Why Joffrey Baratheon Did Everything Wrong


Game of Thrones, possibly the biggest hit series on television, can be used as a perfect example to contrast Machiavelli’s The Prince. Machiavelli advises a prince to be cautious on who he chooses for his council, should be feared rather than loved http://www.returnofkings.com/39244/game-of-thrones-reminds-us-how-monogomy-can-harm-your-masculinityand should gain the support of the people while weakening the nobles. Joffrey, eldest son of Robert Baratheon, becomes king after his father death and does everything wrong.

If Joffrey had read The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli, he could have ruled for sixty years. His council was made up of people with their own self interests and Machiavelli believes a king should be weary of this. He also states that a king should not be so selective in his council that he doesn’t listen to anyone and sees no use in a council. Machiavelli provides an example in The Prince of an emperor, Maximilian, which never got anything done because he didn’t listen to anybody’s suggestions which caused things to be redone. Joffrey was similar to Maximilian. Even though Cersi tried to influence Joffrey’s decisions, she had little success. Joffrey took nobody’s advice into consideration and sometimes even did the exact opposite.


Joffrey was also neither feared or loved. He was regarded as weak, while also being hated. Machiavelli believes a good King should be feared. People will follow you while also giving a king the ability to still hold the peoples’ respect. If one is neither loved or loved, people will believe that they could over throw the king. Varys and Little Finger, two of Joffreys council members, schemed behind his back because they perceived him as being a weak king. Varys has been planning on the return of the Targaryens to the thrown while Little Finger basically planned the death of Joffrey.

In The Prince, Maximilian also consulted kings to weaken the power of the nobles and gain the praise of the people. Weakening the nobles but having the support of the people will ensure that the nhttp://uproxx.com/tv/2014/06/the-top-5-worst-ways-to-die-from-game-of-thrones-season-4/obles won’t have any power to overthrow the king. Joffrey, again, did neither. Many people believed they were equals to Joffrey. The people did not praise him, fear him, but rather hated him. All of these are not suggestions from Machiavelli to be a great king.

Joffrey is renowned in Game of Thrones as one of the worst kings ever. An example of Joffrey’s brutality is shown when he forced his soon to be wife, Sansa Stark, to watch the execution of her own father for which he ordered himself. If you were to ask Machiavelli, Joffrey had no chance. No chance to be a great leader. No chance to live a long life as king.

3 thoughts on “Why Joffrey Baratheon Did Everything Wrong

  1. I love your combination of Game of Thrones and the Prince, which is clearly a smart idea since the Game of Thrones is undoubtedly about politics and getting power. I totally agree with you that Joffrey is not a good leader at all from several aspects, but I would say that he is probably trying to act as a good prince in Machiavelli’s standard. Joffrey did everything to make others be afraid of him, which means that he wanted to be feared, just like Machiavelli suggested. Also, the fact that he did not listen to his council could actually be explained as holding onto his own opinion without manipulated by the council. Unfortunately, despite his potentially good intention, Joffrey was neither feared in the way he wanted nor considered wise because of his independence. As a result, he ended up a terrible king, disliked by his people and murdered unexpectedly.


  2. I do believe that if Joffrey would have followed Machiavelli’s rules for being a longstanding ruler, he would have been more successful. However, one point I don’t agree on is your statement about him being neither feared nor loved. I think that the general population, especially Sansa, his wife, was terrified of Joffrey. He was erratic, manic, unpredictable and plain old cruel. I think this is an interesting contrast to what Machiavelli says about being a successful ruler. Joffrey was certainly feared, but he still ended up being unsuccessful as a ruler. Why was this? It is interesting to think about.


  3. To start off, I just wanted to note that you called Joffrey the eldest son of Robert Baratheon, and if I were you writing this, I probably would have put that in quotes (“eldest son”). Joffrey is the son of Cersei and Jamie, but let’s not get into that now. I agree that Machiavelli would definitely have frowned upon Joffrey as a leader. Joffrey did not follow Machiavelli’s blueprint at all; if he had, he could have been a stronger leader. In the Prince, Machiavelli gives examples of rulers who tried to have everyone close to them killed, and he called them bad leaders. Joffrey would have fallen under this category. When Joffrey called for Ned Stark’s head, that was his first fatal mistake. Since that day, he alienated anyone who may have supported him aside from his family. It was a dumb political move. Hiding out during the Battle of Blackwater was no redeeming factor. Joffrey didn’t have the people behind him, so he never was going to be a good king.


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