King Joffrey I Baratheon was the eldest son of King Robert Baratheon and Queen Cersei Lannister. Robert was only his legal father, however, as he was actually the offspring of Cersei and her brother, Ser Jaime Lannister.
Appearance and Character
In appearance, Joffrey was tall for his age. He was handsome, but had a petulant, spiteful visage that spoiled his good looks. Joffrey had curly blonde hair and fierce green eyes. He was remarked by Jon Snow to look quite like a girl. Joffrey was slim but not especially strong, nor robust.
He was not especially skilled at combat, despite much practice - he matched Robb Stark in sparring, but never fought in an actual battle. Whilst handsome, he often adopted a sneering expression which rendered him less attractive. He always dressed in fine clothes and wielded weapons of extravagant and boisterous names. Despite him allegedly being a Baratheon, he (very ironically) completely favoured the colours of his mother's house. Joffrey was also likened by others more to a lion than a stag - a reflection that he held more Lannister pride than he did Baratheon strength.
Joffrey was vain, arrogant, barely-educated, ignorant in many key areas and believed that force was the answer to every problem - in fact, aggression, violence and bloodlust was his trigger reaction to any threat that approached him. Despite being, at best, a decent swordsman in friendly matches, Joffrey was not a great warrior nor a commander of men, even though he staunchly believed himself to be both of these things. Joffrey never fought his own battles if he could afford it, relying almost completely on bodyguards or warriors at his disposal, or on the authority he inherited (unjustly) as king. Though he delighted in killing animals - which was clear from an unnervingly young age, wherein he mutilated a pregnant cat and presented the kittens to his father - he was not a talented hunter. When he became king, he resorted to cruel and abusive pleasures rather than actual governance of the realm.
An almost laughably stupid boy with a slow wit and a narrow mind, he was altogether ignorant of the niceties and subtleties of politics, never making dominantly political decisions that had either merit or logical meaning. He could be polite and correct in behaviour when necessary, but generally only when cajoled into doing so by his family. As he grew older, his behaviour became more and more erratic, a fact noticed by many around him, including his grandfather and Hand, Tywin, who several times had to rebuke his grandson's behavior in public. It could be speculated that Joffrey's sense of decorum washed away completely when a crown was placed on his head. Joffrey was a boy who never learned to curb his tongue, resorting immediately to the offensive and completely ignoring the concept of decency when it suited him.
Joffrey has no sense of respect, and openly accuses Tywin Lannister of cowardice during Robert's Rebellion, even though Tywin's monstrous actions had won Robert the throne (and Robert was supposed to be Joffrey's father). He also seemed utterly ungrateful of Tywin's work in actually winning a war that directly threatened him, and despite his claim that 'A strong king acts boldly, he doesn't just talk', the latter is precisely what he did more than actually the former, as Tywin fought more of the war than Joffrey even attempted in his reign.
A psychopath who was obsessed with the self-conception of greatness, power and authority, Joffrey never truly behaved like a king, rather a spoiled child with a crown on his head who has too much power for his own good. He was a poor ruler based solely on the fact that he worsened the predicament of his kingdoms by making decisions that served his own enjoyment. He hated his people, having contempt for lords and commoners alike, and heatedly ordered the massacre of people in his own city when they threw dung at him. Joffrey was hated and feared by his siblings, loathed by his uncle Tyrion and even his own biological father Jaime, who believed he deserved to die. His biological mother Cersei was the only person who genuinely mourned for him.
Joffrey was born to Queen Cersei Lannister and presented to the world as the son of King Robert Baratheon. In truth, Joffrey was conceived from an incestuous relationship between Queen Cersei and her brother, Ser Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer. Joffrey was likely conceived on the night his parents had slept together while they were visiting King Robert's relatives, House Estermont.
Joffrey grew up as a spoiled and indulged child, doted on by his mother. Despite this, Joffrey came to idolise Robert, vowing to become as great a warrior.
Despite this desire to emulate Robert, Joffrey had a cruel streak within him. After learning a castle cat was pregnant, he killed the animal and cut open its belly to investigate further. Proud of his discovery, he brought his findings to Robert who then beat him bloody. Afterwards he had little to do with Joffrey, and Joffrey grew up further sheltered and indulged by his mother, who assigned Sandor Clegane, 'the Hound', to him as a bodyguard and sworn sword. Cersei instilled in him throughout his life that he was mighty and superior to everyone else, to the point that he became uncontrollable, arrogant and intensely sadistic.
A Game of Thrones
Joffrey rides to Winterfell with his father and mother. He attends the celebratory feast held in the Great Hall of Winterfell. He is escorted in by Sansa Stark. Jon Snow dislikes him for his bored expression. In the Winterfell courtyard he mocks both Ser Rodrik Cassel and Robb Stark, saying that they should fight with pointed steel.
Four days after the fall of Bran Stark, Joffrey and Sandor are stood outside the Library Tower of Winterfell. Joffrey is told by his uncle, Tyrion Lannister, that he must visit Lord Eddard Stark and Lady Catelyn Tully to give them his thoughts. When Joffrey denies this at first, Tyrion slaps him across the face twice.
During the ride back to King's Landing, Joffrey is instructed to spend time with Sansa. He takes her riding, and they eventually come across Sansa's sister, Arya Stark, sparring with a butcher's boy. Joffrey challenges the butcher's boy and starts to hurt him, but is attacked by Arya and her direwolf, Nymeria. Arya throws Joffrey's sword, Lion's Tooth, into the Trident. Joffrey then lies about the instance, claiming that Arya and Mycah, the butcher's boy, had attacked him with clubs. Robert orders the death of one direwolf for the crime, and Eddard Stark is forced into executing Sansa's direwolf, Lady.
Joffrey sits with Sansa during the feast after the first day of fighting during the Hand's Tourney, where he feeds her food, and explains some of Moon Boy's jokes. He grows colder to her after his mother leaves, and eventually has Sandor Clegane escort her back to the Red Keep.