‘Game Of Thrones’: Rose Leslie’s Ygritte The Wildling Is Not So Wild After All

Game of Thrones’ Rose Leslie might have played a wildling on the hit HBO show, but she actually comes from a rather proper background in Scotland. Rose Leslie, 30, who announced her engagement this week to Game of Thrones co-star Kit Harington (Jon Snow) actually grew up in a 15th-century castle outside of Aberdeen, Scotland, in a town near Auchleven.

Fans of Game of Thrones, who also watched Downton Abbey, might have thought there was something familiar about the wildling character of Ygritte, only to figure out that the actor who played Ygritte also played Gwen Dawson on Season 1 of Downton Abbey as a chambermaid. But even though Rose Leslie’s character left Downton Abbey in Season 1, she was brought back at the end of the final season to take a bow. In the series finale, Rose Leslie’s character Gwen returns as a successful businesswoman.

But even if Rose Leslie, who is now better known for Game of Thrones than Downton Abbey, played a downstair girl on the PBS series, she was raised in Scotland as an upstairs girl in Lickleyhead Castle, born Rose Eleanor Arbuthnot-Leslie. The not-so-wildling Rose Leslie’s parents are Sebastian Arbuthnot-Leslie, Chieftain of Clan Leslie, and his wife Candida (Candy) Mary Sibyl Leslie.

But despite the air of nobility, the Game of Thrones actor’s family sounds a bit more on the chill side than Lord and Lady Grantham, as they have listed digs in Lickleyhead Castle on Airbnb for $829 a night. The Airbnb host, “Candy” is Rose Leslie’s mom, who gets great reviews, as does that property which Candy Leslie described at length.

“Lickleyhead Castle is a great venue for family gatherings, reunions and birthday celebrations. It is quiet and secluded and very private set in beautiful parkland surrounded by mature trees and lawns. There is a barbecue area with outdoor furniture for al fresco dining with a burn (stream) running past. In the past, we have hosted small weddings.”

A small wedding you say. Maybe this will be the location for the wedding of Rose Leslie and Kit Harington?

The home accommodates 14 guests with seven bedrooms and 14 beds. Candy Leslie describes Lickleyhead as “quirky and fun,” with a dining room which seats 16 and a cozy kitchen. Leslie also shares that the whole castle is open for access, which seems like an explorer’s dream.

Perhaps it’s a credit to Game of Thrones’ Rose Leslie’s talent as an actor that she is so believable as both a wildling and a chambermaid, considering her lofty origins. But whether one is raised in a castle or a cabin, hearing that your mom is proud of you is always a big deal. After Rose Leslie got a role in Game of Thrones, her mother publicly made a statement about her daughter’s success.

“We are delighted for her — her career is going from strength to strength. I am very proud of her. She has worked very hard and we are pleased for her.”


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The Game of Thrones actor is the middle of five children who went to a Scottish primary school in the village of Rayne, and then went on Millfield, a co-ed school in England. She then attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).

Are you surprised that Game of Thrones’ Rose Leslie, who plays wildling Ygritte, was raised in a Scottish castle?

[Featured Image by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images]