Talisa as portrayed by Oona Chaplin
|Alias||Talisa of Volantis|
|Spouse||King Robb Stark|
|Played by||Oona Chaplin|
|TV series||Season 2 | Season 3|
Talisa Maegyr is a healer working on the battlefields of the westerlands in the War of the Five Kings. She has only appeared in the TV Series Game of Thrones, where she is played by Oona Chaplin. The character was created for the TV show, where she replaces Jeyne Westerling as the love interest and later wife of King Robb Stark.
When she was twelve years old, her parents went to a wedding lasting several days, leaving her with her younger brother. The second day they were gone, it was the hottest day in Volantis, so she and her brother joined the other children to go for a swim in the River Rhoyne. While she was talking with a friend, she noticed that her brother was missing. Eventually, she found him floating face down in the water. Talisa and her friend pulled him to the shore but he was dead. Suddenly, a man with a tattoo of a fish on his face came and pushed her away. Had she reported him, it would have meant death for the slave to touch a noble. The slave kept on pushing on her brother's chest again and again until he was revived. As the slave cradled her brother and calmed him down, Talisa was inspired by the slave's selfless act. She decided two things right there and then: first, that when she came of age, she would not waste her years dancing with other nobles, and second that she would never live in a place where slavery was legal again. To this end, she sought and obtained medical training and relocated to Westeros.
Game of Thrones
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Talisa tends to a wounded Lannister soldier after the Battle of Oxcross, finding that his foot needs to be amputated. King Robb Stark aids her by holding the man down and giving him a gag to bite on, pointing out that it's better than biting his tongue. After the operation Talisa criticizes Robb for fighting to overthrow the crown without having a replacement king, as Robb only claims the title of King in the North. Talisa also points out that the wounded Lannister soldier was a fisherman who had been conscripted, like many others, into the Lannister army and that the forces Robb's army defeated weren't trained soldiers for the most part. As she leaves Robb tells Talisa that the soldier was lucky she was there to save him and she responds by saying it was unlucky for the soldier that Robb was there.
Talisa follows Robb Stark's army camp as it moves. One day as she writes a letter, Robb introduces her to his mother Catelyn Stark, and when she asks about her family, Talisa says that their name is "Maegyr". Talisa says that being from Volantis, she isn't familiar with the titles of nobility used in the Seven Kingdoms. Robb watches Talisa as she leaves and Catelyn reminds him that he is not free to love where he will.
After a meeting with his bannermen, Talisa seeks Robb out to ask for more medical supplies. She has heard Robb is about to leave for The Crag to negotiate a surrender, which has the things she needs. She wants to write a list to send to the Crag's Maester, but Robb suggests she should come with him and get the supplies herself. On their way back they discuss Robb's father Eddard Stark and the lessons he taught Robb about caring for his subjects. They are interrupted by news that Catelyn has released Robb's key prisoner Jaime Lannister. Talisa later goes to comfort Robb. After she reveals more of her past to him they admit their shared feelings for one another and sleep together.
Robb talks to his mother about Talisa. Catelyn says that she and Eddard were an arranged marriage, they barely knew each other, and yet found happiness together. However, Robb wants more than that possibility. Talisa and Robb marry in secret before a septon, pledging their lives to each other.
Talisa is recalling to Robb about her mother's prejudices towards Westerosi when Roose Bolton arrives with the news of Hoster Tully's death and that Winterfell has been sacked with Bran and Rickon Stark still missing. While traveling to Riverrun for Hoster Tully's funeral, Talisa notices that Catelyn is making a prayer wheel for the Faith of the Seven. Talisa offers to help her, but Catelyn explains that they can only be made by mothers who are praying for the welfare of their children.
While at Riverrun, she comforts Robb and attempts to help him with his battle strategizing. She tends to two wounded young Lannister squires. After they are murdered, she and the rest of Robb's family watch as he decapitates the murderer Rickard Karstark.
Later, on the road to The Twins, after a passionate session of love-making with Robb, Talisa writes a letter in Valyrian, claiming it is for her mother. She teases Robb over his limited knowledge of the language before asking him to visit Volantis with her after the war is over, as Talisa would like to introduce her mother to her husband and her grandchild. It takes a moment for the news of her pregnancy to sink in and the couple happily embrace. Talisa says that they will name the child Eddard if it's a boy.
