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Gilly: The Apple Sometimes Rolls Far From The Tree

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I think Hannah Murray may be the most under-rated actress on the show. Please note: I said "most under-rated," not "greatest." There are plenty of great actresses on the show, but in most cases everyone realizes it. Even those of ud who were getting tired of Ygritte admit that the problems were with how she was scripted, not how she was acted. Same deal with Sansa, or Danaerys, or... whoever.


But Gilly's role is so under-stated, and so full of subtle reactions to things that she simply does not care about like the other characters do, that it wasn't until my recent rewatch that I noticed how spot-on she always is. Her bland, mechanical recitation to the Crows when Literal Babydaddy called her over to praise him was exactly what I would expect of someone who completely hates their situation but simply does not want any bullshit and knows entirely too well how painful and unpleasant bullshit can be.


Her early reactions to Sam were great- ranging from subtle optimism about escaping with him to, eventually, disgusted exasperation when he instead opted to offer her that stupid thimble like it was his class ring or something and that would somehow make him... only 99.99 per cent of a virgin?


I hated the way their relationship seemed like it was being forced on us whether we cared about it or not, but every moment in it has been very true to both characters. Yes, Sam really was that big a nerd. I've known at least one Sam in real life. And Gilly, even with very few lines to say, did a great job of portraying someone who wasn't a romantic, had very low expectations as far as happy endings went, and thought very little of anyone who couldn't understand the rather obvious fact that all she wanted was to get the fuck out of Crazy Craster's House of Incest.


Sam is so well acted, and often well-scripted, that I can't help liking him, but he's such a goofy romanticist that he needs someone in his scenes to balance him. And Jon Snow is almost as big a romanticist as Sam is, even though he's tougher and quieter about it. Gilly is a complete no-bullshit pragmatist, which is why I've come to really appreciate having her around.  So does that mean I'm finally actually shipping her and Sam like we're obviously supposed to? Beats me. But I like having her on the show. And at the rate they're going, who knows? Maybe in another two seasons Sam will finally see a booby.


Besides, if Castle Black loses its Smurfette, then a lot of Crows are going to have to go sleep at night dreaming of Jon Snow.

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I like Gilly, but a lot of that is probably knowing Hannah Murray from Skins (where Joe Dempsie also got his start), and a lot of it is probably that I really like Sam Tarly. The only time their story really bored me was the pointless Mole's Town detour, especially since Hannah's name in the opening credits felt like a pretty good clue that she was safe until at least ep 9.

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The biggest things we learned from the Mole's town schtick were:

a. Gilly cares as little for everyone else's nonsense as she does for Sam's, and

b. her child may theoretically not be a styrofoam prop, because somebody complained about him crying too loudly.

Maybe Craster carries a gene for quietness. It's recessive in him, but doubled up in Gilly and... whatever that allegedly loudly crying styrofoam prop is named.

I'd remember details about the kid better if I could actually remember that it exists. Best ending for the last episode would have been if Gilly had slashed off of Slynt's clothes, piece by piece, because she kept needing to change diapers. Although now that I stop and think about it, maybe Slynt wasn't the best source of doody-free cloth at that particular moment anyway.

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Now that the Old Gods have taken Ygritte to that great big tree in the sky, Gilly is the pre-eminent, if not the only, female character around or north of the Wall,  Even if you include Bolton country, there's still only Ramsay's psycho girlfriend; Lady Walda, Roose's wife who's said all of one word this season; and, possibly, Yara, if she's still kicking around the North.

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