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Joffrey Baratheon (played by Jack Gleeson), of House Baratheon, is one of HBO's Game of Thrones's most loathed characters. Too bad he is also one of the most powerful. The current ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, the teenage psychopath has a penchant for inflicting cruelty (preferably, with a crossbow).
In Season 1, we meet Joffrey as the son of King Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister. He is soon engaged to Sansa Stark. Joffrey is not the charming prince Sansa imagines him to be, nor is he the rightful heir to the throne. Joffrey’s golden locks, though fetching, reveal him as a product of the incestuous relationship between Cersei and her brother, Jaime Lannister. Ned Stark discovers this secret shortly before Robert’s death raises Joffrey to the throne. Though Joffrey promises Sansa and Cersei to take mercy, he has Ned’s head chopped off, plunging the kingdom into war. Bad move, Joff.
While Tywin Lannister leads the royal army, Joffrey stays in King’s Landing to “rule” in Season 2. For Joffrey, this largely consists of public beatings of Sansa, private beatings of prostitutes, and a general incompetence at politics. Tyrion Lannister, his uncle and Hand of the King, manages the city, often rebuking Joffrey for his cruel behavior. Though King’s Landing manages to stave off the attacking armies of Stannis Baratheon in the Battle of the Blackwater, Joffrey flees into the protection of the Red Keep during the fight. Come season end, Joffrey’s engagement with Sansa is broken in favor of Margaery Tyrell, whose family helped provide the reinforcements to defend the city.
In Season 3, Joffrey is still his charming self. Cersei loses most of what influence she had over her son, but fiancee Margaery has slightly better luck tempering his cruelty, and Tywin easily keeps the real power. Of course, that doesn't stop Joffrey from killing Ros at the end of Season 3, Episode 6: “The Climb,” nor does it stop him from lashing out at his grandfather in the finale.
Joffrey was introduced in Season 1, Episode 1: "Winter Is Coming."
Memorable Quotes (and Moments):
— “My mother wishes me to let Lord Eddard join the Night's Watch. Stripped of all titles and powers he would serve the realm in permanent exile. And my lady Sansa has begged mercy for her father. But they have the soft hearts of women! So long as I am your King, treason shall never go unpunished. Ser Ilyn, bring me his head!”
— Forcing Sansa to inspect her father’s head on a spike
— Joffrey’s idea of a romantic gift: “I'll tell you what. I'm going to give you a present. After I raise my armies, and kill your traitor brother, I'll give you his head as well.”
— Making an offending court musician choose between losing his tongue or his fingers
— On the all-important throne: “Say what you will about the Targaryens, they were conquerors...That is a seat for a conqueror.”