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Angel Eyes

Why did nobody try to curb Joffrey?

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Why didn’t anybody try to keep a lid on Joffrey’s bad (as in horrible) behavior before and during AGOT? We know Robert punched out a couple teeth for cutting open a pregnant cat, but nobody seemed intent on disciplining him or making sure Joffrey didn’t go off the rails. And giving him a betrothed just gave him another toy to abuse.

Edited by Angel Eyes

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A combination of preoccupation and fear. The only people with any real ability to do anything about his behavior were - Robert, who was always drunk or screwing whores, or Cersei, who coddled Joffrey and was always screwing Jaime. I doubt Jaime could wield much influence as his 'uncle', and it is clear their relationship was strained anyway. Tywin perhaps could have done something but was probably in fear of getting on Roberts' bad side while he was alive and it was too late by the time he died.

Anyone else was probably too paralyzed with fear - his dad was the King, and his family are known as the most ruthless in the Seven Kingdoms. Plus he has Sandor as a bodyguard. Not many people are going to be willing to butt in and try to fix this messed up kid if his parents don't.

I am sure having one preoccupied drunken parent and another who lets you do whatever you want added to Joffreys bad behavior.

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28 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

Why didn’t anybody try to keep a lid on Joffrey’s bad (as in horrible) behavior before and during AGOT? We know Robert punched out a couple teeth for cutting open a pregnant cat, but nobody seemed intent on disciplining him or making sure Joffrey didn’t go off the rails. And giving him a betrothed just gave him another toy to abuse.

Well for one, Robert was a terrible father and husband, and Cersei is a terrible mother and wife.

Robert didn't bond with Joffrey as a baby, unlike how he would immediatly bond with this bastards.  This is according to one of Cersei's statements, but she's bitter about it so I think she's being honest.

Robert spent the majority of his time away, either on King's business, hunting, or whoring and drinking.  Being a good parent is about an investment of time and attention, Joffrey most likely got neither.  Even without a loving relationship, someone can be a good parent if they're willing to put in the time and attention to make the child feel valued and worthwhile.

Cresei on the other hand, is a comnplete narcasisst who is incredibly bitter about her marriage.  She likely spends a great deal of time with the children, but she thinks of them as an extension of herself, and so her love is not a positive factor in their mental development.  But she values and spoils him anyway, because he's her son.

That's the two primary people in Joffrey's life.  One of them is largely absent and not  fulfilling the critical role of a father for a son, while also representing a rather poor role model even in absentia.  The other is equally negative, but likely around far too much.  

But these are also the only two people in the kingdom who are going to be confident they can say "No" to Joffrey without some sort of penalty.  If anyone else bothers her little boy, Cersei is going to punish them.

And look at Cersei's discipline methods, we only see them for Tommen.  but its not about punishing the prince, because oh no we can't do that.  Instead Tommen has a whipping boy who gets punished instead.  And sometimes she makes him punish the poor whipping boy.  This is not going to teach a child anything positive.  No doubt it was the same for Joffrey, and its probably where he got all his mental issues, both regarding his own untouchability, and his enjoyment of other's suffering.

Sadly, this is all too realistic a background for certain historical royal families as well.  And it ussually led to sociopathic tendancies.

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7 minutes ago, Legitimate_Bastard said:

A combination of preoccupation and fear. The only people with any real ability to do anything about his behavior were - Robert, who was always drunk or screwing whores, or Cersei, who coddled Joffrey and was always screwing Jaime. I doubt Jaime could wield much influence as his 'uncle', and it is clear their relationship was strained anyway. Tywin perhaps could have done something but was probably in fear of getting on Roberts' bad side while he was alive and it was too late by the time he died.

Anyone else was probably too paralyzed with fear - his dad was the King, and his family are known as the most ruthless in the Seven Kingdoms. Plus he has Sandor as a bodyguard. Not many people are going to be willing to butt in and try to fix this messed up kid if his parents don't.

I am sure having one preoccupied drunken parent and another who lets you do whatever you want added to Joffreys bad behavior.

I agree with your assessment in most part, but I think portraying Robert as "always drunk and whoring" is needlessly simplistic, if not unfair.

5 minutes ago, argonak said:

Well for one, Robert was a terrible father and husband, and Cersei is a terrible mother and wife.

Robert didn't bond with Joffrey as a baby, unlike how he would immediatly bond with this bastards.  This is according to one of Cersei's statements, but she's bitter about it so I think she's being honest.

Robert spent the majority of his time away, either on King's business, hunting, or whoring and drinking.  Being a good parent is about an investment of time and attention, Joffrey most likely got neither.  Even without a loving relationship, someone can be a good parent if they're willing to put in the time and attention to make the child feel valued and worthwhile.

