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|“||You know nothing, Jon Snow.||„|
|~ Ygritte to Jon Snow|
Ygritte is a main character in HBO’s television series Game of Thrones and a major character in George R.R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.
In the TV series, Ygritte was a woman of the Free Folk and a member of Mance Rayer’s army. She later becomes Jon Snow’s lover and takes part in the Battle of Castle Black. After Jon leaves her, Ygritte feels betrayed and wants to kill the man she once loved.
In the book series, Ygritte falls in love with one of the sworn brothers of the Night’s Watch, Jon Snow. She is an excellent spearwife and is loyal to her lover.
She was portrayed by Rose Leslie in the TV-Series.
In the Show
Nothing is known about Ygritte prior to her appearance in season 2.
Possibly, during a younger age, Ygritte fell into allegiance to the Free Folk, a culture most commonly believed in by wildlings.
Before meeting Jon Snow, Ygritte met Tormund Giantsbane and Mance Rayder at some point. During that time (or before), she learned how to use the bow and arrow and became skilled in that art. Ygritte proceeded to become a skillful hunter and killer, leading Tormund to see something in her.
Ygritte first appeared in episode 6 of season 2 as the sole survivor of her wildling watchpost. She was captured by both Qhorin Halfhand and Jon Snow, who questioned her motives. Halfhand then proceeded to exicute her, but Jon voulenteered instead.
Ygritte awaits her death, as Jon Snow hesitates to kill her. She tells him to "strike true and hard" and burn her body when he's done, or else she will come back to haut him. Jon Snow proceeds to slash down his sword, but hesitates. Ygritte then seizes the opportunity to escape, but is recaptured by Snow, leaving him to become separated from the rest of the watch.
With night approaching, Jon refuses to make a fire, forcing them to sleep out in the cold. Ygritte then convinces him to huddle next to her to share body warmth but then makes sexual advances towards him as they fall asleep, which he rebuffs.
After a cold night, Ygritte awakens, still imprisoned by Jon. She turns the conversation to his virginity, during which Jon presses his loyalty to the Night's Watch. Jon leads Ygritte along as he tries to find Qhorin Halfhand. On the way she argues with Jon, saying that the North belonged to the Free Folk long before the Andals came. Ygritte tells Jon that, as both Northerners and the Free Folk are descendants of the First Men, there is no sense in the two constantly fighting. After luring Jon off his guard by attempting to seduce him, she manages to escape again and lead him into a wildling ambush.
Ygritte brings Jon to the Lord of Bones (another wildling beyond the wall), who orders him executed. She convinces Rattleshirt that Mance Rayder (the king beyond the wall) will want to question Jon because of his Stark-related blood. The Lord of Bones presents Qhorin, whom he had captured. The Halfhand openly blames Jon for the deaths of his men, and this discord intrigues Ygritte. Unbeknownst to Ygritte, Qhorin's outward rage toward Jon is actually a plan to install Jon as a spy within Mance Rayder's army.
During their way to meet with Mance Rayder, Ygritte continues to toy with and irritate Jon. Qhorin communicates a plan to Jon, through which Jon would appear to desert the Night's Watch and join up with the wildlings. He insists that Jon and he fight and allows Jon to kill him, and it convinces the wildlings that he might not be a crow anymore, since he just killed one of his brothers. Ygritte and the rest of the band are stunned, but accept Jon as one of their own and free his hands from binding. Ygritte, Jon, and the rest of the wildlings proceed to meet "the king beyond the wall."
Ygritte is one of the wildlings that leads Jon Snow to Mance Rayder’s camp up in the Frostfang Mountains. As they walk though the camp, Jon is shocked to see giants roaming around, and Ygritte asks him if he’s ever seen giants before. When they continue on, children start to throw dirt and rocks at Jon, but Ygritte shoves them off, protecting Jon Snow. Before entering the tent, Ygritte tells Jon not to look too grim, and tells him this is how he will live another day.
Later, Ygritte joins Mance Rayder by marching south of the wall. When they come across Orell, one of the wildling scouts, Jon is shocked. Ygritte is also shocked too, because she’s surprised Jon has never seen a warg before.
