Joffrey Baratheon

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Joffrey Baratheon
A Song of Ice and Fire character
Joffrey Baratheon-Jack Gleeson.jpg
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon
First appearance Novel:
A Game of Thrones (1996)
"Winter Is Coming" (2011)
Last appearance Novel:
A Storm of Swords (2000)
"The Lion and the Rose" (2014)
Created by George R. R. Martin
Portrayed by Jack Gleeson
Game of Thrones
Title King of the Andals and the First Men
Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
Protector of the Realm
Family House Lannister
Spouse(s) Margaery Tyrell
Relatives Jaime Lannister (father)
Cersei Lannister (mother)
Tommen Baratheon (brother)
Myrcella Baratheon (sister)
Kingdom The Crownlands

Joffrey Baratheon, is a fictional character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series of 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 fictional kingdom of Westeros. He subsequently appeared in Martin's A Clash of Kings (1998) and A Storm of Swords (2000).

Joffrey is portrayed by Jack Gleeson in the HBO television adaptation.[2][3][4]

Character description[edit]

Joffrey is believed to be 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 father is Jaime Lannister, the Queen's brother and the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. He has a younger sister, Myrcella, and a younger brother, Tommen, both whom are also the product of Jaime and Cersei's incestuous relationship. Their sole biological grandparents, Tywin and Joanna Lannister, were also apparently first cousins.[5]

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


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 Sansa Stark. Joffrey is mostly a background character in the novels.[6]


The Irish actor 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".[7]


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 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.

Later, 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, but 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 is 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 his own life, however, Joffrey says that he has no acceptance for traitors and instead beheads Eddard.

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.

A Storm of Swords[edit]

During his wedding feast in the throne room, Joffrey's wine is poisoned and he dies in an event known as "The Purple Wedding" in A Storm of Swords (2000).

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]


In Season 1, 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. 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 – who, in reality, is Jaime Lannister. After Robert's death, the Lannisters make Joffrey the King against his father's will, and Joffrey becomes a cruel ruler and a Puppet King used by his mother. 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.

In Season 2, His act worsens the situation with the Lannisters' war effort as 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.

Upon the end of Season 3, 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.

In Season 4, Joffrey finally marries Margaery, but he dies at the wedding after being poisoned, and 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 beast". Following Joffrey's funeral, his younger brother and heir, Tommen, is crowned King.