Have you finished grieving over the Red Wedding yet?
It was only on Sunday that we saw some of Game of Thrones’ most beloved characters, Robb and Catelyn Stark, along with Robb’s pregnant wife, Talisa, brutally murdered at the hands of the treacherous Walder Frey and Roose Bolton. Filled with gore, blood, and wails of grief, the scene had a profound effect on fans of the show who were just as blindsided as the murdered Starks themselves.
It may (or may not) comfort you to know that the show’s executive producers, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff were none-too-thrilled about the prospect of bringing the Red Wedding to life, even though, as Weiss explains it, the scene was one of the factors that motivated the producers’ decision to adapt the books into the TV series.
As Weiss explains, he felt a kind of angst when he started working with the actors portraying the now-dead major characters, similar to what the book series’ fans likely felt when they first started watching the show:
“We knew going into season one, the second Sean Bean showed up on set for the first day, it was like, ‘hello, we will be chopping your head off three months from now.’ And everybody knew that, and that was one of the ground rules. We knew obviously when Richard [Madden]and Michelle [Fairley] showed up for work on their first day, we distantly knew that somewhere in the future—if we all got lucky enough and the show didn’t sink to the bottom of the ocean in the middle of the first season—it was in the back of our minds that the Red Wedding was there looming, but it wasn’t really something that informed our daily lives working with them, so these people become like family members to you.”
Interestingly, we learn in this interview that Robb’s death may have impacted the show’s fans more than the book’s because there’s far more of Robb Stark on screen than in the pages. For those who haven’t read any of the novels, each chapter is seen from the point of view of a particular character. Despite being an incredibly important character, Robb never gets top billing. His scenes are always told from the perspective of one of the other characters, primarily Catelyn.
But according to the producers, the strength of Madden’s performance as Robb motivated them to write more and more material for him, making his on-screen death this weekend doubly devastating.
And don’t worry: the pain wasn’t limited to you on your couch. Even the people working the set had a tough time getting through shooting. Said Benioff:
“The set for those days, especially the last day, it was a very strange atmosphere. People in Northern Ireland are tough… they’re a tough group. The northern Irish are not wussies. And I’ve never seen so much tears.”
If nothing else, there should be some solace in knowing that the people who just killed some of your favorite characters had a really, really hard time doing it. And, really, they’re not to blame. We all know it’s that malevolent George R. R. Martin who pulls the strings…
And if you’re still feeling awful, Arya Stark herself is right there with you.
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