While they are marching south towards the Wall, Ygritte and the rest of the Free Folk arrive at the Fist of the First Men. They survey a bloody aftermath of a lethal assault on the Night's Watch by the White Walkers and their army of undead wights. Mance tells Ygritte, along with Jon and a group of twenty wildlings led by Tormund, to go to the wall and attack Castle Black from the south. Mance Rayder proceeds to tell them the attack will begin when the biggest fire, the north has ever seen, is lightened.
Before leaving a camp, Ygritte decides to tease Jon by stealing his sword and running off with it. Jon, calling her name, chases after her, and she ultimately leads him to a cave. When entering, Jon notices Ygritte undressing, and she says that she wants to make sure Jon Snow has truly abandoned all of his vows to The Nights Watch. She stands in front of him naked and proceeds to kiss him. Jon is hesitant at first, but loses himself in his attraction to her and performs cunnilingus on a very surprised Ygritte. While this action is occurring, Ygritte tells him “you know nothing, Jon Snow,” while moaning in pleasure. After sex, Jon and Ygritte lay together, still naked, and she lovingly teases him about his former virginity. They proceed to leap into the hot springs and Ygritte expresses herself by saying “I never want to leave this cave, Jon Snow.”
Some time later, the wildlings ready to climb the wall. Ygritte reveals she is aware that Jon is still loyal to the Night's Watch and states that the secret is safe with her. She understands that he is an honorable man, but warns him that he has obligations to her as well, and will not harm him unless he proceeds to do so.
During the climb of the wall, Ygritte accidentally causes a deadly crack in the wall, causing it to crumble and kill a couple pairs of wildlings who are also climbing it. Ygritte proceeds to fall off of the wall, but is saved by Jon after they are left holding onto a rope. Orell tells Tormund he cannot continue climbing with the weight of Jon and Ygritte on the rope, so he makes the decision to cut it. Before successfully cutting the rope, Jon and Ygritte land safety on a gab in the wall, and gasp for air.
When Jon and Ygritte arrive on the top of the wall, they collapse and catch breathe. Afterwards, they rise to notice a sunrise occurring down south. They then proceed to kiss on the top of the wall.
Ygritte, Jon and the wildlings are led by Tormund Giantsbane and make their way towards Castle Black to await Mance Rayder's signal to begin the attack on the Night's Watch. On their way, Ygritte mentions that they're going to take their land back one day, but Jon tries to dissuade Ygritte of attacking the Wall, mentioning some historical events in which all of the previous Kings-Beyond-the-Wall have failed over and over again. Ygritte protests, saying they will be successful because Mance is leading them, and he is a good leader, but accepts that they may die. She tells Jon, "But first, we'll live."
Ygritte is later confronted by Orell, as he expresses his distaste of Jon and says he would make a much better husband. However, he is refused by Ygritte, as she tries to defend herself.
Later, the wildlings prepares to raid an elderly horse breeder's home and ranch. When the wildlings attack the farm, Jon purposely hits a rock with his sword, helping to alert the old man and giving him the chance to escape. When Ygritte tries to shoot the fleeing man with an arrow, Jon causes her to miss by calling her name as a distraction.
The old man is later caught in an abandoned windmill (just outside where Bran, Osha, Rikkon, Jojen, and Hodor are hiding). Outside the mill, Orell suggests that Jon prove himself to the wildlings by killing the man himself. Jon cannot, and is ultimately unable to kill an innocent, and Ygritte then shoots him for Jon in a form for both bloodthirsty and mercy. Realizing that Jon is still loyal to the Night's Watch, Tormund orders his men to kill the Crow (Jon Snow). He grabs Ygritte to stop her from "getting herself killed" for her lover's sake. Jon defeats Tormund's men and escapes, leaving Ygritte and heading back to the Wall. Ygritte is displeased and remains upset, and is also in shock.
When Jon stops to rest for a little while, Ygritte catches up to him and, despite his insistence that her love for him is mutual, proceeds to shoot him three times before he can get away. She watches him ride away with tears in her eyes, remembering his betrayal of her and also that she could not bring herself to kill the man she loved because she actually still loves him.
