Robb Stark

played by Richard Madden

Lord of Winterfell and now King in the North.

Character Bio

Lord of Winterfell and now King in the North, Robb plans to avenge his father's death and bring his sisters home. His direwolf is named Grey Wind.

Bio

Richard Madden is currently filming 'Naked Apes' for Channel 4 and will next be seen in Film 4's 'Chatroom' directed by Hideo Nakata.

Film:

CHATROOM / Ripley (Ruby for Film 4 - Hideo Nakata)

COMPLICITY / Young Andy (Talisman Productions - Gavin Millar)

Television:

NAKED APES / Ashley (Daybreak Pictures - Victor Buhler)

WORRIED ABOUT THE BOY / Kirk (BBC / Red - Julian Jarrold)

HOPE SPRINGS / Dean (Shed - Sheree Folkson)

TAGGART (SMG - Brian Kelly)

MY BARMY AUNT BOOMERANG / Sebastian Simpkin (BBC Television - Brian Kelly)

Theater:

BE NEAR ME / Mark (Donmar/ NT of Scotland - John Tiffany)

NOUGHTS AND CROSSES / Callum (RSC - Dominic Cooke)

ROMEO AND JULIET / Romeo (Shakespeare's Globe - Ed Dick) (Nominee, Ian Charleson Award 2008)

TOM FOOL / Ludwig Meier (The Bush Theatre - Claire Lizzimore)

THE WINTER'S TALE / Florizel / Cleomenes (Glasgow Repertory Company - Gordon Barr)

I CONFESS / Mahmood (The Arches Theatre Company - Andy Arnold)

Interview with Richard Madden

HBO

Robb Stark's world has changed so much this season ... how has going to war affected him?

Richard Madden

In Season 1, Robb was being pushed into all these situations and reacting to them. In Season 2, he's the one who's driving the action much more, forcing other people to react to his decisions. So he's much more independent-minded in Season 2, and he's gotten a lot better at pretending to be a man. He's still a boy at heart, but he has to pretend to be this leader of men - and in the act of pretending, he's becoming this king he needs to be. I think he's surprising himself.

HBO

What's it like for Robb to come back to camp with Talisa and find out his mother has freed his most valuable prisoner?  

Richard Madden

He's crushed. He's met this woman who seems like a light in the darkness for him - someone he can talk to who isn't his mother. And the longest he's spent with her was this journey they went on, and the worst thing has happened while he's gone: The Kingslayer's escaped, and it's his mother's fault. There's the rage and the anger that comes with that, but I think the deepest element is this betrayal from the last person he'd expect it from. He's been playing by the rules; he's been the good guy with everything he's done. And the payoff for that is to be betrayed by the two people closest to him? It makes him question everything he's doing, how much he's sacrificing and suffering.

HBO

Is that what pushes him into Talisa's arms?

Richard Madden

He's so alone right now. He's lost his father. As far as he knows his brothers are dead. One sister is missing and the other is probably going to get killed at the hands of Joffrey. The only person he had at his side was his mother, and she's betrayed him. Talisa is the only person who questions him and challenges him and doesn't treat him like the king - she looks him in the eye. So he kind of thinks, "F**k it. I've been playing the game, and look where it's got me." There's a good chance he'll get killed in this war before he ever gets a chance to marry the Frey girl. He's never met a woman like Talisa, and his passion and desire take over. In this moment, he doesn't want to be king or fighting a war. He just wants to be back at Winterfell, with this woman, living a normal life.

HBO

Except Theon has overtaken the Starks' home. Is Robb to blame at all for Theon's disloyalty?

Richard Madden

I think that's one of the great things about Robb - he believes in the good in people, even if it's to his detriment. Theon was raised with him, like a brother, and even though his mother advised him not to trust Theon, Robb thought he knew better. And sometimes, Robb does know better than everyone else - he's proven it with his battle tactics - but sometimes he makes bad choices. Little did he know that this would be one of the worst choices he'd make, to send Theon away.

