In A Game of Thrones, Barra, one of King Robert's bastard sons, is killed by Janos Slynt, one of the Golden Cloaks.
Who ordered his death, Cersei or Joffrey?
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In chapter 8 of A Clash of Kings, Tyrion and Varys discuss the murder and come to a definitive conclusion. To briefly summarize, Tyrion states that:
"...That was what the oh-so-loyal Lord Janos refused to say. Cersei sent the gold cloaks to that brothel."
Varys tittered nervously. So he had known all along. "Your own sweet sister," Varys said, so grief stricken he looked close to tears.
As to motive, Tyrion later says that:
"She was Robert's ... That was enough for Cersei, it would seem."
Assuming you can trust Tyrion's judgement here, there is little doubt that Barra's death was ordered by
This part of the story was altered for the TV series, as the writers changed both who was responsible for the actual killing (Janos Slynt instead of one of his henchmen) as well as who ordered the killing.
Cersei because she knows that Joffrey is illegitimate. Otherwise why worry? Joffrey would not think that a bastard had any kind of claim compared to him but Cersei realises that there are whispers and allegations which could be brought to light if their position becomes weakened for some reason....(read ahead?).