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Morrigan

[Book spoilers] They ruined Robb Stark

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Sure I can. What they changed is an insignificant detail (at least until we go into the whole "pregnant or not" issue, which is book 5/book 6 territory anyway). Making his doom device into an actual character, giving her lines to read, showing some sort of buildup to the fuckup, is better storytelling than the diabolus ex machina in the novel. But for the bottom line it's as much irrelevant as the shape of the Hand's badge of office: in the books it's a chain, and at the end Tyrion uses it to strangle Shae; in the TV show it's a brooch, so clearly that solution of Shae-Tyrion's relationship went out of the window. Yet it makes virtually no difference. "Robb married some chick named Talisa, pissed off Walder Frey and got betrayed and killed at the Red Wedding" is next to identical to "Robb married Jeyne, a maiden from noble but insignificant House Westerling, pissed off Walder Frey and got betrayed and killed at the Red Wedding".

Ok, I'll buy your argument about the base plot still being Robb makes a mistake and gets killed, but that's about it. My argument should have stated I felt Jeyne Westerling has been changed so much as to not resemble the books at all. My apologies for not stating that correctly. The character of Jeyne Westerling has been changed entirely. Maybe you think that makes no difference and isn't such a drastic diversion from the author's portrayal of her - at that point, its your opinion over mine or anyone else who steps into a long debate like this and that's ok just so long as others are willing to keep it as civil as you have. The problem seems to be when people feel their opinion of the changes to the story are so drastic (or so valid) that it has made the show terrible (or fantastic) and they resort to insulting anyone who defends those changes or likes/hates it. (Not that I'm saying you're doing that because you're not at all) I think people should debate facts of changes and not theories and opinions but of course that's impossible. :)

I guess in my point of view, part of what made the Jeyne Westerling debacle so painful and tragic was that she was "Plain Jane" so-to-speak and nothing of importance that should have cost Robb Stark his claim as King in the North as well as his life. It's almost as if they wanted "Talisa" to be sexier and more mysterious so people will either think she's much less 'worth it' or much MORE worth it and that's why I'm so confused. What were they going for with the actor they chose and with the way she's portraying the character?

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This is where you are wrong. They didn't just took different route, by doing this they have changed Robb's character and motivations and it is a pretty big deal.

:agree:

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I think that if the relationship between Robb and Talisa had been better written, and if the actors had more chemistry, this discussion wouldn't exist. The idea behind all of it is fair enough, maybe even more sensible that in the books. It just been very poorly delivered. By the way, I don't think they are going to get marry this season, and there's something that still tells me she might be Jayne.

[...] After watching all the episodes thus far up to Robb's love scene with "Talisa"... I am just scratching my head in confusion over how lame it seems to be playing out. Not just their awkward acting (which is entirely contrived since of course these scenes were never in the book) but the entire flow of the story seems disjointed and off kilter from whatever was implied and revealed in the books. [...]

I really want to discuss acting (I think I'm going to create a thread to do that) but in this specific scene...what is poorly delivered? you can like or not the changes... but I really want to know in what way this is awkward or poorly delivered

(I have no animosity, I'm just curious :) )

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They definitely ruined his character, and since he'll die before he can redeem himself, it's over for him. He looks like a jackass. At least in the books he was injured, away from camp, and had an excuse...a beautiful nurse was taking care of him. Back at the camp with Jeyne, he was all business again. He was foolish for breaking the pact, but he was being a naive 15 year old boy who didn't see the ramifications of his actions.

TV Robb is just a fool and kind of an asshole when you think of it. He has a war going on around him and really all we see him focused on is Jeyne. In the books, he was so tense about everything that he could barely even talk to Jeyne and she went to Catelyn for advice. No wonder Roose keeps giving them looks of disdain, not to mention this chick just waltzes in his tent...really? They butchered his character. Go Roose! And Jaime Lannister sends his regards. (and yeah, I never thought this in the books)

Not to mention, these writers need to stay far, far away from romance writing. Having cheesy romance at all goes exactly *against* ASOIAF. Do you really think GRRM would write the kind of garbage dialogue they've exchanged?