HBO

You and Alfie Allen have shot so much together throughout the series. Was it tough personally when Robb and Theon's stories diverged?

Richard Madden

It was. Robb couldn't be more alone. The men he's got around him are men like Roose Bolton, a dangerous man he has to keep on a short leash. And for me, as an actor, I worked so much with Alfie and then he disappeared ... I was dealing with a bunch of people I'd worked with on and off, but not like I had with Alfie.

HBO

You had your first love scene in this episode. Did Alfie have any advice, since playing Theon has given him so much practice?

Richard Madden

I wouldn't take Alfie's advice in any of the sex scenes! I think the way Theon makes love is pretty different from what Robb would do. It was my first sex scene in the series, though, and Robb's first sexual experience. I worked with the director and with Oona [Chaplin] on it. We just tried to make it as organic as possible. We fumbled about and kind of did it wrong, just like you would if it were your first time, if you know what I mean. And just let the passion take over and try not to overthink it too much.

HBO

It's almost time for you to head back to Belfast to shoot Season 3. Are you ready to return to the war camp?

Richard Madden

I can't wait to get back to being knee-deep in the mud. It's just so true to what Robb's going through. Everything is touchable, and you can smell everything - my camp usually smells like horseshit. If you're out in the rain, then your cloak soaks up water, your boots leak and your feet are bleeding and damp. At the end of the day, you gradually unbuckle and unpeel and unclick every bit of the costume. Your back and shoulders and neck are just raw. But I wouldn't change it at all. That weight and shape of the armor dictates my posture and how I breathe. The drag of the cloak affects the way I walk. So all those things help me create Robb as a character; if it were fake chainmail and plastic armor, it wouldn't be the same.

HBO

Have you run into many fans as the show's popularity has grown even more this season?

Richard Madden

I don't get recognized that much, actually. I think I look a lot different off-screen. If I ever get recognized, people say, "I expected you to be MUCH bigger."

Interview With Richard Madden

HBO

When did you read the books and become aware of the course of Robb's future?

Richard Madden

As soon as I got the job, people managed to spoil a lot for me. People would be like, "Oh my god, you're dead! That was so terrible!" And you're like, "What? Oh. Right." I read the books season by season. As an actor, it was a much better challenge for me to make decisions based on the scripts, the first book and then the second book. By the third book, I was forced to bend the path I'd put Robb on and keep the surprises coming. I think the best thing about that was not preempting anything that's going happen—like not giving too much weight to Walder Frey.

HBO

What did it mean to film your exit with Michelle [Fairley], who's been your professional partner through three seasons?

Richard Madden

We went into that scene with heavy hearts because we really love the show and we love working together especially. The scene was a really hard thing to push through, but the scripts were great and the whole episode was so operatic almost, with how the writers placed little details throughout the sequence of events in the episode.

There's a moment where we look at each other, and it's Robb Stark essentially saying goodbye to his mother and giving up. There's a moment of tragedy and utter relief actually, because these two characters have fought and fought and fought and it's finally over. I think Michelle and I really felt that on that day, and so did the crew. It was a really big emotional moment because we're one big family that's plowed on through this for years.

HBO

What was the mood on the set?

Richard Madden

Honestly, it was horrible. It was a really difficult day for everyone. There were lots of tears from many people, including myself. Robb Stark with his dead queen in his arms, her stomach ripped open, and blood pumping out of that. His mother getting her throat slit... It was horrific. It was a really disturbing day.

It made me think of my dad: He read all the books and after the Red Wedding, he put the book down and didn't go back to it for a couple of months. I think it was because he ties Robb Stark so closely with me. The journey of that character, the fondness that we all have for each other as a cast and a crew, the character's point of view in the story; it was really moving and not very nice. There was just the total sense of exhaustion. I left set, went straight to the airport and got on a plane because I didn't want to be there anymore. I flew home to London. And I cried the whole way.