Cresei on the other hand, is a comnplete narcasisst who is incredibly bitter about her marriage.  She likely spends a great deal of time with the children, but she thinks of them as an extension of herself, and so her love is not a positive factor in their mental development.  But she values and spoils him anyway, because he's her son.

That's the two primary people in Joffrey's life.  One of them is largely absent and not  fulfilling the critical role of a father for a son, while also representing a rather poor role model even in absentia.  The other is equally negative, but likely around far too much.  

But these are also the only two people in the kingdom who are going to be confident they can say "No" to Joffrey without some sort of penalty.  If anyone else bothers her little boy, Cersei is going to punish them.

And look at Cersei's discipline methods, we only see them for Tommen.  but its not about punishing the prince, because oh no we can't do that.  Instead Tommen has a whipping boy who gets punished instead.  And sometimes she makes him punish the poor whipping boy.  This is not going to teach a child anything positive.  No doubt it was the same for Joffrey, and its probably where he got all his mental issues, both regarding his own untouchability, and his enjoyment of other's suffering.

Sadly, this is all too realistic a background for certain historical royal families as well.  And it ussually led to sociopathic tendancies.

In my opinion you pretty much nailed it. Especially the part about whipping boy.

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1 hour ago, Angel Eyes said:

Why didn’t anybody try to keep a lid on Joffrey’s bad (as in horrible) behavior before and during AGOT? We know Robert punched out a couple teeth for cutting open a pregnant cat, but nobody seemed intent on disciplining him or making sure Joffrey didn’t go off the rails. And giving him a betrothed just gave him another toy to abuse.

Tyrion smacked him good several times, but that was it (aside from Arya). Nobody else would dare lay hands on a blood royal, so if he is not disciplined by his royal parents then Joffrey grows up with an unchecked sense of entitlement (which some people today might call "affluenza"). And when he becomes king in his own right and all the legal checks on his actions and authority are removed, well, the results are inevitable.

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25 minutes ago, thi4f said:

I think portraying Robert as "always drunk and whoring" is needlessly simplistic, if not unfair.

You are right - I failed to mention how he bankrupted the realm, I didn't think it pertinent to the parenting issue. But I thought "always drunk and whoring" was a pretty decent description of a man who has 16 bastards, was too fat for his armor and died as a result of his alcoholism.

"The king was a great disappointment to Jon. His father had talked of him often: the peerless Robert Baratheon, demon of the Trident, the fiercest warrior of the realm, a giant among princes. Jon saw only a fat man, red-faced under his beard, sweating through his silks. He walked like a man half in his cups." - thoughts of Jon Snow

"Robert wanted smiles and cheers, always, so he went where he found them, to his friends and his whores."- Cersei to Sansa

"Robert ... He is in my dreams as well. Laughing. Drinking. Boasting. Those were the things he was best at." -Stannis to Melisandre

It seems Jon Snow, Cersei and Stannis might agree with my conclusion.

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The only people who could really discipline him and get away with it where Robert and Cersei. Robert tried, but Cersei threatened him not to do it again, plus I don't think he really cared what happened after he died. Cersei sees what Cersei wants to see, and she saw Joffrey as a perfect little prince who would grow into a great King. 

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30 minutes ago, Legitimate_Bastard said:

LOL

Its ironic, most people would kill to be King, yet if anything becoming King made Robert depressed. His glory days of fighting where behind him, outside of Ned he didn't really have any true friends, just people trying to suck up to him for favor, and the woman he thought he loved was dead. 

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4 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

Why didn’t anybody try to keep a lid on Joffrey’s bad (as in horrible) behavior before and during AGOT? We know Robert punched out a couple teeth for cutting open a pregnant cat, but nobody seemed intent on disciplining him or making sure Joffrey didn’t go off the rails. And giving him a betrothed just gave him another toy to abuse.

I don't think parenting is as much a factor as others seem to. After all most highborn characters don't seem to be raised by their own parents. Septa Mordane is charged with raising Arya and Sansa, and Maester Luwin seems to take a large role in the upbringing of Bran and Rickon. (Given circumstances of the times may have impacted this.)

Additionally we should consider how frequently children are sent out as wards. Jon Arryn was considering fostering his son out to Stannis, Theon is raised in Winterfell from age of 8 and onward. Ned and Robert were both raised in the Eyrie. Theon being the only one who was technically a hostage. 

Now Joff does have a strikingly different situation than any of those other wards. He is the crowned prince and heir to the Iron Throne. Warding him out to any house would show a significant level of favor. It would also give the hosting house a significant level of leverage over the royal family. 