While waiting for Mance's signal south of the Wall, Ygritte and Tormund Giantsbane rest. Wanting revenge for his betrayal, Ygritte still loves Jon Snow, a fact that Tormund picks up on and later reveals aloud. Ygritte insists that all three arrows found their mark, but says that Jon may still have survived depending on if he returned to Castle Black. Knowing Ygritte's skill as a markswoman and professional archer, Tormund says that if Jon is still alive, it is because she didn't want him dead, and it might have to do with her love for him, but Ygritte insist that Jon is dead to her. A group of Thenns arrive, which are lead by Styr. When he asks if Ygritte is Tormund's woman, she claims that she belongs to no one and points a threatening arrow at the Thenn (which ultimately hints that she is hiding Jon from them). He ignores her and her arrow, and then takes a seat next to the fire to cook his meat, which happens to be a human arm.
Ygritte and the wildling band raid and brutally attack a village and kill almost all of its inhabitants. She proceeds to kill a villager, Guymon, with an arrow, whose son happens to be Olly, who wants to kill Ygritte for what she did.
Ygritte and the band of wildlings now raid and ambush Mole's Town. She is attacked by a whore in the Mole's Town brothel, but proceeds kills her with a spear thrust into her gut. She then hears a baby cry, and Ygritte then discovers Gilly and her son, Sam, in hiding, but spares their lives and motions for them to be quiet so they will not be found by other and less merciful wildlings.
Outside of Castle Black, Ygritte gets in an argument with Styr regarding her love and feelings for Jon, and even threatens to kill Styr if he attacks or kills Jon, as was stated to the rest of the Wildlings. After a short while, Mance’s fire starts, signaling to attack. Ygritte then scouts, and then reports back and states most of them are on top of the wall and very little remain down below. The wildlings then prepare to attack, while Ygritte seems to start having second thoughts.
During the battle, she shoots and kills many brothers of The Night’s Watch with her bow and arrows, including Sam’s friend, Pypar.
Near the end of the battle, Ygritte aims and notices Jon fighting Styr, which causes her to be both mad and enlightened at the same time. When Jon finishes his fight with Styr by killing him with a hammer to the head, he is weakened and comes across Ygritte, who is aiming her arrow at him. Hesitant, she cannot come to kill her lover, as she still loves him. However, because she is distracted by her love, Olly shoots her with an arrow to the chest. In shock, Jon catches her falling body and holds her. In Ygritte’s final moments, she asks Jon if he remembers the cave. She then states they should have never left the cave, and Jon insist that they’ll “go back there.” In Ygritte‘s final words, she proceeds to tell him in a wounded tone “you know nothing, Jon Snow.” Shortly after, she dies in his arms, and Jon holds her close to himself.
In the following day, Jon goes out to talk to Mance Rayder and potentially kill him. During their talk, Mance asks if Ygritte is still alive, and Jon assures him that she’s dead. In her honor, Mance and Jon drink to Ygritte’s memory.
After the arrival of Stannis Baratheon, Jon decides to speak with Tormund, who is now a prisoner. Tormund asks if Jon loved Ygritte, and after he does not respond, Tormund assures Jon that she loved him, even though she never said it directly, as she only stated she wanted to kill Jon. He convinces Jon to have Ygritte’s body burned beyond the wall to prevent her reanimation into a White Walker.
Beyond the wall, Jon builds a funeral prey for Ygritte and places her body on top of the wooden logs and sticks. He then takes his torch and burns the pyre, only to walk away from it with tears in his eyes, hinting that he actually did love her, even if his oath prevents it.
When Jon Snow is called upon by Stannis Baratheon, Stannis confronts Jon and states many seen him take out and burn a wildling girl beyond the wall. Although this was Ygritte, Jon says that’s where she belonged, and both Stannis and Davos say he possibly has too much affection to the wildlings.
In a later episode, when Jon is about to execute Janos Slynt for disobedience and talking back to the leader, he hesitates and cannot do it, as he recalls when Qhorin nearly forced Jon to kill Ygritte and made the choice to not do so, as she was unarmed and it was dishonorable. This is the same reason he cannot execute Janos, but knows if he lives he will continue to damage Jon’s command. He then kills him, even though he is pleading for mercy.
