Showbiz Tonight just went one-on-one with the former “Game of Thrones” actor Richard Madden, and he revealed to Showbiz Tonight that he hasn’t watched the famous scene when his character Robb Stark, his pregnant wife and mother were all massacred at what has become known in TV history as the ‘Red Wedding’ scene.
Richard Madden just told Showbiz Tonight’s A.J. Hammer about watching the scene again, “It just destroys me. I haven’t watched it since aired and it was crushing actually.” Madden is now starring as Bill Haskell in the gold rush show, “Klondike,” which kicks off on the Discover network January 20th.
What would YOU ask Richard Madden, star of #Klondike? The Game of Thrones star will be chatting LIVE tomorrow on Discovery’s page at 12:30pm EST for an exclusive Facebook Q&A. Don’t miss it!
“I didn’t sleep properly last night,” says Richard Madden, drinking a pint at his local. “I’m thinking it’s because I knew I was going to have to talk about this.”
“This” is an event that concerns Madden’s character in the HBO series Game of Thrones. If you’re not fully up to date with the show, scram. This is your spoiler alert. In an episode watched by half a million UK viewers on Sky Atlantic in June, Madden was killed off savagely and with so little warning that some (honestly, there’s video proof) leapt off their sofas.
In the aftermath Twitter went all capitalised and intense. US talkshow host Conan O’Brien called it “the most stunning thing any of us have seen in television. Maybe ever”. Madden, months later, says he’s still approached by the traumatised. “Just yesterday a guy came up to me, crushed. He asked, ‘Why would someone do this?’”
It’s a question, really, for George RR Martin, the American author whose novels have been adapted by HBO. Martin’s fiction takes place in a cruel, medieval-like world, where murder is commonplace. The author seems to revel in it, killing off popular, morally spotless characters knowing his readers (with their soppy, modern notions of fairness) won’t see it coming.
What it all means for those cast in the TV version is that when new episodes are hacked out of Martin’s long books, and scripts are distributed, “you get a lot of terrified actors,” says Madden, “tearing through the pages going ‘Do I die? Do I die?!’”
Madden, 27, who grew up in Elderslie, Renfrewshire, 15 miles from Glasgow, knew his character was doomed from the outset. He had worked in theatre (Romeo at the Globe) before being cast as Thrones’ youthful lordling, Robb Stark, in 2009. Senior producers admitted to Madden, early, that they couldn’t wait to get to the filming of his slaying. And on his first day on set, crew and cast approached, asking, “My God, do you know how you’re going to die?”
He managed to stay ignorant of the details for a few years. “I made a deliberate effort not to read ahead.” Madden’s girlfriend is the Doctor Who actor Jenna Coleman, so theirs is a household well practised in spoiler containment. One night, though, Madden risked a Google search …
THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM GAME OF THRONES 3X09
For Madden, one of the worst things about Robb’s death was how close Arya came to reuniting with her family. “That really cut me up even more,” he says. “With every episode Robb’s been further and further from the people he loves. For Arya to be so close to getting to me, I think that’s what really hurt because that’s what we all wanted — to get the family back together — even if it was only one of us coming back.”
He also recalls the heartbreaking moment shared between Robb and Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) right before they die, saying, “It’s Robb Stark essentially saying goodbye to his mother and giving up.”
But he does try to put a bit of a positive spin on it (if that’s at all possible). “Rather than it being something really bad, it’s a moment of tragedy and utter relief, actually,” Madden explains. “These characters have fought and fought and fought and it’s finally over.”
And as horrible as Robb and Cat’s deaths are, “I think Robb Stark dying in that way is one of the best things that HBO and Game of Thrones does so beautifully, and that’s just rip these characters hearts out in front of you,” Madden says. “This is so sudden and violent and horrible. The way I and the writers have tried to build him up, there’s no other way we could have killed him.”
Finally, Madden admits that it was difficult for him to say goodbye after finishing up on Game of Thrones.
He admits, “I got straight to the airport and got on a plane because I didn’t want to be there anymore. I cried the whole way. I was the crazy boy on the plane crying.”