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Joffrey Was he born curel or was it because of his parents?

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Jared Do you think Joff is just naturally like that or do you think he ended up that way because of his parents some ill effect from that?

Some people want to blame incest for how cruel and heartless he is but i think its just who he is.
What are your thoughts?


message 2: by Kat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kat I think it is who he is, I mean Tommen and his sister aren't as....um..horrible lets say, as Joffrey, that being said...he might be acting up because Robert didn't pay him any attention, but still no excuse


JulieLaLa AH, the age old debate of nature vs. nurture. In Joffrey's case, I think it's both. He was born a king's son, to be a king eventually, so had that entitlement-thing going on. He was raised by a cruel and ambitious mother, with a "father" who didn't like him. I don't know that being the product of incest is what made him as cruel as he is.


Jared Robert wasn't made to be a dad, he wasn't made for anything but to fight on a battlefield where he should have died instead of getting all fat! But very good point! just don't blame Robert! i liked him ahaha.


Justin Wilkerson oh the old nature vs. nurture discussion.

Its hard to tell. I personally see it as a combination of multiple things.

1. the incest. It is a viable excuse because it is scientifically proven that inbreeding can have adverse effects on a the offspring. In terms of the books, look at the Targaryens. While not ALL their children are bad off, some have obviously been total wackos lol.

2. Cersei being an overbearing mother. She tried to control everything around her, while at the same time trying to teach Joffrey not to be weak, which ties into...

3. Robert, whom Joffrey believes to be his father, was a weak king in many respects. At the very least he appeared weak to Cersei, which would mean he would the example of how NOT to be king to Joffrey.

Both 2. and 3. would lead Joff to exercise a cruel, extreme so that he never appeared weak. Not realizing that his desperate cruel commands to butcher people makes him appear incredibly weak.

In short: It is a combination of nature vs. nurture, but I think most of it would be from being the offspring of incest.


Jared So bassicly "Everything not to do" they did and the outcome was joff!! Very interesting!! Theory's guys and girls!


message 7: by Mitali (last edited Sep 13, 2012 09:01AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mitali Justin wrote: "oh the old nature vs. nurture discussion.

Its hard to tell. I personally see it as a combination of multiple things.

1. the incest. It is a viable excuse because it is scientifically proven that ..."


I think you're giving far too much importance to the incest. Yes, it is scientifically proven that incest has negative effects on the offspring, but it's nowehere as extreme as most people seem to think. And not to mention that within the books themselves, it's not that extreme either. Tommen and Myrcella are offspring of incest too, and they're both pretty decent people. Joffrey's problem mainly seems to be: 1) He's an insufferable prick by nature, 2) He was raised to be a king, by an arrogant and over-ambitious mother, and 3) He became a king at the age of 13, an age at which most people are pretty full of themselves in any case.


Jeni I agree with Mitali. People are not born cruel or prejudiced. These types of behaviors are learned.

Joffrey was shown cruelty on so many levels as acceptable, is it really a question as to why he is cruel? He's surrounded by abusive people, not the least of all his bodyguard, all of whom are rewarded (in his estimation) with kingships, money, privilege, and power.

Additionally, he gets a great rush from inflicting pain on others and getting a reaction from them. That's just psychotic, to be kind.

Could he be naturally mentally imbalanced? Sure. But I would say that the odds are equal between that imbalance being a result of incest as any other parental combination.


Robin Mitali wrote: "I think you're giving far too much importance to the incest. Yes, it is scientifically proven that incest has negative effects on the offspring, but it's nowehere as extreme as most people seem to think."

The risk of defects from cousin inbreeding isn't as high as most people think but immediate family? Brother and sister relationships or father/daughter or mother/son relationships have a 25% chance of birth defects. That's considered VERY high. And that's assuming there is no previous incest from earlier generations. When you start to see that happening in more than one generation (though that is not what happened in Joffrey's case), such as with Egyptian royalty (or in the series, with the Targaryens), defects are practically assured.

