The King of the North is growing up quickly. When “Game of Thrones” ended last season, Robb Stark was still reeling from the death of his father Ned (Sean Bean) and intent on exacting revenge on the Lannisters. He had been declared king, raised his banners, and won a few battles — but the eldest Stark son was still very much a green young wolf.
When Season 2 premieres on Sunday, April 1 (HBO, 9/8c), look for a more mature, world-wise Robb. “He’s not the young lad who was first thrust into this situation who was naive to this world,” says series star Richard Madden. Now, says the Scottish actor, Robb is “very much aware” of the responsibilities he has to the people of Westeros, and the men who are following him as they prepare to wage a civil war. “Robb is realizing that this whole thing is bigger than just his father’s execution, or worrying about his brothers or his sisters,” he admits. “It’s about all the seven kingdoms and who’s going to be ruling.”
With this maturity comes a new relationship with a woman unlike any Robb’s met before. “I think she’s someone very different than anyone Robb’s seen. She takes him to a place where he’s never been with any woman before, and he’s never been in a relationship like that,” Madden says. Readers of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series series know this woman as Jeyne Westerling (here, played by Oona Chaplin), the daughter of a minor house whom Robb becomes involved with after she dresses his battle wounds. (Readers of A Clash of Kings will also be familiar with what comes next, but Madden asserts their love story will deviate slightly from the book.)
In part thanks to his new love interest, a more headstrong Robb emerges. But the romance also carries consequences in his relationship with his mother Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), as he steps further away from the role of doting child. “Last year, we saw much more of the son,” Madden notes. “This year you see much more of the man – and king.”
And given the fantasy series’ penchant for explicit sex scenes, could this mean viewers will also see, uh, more of Robb Stark in the literal sense? “Ehh,” Madden laughs. “You might see a little bit more of Robb this year than you did last year!”
Preview: Watch Robb Offer Peace Terms to the Lannisters: