Joffrey Baratheon

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Joffrey Baratheon
A Song of Ice and Fire character
Game of Thrones
character
Joffrey Baratheon-Jack Gleeson.jpg
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon
First appearance Novel:
A Game of Thrones (1996)
Television:
"Winter Is Coming" (2011)
Last appearance Novel:
A Storm of Swords (2000)
Television:
"Breaker of Chains" (2014)
Created by George R. R. Martin
Portrayed by Jack Gleeson
(Game of Thrones)
Information
Gender Male
Title King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men
Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
Protector of the Realm
Regent
Family House Lannister
Spouse(s) Margaery Tyrell
Relatives Robert Baratheon (legal father)
Jaime Lannister (biological father/uncle)
Cersei Lannister (mother/aunt)
Tommen Baratheon (brother/cousin)
Myrcella Baratheon (sister/cousin)
Tywin Lannister (grandfather)
Joanna Lannister (grandmother)
Tyrion Lannister (uncle)
Kingdom The Crownlands

Joffrey Baratheon is a fictional character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series of epic fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin, and its television adaptation Game of Thrones.[1]

Introduced in 1996's A Game of Thrones, Joffrey is the eldest son of Cersei Lannister from the kingdom of Westeros. He subsequently appeared in Martin's A Clash of Kings (1998) and A Storm of Swords (2000).

Joffrey is portrayed by Irish actor Jack Gleeson in the HBO television adaptation.[2][3][4] In 2016, Rolling Stone ranked the character #4 in their list of the "40 Greatest TV Villains of All Time".[5]

Overview[edit]

Joffrey Baratheon is not a point of view character in the novels, so his actions are witnessed and interpreted through the eyes of other people, such as his mother Cersei Lannister, his uncle Tyrion Lannister and his one-time fiancée Sansa Stark. Joffrey is mostly a background character in the novels.[6] He inherits his mother's traditional Lannister looks, and has blond hair and green eyes, and is believed by many to be very handsome.

Character description[edit]

In public, Joffrey is the oldest son and heir of King Robert Baratheon and Queen Cersei Lannister, both of whom entered into a political marriage alliance after Robert took the throne by force from the 'Mad King' Aerys II Targaryen. In reality, his biological father is his uncle Jaime Lannister, the Queen's twin brother and member of the Kingsguard. He has a younger sister, Myrcella, and a younger brother, Tommen, both of whom are also products of Jaime and Cersei's incestuous relationship. Their sole biological grandparents, Tywin and Joanna Lannister, were also first cousins.[7]

Joffrey is an amoral sadist who disguises his cruelty with a thin veneer of charm. This is best epitomized by his response when his (then) betrothed offends him: Joffrey pronounces that his mother had taught him never to strike a woman, and so commissions a knight of the Kingsguard to hit her instead. He enjoys forcing people to fight to the death, and enforces cruel punishments for lesser crimes. He has no sense of personal responsibility, blaming failures on others. He lacks self-control and often insults his allies and family members. Joffrey is one of the story's few characters to display no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Joffrey is 12 years old at the beginning of A Game of Thrones (1996).

Storylines[edit]

A coat of arms showing a gold on red lion and a black on gold crowned stag combatant.
Joffrey Baratheon's personal coat of arms

A Game of Thrones[edit]

Prince Joffrey is taken by his parents to Winterfell and is betrothed to Sansa Stark in order to create an alliance between House Baratheon and House Stark. At first, Joffrey is kind and polite to Sansa. However, he refuses to show sympathy with the family when Bran Stark falls from a tower; this makes Joffrey's uncle Tyrion have to physically punish him until he shows respect. While on the Kingsroad to King's Landing, Joffrey and Sansa come across Arya Stark practicing swordplay with a commoner Mycah. Joffrey accuses Mycah of assaulting a noble girl and makes a cut on his face with a sword. This causes Arya to hit Joffrey, allowing Mycah to escape. Joffrey then turns on Arya, making her direwolf Nymeria attack Joffrey, injuring him. Later, Joffrey lies about the attack, saying it was unprovoked and demands Nymeria to be killed; however, Sansa's direwolf Lady is killed instead. He later orders his bodyguard and sworn sword Sandor "The Hound" Clegane to kill Mycah and bring him back his corpse, which he does.