"Tommen and Myrcella are offspring of incest too, and they're both pretty decent people."

With a 25% risk of birth defects, it would be expected that with only 3 children, no more than one of them might be born with a birth defect (physical or mental). Tommen and Myrcella's seeming sanity is not proof that Joffrey did not inherit any kind of mental defect as a result of his parent's incest.

I am not dismissing that Joffrey learned some of his cruel behavior. But I do believe he was predisposed to it and his environment encouraged it. Whether that's from incest or not, I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised.


Charbel I think that he has a bit of an innate cruelty that has been enhanced through time by his parents.


message 11: by Mitali (last edited Sep 13, 2012 11:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mitali Robin wrote: "When you start to see that happening in more than one generation (though that is not what happened in Joffrey's case), such as with Egyptian royalty (or in the series, with the Targaryens), defects are practically assured."

Yeah, when incest continues for generations on end, it takes some pretty heavy toll on the offspring. I think it's safe to assume that Mad King Aerys was mad at least partially due to the Targaryen legacy of incest. But the Lannisters have no such legacy - Jaime and Cersei's union is one-time thing.

Robin wrote: "With a 25% risk of birth defects, it would be expected that with only 3 children, no more than one of them might be born with a birth defect (physical or mental). Tommen and Myrcella's seeming sanity is not proof that Joffrey did not inherit any kind of mental defect as a result of his parent's incest."

Yikes, that's not how statistics works!

Also, I gave the example of Tommen and Myrcella to show that even within the ASoIaF universe, incest is not something that automatically results in 'damaged' offspring.


Robin Mitali wrote: "Yikes, that's not how statistics works! "

No, theoretical risks are not always how it happens in reality... that's why it's called a risk, not an assurance. My point still stands that just because incest produces one child with birth defects does not mean every other child from that couple should or will have them too. Tommen and Myrcella being "normal" does not necessarily mean Joffrey's cruelty or insanity is not the result of incest. Perhaps that point got lost in the stats but I stand by what I said.

"Also, I gave the example of Tommen and Myrcella to show that even within the ASoIaF universe, incest is not something that automatically results in 'damaged' offspring."

I don't think anyone suggested that incest does "automatically" result in defects? Just that Joffrey's sadistic nature could be or is likely to be. The original statement you argued with was: "the incest. It is a viable excuse because it is scientifically proven that inbreeding can have adverse effects on a the offspring." CAN. Not will. Viable excuse, not proof.


Jared Tommen and Myrcella are still young lets remember! maybe they will show sings of being like joff or maybe not! i can't remember if it said if joff was a wicked child as well


Deliriate I doubt that being as cruel as he is, it isn't a product of incest. I think it's more of Robert's treatment towards him and don't forget how Cersei had always clung to him.


Incitanemxx (spoiler alert: if you have not read the 4th book, don't read this)

in A FEAST FOR CROWS, we get to see how cersei punishes tommen. whenever he says something that is slightly disobeying, she forces him to beat this fellow. i think it's a stable boy or something. but she forces tommen to beat him bloody and when he doesn't do it, she tells others to do it and then makes tommen watch.

so it's DEFINITELY because he was raised that way. (if she raised joeffrey the same way.)


Jesper It's an interesting question, can anyone be 'born' cruel, nature vs nurture, etc. If you're really interested there are many books in Psychology, Cognitive Science and Neuroscience that dwelves into the topic.


Robin Incitanemxx wrote: "so it's DEFINITELY because he was raised that way. (if she raised joeffrey the same way.)"

Not every child who is abused winds up cruel and sadistic themselves though. Personally, I think it was a combination of both in Joffrey's case - like I say, he was born prone to it and his environment encouraged it.


message 18: by Heidi (new) - added it

Heidi From my understanding, the only thing incest does is makes it easier to have problems medically. Not so much in terms of serious birth defects, but more so if the mothers aniemic and the fathers aniemic, the child WILL BE aniemic. Any medical issues where the mother and father had a %50 chance of having something would have the child have that issue, but at %100. It doesn't make you cruel.

