It's no secret that HBO has changed a number of elements from A Song of Ice and Fire, from naming the show after only the first book in the series, Game of Thrones, to altering complete character histories and even personalities. Many book fans have a hard time forgiving HBO for brutalizing beloved characters, from Daenerys Targaryen and Sansa Stark to even Cersei Lannister, far worse than author George R.R. Martin did, even abandoning the series for these atrocities.
Even Joffrey Baratheon, who is a cruel bully in the books, is a far more brutal sociopath in the television show. Jack Gleeson has portrayed the bratty and sinister child almost too well.
10 Same: He Torments Sansa Stark
Robert Baratheon might think it's a fine idea to marry his eldest child to Ned Stark's eldest daughter so they can form an alliance and be related as well as BFFs, but it's the worst idea ever. Sansa Stark, who is a much more naive character than her younger sister Arya and would very much love to be a princess, soon finds out that her betrothed is nothing more than a monster.
While book-Joffrey isn't as monstrous as TV-Joff, he definitely still has the hobby of tormenting poor Sansa, harming her both psychologically as well as physically as often as possible and demonstrating what a terrible person he is.
9 Changed: Joffrey Is A Prominent Character
Joffrey Baratheon honestly isn't as big of a deal in the books as he is in the HBO show. While he's still an entitled, mean little bully who torments Sansa Stark to no end, he's never a truly big focus in the books. Readers know that each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character, but Joffrey's POV is never included.
Fans who've only read the books might be surprised at the vitriol thrown at Joffrey. Many see him as cruel as many other villains in the series but no worse than, say, a general Dothraki soldier.
8 Same: He Has A Quick Temper
Joffrey's temper often gets the best of him, proving what a terrible ruler he'd make when given the chance. His temper tantrums are much clearer in the HBO Game of Thrones drama, where we witness every lurid detail, but they're also in the books. His reaction to being hit in the face with dung by an angry crowd member, which was to sic his Hound on the offender, caused a riot that nearly ended him.
The Young Usurper's temper doesn't come from nowhere. He shares it with his mother, Cersei, who lives an enraged existence for a much more valid reason as she has no power in her family and is married to a man she hates who calls her by another woman's name. Still, both she and Robert allow him to get away with his monstrous attitude.
7 Changed: Joffrey Is Older In The TV Show
Like many of George R. R. Martin's characters, Joffrey Baratheon is much younger in the book series than he is on the HBO show. When we first encounter the young sociopath, he is only 12 years old, which makes him seem as if he still might have a chance at becoming a decent person. The actor who plays Joff, Jack Gleeson, is nearly 20 when he plays the character.
It makes sense for the characters to age a bit in a TV show, especially given the horrific actions done to or by them, which would not only be seen as child abuse in addition to violence if they remained the ages that Martin wrote them in, but also put children through the traumatic experiences of playing them. That said, it does make fans hate him all the more since he's a violent tyrant instead of a mean bully who needs to grow up.
6 Same: Tyrion Slaps Joffrey
It's a moment in the show that's become so popular fans on Youtube have created videos playing it over and over again on repeat. When Tyrion Lannister slaps his nephew Joffrey for insulting Bran Stark, even those of us who are against corporal punishment can't help but cheer to see the cruel prince put in his place by The Imp, the only character, aside from his father, Tywin, whoever corrects Joff's awful behavior. So it's no wonder they kept it in the show and made it much more satisfying.
5 Changed: His Appearance
Sansa Stark is one of the many characters whose point of view we see in the books, and she clearly describes Joffrey as childish-looking, with curly hair and pouty lips. This matches the younger version of Joff that we're meant to see more as a childhood bully than an irredeemable sociopath.
Jack Gleeson obviously has straight hair and thinner, mean lips that clamp in more of a sneer than a pout. Much of this is due to his age, and his leaner look lends to the viciousness that we witness him enacting on everyone around him. A curly-haired, pouty-mouthed Joff might have looked a little more sympathetic, especially if he were younger.
4 Same: He's A Liar
When Joffrey is angry over the youth Mycah refusing to spar with him and being bested by Arya and her direwolf, Nymeria, his rage and wounded ego lead him to lie, saying that both the direwolf and the butcher's boy attacked him first. His lies resulted in loss of life for both Lady, Sansa's direwolf, who was substituted when Nymeria was nowhere to be found, and Mycah at the hands of the Hound, Sandor Clegane.
When Olenna Tyrell asks Sansa about Joffrey, she admits that he is a monster and confirms the story. From breaking his word to saying whatever will keep him out of trouble, Joffrey is quick to weave a dishonest tale.
3 Changed: Book-Joffrey Ordered Bran's Execution
When Jaime Lannister attempted to off Bran Stark after the boy saw him and Cersei in a romantic embrace in the TV show and failed, an assassin was hired to finish the job. The person who hired the catspaw remains unknown, although Catelyn Stark believes that Tyrion Lannister is to blame. In season seven it's indicated that Littlefinger originally owned the dagger he carried.
In the book, however, we learn via Jaime's internal monologue that his "nephew," who was really his son, Joffrey, likely ordered the hit in order to impress King Robert, who had said that it would have been kinder for the lad to have perished rather than live as a cripple.
2 He Offs Ned Stark
Joffrey is not a good decision-maker, often making foolish and rash decisions with terrible consequences. Ned Stark gave him what he wanted, admitting that Joffrey was Robert Baratheon's one true heir (and lying in the process). His betrothed, Sansa Stark, also begged for her father's life. Neither moved Joffrey, who ordered Stark's execution anyway and solidified the theory that Sean Bean can't be cast in anything and survive to the sequel.
This is the moment where many fans decide that Joff is truly irredeemable, and a character to loathe forever, or at least until Olenna Tyrell decides to protect her granddaughter from his cruelty.
1 Changed: That Terrible Torment Scene
Remember when Littlefinger gave Joffrey poor Ros as a "gift" when he caught her spying on him for Varys, telling him to try something "new and daring" on the poor girl? Joffrey eagerly responds, shooting her to death while she's tied to his bed and offing his first person in the process.
While there's a red-headed worker barely mentioned in the books, the character Ros, played by Esmé Bianco, was created for the TV show and none of the scenes, including this brutal one, took place in the books at all. HBO writers can be more sadistic than George R.R. Martin at times.