I guess in my point of view, part of what made the Jeyne Westerling debacle so painful and tragic was that she was "Plain Jane" so-to-speak and nothing of importance that should have cost Robb Stark his claim as King in the North as well as his life. It's almost as if they wanted "Talisa" to be sexier and more mysterious so people will either think she's much less 'worth it' or much MORE worth it and that's why I'm so confused. What were they going for with the actor they chose and with the way she's portraying the character?

This. This. OMG THIS. The writers are so focused on making every girl in the show a mysterious, bratty badass and it's tiring and unrealistic. It also makes the whole story a lot less tragic, imo. Not all girls are like Cersei or Arya.

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I really want to discuss acting (I think I'm going to create a thread to do that) but in this specific scene...what is poorly delivered? you can like or not the changes... but I really want to know in what way this is awkward or poorly delivered (I have no animosity, I'm just curious :) )

You can certainly start a thread about the acting abilities of various actors for various characters, plenty of people have done so. I don't want to derail the main point of the thread too much, which was about whether or not people agree / disagree with the changes to the original story / characters of Robb and Jeyne. But since I did say those things amongst my overall dislike for the Rob/Talisa story of the series, I'll humor you with my opinions on their acting. First of all, Robb has always come across as a little stiff. Personally I think this was intentional on the part of direction and the actor to make him appear more unbending and "Stark-like" comparable to Ned Stark. I'm ok with that. Secondly, they have the actor for Jeyne/Talisa behaving much much more saucy and "bratty" as hk47 put it...constantly challenging (even insulting a few times) Robb's motives, his decisions and his leadership. Is this how "Jeyne Westerling" acted in the book? No, we actually have no idea and so the directors had to make up a personality for her. Unfortunately, that personality seems to clash quite a bit with what little we know of Jeyne from the books and whenever she spoke to Catelyn or anyone else, it certainly wasn't in a saucy, defiant way by any means as the current "Talisa" character is being played out. Is that the fault of Oona Chaplin or her acting ability? Probably not at all. It was a decision of the producers to cast her and to have her act that way.

Now, combine the two actors... stiff / semi-awkward Robb, making doe eyes at a deliberately challenging and disrespectful "Talisa" who is a mysterious woman on the battlefield tending the wounded. It seemed really awkward and not very realistic to me. I'm not sure this is so much the fault of the actors personally as it is the contrived storyline they've made up to put them in. The 'poor delivery' remark was in regards to the way their lines seemed stiff and unnatural in playing out the tensions and growing 'attraction' they had for one another which I just never felt was very intriguing or interesting. Regardless, it doesn't really work for me and for a great many other people who have criticized it on this forum as well.

So hopefully that satisfies your curiosity as to why I disliked the 'acting' of the actors playing Robb and Talisa/Jeyne.

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You can certainly start a thread about the acting abilities of various actors for various characters, plenty of people have done so. I don't want to derail the main point of the thread too much, which was about whether or not people agree / disagree with the changes to the original story / characters of Robb and Jeyne. But since I did say those things amongst my overall dislike for the Rob/Talisa story of the series, I'll humor you with my opinions on their acting. First of all, Robb has always come across as a little stiff. Personally I think this was intentional on the part of direction and the actor to make him appear more unbending and "Stark-like" comparable to Ned Stark. I'm ok with that. Secondly, they have the actor for Jeyne/Talisa behaving much much more saucy and "bratty" as hk47 put it...constantly challenging (even insulting a few times) Robb's motives, his decisions and his leadership. Is this how "Jeyne Westerling" acted in the book? No, we actually have no idea and so the directors had to make up a personality for her. Unfortunately, that personality seems to clash quite a bit with what little we know of Jeyne from the books and whenever she spoke to Catelyn or anyone else, it certainly wasn't in a saucy, defiant way by any means as the current "Talisa" character is being played out. Is that the fault of Oona Chaplin or her acting ability? Probably not at all. It was a decision of the producers to cast her and to have her act that way. Now, combine the two actors... stiff / semi-awkward Robb, making doe eyes at a deliberately challenging and disrespectful "Talisa" who is a mysterious woman on the battlefield tending the wounded. It seemed really awkward and not very realistic to me. I'm not sure this is so much the fault of the actors personally as it is the contrived storyline they've made up to put them in. The 'poor delivery' remark was in regards to the way their lines seemed stiff and unnatural in playing out the tensions and growing 'attraction' they had for one another which I just never felt was very intriguing or interesting. Regardless, it doesn't really work for me and for a great many other people who have criticized it on this forum as well. So hopefully that satisfies your curiosity as to why I disliked the 'acting' of the actors playing Robb and Talisa/Jeyne.