If being a sociopath was a birth defect, I would hope we would have more information on that. But I could be misinformed, or just plain wrong about everything.


Sarah O. he was spoiled+ has evil personality. told day and night that one day he'll be a king and when he finally becomes a king Ned, Renly and Stannis tell him he has no right. I understand why he would be angry, but he was also an annoying kid. even his mother cant control him, because not only hes a kid but also a king now! /facepalm


Julianna Studies show that kids get about 50% of their personality from their parents, and the other 50% is nurture (pretty even actually).

Cersei was essentially the only parent in his life and I'm sure she gave more attention to Joffrey since he was going to be king.

So he was doubly screwed.


Robin Heidi wrote: "From my understanding, the only thing incest does is makes it easier to have problems medically. Not so much in terms of serious birth defects, but more so if the mothers aniemic and the fathers an..."

Mental illness can absolutely be biologically hereditary.

The only argument against Joffrey inheriting mental illness is that we don't know of any history of it in the Lannister family tree. But that doesn't mean there isn't and even if there isn't, it still doesn't mean his parents weren't carriers. Many of Queen Victoria's descendants suffered from hemophilia - there was no known case of it in her family history but nonetheless, it's a hereditary illness that she was a carrier of.


message 22: by Kat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kat Jared wrote: "Tommen and Myrcella are still young lets remember! maybe they will show sings of being like joff or maybe not! i can't remember if it said if joff was a wicked child as well"

NO! I don't think I can handle two more Joffrey like characters, my hate is reserved purely for him :)

Also though, I do feel like Joffrey behaved that way because he had grown up with Robert who did what ever he wanted, therefore, Joffrey might have felt he could inflict punishment because he believed that no one could challenge his authority, as a king he could get away with anything especially with such a powerful family backing him.


Carina I think everyone has the ability to be 'evil' within them, there is a Native American (I believe) story about having two wolves within us who are fighting one if good and the other is not - whichever one we feed will win the fight.

I feel tha with Joffrey he has been aclimatised to violence from an early age and because of this he doesn't have the same inherrent dislike of violence that others have. If he was raised as Tommen one and was forced to beat his whipping boy it is possible that rather than coming to associate that as a bad thing, he enjoyed hurting others after all if he did something wrong he was not the one who gets hurt.

Compare how Eddard brought up his children - he told them that if you cannot carry out a punishment yourself then you should not do it - thus instilling within them the morals that we can more easily associate with.


message 24: by Mitali (last edited Sep 16, 2012 10:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mitali Robin wrote: "I don't think anyone suggested that incest does "automatically" result in defects? Just that Joffrey's sadistic nature could be or is likely to be. The original statement you argued with was: "the incest. It is a viable excuse because it is scientifically proven that inbreeding can have adverse effects on a the offspring." CAN. Not will. Viable excuse, not proof. "

You've missed my point entirely. As I specified, I was looking at how incest is seen within the ASoIaF universe. After all, we're talking about a fictional character within a fictional - that too fantasy - world. The scientific aspect of incest and its consequences are relevant, but the final word rests not with what is realistically probable, but with what the internal rules of the fictional universe are. This is the view of incest in the books: "Incest was a monstrous sin to both old gods and new, and the children of such wickedness were named abominations in sept and godswood alike." This is a character's opinion, of course - specifically Catelyn's - but we can assume she speaks for her general culture. In light of this, it's interesting to note that while Joffrey is an "abomination", Tommen and Mycella are not. In short, this view of incest is not that of the author himself, just of his characters. So according to GRRM, whatever made Joffrey the way he his, his parents' incestuous relationship was not the deciding factor.


Robin Mitali wrote: "In short, this view of incest is not that of the author himself, just of his characters. So according to GRRM, whatever made Joffrey the way he his, his parents' incestuous relationship was not the deciding factor."

