In A Song Of Ice & Fire, George R.R Martin may have based Robb Stark on a young Edward IV.
Robb Stark’s emotional grief after hearing of his father’s death incorporates his coming of age as both a man and leader of House Stark. Robb is continually put into situations that test him in question his ability to lead his house and help others like his bannerman and his family. These are simple tasks such as correcting Arya when she throws food at Sansa or the more emotional tasks such as when he tells Bran he will never walk again, or becoming Lord of Winterfell & Warden Of The North.
To save his father after his imprisonment, Robb has to assume leadership of his father’s men and make decisions that risk not only his own life but the lives of his bannerman and vassals. Many question his leadership including Roose Bolton and Rickard Karstark. In the books and the show he is given sound advice at every corner but consistently ignores it and hence comes his bloody demise.
Edward was born the heir to the richest duke in England and was raised in his own household in Ludlow Castle with his brother Edmund. However, in spite of his birth into wealth, Edward’s life was hard and had to fight for what he held most dear. He was thrust into the role of leading House York after his father was killed and had to take on huge responsibility at eighteen years old. This can also be compared to that of Ned when Mad King Aerys killed his father and brother. He had to lead his house and bannerman to battle against Targaryen forces with the forces of House Baratheon and House Arryn.
Both Edward & Robb had their father’s die a humiliating death. Ned Stark was tricked into confessing to treason and then executed. Edward’s father, Richard Duke of York, was also killed in humiliating circumstances. During the Battle of Wakefield, Richard of York was killed and so was Edward’s brother Edmund. Edmund was a mere seventeen year olds and was rookie in battle and warfare but was also injured. They were executed by John Clifford. John Clifford was a butcher. The Lancastrians left both Richard of York and his son’s heads on spikes to rot on the York City gates. The Lancastrians had a paper crown placed on Richard of York’s head at the queen’s behest to insult Richard’s claim to the throne.
Edward was humiliated and embarrassed by this disrespectful treatment of his father’s body and angry over his brother’s execution. Both acts fuelled a want for vengeance that spurred him into action and victory. Ned’s head was put on a spike outside Kings Landing on Joffery’s orders.Robb Stark was forced into the war after his father’s unfortunate misfortune. This war would become to be known as ‘The War Of Five Kings’.
Not long into A Game Of Thrones (Season 1), Robert Baratheon requests Ned to become the new Hand of the King after the death of Jon Arryn. Soon after, Robert dies and The Lannisters imprison Ned but take Sansa and supposedly Arya (she escapes the city after Ned’s demise) hostage. Robb Stark has no choice but to become leader of House Stark and his lead his father’s men. Despite his lack of military experience, Robb has to risk his life and lead thousands of men into battle in order to save his sisters.
In his inspiring post-battle speech to rally the troops after they capture Jaime Lannister in the batte’s aftermath, he makes it known that his family’s welfare is his main priority.
“One victory does not make us conquerors. Did we free my father? Did we rescue my sisters from the queen? Did we free the north from those who want us on our knees? This war is far from over”
Robb’s speech mirrors Edward’s dilemma after his father’s death when he became leader of his house. Edward was also known for giving inspirational speeches. However, these were not just words to keep good morale. It seems likely that Edward and Robb Stark, felt the weight of their actions heavily. Both were driven by honour and married for love rather than political position. In the end they both paid with their lives at a young age. Robb fell at his uncle, Edmure Tully’s wedding amongst thousands of his bannerman. This will be forever known as ‘The Red Wedding’. Edward was injured whilst hunting and died of his wounds much like Robert Baratheon. Robb cares for his vassals and their families and is deeply troubled that they died for him with nothing to show for it. To Robb, they died in vain but most of this was Catelyn’s doing when she released the Kingslayer after a word from Petyr Baelish.
Robb Stark: I sent 2000 men to their graves today
Theon Greyjoy: The bards will sing songs of their sacrifice
Robb Stark: Aye, but the dead won’t hear them.
Similarly to Robb, Edward may have been emotionally affected by the great peril that occurred in these battles that put him on the throne. Robb’s says “I sent 2000 men to their graves today” which shows what Edward may have felt after the renowned Battle of Towton, where it has been said that 1% of England’s male population died. As a result, Edward was not very enthusiastic when it came battle or war and was swift to avoid bloodshed where at all possible, often forgiving traitors and issuing orders to let the common soldiers escape at the end of battles.
His vassals viewed him as overly forgiving. This trait may be compared to that of Tytos Lannister. Tytos was overly forgiving being mocked by all due to being very negligent when it came to lending money. As long as everyone liked him, he let things that others deemed important go unchecked. When it came to repaying loans, he did not care. But when Tytos’ demise came, Tywin took charge and we all know the story of House Reyne and House Tarbeck. Out of this spurred the song, ‘The Rains Of Castamere’.
There’s a scene in the first season when Robb and his bannerman, Great Jon Umber amongst them are trying to figure out how to face the Lannisters. The Lannister considerably outnumber the Stark forces. Somebody brings an enemy scout into their tent. Much to everyone’s dismay, Robb allows the scout, who had been counting Robb’s troops to leave….alive.
“My father understands mercy when there is room for it. And, he understands honour and courage.”
Robb’s kindness and leniency are much like Edward’s attitude. In this case, Robb uses the scout to trick the Lannisters making a blunder of troop distribution.Robb came up with this scheme to avoid killing the scout. Robb Stark & Edward IV were brilliant strategists and were never defeated on the field of battle.
“We’ve underestimated the Stark boy for too long. He has a good mind for warfare. His men worship him. As long as he keeps winning battles, they’ll keep believing he is King In The North. You’ve been waiting for him to fail. He is not going to fail – not without our help.”
Unlike Robb, Edward wanted the throne. Robb wanted to save his sisters and head back to Winterfell. Both of these figures had their hands forced through their father’s actions even if their father’s doings what was fair, honourable and just. Edward and Robb had large support in the North but unlike Robb, Edward was not deemed as a Northerner. Edward was born in France and his Northern backing came from his kin, his cousin Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. His mother, Cecily Neville and Richard Neville came from great Northern families. With this nobility came great military support. I do not believe that Edward was called “King of the North” despite being of House of York.
Richard Neville could be seen as the Roose Bolton character. Pretending to be your friend to start off with but when he is offered a better a deal he changes sides starts to plot your demise. Richard Neville portrayed Edward by trying to put Edward’s brother, George, on the throne. He did this by siding with Margaret Of Anjou. Roose Bolton did side with the Lannisters and Margaret Of Anjou is the Cersei Lannister historical counterpart. Roose & Richard were both slippery and untrustworthy. Neville was also described as being cold and emotionless. He used his own daughter to further his own political position.