So really this ins't an option for them. Otherwise Joff could have been warded to Stannis, Renly or Tywin. Raising Joff at the Red Keep is really the only option.  

Keeping in mind King Robert dies before his time. Time that could have been used to guide Joff down a better path. Once Robert dies, Likely the expectation was that he would be managed by a number of 'handlers' such as Queen Cersei, Varys and members of the small council.  

We see this happening a bit when Tyrion shows up, and it happens once Tywin returns from the field to resume his duties as Hand of the King. Likely the members of House Tyrell also likely thought they could manipulate Joff via Margaery Tyrell. 

Lastly Cersei and Robert likely were too distracted by other things. Robert was drinking and whoring, and Cersei likely was dealing with some of the political plots and schemes going on in court. Regardless of people's opinion of her, when Bran over hears her and Jaime talking in the broken tower, she is spot on in regards to the political situation and how things are unfolding. 

My guess is that Cersei was too busy attempting to use influence in order to maintain and secure her and her children's futures.

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, ShaggydogVOK said:

I don't think parenting is as much a factor as others seem to. After all most highborn characters don't seem to be raised by their own parents. Septa Mordane is charged with raising Arya and Sansa, and Maester Luwin seems to take a large role in the upbringing of Bran and Rickon. (Given circumstances of the times may have impacted this.)

Additionally we should consider how frequently children are sent out as wards. Jon Arryn was considering fostering his son out to Stannis, Theon is raised in Winterfell from age of 8 and onward. Ned and Robert were both raised in the Eyrie. Theon being the only one who was technically a hostage. 

Now Joff does have a strikingly different situation than any of those other wards. He is the crowned prince and heir to the Iron Throne. Warding him out to any house would show a significant level of favor. It would also give the hosting house a significant level of leverage over the royal family. 

So really this ins't an option for them. Otherwise Joff could have been warded to Stannis, Renly or Tywin. Raising Joff at the Red Keep is really the only option.  

Keeping in mind King Robert dies before his time. Time that could have been used to guide Joff down a better path. Once Robert dies, Likely the expectation was that he would be managed by a number of 'handlers' such as Queen Cersei, Varys and members of the small council.  

We see this happening a bit when Tyrion shows up, and it happens once Tywin returns from the field to resume his duties as Hand of the King. Likely the members of House Tyrell also likely thought they could manipulate Joff via Margaery Tyrell. 

Lastly Cersei and Robert likely were too distracted by other things. Robert was drinking and whoring, and Cersei likely was dealing with some of the political plots and schemes going on in court. Regardless of people's opinion of her, when Bran over hears her and Jaime talking in the broken tower, she is spot on in regards to the political situation and how things are unfolding. 

My guess is that Cersei was too busy attempting to use influence in order to maintain and secure her and her children's futures.

 

 

 

Well it’s a question of nature vs. nurture. People are more inclined to think nurture since neither Myrcella nor Tommen show signs of being as psychotic as Joffrey, as all three share the same source material.

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Can't prove a negative. For all we know Robert, Cersei, Barristan, Stannis, and Jon Arryn scolded him daily, but he is just rotten to the core and irredeemable.

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1 hour ago, Angel Eyes said:

Well it’s a question of nature vs. nurture. People are more inclined to think nurture since neither Myrcella nor Tommen show signs of being as psychotic as Joffrey, as all three share the same source material.

Well in this case, without actual nurturing Joff was left to his more base nature and tendencies to take over.

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People normally do not try to curb someone above them on the food chain.  Abuse of power is expected to be quite common in those days.  A lot of lords abuse their common folk.  The nobles believe in the right to rule over others by virtue of their bloodline.  They believed Joffrey is the son of the old usurper king.  So he has some legal ground to stand on to claim the right to rule.  

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He had no bound with his "father", he cared nothig for his brother and sister, he had no friend of his age, no pet animals, the only bond he had was with Cersei and this is worse than no bonding at all.

He had no conexion to his family, no friends, his position as prince heir made him untochable by common folks, he was spoiled, cruel and anti-social. He was a psycho from the start. I doubt anyone could change him. Roose or Tywin may teach him how to hide it, but he already does that when needed.

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Robert and Cersei's reactions to cat thing shows two sides bad parenting.

Robert overreacted to the event. While isn't normal for kids to gut cats, Joffrey was at that time still young to know better. Also same Robert had no problem with what happened Rheagar's children.

However, in contrast Cersei downplayed  the event calling it incident. This sent message to Joff that he shouldn't be punished whatever he does.

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We heard about Robert curbing Joffery and for all we know it worked, did he ever slice up another cat? We saw Tyrion and Arya trying to curb Joffery as well but neither really had the power. Eventually Oleena curbed him for good. 

