If you haven’t caught the second episode of Game of Thrones' new season, you should turn back, now. This article is a hive of spoilers, and while finding out things ahead of time might seem like fun, it's always better to just learn in the moment. So, go plow through the rest of Game Of Thrones and then immediately head back to this article to read more about what happened.
Everyone on board? Last chance. Okay...
Game of Thrones has always created a complicated world for viewers, a world in which the heroes and heroines don’t always win and the villains often hold some of the best chess pieces. King Joffrey has always been one of those villains, despicable and unlikeable, willing to kill babies, prostitutes and even the noble Ned Stark during his lengthy tenure on the series. Despite this, his arrangement with the Tyrell family and tonight’s marriage to the lovely Lady Margaery seemed to be setting the young man up for a happy ending during “The Lion and The Rose.” Alas, it was not to be. The young king was murdered by poison during the happiest day of his young life—his wedding.
In some ways, it was great to see the Baratheon boy fall to something so innocuous as poison in his wedding goblet. However, in many ways it’s also a tragic moment for viewers, who relished seeing what the young king might do or say next. Despite the fact that Joffrey was a vile young hooligan with mean-spirited intentions, he still was a big reason plenty of fans tuned in to watch and the show won’t be quite the same without the lad. So, go ahead and check out the top five biggest things we’ll miss about King Joffrey, may he rest in hell.
Margaery Manipulating JoffreyOne of the most satisfying components of GOT’s third season involved the Tyrell’s various ambitions. Sure, the marriage plot with Sansa never panned out, but it was almost more fun to watch Margaery woo Joffrey through political finesse. The Season 3 moment when she acted coy and interested in Joffrey’s creepy obsession with arcane weaponry was one of her best. I love a woman with a good crossbow, but add a brain and the political savvy to manipulate one of the meanest boys in town and you end up with a match made in heaven, as well as a few of the best moments on TV.
Why We’ll Miss It: Margaery is a character that has very much been brought to the forefront in HBO’s TV show. I have every faith that she will continue to manipulate her way into the political realm in the future. However, she’s a bold lady and without Joffrey as her soundboard, the Tyrell’s maneuverings in King’s Landing may not be quite so fun to watch.
Having Someone So Easy To Hate AroundGeorge R. R. Martin has written a ton of different sorts of personalities into his A Song of Ice and Fire series, many of which have translated well into the HBO adaptation. Joffrey was one of the characters who has been even more watchable in the flesh, thanks to an excellent portrayal by actor Jack Gleeson. Gleeson played the character like a spoiled brat with limited vision. He was a narrow bully who was easily distracted by shiny weapons and naked prostitutes. He truly offered no redeeming qualities, yet he was still one of the big reasons fans tuned in, simply so they could root for him to falter.
Why We’ll Miss It: There are certain characters everyone loves and certain personalities we all like to watch succeed. The heroes are heroes for a reason. They’re meant to be our favorites. Now and again, however, it’s terrific fun having someone to truly despise. It’s exciting to get worked up about how truly wretched a particular person might be because it shows how invested we are. It makes the other characters more likable by comparison, and it helps to provide balance to a series with numerous perspectives. Joffrey was a total d-bag, but he was Game Of Thrones’ d-bag, and without him, the world will be a whole lot less colorful.
The Other Lannisters Being Annoyed By His BullshitJoffrey theoretically had plenty of power, but he never commanded much respect, especially from his family. His own mother knew he was a monster, his uncle Tyrion loved wheedling at him and his grandfather Tywin really ran the show. There’s nothing more amusing than when Joffrey acted out like a spoiled brat during family meetings, only to get pounced on by his nearest and dearest. It just won’t be the same without someone to pick on.
Why We’ll Miss It: The other Lannisters may not have been impressed by Joffrey’s antics, but we certainly loved the dialogue that ensued. Joffrey was truly a sounding board meant to bring out some of the Lannisters' best and worst qualities, and since he technically had more power than them, they each found really humorous ways to deal with his bullshit without being overly disrespectful about it. At least, most of the time. Ever so often, one of them would respond with a slap or a direct insult, however, and those moments were always golden.
Fantasizing About How He’ll Die Because We All Knew He Would DieAs a writer, Martin likes to throw in plenty of curveballs. However, deep down in the bottom of our hearts, even the non-book readers should have been feeling that Joffrey’s death was a long time coming. He was too unlikeable and his risky behaviors put him in dangerous positions leading into Season 4. Plus, he’s a man boy with tremendous power, and while no one is really safe in Martin’s world, those who wield influence (or are related to Ned Stark) are at particular risk.
Why We’ll Miss It: Watching Game Of Thrones can be a terrifying experience. Women get sexually abused. Men get mutilated. A stupid number of people get murdered, sometimes by children (I’m looking at you, Arya). An overwhelming majority of the time, we feel bad for these unfortunate people, but for a few characters, death can be affirming. Of all of the characters, this proved most true for Joffrey. Fans have been rooting for him to get strangled, stabbed, crossbowed or hammered to death since his first moments on camera, and it’s kind of sad that it’s finally over.
His Ignorant, Villainous SmirkWe’ve already discussed how spot-on Jack Gleeson is as a villain, but what ensconces Joffrey even further into the world of bad guys is his perfected smirk. The actor recently told EW that he took a cue from Joaquin Phoenix whilst perfecting that horrid smile. Phoenix’s Gladiator character, Commodus, might have inspired Joffrey’s facial expressions, but Gleeson certainly managed to perfect the look, creating a villain with one of the most memorable smiles on TV.
Why We’ll Miss It: Joffrey’s smirk might be connected to cinematic history, but it was also what perfected his vision of evil. The only other person on the series to have a similarly cocky smirk was Daario, and he was recently replaced by newcomer Michael Huisman. No smirks means no fun.
Game Of Thrones airs on HBO on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET. You can catch an update on last week’s episode here.