Later, Eddard Stark discovers that Joffrey is not 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, hence the blonde hair can be attributed to the incestuous relationship of Queen Cersei and Ser Jaime. This causes Eddard to refuse to acknowledge Joffrey's claim to the throne when King Robert dies. He is taken into custody and his guards and household are murdered.

Sansa kneels and begs for Joffrey to spare her father Eddard's life and asks that Joffrey to do this for love of her, and Joffrey promises Sansa that he would be merciful. Eddard later admits Joffrey as the rightful King in order to spare Sansa's life. However, Joffrey says that he has no acceptance for traitors and instead beheads Eddard and later forces Sansa to look upon her father's head.

A Clash of Kings[edit]

Joffrey is briefly seen in A Clash of Kings (1998). He rules with whim and caprice, proving difficult for even his mother to control. Sansa becomes imprisoned to his will, and he frequently has his guards beat her when she displeases him. When Stannis Baratheon attacks King's Landing, Joffrey leaves the battlefield, damaging the morale of his army. The battle is only won by his uncle Tyrion's use of wildfire and his grandfather Tywin's last-minute counterattack aided by the forces of House Tyrell.

A Storm of Swords[edit]

Joffrey sets aside his earlier betrothal to Sansa Stark in favor of Margaery Tyrell, cementing an alliance between the Lannisters and House Tyrell. At Tyrion and Sansa's wedding, he humiliates his uncle and is outraged when his uncle threatens him after he commands him to consummate their marriage. Tyrion only avoids punishment when his father Tywin assures Joffrey that his uncle was drunk and had no intention of threatening the king. Later after the events of the "Red Wedding", Joffrey gleefully plans on serving Sansa her recently deceased brother's head, when Tyrion and Tywin are outraged. Tyrion threatens Joffrey once again, and later Joffrey turns on Tywin, who responds by commanding Joffrey to be sent to his room, much to Joffrey's chagrin. During his wedding feast in the throne room, he presents an extremely offensive play of "The War of the Five Kings, " with each of the kings played by dwarves, to humiliate his uncle. He also repeatedly torments Tyrion and Sansa, forcing the former to be his cupbearer. At the conclusion of the dinner, however, Joffrey's wine is poisoned, and he dies in an event known as "The Purple Wedding," in which Tyrion is falsely accused and arrested by Cersei in A Storm of Swords (2000). It is later revealed that Lady Olenna Tyrell and Lord Petyr Baelish were the true perpetrators, with assistance from royal fool Ser Dontos Hollard, who successfully smuggles Tyrion's wife Sansa out of King's Landing before either of them can be caught and tried for Joffrey's murder.

Later novels[edit]

Joffrey is mentioned a few times in the later novels.

Family tree of House Lannister[edit]

TV adaptation[edit]

In January 2007 HBO secured the rights to adapt Martin's series for television.[8][9] Years later young actor Jack Gleeson was cast as Joffrey Baratheon.[10]

Storylines[edit]

Jack Gleeson plays the role of Joffrey Baratheon in the television series.

Joffrey Baratheon is the Crown Prince of the Seven Kingdoms. He is the eldest of Cersei Lannister's children and heir to the Iron Throne. Evil, arrogant, vicious, and cruel, he has a short temper and believes he can do anything he wants. He is also a coward when confronted by those who aren't afraid of him. Joffrey is also unaware that King Robert is not his real father – in reality, he is the son of Jaime Lannister.

Season 1[edit]

After Robert's death, the Lannisters make Joffrey King against his father's will, and his mother uses him as a puppet. A cruel ruler, Joffrey makes a mistake when, against Cersei's and Sansa's wishes, he refuses to honor his promise of sparing Ned; instead, Joffrey has him executed.

