I'm reading A Song of Ice and Fire, and there's a sexually explicit scene where Jon Snow and Ygritte have sex. Jon does something, and afterwards Ygritte says:

Afterward, she was almost shy, or as shy as Ygritte ever got. “That thing you did,” she said, when they lay together on their piled clothes. “With your . . . mouth.” She hesitated. “Is that . . . is it what lords do to their ladies, down in the south?”

“I don’t think so.” No one had ever told Jon just what lords did with their ladies. “I only . . . wanted to kiss you there, that’s all. You seemed to like it.”

“Aye. I . . . I liked it some. No one taught you such?”

“There’s been no one,” he confessed. “Only you.”

“A maid,” she teased. “You were a maid.”

I don't really get what this conversation is about. Why does Ygritte ask about ladies in the south?

  • 4
    Presumably guys giving women head isn't done in the North...
    – Catija
    Oct 6, 2017 at 18:28
  • Just FYI, "Game of Thrones" means the TV show; the book series is called "A Song of Ice and Fire", although its first volume is entitled "A Game of Thrones". Confusing as heck :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 6, 2017 at 19:00
  • @Randal'Thor Is it safe to assume this did not happen in that first volume? If not, it might be worth the OP adding which specific book it was in, though it likely doesn't matter... I'd be interested in knowing.
    – Catija
    Oct 6, 2017 at 19:13
  • @Catija Yes, because the character of Ygritte doesn't appear until book ... 2? 3? I forget exactly, but this definitely isn't in book 1.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 6, 2017 at 19:16

2 Answers 2


It's been a long time since I've read the books, but I read a lot of romances, and the idea is similar.

Basically, she's teasing him about cunnilingus (the act of giving oral sex to a female/someone with a vulva) - she's surprised he knew what to do (or perhaps more accurately, surprised it is something someone would even think to do), and is curious how he knew how to please her. So the remark is both her commenting on how he treats her differently than others (perhaps differently from other Northern men she's been with, which is why she asked about people in a different locale - she's assuming he might have been with someone more "foreign" who would have taught him these things).

In general, the idea of orally pleasing a woman isn't the first thing most men think to do in most of the "medieval" environments that get written about - the idea is the woman is generally there for the man's pleasure, so not much time is taken to make sure the lady also gets the happy ending, as it were. So she didn't expect him to take the time to make sure she was pleased as well, and thus her curiosity at where he might have picked up such a skill.

Also, it's somewhat of a joke/innuendo in and of itself, the way she asks about it - "is that what lords do to their ladies, down in the south" - the south referring both to geography, and the southern/lower half of a woman's body, often neglected in terms of pleasure and merely considered just the area where the guy inserts tab A into slot B until he reaches his own pleasurable climax.

  • 9
    "she's surprised he knew what to do" - I interpreted it slightly differently. To me it seemed as though Ygritte had never experienced, perhaps never even heard of, this particular sex act before. That explains her shyness about it; if it was something she knew about but was surprised Jon did, she'd likely have been more teasing and less shy. (Still, +1 especially for the final paragraph - that innuendo is pretty clever.)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 6, 2017 at 19:20
  • @Randal'Thor I haven't read the book, either but I share that feeling... that it was novel to her.
    – Catija
    Oct 6, 2017 at 19:25
  • 5
    This is the correct interpretation. (As I recall, Ygritte dubs the act the "Lord's kiss" ;)
    – DukeZhou
    Oct 6, 2017 at 19:30
  • @Randal'Thor good point. I made a small edit, does that help?
    – user25
    Oct 6, 2017 at 19:44
  • Yep, nice edit :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 6, 2017 at 19:49

Ygritte wants to know how special she is.

Jon had just gone on and on about how much he loved her and what he loved.

"I know I want you," he heard himself say, all his vows and all his honor forgotten. She stood before him naked as her name day, and he was as hard as the rock around them. He had been in her half a hundred times by now, but always beneath the furs, with others all around them. He had never seen how beautiful she was. Her legs were skinny but well muscled, the hair at the juncture of her thighs a brighter red than that on her head. Does that make it even luckier? He pulled her close. "I love the smell of you," he said. "I love your red hair. I love your mouth, and the way you kiss me. I love your smile. I love your teats." He kissed them, one and then the other. "I love your skinny legs, and what's between them." He knelt to kiss her there, lightly on her mound at first, but Ygritte moved her legs apart a little, and he saw the pink inside and kissed that as well, and tasted her. She gave a little gasp. "If you love me all so much, why are you still dressed?" she whispered. "You know nothing, Jon Snow. Noth—oh. Oh. OHHH."

A Storm of Swords - Jon III

All this talking and complimenting is not something Ygritte is used to. In he above passage it confirms that they have laid together many times, but never been fully nude together.

So, her asking if this was common in the South is her way of determining if Jon was treating her as he would "a Lady". If he answers yes, she is special because Jon thinks of her in the same way he does a Lady. If not, she might be even more special as Jon has done something he isn't used to doing and it was very pleasurable to her.

Either way Ygritte has learned something about Jon and the way he feels about her. In the end she ends up learning more than she expected...

  • 1
    "she is special because Jon thinks of her in the same way he does a Lady" - would that actually make her feel special though? Wasn't she fairly contemptuous of the "kneelers" and soft southern ladies?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Feb 17, 2018 at 0:28

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