I didn’t think it was possible, but the writers and producers of Game of Thrones have somehow managed to make the loathsome Joffrey Baratheon even more detestable in the show’s second season.
The little twerp was appalling last year, when his primary negative qualities were cowardice and a ludicrously inflated sense of his own value. This season we learn that he is a sadist who relishes seeing a galoot drowned in wine, his wife-to-be threatened with impalement by a crossbow bolt and disrobed by a man at arms, and ladies of the evening beaten by belts and maces. He also has menacingly insulted his mother, who is the only living person who can stand the sight of him. What’s next for King Joffrey? Human sacrifice? Devil worship? He can’t be killed fast enough.
Joffrey’s development as an even-more-repulsive villain is just one of the storylines that are making this year’s season of Game of Thrones an interesting exercise in character development. In fact, this show is now all about characters, many of them new. The Red Witch, who just gave birth to some smoky demon. The wilding who marries his daughters. The many would-be kings, and their lusty, controlling would-be queens.
It’s all fascinating — but to me Joffrey Baratheon commands interest in the same way that an apparently devastating roadside accident does. You just have to stop what you’re doing and crane your neck to see what the hell is going on. I’m hoping the show’s creative staff have devised a suitably excruciating death for the little jerk, preferably one that involves simultaneous impalement, beheading, and boiling in oil while he cowers and whimpers in abject fear. Until that happens, I’ll be watching.