Joffrey Baratheon is one of the major antagonists in A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones. He is the secondary antagonist of Season 1, the main antagonist of Seasons 2 and 3, and a minor antagonist of Season 4.
Joffrey is the eldest son of King Robert I Baratheon and Queen Cersei Lannister and the older brother of Princess Myrcella and Prince Tommen. In truth, however, Joffrey was born of the incest between Cersei and her brother Jaime Lannister. After Robert's death, he becomes King of the Seven Kingdoms and Head of House Baratheon.
In the TV series, Joffrey is portrayed by actor Jack Gleeson.
After Jon Arryn's death, Joffrey and the rest of the royal family visit Winterfell, where he began to court his fiance Sansa Stark, Eddard's daughter, as part of Robert's plan to unite House Baratheon and House Stark. Joffrey acts courteous and polite towards Sansa, charming her. However, he refuses to show sympathy to Sansa's brother Bran when he is injured falling from a tower, and is berated by his uncle Tyrion.
While riding to King's Landing, Joffrey and Sansa come across Sansa's sister Arya practicing swordplay with a commoner, Mycah. Joffrey harasses Mycah and challenges him to a duel, slashing the butcher boy's face with his sword when he refuses. Arya strikes Joffrey, allowing Mycah to escape, and an enraged Joffrey turns on Arya. However, Arya's direwolk Nymeria comes to her defense, and Joffrey is left at Arya's mercy. She spares his life and throws his sword in the lake before fleeing with Nymeria. Joffrey later lies about the incident to Robert, claiming he was attacked in an unprovoked manner, though Rober sees past his lies and chastises him for letting a little girl disarm him. Robert orders Nymeria to be killed; when she is not found, Sansa's direwolf Lady is killed instead.
After Eddard Stark discovered that Joffrey and his siblings had been born of the incest between Cersei and Jaime, Cersei arranged for Robert's death to protect her secret. After Robert's death, Joffrey ascends the Iron Throne. Eddard refuses to recognize Joffrey as heir to the throne, but he is taken into custody while his household and guards are murdered. Joffrey starts his first court session as king by naming his grandfather Tywin as the new Hand of the King. Sansa pleads to Joffrey to spare her father's life, and Joffrey agrees to show mercy if Eddard admits to treason and acknowledges Joffrey as the true heir to the throne.
During Eddard's public trial, due to threats to Sansa's life, he confesses to treason and names Joffrey to heir to the Iron Throne. However, Joffrey declares that he has no mercy for traitors, and has Eddard publicly beheaded, much to the horror of Cersei and the council, as they know that Eddard's execution will surely lead to civil war. In spite of this, Eddard is executed.
Following Eddard's execution, Westeros was plunged into civil war, with Eddard's son Robb declaring himself King of the North and the Trident and vowing to kill Joffrey to avenge his father's death. Joffrey would continue to mistreat and abuse Sansa out of spite, forcing her to look at her father's decapitated head, and boasting that he would kill her brother as well. He would often have his Kingsguard beat Sansa for disobediance.
Now king of the Seven Kingdoms, Joffrey quickly establishes himself as a tyrant, ruling through cruelty and oppression. While Tywin fights in the War of the Five Kings, Joffrey celebrates his nameday with a tourney, during which he attempts to have a drunken Ser Dontos Hollard drowned, only relenting when Sansa convinces him that executing a man on his nameday would bring bad luck.
After rumors about Joffrey's true parentage began to circulate throughout the kingdom, Joffrey orders all of Robert's bastard children massacred to protect his secret. He continues to abuse Sansa as retaliation for Robb's victories against his armies, which Tyrion believes is a result of sexual frustration. He then sends two prostitutes, Ros and Daisy, to Joffrey as a belated nameday present so that he can relieve his sexual frustration. Instead, Joffrey forces one prostitute to beat the other as a message to Tyrion.
After Renly Baratheon's death, Joffrey attends his sister Myrcella's departure to Dorne. As he makes his way back to the Red Keep, Joffrey is harassed by the starving populace, and one onlooker hurls cow dung at him. Enraged, Joffrey orders his guards to massacre the crowd, resulting in a city wide riot. Joffrey barely escapes alive, and callously commands that Sansa be left to the crowd. However, she is saved by the Hound.