So just because one of his characters does think it, that means GRRM doesn't? I don't see how you came to that conclusion at all. Unless you have a quote from GRRM stating that the incestuous relationship was not the deciding factor, I don't think you can claim that.


Kerry That is his nature, for whatever reason. Corrupting power brings it out. Tyrion and Jaime seem to recognize him as a flawed creature who needs to be managed. From the start he is an arrogant bully. IMO


Mitali Robin wrote: "Unless you have a quote from GRRM stating that the incestuous relationship was not the deciding factor, I don't think you can claim that. "

There is such a thing as reading between the lines and deducing an author's intention from his works. Clearly you have never heard of it.


Kirby Jared wrote: "Tommen and Myrcella are still young lets remember! maybe they will show sings of being like joff or maybe not! i can't remember if it said if joff was a wicked child as well"

yeah, he was a wicked child...remember robert's story about joff cutting the cat (or was it a dog?) open to get the kittens (or puppies)?


message 29: by Robin (last edited Sep 17, 2012 01:19AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Robin Mitali wrote: "There is such a thing as reading between the lines and deducing an author's intention from his works. Clearly you have never heard of it. "

Or maybe I've just read something different between them. We have different interpretations and I'm entitled to my opinion. There is no need to get rude and suggest that I'm an idiot just because we disagree. If that's the way you conduct a discussion, I will bow out now, I don't need that.


Matthew Williams I call inbreeding! That's the very strong implication that I felt was being given throughout the series. As Cersei herself routinely said, the Targaryens inbred, which resulted in the Mad King. And Cersei may be cruel and narcissistic, and Robert a drunken letch, but that cannot explain Joffrey's immense appetite for cruelty and murder.


message 31: by Jeni (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeni Matthew wrote: "I call inbreeding! That's the very strong implication that I felt was being given throughout the series. As Cersei herself routinely said, the Targaryens inbred, which resulted in the Mad King. And..."

Joffrey has no Targaryen blood in him. This is the first generation of siblings breeding in the Lannister family that we know of. I think the odds are very low there is any mental damage due to his parentage.

He's a cruel little sadistic psychopath. He's just like any other psychopath we hear about. Torturing animals as a child, finding joy in others' sufferings, etc. Serial killers do the same things despite their lineage or how they were raised all the time.

Being born twisted doesn't necessarily have to do with anything other than being born twisted.


message 32: by Susana (new)

Susana I think he was a spoilt brat who became what he became in part thanks to his education and to his foul nature. The fact that he's the son of two brothers isn't quite the advantage...

Honestly, I'll be happy when they kill Joffrey. What he did to Ned and Sansa, honestly!


Carina Jeni wrote: "Matthew wrote: "I call inbreeding! That's the very strong implication that I felt was being given throughout the series. As Cersei herself routinely said, the Targaryens inbred, which resulted in the Mad King. And..."

Joffrey has no Targaryen blood in him.


I think Matthew was using the Targaryen family as another example of inbreeding not suggesting Joffrey had their blood.


message 34: by Jeni (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeni Gotcha. Must have misread :)


message 35: by Mia (last edited Sep 18, 2012 03:15PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mia Tommen and Myrcella were perfectly fine. Joffery showed clear signs of sociopathic behavior, but instead of getting mental healthcare (because it's Westeros) he was smacked around by his alcoholic, abusive father and then overly coddled by his mother in retaliation (whereas he still looked up to Robert, who was still an alocholic abusive jackhole) then to top it all off he gets put into a place of ULTIMATE POWER where literally everyone has to do everything he says and people are totally fine with that.

I give him more slack as to what he became, because he was a kid and that situation was probably the worst combination of things, but I think the psychological triggers were in wait. Blaming the incest and Cersei is kind of lazy.


message 36: by Matthew (last edited Sep 18, 2012 03:20PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Matthew Williams Mia wrote: "Tommen and Myrcella were perfectly fine. Joffery showed clear signs of sociopathic behavior, but instead of getting mental healthcare (because it's Westeros) he was smacked around by his alcoholic,..."

