I know that this is putting it mildly — in fact, it might be one of my grossest understatements of all time. But there are quite a few unfortunate occurrences on Game of Thrones that I wish I could erase. *Hangs shoulders* Since Season 1, there has been a steady stream of gloom and tragedy on the show in which various beloved characters have met untimely ends. And perhaps no character has met a more untimely end than that of Ned Stark and Catelyn Stark’s eldest child, Robb. But what if it had never happened? What would Game of Thrones be like if Robb Stark were still alive?
It’s a question I am sure you’ve found yourself pondering before. You know, once you were fully able to process and digest the Red Wedding. Robb's death made sense — having a character killed off who’s in his prime is great for shock value. But once the shock wears off, there is still that lingering feeling of “what if?” Especially by viewers who didn’t want to see someone with that much storyline potential go. Initially, Robb’s story didn’t seem worth it. But, after I got to thinking of a Westeros with Robb still in it, it occurred to me that perhaps everything, even in fiction, happens for a reason.
Here is how I surmise that Game of Thrones would be different had Robb Stark never died:
1. Jon Snow Might Not Have Realized His Destiny
Once Robb was dead and Bran and Rickon were believed to be dead as well, Jon was left as presumably the only living son of Ned Stark, bastard or not. It gave him more focus and importance. Without his legitimate "brother" casting a shadow over him, narratively, Jon came into his own.
2. Or, If He Had, Robb & Jon Might've Been Pitted Against Each Other
With Robb trying to reclaim the North as his and his family's own and Jon working his way up the ranks of the Night's Watch, it's not a far stretch to assume that they'd butt heads eventually. To what extent? I guess we'll never know. But, the potential for the two family members to engage in some kind of civil war seems like too good of a plot point for the writers to have avoided.
3. Saving Sansa Probably Would Have Been More Of A Priority
Robb Stark, first and foremost, was an attentive and protective older brother. He would have made it his life's mission to get Sansa out of her predicament once he got wind of how bad it had become.
4. ...As Well As Finally Locating Arya
Listen, I understand that he couldn't have been responsible for all of his siblings, but I'm saying that he'd at least try once he got his bearings. Arya is the Kevin McCallister of Westeros and it's high time someone made sure she isn't still lost in New York.
5. There'd Be Yet Another Contender For The Throne
While my personal frontrunner for ruler of Westeros is none other than Khaleesi, I will admit that it'd be hard for me to root against Robb, even if I didn't agree with all of his political tactics. Adding another Stark into the mix would only complicate matters further. And, if Khaleesi did ultimately get crowned, the victory at the expense of a Stark wouldn't seem as sweet.
6. Maybe Just Maybe, The Starks Would Have Been A United Front Again
Yes, Sansa and Jon reunited... eventually. But perhaps if Robb was alive, he and Jon could've expedited the process. Maybe they wouldn't have interfered with each other at all. Maybe together, they could have accomplished all the things they were failing to do alone. Perhaps they could've combined forces to recover Sansa and Arya, letting the girls help them reclaim the North. But that doesn't seem too likely. Robb was his father's son, and I don't think the girls would have been given the consideration that they have undoubtedly earned in their tumultuous years away from home. It was difficult enough for Sansa to broach the subject of fighting to Jon as it was.
So, maybe Robb had to die for the rest of his siblings to live out their potential. In hindsight, maybe a Westeros with Robb Stark still in it wasn't one that was ultimately beneficial to the growth of his siblings.