Rose Leslie. Picture: Supplied

Hell hath no fury like a Wildling woman scorned. So when Jon Snow abandoned his flame-haired lover Ygritte in Game of Thrones, she hunted him down and shot him with three arrows.

And according to Scottish-born actor Rose Leslie, who plays the tough Free Folk spearwife, Ygritte's not yet finished with her errant boyfriend, hinting at more trouble for the star-crossed pair in the coming season.

"She's out for blood," says Leslie, in Sydney to promote season three's DVD release. "She's on a ruthless, murderous rampage throughout the season . . . She is on a mission to get her own back."

Valar Morghulis ("All Men Must Die" in the High Valyrian language) is the motto for season four. The 10 action-packed episodes promise to be the bloodiest yet as characters clamour for vengeance in the wake of the infamous Red Wedding and other misdeeds.

"The stakes once again have been upped . . . It's going to be absolutely hair-raising," enthuses Leslie, echoing the words of co-creator and showrunner David Benioff, who said in a recent preview that the fourth season contained the most shocking and mind-blowing scenes of the entire series.

Based roughly on the second half of A Storm of Swords, the third of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the coming season of the immensely popular epic fantasy is one of the most highly anticipated television events of the year.

The thirst for vengeance is matched only by the players' hunger for the Iron Throne. Sneak peeks reveal Tyrion trapped in a dungeon, the Stark children plotting revenge, Joffrey and Margaery's lavish royal wedding and a number of new characters.

Across the Narrow Sea Daenerys Targaryen continues her quest to reclaim the seven kingdoms with her swelling army of freed slaves, but she struggles to maintain control over the liberated city of Yunkai and her growing dragons.

In the north, the White Walkers are on the move as winter approaches and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is on his own quest for retribution after returning from Beyond the Wall to find half his family murdered.

But Ned Stark's bastard son has to watch his back with a furious Ygritte on his tail, especially after she promised to sever his penis and wear it around her neck if he ever betrayed her.

"In season four we see a very different side of Ygritte. She's not so mouthy. She's a far more dangerous character," Leslie says.

"She feels incredibly betrayed. She saw a life with Jon Snow . . . beyond the Night's Watch and beyond Mance Rayder. . . They were going to be able to escape this warring world."

But the love affair that began when Ygritte deflowered Jon in a cave and galvanised when he saved her life climbing The Wall (and apparently spilt over into a brief real-life romance between the actors), was thwarted when a scuffle with Jon's new Wildling allies saw him desert her and flee south. When Ygritte caught up with Jon he said he loved her but had to go home. The trained killer could have slain him in one fell swoop but chose to injure him instead.

"She was in pain. She wanted Jon Snow to feel some of that pain as well," Leslie says of the emotional scene.

Ygritte joins a host of strong, often ruthless and manipulative female characters, who Leslie believes provide much of the show's appeal.

Another drawcard is Game of Thrones' elaborate production, which sees a number of fantastical settings realised in splendid detail. With its huge cast, exotic filming locations, stunning costumes and special effects, the American series produced by HBO is widely considered the most expensive TV show ever made.

The fourth season returns to previous sets in Northern Ireland, Iceland and Dubrovnik. New filming locations in Croatia include Diocletian's Palace in Split. The series' tradition of employing noted indie bands continues with Icelandic post-rock outfit Sigur Ros also making an appearance.

"The key element is the fact that it all takes place in a fantasy world and it is wonderful escapism for an audience member. It's so thrilling. The ball is never dropped with any storyline and it absolutely draws you in. And also you've got dragons," Leslie says.

The West Australian

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