King Joffrey I Baratheon, popularly called "the Golden King", is the eighteenth king to rule from the Iron Throne, and the second of the Baratheon dynasty. He is formally styled Joffrey of Houses Baratheon and Lannister, the First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm. Though believed by most - including himself - to be the biological son of King Robert I Baratheon and Queen Cersei Lannister, Joffrey is in fact a bastard born of incest between his mother and her twin brother, Jaime Lannister. It was this fact which saw the Seven Kingdoms erupt into the War of the Five Kings, a brief but bloody conflict which ended with House Lannister having major influence and virtual dominance over the realm.
Appearance and Character
Joffrey has the Lannister look and is taller than most men, including his biological father Jaime, but slightly shorter than his legal father Robert. Known to be handsome he has deep green eyes and pouty lips that strike a dashing smile, similar to his father. Despite Jon Snow thinking Joffrey looks like a girl in his initial meeting, he grew up to be muscular and strong akin to Jaime.
Joffrey shared in his grandfather Tywin's intelligence and ruthlessness, and though he is legally a Baratheon he looks to his Lannister heritage for insight and thus aligns more with with his true family than his legal one. However, unlike Tywin, Joffrey has a proven tendency to be hot-headed, rash and stubborn much like his mother Cersei and both his legal father Robert and his biological father Jaime.
Despite his negative traits, Joffrey also has many a positive characteristic. He is brave in the face of danger and has led his troops on the battlefield many times and so has their loyalty, much like his father Jaime. Also, despite his rashness and quickness to anger, Joffrey shares some of his grandfather's talent for governance and in fact has come up with some of the more radical reforms during his reign alone.
His wife Sansa Stark has additionally noted that on a personal level Joffrey shares some of the best and worst traits of his parents. He has his mothers cynicism, especially towards new courtiers, but also has her drive and ambition. From his legal father he learnt to be magnanimous among those who proved themselves worthy of such generosity.
A Game of Thrones
Joffrey and the rest of the royal family take the kingsroad to Winterfell after Lord Jon Arryn's death, as King Robert I Baratheon asks Lord Eddard Stark to become the new Hand of the King. Joffrey begins to court the pretty Sansa Stark, Eddard's eldest daughter, to whom he has been betrothed. Joffrey spars with Robb Stark in the yard and insults him after thoroughly defeating him, despite being three years his junior. He later joins his father during a hunt, successfully downing a deer.
After Bran Stark is critically injured after falling from the First Keep, Joffrey visits Sansa and comforts her, claiming that he would try and catch whoever hurt her brother - ironically having no idea it was his own biological father, Jaime Lannister.
On the way from Winterfell to King's Landing, Joffrey spends a day riding and drinking wine with Sansa. They come upon Arya Stark and her friend Mycah, a butcher's boy, who are practicing sword fighting. As they see this, Mycah lands a hit on Arya, causing Joffrey to rush forward in defence of Sansa's sister. As he reigns his fists down on the butcher's boy Arya rushes forward and pulls him off Mycah, at which point Joffrey is able to think clearly and hear Arya explaining that they were just sparring. Embarrassed by his over-reaction and mistake Joffrey stormed off with Sansa in tow, as she successfully calmed him down.
While drinking with Eddard Stark at the Hand's tourney at King's Landing, King Robert openly despairs of his wife, revealing to his old friend that he has often thought of abdicating; the only thing that stops him is the thought of Joffrey sitting on the Iron Throne with his mother whispering in his ear. Ned points out that Joffrey seems to be smart and would be capable of ruling, but Robert simply rebuffs him that he's a mama's boy.
Acting as the new Hand, Ned Stark discovers that Joffrey, along with his siblings, are actually bastards born of incest between Cersei and her twin, Ser Jaime of Robert's Kingsguard. Robert never questioned the boy's parentage. Cersei protects her children's secret by arranging for Robert's death by increasing the strength of his favorite wine which he drinks while hunting in the kingswood.
Following Robert's death, Joffrey summons the council and commands that they make arrangements for his coronation as Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. When Ned produces Robert's will, which declares Ned regent and mentions "the heir" rather than specifying Joffrey as heir to the Iron Throne, Cersei tears it up and advises Ned to swear fealty to her son. Ned in turn reveals that Joffrey has no claim to the throne and that his uncle, Lord Stannis Baratheon, is the true heir, but Eddard is quickly arrested for treason.
After taking the Iron Throne as Robert's heir, Joffrey starts his first court session by naming his grandfather, Lord Tywin Lannister, as the new Hand of the King and appointing his mother to the small council, and Jaime Lannister as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard , whilst also dismissing the legendary knight Barristan Selmy from his service, against all traditions. When Barristan storms out in disgust, making a remark about the ease with which Stannis would take the throne from him, Joffrey orders Barristan seized and questioned, though the old knight escapes. The vacancy on the Kingsguard is filled by Joffrey's sworn shield, Sandor Clegane, the first person to serve on the Kingsguard without having earned knighthood. Further during the court session, Sansa, to whom Joffrey is still betrothed, kneels and begs for him to spare her father Eddard's life, asking that Joffrey to do this for love of her. Joffrey promises Sansa that he will be merciful. Indeed Joffrey follows through on this promise, and arranges with Ned Stark that so long as he would travel to the far North and take the black, thus joining the Night's Watch, Joffrey would forgive his crime against the Crown and take no further action against him or his family.
Despite initial strife between the two, Joffrey works hard to make his fiance Sansa Stark feel better over her father's admittance of being a traitor and the disappearance of her younger sister, Arya. His attempts find success despite his mother's mistrust of the Stark girl, and Sansa becomes much calmer whilst in King's Landing. Cersei withholds the news of Renly's coronation at Highgarden from Joffrey lest he insist on marching against him.