Caught in a Robb Romance
THE CHANGE: Fans of actor Richard Madden are legion, and lusty, and lucky. If the show had followed the book's lead, Madden's Robb Stark would have spent almost every episode off screen, fighting battles we never see and falling in love with a girl we never meet (this season, anyway). Instead he's been kept front and center, all the better to meet cute with the mysterious foreign nurse Lady Talisa after one of his victories. She's a far cry from Lady Jeyne Westerling, the pretty teenager from Westeros' west coast (that's Lannister territory) whom Robb falls for in the novels.
THE VERDICT: Good on the show for keeping Robb around, at least. In the books, George R.R. Martin keeps all the kings distant from the center of the action, preferring to show us how their decisions play out among their subjects – it's both a literary technique and a political message, but it wouldn't work on the show since the entire Stark side of the war would basically disappear. The Talisa/Jeyne switcheroo is tougher to get a handle on. Actress Oona Chaplin's got a real spark with the charismatic Madden, and whom he falls in love with doesn't matter as much falling in love at all. But as mega-fansite Westeros.org has pointed out, her "first they argue, then they flirt, and pretty soon you see them at the diner eating breakfast together in the clothes they wore last night" introduction to Robb has been one of the show's most predictable plotlines. Far from a dealbreaker, though, and potentially juicy when the romance heats up.