Actress Rose Leslie opens up about what it was like to portray the fiery Wildling Ygritte
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead
Following her character’s demise, actress Rose Leslie (who also appeared in season one of Downton Abbey) spoke with PEOPLE about Ygritte’s limited wardrobe, filming the epic battle scene and what it was like to get up close and personal with Game of Thrones heartthrob Kit Harington.
On bedding Jon Snow:
Kit is a lovely and funny man, and a dear friend. We had known each other before we started working together on Game of Thrones. It was always such a privilege to be working opposite him and such a blessing that we get on in real life because it made our characters more believable.
It was my first sex scene that I’ve ever done and it was weird, but I felt that it was important for the characters and the audience to get to see just how much they have fallen in love. We got to see them in their own little world with no outside interests or power plays or nasty surprises. It was just two characters finally getting together.
On Jon’s limited romantic interests moving forward:
I think it is a lovely thing for somebody to move on and love someone else, but it is a tricky thing. You don’t want it to be his sisters – even though incest isn’t necessarily frowned upon in the world of Game of Thrones – and Cersei is just so evil.
If I had to choose someone on the show right now, I guess it would be Margaery Tyrell.
On her new archery skills:
I had never picked up a bow and arrow before I nabbed the role as Ygritte, but I was given training to make sure I didn’t shoot any member of the crew. It was really important to me that Ygritte look like a ruthless warrior and a killer, so I trained to have good form and really be able to execute it correctly.
Now that I know how to handle a bow and arrow, I find it very therapeutic. It is a brilliant way to ease your mind, so I am going to keep it up in my free time. It is a very fun skill to have.
On that single coat:
I wish that Ygritte had more, but she really only had the one. The coat wasn’t particularly heavy, but it certainly looked like it was. It was real fur, which was such a blessing when we were filming in Iceland and surrounded by harsh winds.
The Game of Thrones wardrobe department is so detail-oriented. Under the boiled leather there were carvings of different animals that the character had killed and other details sewn together into the coat.
On what The Wall is actually like:
Out of all my scenes over three seasons, my favorite has to be when we were climbing The Wall in season 3. That was the most fun I’ve had ever on a day of work.
The set department made this 50-foot wall so we were able to literally climb The Wall. The cast had these harnesses so it was very, very safe, but we had a snow machine on our left and a wind machine on our right. It was just incredibly exhilarating.
On that insane battle scene:
We shot it back in November and it was epic. I have never been anywhere so colossal. The set and the amount of people were just huge and everyone was just doing their job to such a high standard.
It became a well-oiled machine, but it was definitely an epic battle – there were dozens of people doing their individual battles and darting around the courtyard. It was just amazing to watch and be a part of.
On becoming one of the boys:
Ygritte didn’t really have any girlfriends, so I was surrounded by men and it was always a lot of fun when we were having breaks. I got to work with some amazing actors and there was always a lot of fun off-camera in between takes. I like to have fun and joke around.
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