Game Of Thrones star talks tragic exit: “I broke down in tears”

SPOILERS: Another week, another death in Game Of Thrones...


Major spoilers follow for episode nine of Game Of Thrones. Do not read on if you have not seen it. 


While not as grisly as last week’s head-splattering death of The Viper, tonight’s epic Game Of Thrones – set entirely around the Wildling’s attack on The Wall – contained a death just as tragic.

The Watchers On The Wall, the penultimate episode of series four, finally gave fans the romantic reunion of Wilding Ygritte and the Night’s Watch’s Jon Snow in the midst of battle, only for Ygritte to take an arrow in the back and die in the arms of her former lover. 

Speaking about the scene, actor Rose Leslie said that filming her exit was an emotional experience. 

“The production were incredibly thoughtful and considerate and they decided to make that scene whereby I die in Jon Snow’s arms be my final day, for that to be it for me, my complete wrap. Of course, when we had finally finished shooting the scene, I was very, very touched and I just broke down in tears. I cried through that evening and just was going around and hugging everyone and telling them how much I enjoyed my experience and how much I loved them, really. I went so over the top.”  

Leslie made her first appearance as Ygritte in series two, striking up a romance with Jon Snow after he appears to defect from the Night’s Watch and join the the side of the Wildlings, which is in fact a spy mission to find out more about the army’s attack on The Wall. As the conflict between love and duty intensifies, however, their relationship becomes strained, with the pair having separated in a hail of arrows at the end of series three. Feeling angry, Ygritte declares in The Watchers On The Wall that, “the crow is mine.” When the time came for her to kill him, though, she hesitates – costing her her life.   

“After all that pent-up rage and anger and throughout the season telling anyone who would listen that she is going to make him hurt as he has made her… She is truthfully unaware and completely oblivious of just how much she truly loves Jon Snow. And then seeing him again just knocks the wind right out of her. I don’t think she would’ve killed him. I don’t think she could’ve killed him,” she tells  

Leslie also revealed that on her last day of filming on Game Of Thrones, she was given a touching farewell gift from the cast and crew.    

“[Showrunners] Dan [Weiss] and David [Benioff] were there and then all the producers were there and the cast and crew, and they presented me with Ygritte’s bow. They had changed the handle from the actual bow where my left hand grips it to a white leather strap, and then they had sewed on a silver clasp on one side and on that clasp was engraved ‘Kissed by fire,’ and then on the other side was the emblem of a red rose. It was very thoughtful and I was incredibly touched, and it made me cry even more.”  

Game Of Thrones concludes with episode ten, The Children, next week on Sky Atlantic.