mad King ever was. Arys Oakheart, one of Joffrey's Kings Guard says that the only good things about Joffrey were that he was tall and strong for his age. As in the series, Cersei is convinced that Tyrion and Sansa are the perpetrators of Joffrey's murder and is determined to see them both killed for it.

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