you're citing traits of the characters not the "acting" itself. for example I hate Joffrey with all my guts, in the books, and in the show,but Jack Gleeson is excellent, everytime he appears I want to hit him, the "when Stannis arrive I put a smile on his face" showing the knife, caused me the same reaction that Varys and Tyrion had. The "love" scene was very good, Madden portrayed the feeling very well, his face says it all, She is good but not so...she was very good in the previous scene when they were interrupted.

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I really want to discuss acting (I think I'm going to create a thread to do that) but in this specific scene...what is poorly delivered? you can like or not the changes... but I really want to know in what way this is awkward or poorly delivered (I have no animosity, I'm just curious :) )

I was not referring to actor’s delivery, but how the relationship has been delivered to the audience, and by that I mean the writing of it.

By the way, I think Richard and Oona are two very good actors that unfortunately don't have much chemistry. If they did, I think they could make the script work, even if it’s not best. Alas they don’t so everything falls very flat to me.

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Ok, I'll buy your argument about the base plot still being Robb makes a mistake and gets killed, but that's about it. My argument should have stated I felt Jeyne Westerling has been changed so much as to not resemble the books at all. My apologies for not stating that correctly.

Oh, no problem. Actually they built a brand new character from scratch; even if it's revealed that she is Jeyne of House Westerling incognito, it'll still will be a completely different character by the same name. But since Jeyne in the books spoke about half dozen lines, and appeared on as many pages, I can't say that I miss the old Jeyne. We have a lot of reshuffling characters an fact in the show. One of recent examples: Finchy Dagmer Cleftjaw assuming Ramsay's role as a little devil on Theon's shoulder.

Regarding substitution of Talisa for Jeyne, I don't mind, since as I explained the story works better this way (IMAO). Robb saying: "and by the way, the new girl never even mentioned before is my wife" was an awful diabolus ex machina. Now if he marries her, it would at least be a girl he knows (not that it makes it less stupid in-universe; it's just not a total ass pull now). And as for the central question, whether they ruined Robb's character: in the books his marriage was already an act of astonishing stupidity. Can't really ruin that.

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you're citing traits of the characters not the "acting" itself. for example I hate Joffrey with all my guts, in the books, and in the show,but Jack Gleeson is excellent, everytime he appears I want to hit him, the "when Stannis arrive I put a smile on his face" showing the knife, caused me the same reaction that Varys and Tyrion had. The "love" scene was very good, Madden portrayed the feeling very well, his face says it all, She is good but not so...she was very good in the previous scene when they were interrupted.

No, I don't think I am citing character traits. I did say I wasn't so sure if the awkward scenes / acting were because of the actors themselves not having chemistry or because of the contrived storyline that is completely made up and how the director is telling them to act. That being said, I disliked the acting of these two in general as a couple, not necessarily their acting as individual character portrayals.

Using your Joffrey example, I agree. I despise Joffrey, most people do, but that doesn't mean I despise the way the actor chosen is playing him. I think he's playing Joffrely spot on and doing a fabulous job.

