Where the WILDLINGS are
Game of Thrones’ Rose Leslie warns cult hit just gets bloodier
IT’S the fantasy fiction story that became television’s biggest drama, and left fans who had never read the books reeling with a bloody ending to last season.
GameofThrones, based on the best-selling book series of the same name by George R.R. Martin, is kind of a big deal – right down to a sprawling ensemble cast, which at one point last season hit 257.
Adapted for the screen for HBO, it is ultimate escapism television, with a swag of Emmy, Golden Globes and other awards to its credit.
As season four looms, fans cannot wait to check in on the brutal happenings in the dark and bloody mythical kingdoms of Westeros and Essos, mired in a sea of power struggles, politics and betrayal.
If you’re not on the bandwagon, don’t feel special.
Rose Leslie wasn’t either – until she auditioned for the role of Wildling woman Ygritte in the second season.
“For the first time ever at an audition, ignorance was bliss,” says Leslie.
“I was unaware the show was airing in the UK, that there were books and there was this huge fan base.
“I was just excited by the character because Ygritte was so feisty.
“For me it was all about Ygritte, so there was no pressure. Had I known how big the show was I don’t think I would have been able to land it.”
Since then, Leslie’s flame-haired warrior woman has been to war with bow and arrow, found love-hate-love with Stark-family outcast Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and been betrayed by him.
That break-up may have paled into insignificance alongside season’s three shocking “Red Wedding” season-ender, but going into season four, Leslie warns Ygritte is a woman scorned – and more dangerous than ever.
“I didn’t realise she could be so brutal,” says Leslie, who in real life has lost the Scottish accent she had as a child growing up in a castle in Scotland, and now speaks in a soft, polished London accent – the product of senior schooling in the south and vocal training as part of her acting studies.
“The whole show gets bloodier,” she grins.
“Ygritte and Snow met at war, and for her at least, they are again sworn enemies.
“She’s always been strong-minded and snarky, but in season four she is a different woman.
“She’s harder and there is a feral side of her that has come out.
“She’s heartbroken and as angry as hell and in the world of Westeros, wronged women are dangerous.
“She’s on a fearless mission now to get her own back and to show him, ‘You do not take me for a fool and you do not mess with me’.”
The suggestion that nowadays that might be called stalking elicits a hearty laugh from the actress.
“I know, and she’s got a bow and arrow which ups the stakes.”
Leslie cherishes Ygritte’s strength, playfulness, wisdom and loyalty.
“She knows what she wants, she is unwavering, she’s not a pushover,” she grins. “But she can flip her lid incredibly quickly and this season we see a dangerous side to her.”
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