Scottish Game Of Thrones actress backs Union

WHEN in character as warrior woman Ygritte in Game Of Thrones, actress Rose Leslie has little time for her southern neighbours.

Game of Thrones actress Rose Leslie. Picture: Lester Cohen
Game of Thrones actress Rose Leslie. Picture: Lester Cohen
Game of Thrones actress Rose Leslie. Picture: Lester Cohen

In real life, however, the Scottish actress is in favour of a more unified approach when it comes to the relationship between Scotland and England.

Yesterday she became the latest star of stage and screen to declare her hand in Scotland’s independence referendum.

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“I am very much pro-Union,” she told Scotland on Sunday when she arrived in Edinburgh to promote her new film Honeymoon – a horror movie set deep in a wooded wilderness.

“I feel that Alex Salmond is blinded by his passion and can’t quite see just how fantastic we have it at the moment. We have our own identity in Scotland, we have our own parliament.

“Yet we have the strength with the backing of Westminster. And of course we are going to keep the pound – that is brilliant. We are in a very strong position right now.”

Mercifully, it would take a massive dose of poetic licence to draw direct parallels between the referendum and Ygritte’s barbaric northern tribe’s conflict with those who live over the great wall separating the wild North from the rest of the kingdom of Westeros.

Despite accusations of scaremongering, the independence debate has not yet got to the stage where Ygritte’s Wilding people attempt to clamber over a 700ft-high wall to escape a decades-long winter.

Away from the set of HBO’s hugely popular fantasy drama series, which is filmed in Northern Ireland, Leslie is in no doubt which side of the fence she is on.

Speaking outside Cineworld in Fountain Park, she revealed her concerns about an independent Scotland’s influence within the EU.

“If we were to become an independent country, I don’t know how much of a voice we would have, especially in the EU. I mean it is not even a given that we would get into the EU, so I feel that it would be a real disadvantage to become an independent country and I am very pro-Union,” said the 27-year-old.

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It may be tempting to compare Ygritte’s kingdom beyond the wall in Game Of Thrones with Leslie’s native Aberdeenshire. But bows, arrows and spears are not de rigueur these days in her ancestral home of Warthill Castle in the village of Rayne.

The seat of the Clan Leslie, the 12th-century fortress is owned by her father Sebastian Arbuthnot-Leslie, the Aberdeenshire chieftain of the clan.

Leslie, who has also starred in Downton Abbey, grew up in the turreted stronghold. After attending the primary school in Rayne, she went to Millfield public school in England, and on to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

The world of drama has seen a number of interventions in the independence debate, with Yes Scotland rolling out the red carpet for Sir Sean Connery, Brian Cox and Alan Cumming, among others.

Many prominent Scottish writers including James Robertson, Alasdair Gray and Liz Lochhead have publicly declared for Yes.

A notable exception in the literary world has been JK Rowling, who earlier this month said she would be voting No. At the same time she donated £1 million of the fortune she has made from her Harry Potter books to the Better Together campaign.

A spokesperson for Yes Scotland said: “Everybody, including celebrities, is entitled to his or her view about Scotland’s future, including Alan Cumming, Emma Pollock, Lou Hickey, David Hayman, Alex Norton, Janice Galloway, Brian Cox and, of course, Sean Connery – to mention but a few who support a Yes vote.

“The only threat to Scotland’s continued EU membership comes from a No vote, where Westminster’s proposed in/out referendum could take us out of the European Union against our wishes.”