Where was it said that is father beat him? I have yet to read the first book, but in books II to IV, there was no mention of family violence. If anything, Robert was portrayed as distant and unavailable, which made Joffrey want to earn his approval.

And I don't see how it's lazy to blame incest or his mother's influence. You doing much the same, putting it all down to nurture instead, blaming Cersei and Robert for the development of his personality. Implying a combination of nature and nurture seems much more fair.


J. Alberto If Joffrey were a sociopath he would:
-Not be such a dick in public
-Be manipulative
-Not shit himself when he gets bitch-slapped by Tyrion.

Here are, however a few triggers of bully behavior:
-No adequate supervision
-No positive role-models
-Fascination/obsession with violence

Home environment:
-Hostile
-Aggression for solving conflicts is A-OK
-Substance abuse is commonplace

And the list goes on and on... I'd discard genetics and stick with crappy parenting.


Robin Matthew wrote: "Where was it said that is father beat him? I have yet to read the first book, but in books II to IV, there was no mention of family violence. If anything, Robert was portrayed as distant and unavailable, which made Joffrey want to earn his approval."

If I recall correctly, Robert would smack Cersei on occasion - which is why she insists that Joffrey must not hit Sansa (so Joffrey just gets his guards to do it for him). I don't recall Robert having been abusive to Joffrey but Mia's comment may not necessarily have meant that. Having a father who hits his mother may have still influenced him negatively. With his desire to be just like Robert and gain his approval, it certainly would have taught him to think it's acceptable to smack a woman around.


message 39: by Matthew (last edited Sep 19, 2012 10:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Matthew Williams Robin wrote: "Matthew wrote: "Where was it said that is father beat him? I have yet to read the first book, but in books II to IV, there was no mention of family violence. If anything, Robert was portrayed as di..."

Perhaps, but as for his obvious blood lust and cruelty, he's still a bit of a wild card.

And Jesus, you're basing your definition of a sociopath on the caricature of a serial killer. A sociopath is by definition a person who doesn't accept rules and has no moral qualms about killing and murdering. He's been coddled and enabled, sure, but Cersei keeps saying that he was always out of control, even as a tiny child. That would suggest he was born unbalanced, at least in my view.


Robin Matthew wrote: "He's been coddled and enabled, sure, but Cersei keeps saying that he was always out of control, even as a tiny child. That would suggest he was born unbalanced, at least in my view. "

Does she say that in the books though? Granted, I don't have the best memory but I seem to recall thinking that was something she said in the show but not the books. In the books, she always talks and thinks of Joffrey favorably - he's not unbalanced and out of control, he's strong and independent. Especially in her comparisons between Tommen and Joffrey - she seems to view Tommen as weak. I felt like Cersei's admission in the TV show about her concerns on Joffrey's behavior were very out of character for the book-Cersei. I haven't been pleased with the TV show's portrayal of Cersei in general though.

That doesn't necessarily mean Joffrey wasn't unbalanced and out of control even as a small child though - just that Cersei's perception of him is skewed.

Here it is, I found the parts I was thinking of in Feast for Crows by searching my Kindle version:

(view spoiler)

Of course, this does not mean she has not also admitted that perhaps there was something not right with Joffrey since the beginning... but it seems unlikely. She does say he was not easily cowed but this is said favorably, as though it is a positive characteristic.


Matthew Williams Robin wrote: "Matthew wrote: "He's been coddled and enabled, sure, but Cersei keeps saying that he was always out of control, even as a tiny child. That would suggest he was born unbalanced, at least in my view...."

Hmm, I think you have a point. I was thinking of a scene from season 2, but I was pretty sure it was backed up by something from the text. But now that I think of it, I can recall a single instance where she ever spoke ill of him. Tyrion, sure, he said plenty bad about his nephew. Cersei? Not so sure...

That would seem in keeping with her character, in that Joffrey was plenty messed up, but she would never speak ill of him or admit that he was a monster.