Later in his quarters, Melisandre tries to seduce the new lord and commander Jon Snow of Castle Black. She nearly succeeds, but Jon says he loves someone else, leading Melisandre to tell him that the dead cannot see or hear them, but Jon pushes her away. In dissatisfaction, Melisandre starts to leave his quarters, before turning around and saying “you know nothing, Jon Snow.” Is is ultimately a taunt towards Jon, as Melisandre leaves and Jon is sitting in his seat possibly thinking of Ygritte before her death.
In the Books
Not much is known about Ygritte prior to A Song of Ice and Fire.
At some point, Ygritte learned how to use weapons, such as bows and arrows, daggers, and swords.
A Clash of Kings
Ygritte is first introduced as a part of Rattleshirt's band of free folk in the Skirling Pass.
Her companions, Orell and an unnamed man, are slain by the brothers, but Ygritte is spared as Jon is against killing an unarmed woman.
Ygritte yields, but only offers little, minimal information.
As they wait for Qhorin's arrival, Jon reveals to her he is Eddard Stark's bastard. Ygritte then tells a story of Bael the Bard, a song which insinuates that House Stark has wildling blood as well. Jon scoffs at the idea, calling Bael a liar, but Ygritte shrugs it off immediately.
The wildling is brought to the Halfhand, who instructs Jon to do what must be done with her. Ygritte suggests that Jon should desert and join Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, but Jon quickly refuses. Presuming that Qhorin had ordered him to kill her, Jon nevertheless lets Ygritte escape on purpose.
After she disappears, Qhorin reveals he had placed her fate in Jon's hands to see what the youth would do.
A Storm of Swords
Ygritte takes the hooded cloak of Qhorin Halfhand for herself, and Longspear Ryk gives her Qhorin's helm since it does not fit him.
Ygritte follows him to Tormund's company and routinely beds down next to him, though he refuses Ygritte and advances to keep her away, using his direwolf, Ghost.
Tormund later explains to Jon has stolen her for himself by slaying her companions and then sparing her life, according to the Free Folk culture.
Ygritte later continues to mock Jon with her famous quote "You know nothing, Jon Snow" for the first time when comparing hot and cold baths.
Jon later listens to Ygritte sing "The Last of the Giants" with Tormund, Ryk, and Tormund's family.
When the wildling band sees the aftermath of the fight at the Fist, Mance is furious with Jon as he did not warn him of the Night's Watch force there. To save Jon’s life, Ygritte lies and tells Mance Rayder that they are sleeping together, or romantic partners. This knowledge helps to convince Mance that Jon has turned his cloak in truth. That night, Ygritte seduces Jon, and the two begin a relationship as they march for the Wall to Castle Black.
Ygritte and Jon join Styr's band which is to scale the Wall and attack Castle Black from the south.
The night before the ascent between Stonedoor and Greyguard, Ygritte and Jon sleep together in a grotto within a cavern.
Ygritte later tells Jon the legend of Gendel and Gorne, which he later notes.
Ygritte then proceeds to survive the dangerous climb up the hated Wall dividing the far north and south, and she reveals to Jon that Mance never found the Horn of Joramun.
Styr's party descends at an abandoned Greyguard.
While traveling through the Gift, Ygritte assumes that mere roundtowers are castles built by kings, but Jon corrects her by stating that they are usually built by less noble people.
South of the Wall, at Queenscrown, Styr's band capture a lone old man. Styr, suspicious of Jon's loyalties, orders Jon to slay the man to prove his worth to the group of wildlings. When Jon refuses to do so, Ygritte slits the man's throat instead. In the confusion created by a raging thunderstorm and the sudden emergence of Summer, Bran Stark's direwolf, Jon escapes, despite Ygritte shooting him in the leg with an arrow as he starts to run.
Ygritte later continues to Castle Black with Styr's band, but Jon has forewarned the Night's Watch of their arrival.
During the attack on Castle Black, Dick Follard falls to his death after being struck by Ygritte's arrow.
Along with the rest of the wildling band, Ygritte is killed among them, mortally wounded by an arrow. Jon finds her near the Lord Commander's Tower, where he holds her and assures her she will not die, but then she reminds him of the cave, and Jon states they will go back there, but she can’t die. Ygritte then tells Jon that he knows nothing, and then she dies.
