Last Sunday Rose Leslie caused a stir as she made her debut as Ygritte on “Game of Thrones.”
The excitement over seeing the fiery redheaded character for the first time sent a fever across the web, in particular, lighting up Twitter, where she became a trending topic, as fans shared their delighted impressions of the lovely actress’ early portrayal of the wildling.
Remembered by American audiences for her work as Gwen, the plucky Downton Abbey maid, who followed her dream of becoming a typist in Season 1, Rose made an entirely different type of impression in her “GOT” premiere.
Literally, she hit the ice running, fleeing the young, handsome member of the Night’s Watch who couldn’t bring himself to silence for good, her intense, clear blue-eyed stare, her honeyed husky voice or the unique spirit she exhibited immediately.
Of course, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) eventually recaptured Ygritte, and rather than finally bringing himself to kill her, he tied her up and grew increasingly uncomfortable as she snuggled in a little too close for comfort as they braved the icy night air.
In the second part of AccessHollywood.com’s interview with Rose (Click HERE to read last week’s Part 1), Rose shares the motivation behind Ygritte’s premiere episode bum wiggle, and offers hints at what lies ahead beyond The Wall in the rest of Season 2.
Access: In her first episode, Ygritte sort of… shoves her bum into Jon Snow.
Rose: Yeah (laughs).
Access: Do you think when that scene happens that she is just trying to use her sexuality to survive or is she kind of intrigued by this guy who couldn’t bring himself to take her life?
Rose: I think she’s totally bewildered by Jon. She hasn’t ever come across somebody like him before in her whole life. All the boys, all the men that she’s ever known have always tried to come on to her or tried to steal her, ‘cause she’s incredibly like, sexual as well. And she just cannot figure him out. He doesn’t try to take advantage of her in the situation where he’s the one with the sword and she’s tied up. I think it amuses her as well. I think it’s a difficult balance. She’s totally bewildered that this is the situation that she’s not trying to fight him off and also it scares him. It’s very entertaining, I thought, for her to see that this guy got so freaked out when you would kind of wiggle your bum, when we were both kind of snuggled down on the ground. And yeah, it’s that whole kind of teasing element, which I love, which was very, very fun.
Access: He didn’t kill her. So will the playfulness continue?
Rose: I hope so… And it hopefully becomes kind of like a mutual respect thing. I’m actually not allowed to say too much about the tempestuous relationship that Jon Snow and Ygritte have, but I hope that that playfulness stays there, purely because it’s such a strong element to her personality that it would be weird if it kind of left in the series.
Access: Will we get to see her interact with real wildings and not just men of the Night’s Watch in the coming weeks?
Rose: You do. Yes you do, which is very, very exciting. And it looks so, so fantastic. I saw a couple of glimpses of it on ADR… and oh, it just looks [magical]. It really does. (Click HERE to watch Kit explain more about who the wildlings are.)
Access: Your siblings are ‘GOT’ fans. After you got the part, were they probing you for information on what happens?
Rose: They were and they still have those kinds of conversations and it’s hilarious because it kind of goes back and forth. ‘Tell me what happens’ and [then] they’re like, ‘No, no, no, I don’t want you to ruin it for me. I don’t want to know what happens’… They kind of tease me with it.
Access: Do you actually remember the first time you met Kit?
Rose: I think I do — Simon Armstrong, as well, who plays Qhorin Halfhand. The three of us had a costume fitting, gosh, a couple of weeks before we headed out to Iceland for the first time… The three of us were all there together, but it was nice, so we all kind of met each other over a cup of tea (laughs). It was very quaint.
Access: Do you remember your first impressions of Kit?
Rose: He was incredibly welcoming. I was slightly scared, I think, to step into this amazing, kind of epic drama and because it was already an established series, everyone was already comfortable with each other, [and] at the same time they were so welcoming and it was lovely. It really was. All of my nerves just kind of like fled when I met everybody.
Access: Since they filmed the Night’s Watch stuff in Iceland… that clearly meant lots of boys on set. And you’re the lone girl!
Rose: Boys on set! Surrounded by men… They were super, super nice. And [there were] a lot of jokes. It was very, very fun. We were all kind of in the same boat, all the lovely stunt men as well. I don’t think any of us could really imagine being in the beautiful surroundings that we were in, so we’d be talking during breaks or whatever and then we’d all just stop and look around us and be like, ‘How are we here?’ ‘This is just stunning.’
Access: ‘Winter Is Coming’ are the Stark family’s words in ‘GOT,’ but your family has its own words.
Rose: My family? My genuine family?
Access: Yes, the Leslies.
Rose: We have a family [saying]. We have something. We say ‘grip fast.’
Access: Is that a bit like, get ready for battle? Always be on guard?
Rose: Yes, I think there’s an element of always be on guard and stay strong and stay true so when things get rough, you know who you are and you’re solid with your two feet on the ground. That’s always how I interpreted it.
Access: How amazing that those words fit beautifully for your character.
Rose: (Laughs). I know, I know.
“Game of Thrones” airs Sundays at 9 on HBO.