Game Of Thrones has a lot of lust, but not a lot of true love – Jon Snow and Ygritte may not enjoy a conventional relationship – and who could in the frozen North, caught between Wildings, Night’s Watch and White Walkers? – but there’s something very genuine in the almost playground love between the two.
Speaking exclusively to SciFiNow Ygritte’s Rose Leslie, Jon Snow’s Kit Harington and Sam Tarley’s John Bradley discuss the characters’ blossoming romance, with Leslie promising that Game Of Thrones Season 3 is the real year of “You know nothing, Jon Snow’. They haven’t overdone it, though.
“The catchphrase is riddled throughout the second book,” says Leslie, “and she says ‘You know nothing, Jon Snow’, but not in my voice, luckily, it sounds much better in a northern accent.”
“Does it?” deadpans Harinton.
“And so, yes,” Leslie continues, “David [Beninoff, executive producer] and Daniel [Weiss, executive producer] write so intelligently anyway and they’ve sprinkled it throughout… well, we don’t want to talk about Season 3. But it is that delicate line, we don’t want it to become too naggy or frustrating traits kind of character, so they placed it very beautifully so that it doesn’t become too annoying. He does deserve it though – he’s got it coming.”
Speaking about the relationship between the two, and what makes it a rarity within Game Of Thrones, Kit Harington attributes it to a magical combination of Jon Snow’s niave nobility and Ygritte’s playful forwardness.
“It’s fun from the get go,” Harington admits. “It’s also quite a unique relationship within the whole series. Season 2, Jon’s never really met a girl before – he doesn’t know how to deal with girls, with women, he’s not very good with them. He meets her, and instantly – he’s meant to kill her, but actually there’s something, beyond her just being a woman and not wanting to kill a woman, that he finds very intriguing.
“And then she just torments him for the rest of Season 2,” he laughs. “Jon doesn’t smile much, he doesn’t like opening up and smiling, but there’s one bit where she gets him, she gets into that crack, she pushes him so hard that he actually finds it funny, and once he finds something funny he opens up. I really enjoyed it in Season 2, that kind of dynamic.”
“It’s a lovely dynamic,” agrees Leslie. “It’s at times a tempestuous relationship, but the two characters kind of balance each other out, and it’s interesting to explore that dynamic and David and Dan are brilliant at doing that with any human relationships I suppose.”
“I think that’s testament to your performances as well,” adds John Bradley, who plays Jon Snow’s closest friend in the Night’s Watch.
“Off the page that could just read as a great quite snipey, quite negative, shallow relationship that they have, but there’s no denying either chemistry happens or chemistry doesn’t happen,” Bradley continues. “And without the explicit chemistry that you have – and it’s the same with Jaime [Lannister, Nickolaj Coster-Waldau] and Brienne [Gwendoline Christie] as well – it could easily be placed in the hands of other actors, or other directors, or other dramas altogether, that kind of dialogue, as a horrible demeaning thing, but because the performances are so beautifully pitched between resentment and a deep implicit affection somewhere, I think it gives it a dimension that doesn’t necessarily come off the page unless you’re familiar with the characters from the books, or whatever. I think it’s quite hard to pitch perfectly.”
“I think it’s quite fascinating that Ygritte decides for whatever reason that this bloke that’s tried to kill her, whether she’s trying to trick him or whatever, has decided, ‘That’s my man’,” muses Harington.
“I don’t think she’s decided that you’re her man,” Leslie interjects. “She considers you an enigma, really. She doesn’t get Jon Snow, in the way you don’t really know how to interact with a woman, she either hasn’t come across a man who just takes himself so damn seriously, or doesn’t know how to laugh, and is so strict with himself, and who doesn’t want to branch out. You have your set rules and you have your set beliefs.”