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A Song of Ice and Fire character
Game of Thrones
Ygritte-Rose Leslie.jpg
Rose Leslie as Ygritte
First appearance
Last appearance
Created by George R. R. Martin
Portrayed by Rose Leslie
(Game of Thrones)
Gender Female
Significant other(s) Jon Snow (lover)
Nationality Westerosi

Ygritte is a fictional character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin, and its television adaptation Game of Thrones.

Introduced in 1998's A Clash of Kings, she subsequently appeared in Martin's A Storm of Swords. She is a wildling from the lands beyond the great Wall on the continent Westeros. Her kind are called Wildlings because they are outside the feudal order of the Seven Kingdoms south of the Wall: she calls them Free Folk.

Ygritte is portrayed by Rose Leslie in the HBO television adaptation.[1][2][3][4]

Character description[edit]

Ygritte is a wildling woman known for her red hair. She is fierce and headstrong. In wildling culture she is known as a spearwife: a woman who is also a warrior.

Ygritte is not a point of view character in the novels, so her actions are witnessed and interpreted through the eyes of other people, such as Jon Snow.[5]

Novel storylines[edit]

Ygritte first encounters Jon in A Clash of Kings, when she and her band of wildlings were surprised by a group of rangers led by Qhorin Halfhand. Most of her band is killed, but Jon refrains from killing Ygritte because of her gender, and later lets her go free.[6] She rejoins the wildlings, and is present when Rattleshirt traps Qhorin and Jon. Ygritte speaks up for Jon when he, following Qhorin's orders, changes sides,[7] and again when Mance Rayder doubts Jon's loyalty since he did not inform the wildlings of Lord Commander Mormont's ranging. Jon and Ygritte begin a sexual relationship, and cross the Wall with Styr together on Mance's orders to attack Castle Black from the rear. Ygritte continues to defend Jon, but when Jon changes sides again to return to the Night's Watch, she shoots Jon in the calf with an arrow. Ygritte later attacks Castle Black together with Styr's band, and is killed in the ensuing battle.[8]

TV adaptation[edit]

Ygritte is played by Rose Leslie in the television adaption of the series of books.[9] Leslie talked about her final scene as Ygritte, saying "I feel like she could have killed him – she could have shot Jon in the heart in one fell swoop. But when it finally came to that moment, she couldn't actually kill him. Even when she's expected to. Even when she wants to."[10] A Wildling girl with red hair ("kissed by fire", a sign of luck among the Wildlings) and a follower of Mance Rayder.

Second season[edit]

In Season 2, she is captured in the Skirling Pass by Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand. She manages to escape, but is recaptured by Jon, separating him from his brothers in the process. Later she leads him into Rattleshirt's ambush.

Third season[edit]

After this they lead Jon to Mance Rayder's wildling camp, where he pretends to defect to the Wildlings to discover their plans. She then travels with him to the Wall, and during this journey she seduces him. However, when confronted with killing for the watch an innocent horse farmer who scaled the wall, Jon escapes the angry wildling's clutches and rides towards the Wall on horseback. But, Ygritte manages to catch up with Jon at his first rest stop. She confesses her love for him and then, although blinded by tears, shoots him three times in the back as he, bound by duty, resumes and gallops away back to the Wall.

Fourth season[edit]

In Season 4, Ygritte starts raiding villages south of the wall with her group, clearly thirsting for vengeance against Jon, although Tormund suspects she let him go. When the wildlings attack Mole's Town, Ygritte slaughters all the women present, but notices Gilly hiding with her baby son, and spares her life. When the wildlings finally reach Castle Black and attack, Ygritte kills many Night's Watch brothers with her archery skills, among them Pyp. When confronted by Jon, however, she hesitates to shoot him, and is shot in the back by Olly, a boy whose father Ygritte previously killed. Ygritte subsequently dies in Jon's arms, and her body is later burned by Jon himself, north of the Wall.[11]