HBO

How long did it take to shake that feeling off?

Richard Madden

It won't shake off until I've seen the episode, so it's still there. It will be really difficult to watch because it will dredge up a lot of emotions that I've pushed aside for a while.

This isn't like any other job I've had because you don't close the book on that character. You step away from him for six months and then you come right back into his shoes-literally the same boots you were wearing the season before, the same costume. It was very hard shooting the end of it, but it's still very difficult for me to process that I'm not going back. It's funny because I'm still very close with all the crew and I've been talking to the hair department and the other actors who are all gearing up and going back into it. I should be getting back, but I'm not. Until I see the episode, I won't be able to put it all to rest.

HBO

Did you feel any bitterness in the way Robb went out?

Richard Madden

I don't have any bitterness to it because I think Robb Stark dying there in that way is one of the best things that ‘Game of Thrones' does so beautifully, which is just rip these characters' hearts out in front of you.

Maybe it would have been better for Robb to die gloriously on the battlefield, but this is so sudden, violent and horrible. I think that the way that the writers and I have tried to build Robb Stark up, there's no other way we could have killed him. He's been outsmarted, and it all comes from his good heart and his trust that people will do the right thing.

HBO

Why was it important to have Talisa die in this scene when her character lives in the books?

Richard Madden

I think it was important for her to die because it's a full stop to the story of that army. There's no possibility that Talisa's in hiding and going to have a baby who will take over as King in the North. It's more tragic that there's nothing left; that it's all cut short instantly.

HBO

What was your working relationship like with Oona Chaplin?

Richard Madden

I had such a great relationship with Oona on set. She's a wonderful actress and I think she did something very clever with the part. That quiet strength that Oona and Talisa have, that Catelyn and Michelle have, really powers things through and makes it all the more tragic when these characters get killed because they're the least deserving of being slaughtered in such a way.

HBO

On a happier note, do you have a favorite scene or moment over the past three seasons?

Richard Madden

Instantly I just get flashbacks to all my scenes with Michelle Fairley. Anytime I'm on set with her, it's a joy. 

The moment where I started to really fit into Robb's shoes was a goodbye scene with Bran in Season 1. I'm going off in the night. I've got a sword around my waist and my cloak on. That was something where you go, "Oh, this is a significant change point for Robb Stark—leaving Winterfell, going off and becoming a man." That was an important scene for me because I love Issac [Hempstead-Wright], but also because that was a really great change point for me as an actor. Realizing, "OK, you're starting on this journey now; you're getting more into this character that you will become."

HBO

You started on ‘Game of Thrones' when you were 21, does your journey parallel Robb's in some ways?

Richard Madden

There's been lots of that. Robb Stark was a young man not expecting anything, thinking his life is going to be on one path and then he's pushed. More weight and responsibility get put onto him; more demands are made of him. For me as an actor, there are parallels to that. David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] decided to push me more, give me more responsibility, write in scenes into Season 2 that never existed, and give me more of an onscreen journey.

Robb rises to the challenge, and then he starts pushing back and putting the weight on the other people. As an actor I've tried to do that. That's where the scenes become more interesting. I've had these great scenes with Tobias [Menzies] and Michelle  where you've got a room full of actors really pushing each others' buttons and challenging each other. Throwing curve balls ensures we all listen to each other, and it pushes the story forward more interestingly.

HBO

How do you hope fans remember Robb?

Richard Madden

I suppose much like Ned, as an honest and just man. It's constantly been in my brain the whole time, less so into Season 3 where Robb starts making worse decisions. But in this world, the people who are honest and just, who do things for the right reasons, are the people who tend not to survive. Robb's a great example of that. I hope he's remembered as a good man and essentially the man who would have been the best person to lead the seven kingdoms.

HBO

Do you have a message for fans after watching the Red Wedding?

Richard Madden

No one is safe in ‘Game of Thrones.'