It’s Good to Be King

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Richard Madden explains the pressures that forge a young leader.

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

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.

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

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.

To read the rest of the interview with Richard Madden, continue to HBO.com