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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]

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
Last appearance
Created byGeorge R. R. Martin
Portrayed byJack Gleeson
Information
Alias
  • Joffrey the Illborn
  • The Young Usurper
GenderMale
Title
  • King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men
  • Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
  • Protector of the Realm
Family
SpouseMargaery Tyrell (unconsummated)
Relatives

Introduced in 1996's A Game of Thrones, Joffrey is the eldest son of Cersei Lannister from the continent of Westeros. He subsequently appeared in Martin's A Clash of Kings (1998) and A Storm of Swords (2000). He is characterized as a spoiled, sadistic bully and is a frequent abuser of Sansa Stark, to whom he becomes engaged in the first novel, and his uncle Tyrion, whom he enjoys ridiculing.

Joffrey is portrayed by Irish actor Jack Gleeson in the HBO television adaptation, a role for which he has received significant critical attention and praise.[2][3][4]

Contents

OverviewEdit

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 uncle Tyrion Lannister and his one-time fiancée Sansa Stark. 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 descriptionEdit

In public, Joffrey is allegedly 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 mother's twin brother, Jaime Lannister. 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.[5]

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

StorylinesEdit

 
Joffrey Baratheon's personal coat of arms

A Game of ThronesEdit

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, until physically forced to by his uncle, Tyrion Lannister. 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. When Joffrey then turns on Arya, her direwolf Nymeria attacks 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 has his bodyguard Sandor "The Hound" Clegane hunt down and kill Mycah.

Later, Eddard Stark discovers that Joffrey is not King Robert's biological son and refuses to acknowledge Joffrey's claim to the throne when King Robert dies. He is taken into custody. On Sansa's pleas, Eddard issues a false confession of his treason. Joffrey promised Sansa that he would be merciful but then beheads Eddard anyway and later forces Sansa to look upon her father's head.

A Clash of KingsEdit

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 SwordsEdit

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. His uncle Tyrion and his grandfather Tywin are outraged and the former threatens Joffrey once again. After another disagreement, Tywin sends Joffrey to his room, much to Joffrey's chagrin. During his wedding feast, he repeatedly torments Tyrion and Sansa, presenting an offensive play about "The War of the Five Kings", with each of the kings played by dwarves to humiliate his uncle, whom he also forces to act as his cupbearer. At the conclusion of the dinner, however, Joffrey dies from poisoned wine. Tyrion is falsely accused and arrested by Cersei in A Storm of Swords (2000) but it is later revealed that Lady Olenna Tyrell and Lord Petyr Baelish were the true perpetrators.

Later novelsEdit

Joffrey is mentioned a few times in the later novels.

Family treeEdit

TV adaptationEdit

Season 1Edit

After Robert's death, the Lannisters make Joffrey King, 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 to spare Ned Stark; instead, Joffrey has him executed.

Season 2Edit

Joffrey's act worsens the situation with the Lannisters' war effort, as his uncle Jaime is captured by the Starks, and Joffrey's paternal uncles Renly and Stannis challenge his claim to the Iron Throne. Joffrey 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; consequently, he is almost killed during a riot. 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 grandfather Tywin, aided by the forces of House Tyrell. To cement the alliance between those families, Joffrey's engagement to Sansa is annulled so he can marry Margaery Tyrell.

Season 3Edit

The marriage is yet to take place, and rifts are growing between Joffrey, and his uncle Tyrion and grandfather Tywin, who are (in their respective ways) rebutting his cruelty. Joffrey also seems to take little interest in his betrothed, 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 Joffrey commands him to consummate the marriage. Tyrion only avoids punishment when his father Tywin assures Joffrey that Tyrion 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 Robb's head. Tyrion and Tywin are outraged, and the former threatens Joffrey once again. After another disagreement, Tywin sends Joffrey to his room, much to Joffrey's chagrin.

Season 4Edit

Joffrey finally marries Margaery. During his wedding feast, he repeatedly torments Tyrion and Sansa, presenting an offensive play about "The War of the Five Kings", with each of the kings played by dwarves to humiliate his uncle, whom he also forces to act as his cupbearer. At the height of the festivities, Joffrey is suddenly overcome by poison and dies. Tyrion is falsely accused and ordered arrested by Cersei, but it is later revealed that Lady Olenna Tyrell and Lord Petyr Baelish were the true perpetrators. Olenna Tyrell, Margaery's grandmother, 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 and proceeds to marry Joffrey's widow Margaery.

Development and receptionEdit

In January 2007, HBO secured the rights to adapt Martin's series for television.[6][7] Years later young actor Jack Gleeson was cast as Joffrey Baratheon.[8]

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

Jack Gleeson received critical acclaim for his role as Joffrey Baratheon in the television series. In 2016, Rolling Stone ranked the character #4 in their list of the "40 Greatest TV Villains of All Time".[9] Author Martin described Joffrey as similar to "five or six people that I went to school with ... a classic bully ... incredibly spoiled".[10]

ReferencesEdit

  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. ^ "Game of Thrones Viewer's Guide".
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Fleming, Michael (January 16, 2007). "HBO turns Fire into fantasy series". Variety. Archived from the original on May 16, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  8. ^ "Jack Gleeson Was Not Originally Supposed To Play Joffrey On 'Game Of Thrones'". The Huffington Post. 27 March 2013.
  9. ^ Collins, Sean T. (February 9, 2016). "40 Greatest TV Villains of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  10. ^ Dent, Grace (interviewer); Martin, George R. R. (2012-06-12). Game Of Thrones – Interview with George R.R. Martin. YouTube.