With Game of Thrones’ second season barreling to a conclusion with Sunday night’s finale, one of the series’ biggest power players seems more out of the game than ever.

Robb Stark (Richard Madden), King in the North, and his army saw none of the action during the Battle of the Blackwater; he’s separated from nearly his entire family and, when circumstances might be at their most dire, he’s emotionally preoccupied with healer Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin). As Madden sees it, mommy issues are partially to blame.

“Catelyn is very focused on her family,” says Madden, “but Robb is now aware that he’s got 20,000 men behind him. That’s 20,000 mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers. He can’t hold his family in higher regard than those 20,000 families. Robb wants nothing more than what Cateyln wants, but he needs to focus on the bigger picture and that’s where they’ve really started to have problems.”

That sense of responsibility is one of the few aspects of leadership that Robb isn’t faking. Madden thinks his character is still just a boy from Winterfell, barely holding it together.

“If I’ve played the part right, hopefully we see these moments where that mask slips off and you realize that underneath all this pretending is just a normal young man who is barely out of boyhood, pretending his way through this war,” says Madden. “He’s acting all the time.”

Looking to the third season, Madden knows the trajectory his character takes in the books — but he’s not sure if that’s how it will play out on the series.

“I kind of know certain things that are coming up next year, but I have no idea what [showrunners] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] are going to do,” he says. “I’m very aware that we are doing the TV show, not the books, and they are different beasts at this point.”

Interviews From 2012

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