When Robb and his supporters reach The Twins, Lord Walder Frey inspects Talisa and insists that Robb broke his marriage pact not for love, but for "firm tits and a tight fit." His salacious remarks stir Robb to anger, but Catelyn firmly places a hand on his arm to pacify before he does anything rash. Lord Frey quickly alleviates the tension by claiming he would have "broken 50 vows without a second thought" to be with a woman like Talisa at Robb's age. After Edmure Tully marries Roslin Frey, Robb jokes that perhaps he made a mistake in marrying Talisa, who feigns offense. She is bewildered by the traditional Westerosi bedding, which Robb explains proves that the marriage was consummated. Talisa replies that their unborn child is proof enough, and suggests that if it is a boy they name him Eddard after Robb's father, which Robb agrees to. After the bedding, the doors are closed and the musicians begin playing "The Rains of Castamere". Lord Walder rises to toast Robb, stating that he has yet to give his new queen a wedding gift, signalling his men to attack. At that moment, Lothar Frey approaches Talisa from behind and begins to repeatedly stab her in the stomach with a dagger, fatally wounding her and killing her unborn child. She rises in an attempts to flee, but instantly collapses and dies in her husband's arms. The death of Talisa and their child sends Robb into a state of catatonia, and he lies there holding her in his arms as his men are slaughtered around him. Moments later, Robb and Catelyn are then killed by Roose Bolton and Black Walder Rivers,, respectively.
Behind the scenes
The change from "Jeyne Westerling" to "Talisa Maegyr" has not been given a detailed explaition by the showrunners. In August 2011, Westeros.org contacted HBO about casting information, and received a brief description that actress Oona Chaplin was playing a character named "Jeyne" (not providing a surname) in a small role. HBO told Westeros.org that Chaplin was cast as "Jeyne". On September 16, WinterIsComing.net posted a spy report from the on-location filming of the episode "Garden of Bones", which stated that Chaplin's character introduced herself as "Lissa [sic]" from "Volantis", indicating a change in the character's name within the one-month period. According to Bryan Cogman, the decision to change Jeyne Westerling into Talisa was made by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss as production was starting, after the writers' room period for season 2 had wrapped.
Cogman went on to say that he had not worked on the storyline and therefore did not fully know why the change was made. He theorized that Benioff and Weiss had just read A Dance with Dragons, so Volantis was still "fresh in the guys' minds" as the city is featured significantly in the novel. Cogman suspected that by introducing the city in season 2, they were lay the groundwork for the location early on.
Because of the change in "Jeyne's" backstory , George R. R. Martin suggested the change in names, stating that "Jeyne" is not a Volantene name, and that "[..] if we're gonna have a different character, we should have a different name for her as well. Otherwise, people are gonna get really confused here."
Robb Stark's storyline from A Clash of Kings takes place entirely off-screen. The decision to follow Robb during season 2 was made "from the get-go" as Richard Madden, who portrays Robb, is very popular, and Benioff and Weiss loved his performance. However, Robb and Talisa's storyline in the TV series is completely different from Robb and Jeyne's storyline in the novels. According to Cogman, Robb's motivation for breaking his marriage pact with House Frey was always planned to differ from his motivation the books. While in A Song of Ice and Fire, Robb sleeps with Jeyne Westerling after receiving news about the deaths of his younger brothers and, choosing Jeyne's honor over his own, decides to marry her the next day as he has deflowered her, in Game of Thrones Robb's decision to marry Talisa is a more selfish act, based on falling in love with her. This change was, according to Cogman, thought to be dramatically compelling for the actors and the viewers.
Despite the significant changes to the characters, there are some similarities to be found. Jeyne Westerling's maternal great-grandmother Maggy was a woman from Essos, giving her an eastern descent. Further, Jeyne's family, House Westerling, is an impoverished but old noble family, and as such, Jeyne's marriage to Robb gains him no real political support. While Talisa's origins have been changed for the TV series, the core point of her not having any political power in the Seven Kingdoms and actually harming Robb's political position remains in both adaptations.
- Black Walder Rivers is an amalgamation of Black Walder Frey and Ser Walder Rivers
- Westeros.org: Oona Chaplin is Jeyne (August 12, 2011)
- winteriscoming.net: Who the heck is Oona Chaplin playing? (September 16, 2011)
- Winteriscoming.net: Ask a GoT Writer: Bryan Cogman on the writing process, Robb and Talisa, and Renly's peach (April 24, 2013)
- Podcast: Talking TV With Ryan and Ryan, Episode 12: Talking Power, Magic and Storytelling with George R.R. Martin (September 4, 2012) at WorldCon 70
- Entertainment Weekly: 'Game of Thrones' showrunners interview: The Red Wedding (June 2, 2013)
- ThinkProgress.org: ‘Game of Thrones’ Story Editor Bryan Cogman On the Second Season, Adapting Books He Loves, and the Show's Secret Main Character (June 8, 2012)
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 14, Catelyn II.