Jon later burns Ygritte's body after the battle in the woods to prevent her from reanimating. He cries as he watches her body go up in flames.
Jon is later accused by Janos Slynt and Ser Alliser Thorne of breaking his vows by sleeping with the wildling, Ygritte. However, this is soon after debunked.
When Jon is sent beyond the Wall to parley with Mance, Jon and Tormund share mead and honor Ygritte, Donal Noye, and Mag the Mighty.
Mance soon after claims that Ygritte lied about the Horn of Joramun never having been found.
A Feast for Crows
Jon constantly thinks of Ygritte throughout the novel, as he is always reminded of “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
Jon briefly sees Ygritte in a dream.
Appearances (T.V Show)
- Ep.6 The Old Gods and the New
- Ep.7 A Man Without Honor
- Ep.8 The Prince of Winterfell
- Ep.10 Valar Morghulis
- Ep.1 Valar Dohaeris
- Ep.2 Dark Wings, Dark Words
- Ep. 3 Walk of Punishment
- Ep.5 Kissed by Fire
- Ep.6 The Climb
- Ep.7 The Bear and the Maiden Fair
- Ep.9 The Rains of Catsamere
- Ep.10 Mhysa
- Ep.1 Two Swords
- Ep.3 Breaker of Chains
- Ep.8 The Mountain and the Viper
- Ep.9 The Watchers on the Wall
- Ep.10 The Children (Corpse)
- Ep.1 The Wars to Come (Indirectly Mentioned)
- Ep.3 High Sparrow (Remembrance to Season 2 episode 6)
- Ep.4 Sons of the Harpy (Quoted by Melisandre, Indirectly mentioned)
- Ep.5 Kill the Boy (Indirectly Mentioned by Olly)
- Ep.8 Hardhome (Indirectly Mentioned)
Appearances (A Song of Ice and Fire)
- A Clash of Kings
- A Storm of Swords (Alive, Corpse)
- A Feast for Crows (Corpse, Dream)
- A Dance with Dragons (Mentioned)
In the Books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Ygritte is described as skinny but well-muscled, with a round face, crooked teeth, blue-grey eyes that are too far apart, and a slightly upturned nose.
She does not have the flawless features of noblewomen in courts south of the Wall, but Jon thinks that she is still quite beautiful in her own way, with a smile that lights up her face.
Her most distinctive feature is her hair, fiery red and "a tangle of curls".
She wears fur-like clothing, including a coat, boots, and gloves.
In the ShowYgritte looks completely different in the T.V series than described in the book.
Her face is round and smooth-like. Ygritte has dark circles under her eyes and has light blue eyes with a unnoticeable grey tint. Her nose is somewhat long and a little wider than her book counterpart.
Her skin is a peach pale color.
Ygritte has medium, somewhat curly, dark, ginger-like hair that she wears in a braid behind her head. Her hair is known to be her top feature, as every time she is described physically, her hair color is always mentioned.
Jon Snow is Ygritte’s love interest in both the show and television series.
When Jon first meets Ygritte, he is ordered to execute her after attacking the wildling outpost. He hesitates, but cannot kill her because she is an unarmed woman, and it would not be considered honorable. Jon the proceeds to take Ygritte hostage instead of killing her.
On their journey, Ygritte continues to make sexual and personal remarks about Jon Snow, and even goes on to mock him for being the son of Ned Stark. One early morning, Ygritte suggest Jon might have had sex with her in the night, causing Jon to question himself, his honor, and loyalty.
Later, when Jon joins the wildlings and their army, he develops a strong bond with Ygritte. Soon after, Ygritte pressures to have sex with him to prove his loyalty to her and the others. Jon refuses to make love Ygritte, but later conducts sexual acts with her in a cave. When they are swimming in the pool, Ygritte states she never wants to leave the cave.
When Jon betrays the wildings after not killing an old farm man, Ygritte is sent to kill Jon Snow, but cannot come to do so because, deep down, she still loves him. She then shoots three arrows into his back as he rides off, leaving Ygritte in tears.