Season 2[edit]

His act worsens the situation with the Lannisters' war effort as his uncle Jaime is captured by the Starks and his uncles Renly and Stannis have challenged his claim to the Iron Throne. He frequently orders his Kingsguard to beat Sansa. His cruelty and ignorance of the commoners' suffering makes him unpopular after he orders the City Watch to kill all of his father's bastard children in King's Landing which would later lead to a riot where he is almost killed. When Stannis attacks King's Landing, Joffrey serves only as a figurehead and avoids the heavy fighting. When the battle eventually turns in Stannis' favor, Cersei calls her son into the safety of the castle, damaging the morale of his army. The battle is only won by his uncle Tyrion and his grandfather Tywin, aided by the forces of House Tyrell. To cement the alliance between their families, Joffrey's engagement to Sansa is annulled so he can marry Margaery Tyrell.

Season 3[edit]

The marriage is yet to take place, and rifts are growing between Joffrey and his uncle and grandfather, who are (in their respective ways) rebutting his cruelty. He also seems to take little interest in his bride, but is amazed and altered by her ways of winning the people's favor, in which he takes part. At Tyrion and Sansa's wedding, he humiliates his uncle and is outraged when his uncle threatens him after he commands him to consummate their marriage. Tyrion only avoids punishment when his father Tywin assures Joffrey that his uncle was drunk and had no intention of threatening the king. Later after the events of the "Red Wedding", Joffrey gleefully plans on serving Sansa her recently deceased brother's head, when Tyrion and Tywin are outraged. Tyrion threatens Joffrey once again, and later Joffrey turns on Tywin, who responds by commanding Joffrey to be sent to his room, much to Joffrey's chagrin.

Season 4[edit]

Joffrey finally marries Margaery. During his wedding feast in the gardens of the Red Keep, he presents an extremely offensive play of "The War of the Five Kings, " with each of the kings played by dwarves, to humiliate his uncle. He also repeatedly torments Tyrion and Sansa, forcing the former to be his cupbearer. At the height of festivities Joffrey is suddenly overcome by poison, and he dies. His uncle Tyrion is accused and arrested. It is confirmed, however, he was poisoned by Olenna Tyrell, with assistance from Petyr Baelish and Dontos Hollard, as she wanted to protect Margaery from the physical and emotional abuse that Joffrey had very clearly inflicted on Sansa. Olenna later confides to Margaery that she would never have let her marry "that monster". Following Joffrey's funeral, his younger brother and heir, Tommen, is crowned King.

Reception[edit]

Jack Gleeson has received positive reviews for his role as Joffrey Baratheon in the TV-series. Author Martin described Joffrey as similar to "five or six people that I went to school with ... a classic bully ... incredibly spoiled".[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Christopher Hooton (16 April 2014). "King Joffrey: Jack Gleeson to retire from acting after Game of Thrones". The Independent. 
  2. ^ "Game of Thrones Cast and Crew: Joffrey Baratheon played by Jack Gleeson". HBO. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  3. ^ "The Official Website for the HBO Series Game of Thrones - Season 4". HBO. 
  4. ^ "From HBO". Archived from the original on 2016-03-07. 
  5. ^ Collins, Sean T. (February 9, 2016). "40 Greatest TV Villains of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Game of Thrones Viewer's Guide". 
  7. ^ "Game of Thrones Viewer's Guide". 
  8. ^ Radish, Christina (2013). "Producers David Benioff, Dan Weiss & George R.R. Martin Talk Game of Thrones Season 3 and 4, Martin's Cameo, the End of the Series, and More". Collider.com. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  9. ^ Fleming, Michael (January 16, 2007). "HBO turns Fire into fantasy series". Variety. Archived from the original on May 16, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Jack Gleeson Was Not Originally Supposed To Play Joffrey On 'Game Of Thrones'". The Huffington Post. 27 March 2013. 
  11. ^ Dent, Grace (interviewer); Martin, George R. R. (2012-06-12). Game Of Thrones – Interview with George R.R. Martin. YouTube.