There have been plenty of interesting changes to the characters introduced a year ago in "Game of Thrones," but easily one of the most pleasant to watch in Season 2, is the hero's journey taken by "the young wolf," Robb Stark.
Played by Scottish actor Richard Madden, Season 2 began for the King in the North winning battles and showing off - so far - some shrewd logic (like keeping the most valuable prisoner, Jaime Lannister, with his forces).
But life slaying Lannister forces can be tough on a young man, and viewers recently saw Robb strike up a couple of conversations with the raven-haired Tulisa (Oona Chaplin, BBC America's "The Hour"), the latest of which certainly revealed Robb in the first blush of a crush.
Richard actually played another young character, Romeo, who became quickly smitten by a woman -- Juliet - in the Shakespearian play when he was barely 20, so do those first pangs of infatuation give Robb and Romeo something in common?
"Hmmm...," he paused, after AccessHollywood.com asked if there were parallels among the young men. "I think it's different. With Romeo, he's kind of, very quickly head over heels and Robb's got much more kind of reserve there, where he's never been in a situation with a woman before, where he's been taken by someone. Whereas I think Romeo [has] kind of been there, he's fallen in love how many times already...
"Robb's never been there and he doesn't know what it is yet. And also, rather than kind of knowing how much he likes this woman at this point, he's just kind of surprised and intrigued by her, and wants to kind of get to know her, this woman that challenges him, and is a kind of light in the darkness for him," Richard added. "He's not taking it all too seriously yet." (Click HERE to watch this interview with Richard.)
But as it turns out, the crush may have to wait.
In last week's episode, Robb found out Theon betrayed him, by using a small force to take Winterfell, killing Ser Rodrick, and proclaiming himself Prince Theon.
The news, Richard said, is particularly hard for Stark family matriarch Catelyn, who now is unsure about the whereabouts of two more of her children (Bran and Rickon).
"You're gonna see a lot of kind of fractions developing with his mother...The relationship with Theon and the consequences that come from that really start to play in. And you kind of see Robb being more alone than we've seen him, at all... His mother hasn't understood, I think, as much as Robb does... this whole war started and was driven by the death of his father and getting our family back and now, Catelyn's still in that mind frame," Richard said. "But Robb's now in a position where he's got 20,000 men [with their own families] that he now has to care about and he can't put his family in a place of higher regard than any of those people and I think Catelyn struggles with that and we start to really go in different directions.
"I think that's part of him being so alone and then finding this woman, [Tulisa], that's a light in this darkness where she's real with him and she challenges and pushes him, but she's also changeable. If you can convince her, then she'll run with that as well," he added, hinting at things to come.
"Game of Thrones" airs Sunday night at 9 on HBO.
-- Jolie Lash
Copyright 2012 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- Arts & Entertainment