Before The Battle of Castle Black, Ygritte states she wants to kill Jon Snow for herself, warning all the wildlings and Styr not to touch him. During the battle, Ygritte finds Jon fighting Styr. When Styr is killed, Ygritte confronts him by aiming her bow towards him, and all he does is smile, while Ygritte cannot come to reason and shoot him. Shortly after, Ygritte is shot by Olly and falls into Jon’s arms. In her dying moments, Ygritte asks him if he remembers the cave they had sex in, and then states they should have never left the cave. Jon tells Ygritte they will go back there, but Ygritte says to him “you know nothing, Jon Snow.” She then dies in his arms, leaving Jon to cradle her dead body.
Tormund is a mentor to Ygritte and seem to have known each other for a long time.
In their final conversation, Ygritte criticizes Tormund for lying about his claims for “fucking a bear.”
Not much is known about Ygritte and Mance’s relationship, but he does think highly of Ygritte and even thinks Jon would be perfect for her when meeting him for the first time.
Orell was a warg who believed he was better for Ygritte than Jon Snow.
During their climb on the wall, Orell proceeds to cut the rope which Ygritte and Jon are dangling from. They survive, but Ygritte holds a grudge against him until his last days.
Ygritte thinks lowly of Styr, as he is constantly making her feel weak and is always getting in her way.
During the attack in the village near Castle Black, Ygritte, Tormund, and other wildlings raid it and kill Olly’s parents. For this, he remembers Ygritte at Castle Black, and, in Ygritte’s final moments, Olly is the one to kill her and have her fall in Jon’s arms.
This is a complete list of victims Ygritte has killed:
- Between three to ten Wildlings (accidentally)
- Unnamed elderly Horse Breeder
- Numerous counts of Elk/Deer
- Numerous counts of Horses
- Unnamed Mole’s Town whore
- Multiple Mole’s Town whores
- Possible numerous counts of White Walkers/Others
- Numerous counts of Crows (Castle Black)
Although Ygritte is considered a villain or antagonist, she does do some heroic acts throughout the TV and book series, which are as listed below:
- Spares Gilly and her son, Sam
- Tries to side with Jon Snow
- Spares Jon Snow’s life
- Protects Jon Snow in one of the Wilding camps
|“||I don't ever want to leave this cave, Jon Snow. Not ever.||„|
|~ Ygritte to Jon Snow|
|“||Strike hard and true, Jon Snow, or I'll come back and haunt ya.||„|
|~ Ygritte before being executed|
|“||Are you staring at my ass, Jon Snow?||„|
|~ Ygritte exclaiming to Jon|
|“||Don't ever betray me. Because I'll cut your pretty cock right off, and wear it around me neck.||„|
|~ Ygritte warning Jon Snow|
|“||If we die we'll die, but first we'll live.||„|
|~ Ygritte assuring Jon|
|“||I know you never fucked a bear. You know you never fucked a bear. Right now, I don't want to think about the bear you never fucked. Right now, all I want to think about is each one of these arrows finding its way into a crow's heart.||„|
|~ Ygritte to Tormund Giantsbane before The Battle of Castle Black|
- Besides Osha, Ygritte is the first major wildling character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series and the television version.
- Ygritte is the second major female wildling character introduced in the series, the first being Osha.
- Ygritte’s death impacts Jon Snow’s actions through the remainder of his time as Lord Commander of the Night‘s Watch.
- Ygritte is referenced or mentioned in every season after her death.
- Ygritte is the first introduced wildling who is skilled with a bow and arrow.
- In real life, Rose Leslie, who played Ygritte in the T.V show, married her co-star Kit Harington (who played Jon Snow) in June, 2018.
- In 2014, Funko released its third wave of Game of Thrones Funko Pop!s, which included Ygritte. She was also released alongside with Brienne of Tarth, Joffrey Baratheon, Hodor, Drogon, Tywin Lannister, Tyrion Lannister (with axe), Ghost, and Wedding Dress Daenerys Targaryen. As of 2020, Ygritte’s Funko Pop! is worth $56.
- Fans theorized that Ygritte and Tormund Giantsbane could be related in the show, whether they’re brother and sister or father and daughter. This could be inferred because of Tormund’s father-like attitude towards Ygritte.
- Ygritte’s character is named after the heron, egret.
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