Another comparison, for me, is the actress playing "Yara" (Asha). Like many, I don't care for the actress chosen nor the way she's acting the part of Asha Greyjoy. I think she's dull and uninteresting. Oona Chaplin, as Jeyne/Talisa would have made a better Asha Greyjoy to be honest, with the saucy way she behaves towards Robb. Again, is that because she's a better actor or because the directors/producers WANT her to act that way? (in reference to Yara's actor)...

Maybe there's too much gray area here that is being nitpicked too much. Again, this thread is getting derailed from its original topic because you want to argue/debate the difference between the actors and the acting they've been told to do. I'm not really going to keep going on about this topic, it should likely be its own separate topic entirely.

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They are probably fine actors, but even the best actors can do so much with a crappy script.

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If they had to change Robb and Jeyne's story, I think I may have thought of a way that could work. I'd like your guys thoughts, because it's kind of...edgy, I guess. Robb takes the Crag, and meets Jeyne, the daughter of the Lord. He is attracted to her, and she him despite being his "prisoner." But when he gets word of Bran and Rickon's deaths, he loses his cool and orders his men to burn the castle before they march out. Jeyne gets hysterical about the destruction of her home and gives Robb shit. Robb, mad with grief and rage but also turned on by her, up and rapes her. Yep - it would add another dimension to a character that I feel is pretty flat in the show and books - even the honorable do-gooder Young Wolf can succumb to his worst urges. He's a horny adolescent with monarchical power, after all. The next day, he is overcome with shame and remorse. He feels he has let his father down, and can't bear the dishonor he brought on himself and her. So, he does the right thing as he sees it and marries her. I think this would make his actions actually more understandable - it's just kind of silly that a King would feel obligated to marry the first wench he screws unless he felt like he really owed her something. Thoughts?

You've made me see the Robb/Talisa relationship in a new light. I suppose I should thank you.

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If you guys haven't noticed, drippy characters like Jeyne Westerling don't work on television. She wasn't even mousy and victim-y like Jeyne Poole, she was just...kinda there. A plot device to facilitate the Red Wedding. This hybrid Talisa/Jeyne character gives audiences a way to understand why Robb would risk everything. Talisa is extremely sexy, exotic and has the kind of personality that drives men wild. Now compare this to Jeyne Westerling who's only attributes were that she had good birthing hips and was adequately pretty.

Quite true. So why couldn't they have simply developed THAT character, instead of making an entirely new one. There are in fact women like that so I see no problem with showing such a person on TV.

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I don't see why Book Robb had to marry Jeyne. Barbrey Ryswell was still able to be married after Brandon dishonored her for example. There are examples of non-virgins still being able to advance themselves by marriage like Lysa and Cersei. I could see it more if Jeyne was pregnant but even then Robb could still get one of his bannermen to marry her in his place.

He didn't have to, and certainly 99% of men would have acted differently. But the fact that he felt compelled to marry her because he honestly thought "honoring" Jeyne was more important than his pact with the Freys said a lot about his character and was crucial to his storyline, even if it was a mistake. And if the show has Robb marry Talisa under different terms, it would remove that characterization, and the theme of honor (or his idea of honor) being his downfall.

this isn't directed at you specifically, but a lot of people are implying this so I'd like to say it - Robb's arc isn't an any means to an end sort of thing. The importance of Robb's character is how he gets to the point of the Red Wedding, not just "he makes a mistake and gets betrayed, blah blah blah"

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How exactly is Talisa worth the sacrifice? Because she is hot? Him marrying a random foreign highborn is more risky than marrying a Southron maiden. Marrying Jeyne at least gave him some men from the Crag, him marrying Talisa gives him nothing.

I don't mean anything about strategic worth or benefits of marriage alliances (clearly the Freys were the better choice anyway). I'm wondering if it was a good idea to heighten the contrast between the two choices before him.

Really, who can blame Robb for "not marrying the Frey girl." They're the slack-jawed locals of Westeros. Talisa, by contrast, is Florence Nightingale, she has opinions of her own but speaks with the courtesy of a Lady. She objects to the uselessness of war and the horrors of slavery. She amputates people and it doesn't bother her at all (which is ridiculous - remember how much the Doc in Deadwood was shaken up by the Civil War?) I thought it was interesting that Jeyne Westerling was so ordinary, she could have easily been a boring old Frey. By comparison, Talisa is Wonder Woman.