As Stannis Baratheon sails on King's Landing with a massive fleet, Joffrey is determined to participate in the battle. He procures a new sword, named Hearteater, and forces Sansa to kiss the blade, boasting that when he returns, it will have Stannis' blood on it. During the subsequent battle, however, Joffrey soon flees upon seeing the size of Stannis' army, damaging the morale of his troops. However, Tyrion manages to rally his men and continue fighting until Tywin arrives with reinforcements and defeat Stannis' army.
Joffrey rewards Tywin by naming him Savior of the City, and grants a favor to House Tyrell for their aid. Ser Loras asks Joffrey to unite their houses by marrying his sister, Margaery. Joffrey initially balks at breaking his betrothal to Sansa, but eventually accepts.
Now betrothed to Margaery, Joffrey begins to court her. While passing through Flea Bottom, Margaery insists on interacting with the townsfolk and visiting an orphanage, which annoys Joffrey. Later, however, he defends her actions to Cersei. Margaery later begins to manipulate Joffrey and manages to control him to an extent.
Ros is later caught spying on Lord Peter Baelish, who gives her to Joffrey as punishment. Joffrey proceeds to use Ros as target practice with his crossbow, eventually killing her with a bolt to the heart. Later on, Joffrey asks for a status report on the happenings in the realm and beyond from Tywin, complaining about an upcoming meeting in the Tower of the Hand. Tywin, annoyed, intimidates Joffrey, who asks if the rumors of Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons is true, which Tywin confirms.
At the wedding between Tyrion and Sansa, Joffrey humiliates Tyrion by removing his stool so that he cannot cloak Sansa. He later follows Sansa and calls for a bedding ceremony, but Tyrion turns down the offer and threatens him, infuriating Joffrey. When news of Robb Stark's death reaches King's Landing, Joffrey assembles a council meeting, expressing his plans to serve Robb's head to Sansa. Tyrion, however, declares that Sansa is no longer his to torment, leading to a heated argument at the meeting, ending with Joffrey being sent to his chambers without supper.
On the verge of the wedding between Joffrey and Margaery, Joffrey is uninterested in planning his wedding, leaving the preparations to those around him. He insists to Jaime that the people of King's Landing view him as their savior and the war has been won. In the ensuing breakfast celebration on his wedding day, Joffrey receives several gifts, including a book from Tyrion and a sword from Tywin, which Joffrey names "Widow's Wail". Joffrey proceeds to destroy the book given to him by Tyrion out of spite. Joffrey is later married to Margaery.
During the wedding ceremony, Joffrey hires a group of dwarfs to crudely re-enact the War of the Five Kings, with one of them dressed as Sansa's deceased brother Robb. Joffrey goes to great lengths to humiliate Tyrion, pouring wine on his head and making him his cupbearer, demanding that he kneel before him. Tyrion refuses, but before Joffrey can react, Maragaery announces the arrival of the wedding pie, which Joffrey cuts with his sword, releasing multiple hidden doves.
While Joffrey is eating his pie, he requests that Tyrion bring him his wine. Tyrion complies and asks to leave, but Joffrey refuses. After drinking his wine, Joffrey begins to cough excessively and vomiting. Having been poisoned, Joffrey collapses onto the ground and begins to asphyxiate, much to Cersei's horror. In a final gesture, Joffrey points an accusing finger at Tyrion before dying from the poison. Tyrion, blamed for poisoning Joffrey, is taken into custody afterwards.
- Despite his young age, Joffrey is considered one of the most evil villains in Game of Thrones, along with Gregor Clegane, Ramsay Bolton, Karl Tanner, Walden Frey and Craster.
- Similar to Dolores Umbridge, Joffrey is widely despised not only among the other characters, but also among the audience for his many wicked deeds, even among villain enthusiasts who like villains such as Lord Voldemort or Darth Vader. In fact, the character was so despised George R. R. Martin himself congratulated Jack Gleeson (Joffrey's actor) for "being hated by everyone".
- Joffrey was one of the deceased targets on Arya Stark's list.
- Jack Gleeson already knew Joffrey was killed in the Purple Wedding via Wikipedia, so he was not so shocked during filming Season 4 when it was Joffrey's turn to die.
- Many of the series' cast of actors had commented that Jack Gleeson and Joffrey are nothing alike, being exactly polar opposites on one another.