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Raising Joffrey properly probably would have meant he'd just be a more successful psychopath. Granted, that might be better for the realm.

 

In regards to Robert, I don't think he was an evil person, but he was a weak person. Maybe even a bad person, at times.

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16 hours ago, Legitimate_Bastard said:

You are right - I failed to mention how he bankrupted the realm, I didn't think it pertinent to the parenting issue. But I thought "always drunk and whoring" was a pretty decent description of a man who has 16 bastards, was too fat for his armor and died as a result of his alcoholism.

"The king was a great disappointment to Jon. His father had talked of him often: the peerless Robert Baratheon, demon of the Trident, the fiercest warrior of the realm, a giant among princes. Jon saw only a fat man, red-faced under his beard, sweating through his silks. He walked like a man half in his cups." - thoughts of Jon Snow

"Robert wanted smiles and cheers, always, so he went where he found them, to his friends and his whores."- Cersei to Sansa

"Robert ... He is in my dreams as well. Laughing. Drinking. Boasting. Those were the things he was best at." -Stannis to Melisandre

It seems Jon Snow, Cersei and Stannis might agree with my conclusion.

You seem angry about Robert, for some odd reason.

Some thoughts:

  • I don't want to change subject too much, but when it comes to bankrupting the realm... well, I'd just say I don't really buy that narrative. Sure, we have many opinions on poor state finances in 298 AC, but there is really no good explanation given. If he was recruiting huge armies, building castles, improving infrastructure, made poor investments - in other words, dealing carelessly with HUGE amounts of money - that would make sense. But feasts and tourneys? Does GRRM really want me to believe that King of the Seven Kingdoms has a budget of mid-tier NBA player that can go bankrupt in Atlantic City, buying expensives watches and paying rent for his Nantucket mansion? Hah, a good one.
  • I'd say that Littlefinger, bottom-5 moral person, the most unethical bureaucrat in Westeros, has been the Master of Coins for many years now and became one of the richest men around. His responsibility is at least plausible.
  • I don't recall Robert being with whores constantly while Ned kept an eye on him in King's Landing or on the road. We have many accounts that he's unfaithful and likes ladies, but he's not "living in a brothel" either.

You mention those 16 bastards as the evidence of what, exactly? Inefficient governing? How was Robert different from other rulers of past epochs?

  • Ramessess II (the Great) had 52 bastard SONS mentioned by name on monuments that survived 3000+ years so we can read about them
  • Genghis Khan is estimated to have 200 children easily
  • Augustus II the Strong (King of Saxony and Poland, XVIII century) fathered around 350 children
  • I found sultans who allegedly fathered 500+ kids, the highest estimate for Ismail ibn Sharif being 1100
  • modern Saudi Arabian kings father dozens, if not hundreds of children.
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Princess Basma, the 115th and the youngest child of the Saudi King Saud who ruled from 1953 to 1964, revealed the size of the royal family: "We have 15.000 royals and around 13.000 don't enjoy the wealth of the 2.000".

Radicalism, terrorism and conflict, p. 16, Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2013

I underlined the word "family" so I'm not accused of suggesting that one king himself fathered 15.000 ;) But it just shows what numbers we are talking about, the scale is just huge.

Would you describe any of the above as whoring all the time?

When it comes to opinions of Cersei, Jon and Stannis. Sure, they are a source of knowledge to us, I guess, but these are subjective opinions, most of all.

  1. Jon Snow compared his first impression of Robert Baratheon to stories he's heard, stories about a 6'6" muscular warrior, smashing enemies left and right. Hard to live up to those expectations. Jon's thoughts can only serve as a proof of Bobby's obesity. But whoring?
  2. Cersei is biased against Robert, I mean she was aborting his children for 15 years :D hard to interpret this one-liner as an in-depth relation of Robert's daily schedule. Sure, he was having sex with other women, and a lot of it, but again how is it different from other rulers in history, from any culture, any point in time?
  3. Freddie Mercury was a singer. I had a dream about him singing on Wembley Stadium, because I've seen it and he is known for that. I didn't dream about him having a breakfast, reading Daily Mirror, composing songs, rehearsing or partying, because he I associate him with concerts. I'm not surprised Stannis associated Robert with parties, that's what he enjoyed.

Is any of those claims a proof Robert was always whoring and drinking? I agreed with you that he's no saint, but DOING IT ALL THE TIME is such an obvious hyperbole on your part.

 

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But I thought "always drunk and whoring" was a pretty decent description of a man

Drunk and whoring don't have much in common with decency, at least in my opinion ;) Cheers

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