J. Alberto Matthew wrote: "Robin wrote: "Matthew wrote: "Where was it said that is father beat him? I have yet to read the first book, but in books II to IV, there was no mention of family violence. If anything, Robert was p..."

I didn't... but, truth be told, I'm not qualified to judge. I just read this wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy (sociopathy redirects there), and I didn´t even read the whole thing.

It is fun to DDX a fictional character!


Robin Matthew wrote: "I was thinking of a scene from season 2"

Yeah, I think that was the scene when she was even talking to Tyrion about it which was also hugely out of character. As if she would ever open up to and confide in Tyrion about her fears - she's hated him since the day he was born! And I don't think it's that she won't admit Joffrey is a monster but that she genuinely doesn't see him that way. So for her to admit that he is, to Tyrion of all people, was just soooo wrong and I think that's when I actually stopped watching. I'm not saying I won't watch it ever again but I've been much less interested since then and haven't gotten around to watching the rest of the season yet.


Daniel Genetic... Joff was born crazy... mentally wrong, book mentions as a lil boy cutting open animals...

These days if a kid started cutting open cats etc... would be seen as mentally bad..

So he was born crazy... as to why it could be incest as it ups chance of recessive genes taking hold..
cant recall if book says any in past of lannister bloodline were crazy... if they have any Targaryens
blood in their line... recessive genes in there would have come to fore..and those were known to have crazys in their line..

There was some bad genes in Lannister line...look at the Imp... thats a genetic defect..

I doubt its nurture so much.. Joffs other siblings were as ignored if not more so and none were cutting open cats as lil kids..

So incest creating a genetic mess in Joff and so mental defict


Matthew Williams Robin wrote: "Matthew wrote: "I was thinking of a scene from season 2"

Yeah, I think that was the scene when she was even talking to Tyrion about it which was also hugely out of character. As if she would ever ..."


My God woman, you mean you haven't seen the siege of King's Landing? It's the boss! Well, its a good adaptation, not nearly as wide in scope as the book made it out to be, but of course, budgets!


J. Alberto Robin wrote: "Matthew wrote: "I was thinking of a scene from season 2"

Yeah, I think that was the scene when she was even talking to Tyrion about it which was also hugely out of character. As if she would ever ..."


She knows... and trust me, it's not out of character, it's just that the character is deeper and more multidimensional than in most popular literature. Keep watching.


Robin Matthew wrote: "My God woman, you mean you haven't seen the siege of King's Landing? It's the boss! Well, its a good adaptation, not nearly as wide in scope as the book made it out to be, but of course, budgets! "

I'm not really into battle scenes anyway.


Eyehavenofilter Psychopaths and sociopaths are what they are. Born that way, their nurturing either sways them one way or another. Yes cruel and abusive treatment can create more of same, but.... If its there to begin with...RUN!


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

This hideous little dickhead reminds me of off the rails celebrities if you know what I mean.

He is famous and powerful. He's a king, he can do what he wants, when he wants, and do whatever he wants to literally anybody in the entire world. I think this is all where his cruelness comes from.

Celebrities with that sort of power end up in jail or dead. Addicted to drugs and alcohol. Joffrey's cocaine is cruelty.

I will forever loath him :)


Robin Em wrote: "This hideous little dickhead reminds me of off the rails celebrities if you know what I mean.

He is famous and powerful. He's a king, he can do what he wants, when he wants, and do whatever he wan..."


Well, he was cruel before he was king but he was also a spoiled prince.

However, I don't agree with your assessment of celebrities. For starters, I don't believe even the A-listers have all that much "power". They may have a lot of social influence but it's not like they decide the fates of nations. Additionally, there are plenty of A-listers who use their social influences for positive purpose - I don't agree that all or even most celebrities who have the strongest influences end up alcoholics and drug addicts in jail or dead. While it's certainly not an unheard of theme in the celebrity world, that doesn't make it the norm. Even among child stars - while many of them famously go off the rails, many of them also don't.

But that's going a bit off topic.


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