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"You know nothing, Jon Snow."

Ygritte is a major character in the third season. She initially appeared as a recurring character in the second season and debuted in "The Old Gods and the New." She is played by Rose Leslie. Ygritte is a woman of the Free Folk who lives north of the Wall. She is part of the force under the leadership of Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall.



Ygritte is a beautiful and cunning Free Folk spearwife with a quick wit, and resilient attitude. Her most distinctive physical feature is her long red colored hair. Living north of the Wall, she is well skilled in survival and is loyal to the cause of Mance Rayder. She values her status as a free woman, and disparages those that live south of the Wall for accepting oaths of fealty. Having a keen understanding of men, she is not hesitant to turn things in her favor using her sexuality.

Ygritte believes that because wildlings and Northerners are both descended from the First Men, there is no need for them to be fighting, and that only the Wall divides them. As with other Wildlings, Ygritte understands that the real threat lies with the impending invasion of the White Walkers.[1][2]

Season 2

Ygritte caught

Ygritte caught by Jon Snow

Ygritte is captured by Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand as the sole survivor of their assault on her watchpost. She instructs her captors to burn the bodies, but Qhorin questions her motives, he then instructs Jon to execute her telling him to catch up with them after the deed is done. Calling Jon a bastard to agitate him, Ygritte begs Jon to get it over with and awaits the stroke from his sword, but he cannot bring himself to do it. His hesitation allows her to escape, but Jon recaptures her, separating from his brothers in the process. With night approaching, Jon refuses to make a fire, forcing them to sleep out in the cold. Ygritte convinces him to huddle next to her to share body warmth. She then unsuccessfully makes sexual advances towards Jon.[3]

Jon Snow

Jon Snow unties Ygritte's legs so she can walk in "A Man Without Honor".

After a cold night, Ygritte and Jon continue on to catch up with Qhorin Halfhand. On the way she argues with Jon about who invades whose lands, saying that the Wildlings were here long before the southerners (the Andals) came. Jon proclaims that being Ned Stark's son, he has the blood of the First Men, whom the Northerners and Wildlings are both descended from. Ygritte counters that it therefore doesn't make sense for the people of the North to fight the Wildlings, and the only difference between them is that the Northerners "put up a big Wall" and said the land was theirs, and the Wildlings just happened to be living North of the Wall at the time. She furthermore mocks Jon's sexual inexperience and the oath of the Night's Watch, and taunts him by offering to teach him how to have sex. She manages to escape again, and leads him into an Wildling ambush.[4]

Ygritte brings Jon to the Lord of Bones who orders him executed. She convinces him that Mance will want to question Jon because of his Stark blood. The Lord of Bones has a prisoner of his own; Qhorin. The Halfhand tells Jon that the rest of the men were killed while they searched for him and angrily knocks Jon over. Ygritte is intrigued by the bad feelings between them.[5]

During their way to meet with Mance Rayder, Ygritte playfully mocks Jon by tapping him on the back of the head with the flat side of his sword, Longclaw. Jon responds by saying she looks like a "baby with a rattle" and that she has "never swung a sword". Qhorin advances his plans of portraying Jon Snow as a traitor to the Night's Watch by attacking him. The Lord of Bones allows them to battle, and Ygritte passes Jon his sword. During the exchange, Jon slays Qhorin, who recites the oath of the Night's Watch to Jon in his last breath. Ygritte and the rest of the band are stunned. Jon's hands are freed, and he and Ygritte stand before Mance Rayder's encampment.[6]

Season 3

Ygritte and the Lord of Bones leads Jon Snow into the main wildling camp in the Frostfang Mountains. There she walk with Jon Snow through the huge camp, when a giant is coming towards them carrying supplies, Jon is shocked to see a real-life giant. Ygritte then tells him that giants are very shy, and from that shyness turns into rage. She also tells Jon that she have seen a giant smash a man straight into the ground like a hammer does to a nail. While the group is walking through the camp to Mance Rayder's tent, some young boys pelt Jon with ice and small stones, Ygritte stops this by shooing them away. When they arrive and are inside Mance Rayder's tent, she stands besides with the Lord of Bones when he tells Tormund Giantsbane that Jon is the bastard son of Ned Stark. Tormund then says he don't care about that but is piqued to hear that Jon killed Qhorin Halfhand. As they talk, Jon kneels before Tormund, whom he assumes to be Mance Rayder, and calls him "your grace". This caused all the wildlings including Ygritte in the tent to laugh as their society does not bother with such ceremony.[7]


Season Two appearances
The North Remembers The Night Lands What is Dead May Never Die Garden of Bones The Ghost of Harrenhal
The Old Gods and the New A Man Without Honor The Prince of Winterfell Blackwater Valar Morghulis
Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa

Image gallery


"If we die we'll die, but first we'll live."
Ygritte to Jon Snow[src]

Behind the scenes

  • Actress Rose Leslie is Scottish and has a received pronunciation accent in real life, but uses a Northern English accent when playing Ygritte. Leslie was cast partially because the producers, having already decided on this manner of speech for the wildlings, were impressed with her performance on Downton Abbey, where she likewise had to affect a Northern accent.[8]
  • On the Season 2 Blu-ray, Rose Leslie as Ygritte narrates the Histories & Lore videos "The Free Folk" and "The Night's Watch."

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Ygritte is a wildling spearwife in the force led by Mance Rayder. She is described as skinny, but well-muscled with a round face and a pug nose. Due to the rough life north of the Wall she has crooked teeth (as do many wildlings). Her most distinctive feature is her fiery red hair. The wildlings consider red hair and those who have it to be "kissed by fire", a sign of great luck and fortune.


  1. "Valar Morghulis:" The Lord of Bones orders the burning of Qhorin Halfhand to prevent it from being turned into a wight.
  2. "The Old Gods and the New:" Ygritte urges Jon and Qhorin to burn the bodies of her companions but does not say why.
  3. "The Old Gods and the New"
  4. "A Man Without Honor"
  5. "The Prince of Winterfell"
  6. "Valar Morghulis"
  7. "Valar Dohaeris"
  8. Rose Leslie Entertainment Weekly interview

See also

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