OT, but would Westeros really have neutral medics? Seems like a nurse who cares for the wounded "no matter who they are" would be an anachronism.

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I find the Robb/Talisa storyline well worth my interest, different though it may be from the books. I find the Robb character in the TV series to be a strong, and a well acted one, with the characterization presented with just the right mix of strength and vulnerability. I completely understand his falling for Talisa, who ever she might turn out to be, and I could completely understand that he would break a vow with the Freys to marry her. With a readers prescience I see the tragic error being made, but Robb IS a tragic character, I like that I feel more involved with his short life and thus will feel the tragedy all the more for it.

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I find the Robb/Talisa storyline well worth my interest, different though it may be from the books. I find the Robb character in the TV series to be a strong, and a well acted one, with the characterization presented with just the right mix of strength and vulnerability. I completely understand his falling for Talisa, who ever she might turn out to be, and I could completely understand that he would break a vow with the Freys to marry her. With a readers prescience I see the tragic error being made, but Robb IS a tragic character, I like that I feel more involved with his short life and thus will feel the tragedy all the more for it.

I do respect other people's opinions but I really can't see were people are coming from when they say they enjoy the Robb/Talisa stuff. There's just no chemistry between the two, half the time she's implicitly insulting him, the acting comes across as wooden etc etc. I'm just not seeing it, and looming over all of that is the knowledge that we will never see on the screen the relationship we got in the books. For me it's especially missed because we got so little of it on-page if that makes sense. I was looking forward to something that would really deepen our understanding of the books.

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Frankly, I don't find either of the romances (Robb/Jeyne and Robb/Talissa) particularly compelling, but I don't really miss Robb's "honorable stupid" move from the book that much. I certainly don't see how Robb is ruined because he doesn't do something specific that I found profoundly idiotic and unbelievable but YMMV.

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They definitely ruined his character, and since he'll die before he can redeem himself, it's over for him. He looks like a jackass. At least in the books he was injured, away from camp, and had an excuse...a beautiful nurse was taking care of him. Back at the camp with Jeyne, he was all business again. He was foolish for breaking the pact, but he was being a naive 15 year old boy who didn't see the ramifications of his actions. TV Robb is just a fool and kind of an asshole when you think of it. He has a war going on around him and really all we see him focused on is Jeyne. In the books, he was so tense about everything that he could barely even talk to Jeyne and she went to Catelyn for advice. No wonder Roose keeps giving them looks of disdain, not to mention this chick just waltzes in his tent...really? They butchered his character. Go Roose! And Jaime Lannister sends his regards. (and yeah, I never thought this in the books) Not to mention, these writers need to stay far, far away from romance writing. Having cheesy romance at all goes exactly *against* ASOIAF. Do you really think GRRM would write the kind of garbage dialogue they've exchanged? This. This. OMG THIS. The writers are so focused on making every girl in the show a mysterious, bratty badass and it's tiring and unrealistic. It also makes the whole story a lot less tragic, imo. Not all girls are like Cersei or Arya.

Damn you HK, I was trying to be optimistic about Robb but then I read this post!!!!!

Bastard

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Frankly, I don't find either of the romances (Robb/Jeyne and Robb/Talissa) particularly compelling, but I don't really miss Robb's "honorable stupid" move from the book that much. I certainly don't see how Robb is ruined because he doesn't do something specific that I found profoundly idiotic and unbelievable but YMMV.

I think that in this single paragraph you managed to convey my POV better than I could.

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Robb saying: "and by the way, the new girl never even mentioned before is my wife" was an awful diabolus ex machina. And as for the central question, whether they ruined Robb's character: in the books his marriage was already an act of astonishing stupidity. Can't really ruin that.

Latin for wife is uxor, so I would caller an uxor ex machina. She isn’t really a diabola, best as we know at least.

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