Sunday's episode featured an epic battle between the wildings and the Night's Watch, and Ygritte was mortally wounded by an arrow after she once again failed to kill her lover, Jon Snow (Kit Harington). Leslie caught up with the LA Times on Monday to discuss her character's "emotional" death, and said, "That's the beauty of the show. No one is safe."
"I was well aware that Ygritte's death was going to happen," the 27-year-old actress reveals. "I was secretly rather pleased that it was going to be in the penultimate episode because you know that everything is building up to Episode 9. It was wonderful to go out with a bang."
"She's a strong woman and she has some brilliant characteristics," she lauds of her character. "She's incredibly loyal, but not to the extent that she doesn't waver... She knows who she is, she knows what she wants and I think those are very good attributes to have. I admire that in her. It's inspirational, I think, for all women."
Leslie says she and Harington "got on" from the beginning, and credits "the dialogue we had off screen" with "the chemistry and the fiery, tempestuous relationship they have on screen." Ygritte and Jon Snow became lovers in the show's third season, but he ultimately chose to leave her and return to his brothers of the Night's Watch. The actress says Ygritte leads the wilding raid in Sunday's episode "to find Jon Snow" and "make him pay," but she ends up dying in his arms after "hesitation" kills her.
"Once I had died in Jon Snow's arms, that was it," she admits. "I got very emotional. I was very raw. It had just been such a phenomenal experience for me. I blubbed like a little baby."
"Once the scene was done, I was surrounded by crew and producers and presented with a wrap gift. My bow, Ygritte's bow. The handle was replaced with white leather and on one side they had sewn on a silver plaque that was engraved with 'Kissed by fire,' and then on the other side was the emblem of a rose. That just made me cry even more."
Leslie will next appear in the movie Honeymoon later this year. She is also involved with an ITV miniseries about the great fire of London called The Great Fire.