Appearance and character Edit
Gilly is slender, pale, with large brown eyes and dark hair. She is described as pretty, somewhat childlike in appearance, and has a soft, quiet voice. Gilly is kind-hearted and develops a close relationship with Samwell Tarly, who regards her as courageous and brave as well.
A Clash of Kings Edit
At Craster's Keep, Gilly is introduced when she catches Jon Snow's direwolf Ghost breaking into the hutch where she is trying to breed rabbits. She yells at Ghost, attracting Jon's attention. Jon arrives and calls Ghost away from a terrified Gilly, promising Gilly that the wolf won't hurt her.
Later, Gilly meets Sam and comes to Jon again at Sam's behest. Sam gives her his cloak so no one will know that Jon is talking to one of Craster's wives as the Night's Watchmen were warned not to. She tells him that Mormont gave Craster a crossbow for the rabbits, but that's not what she wants. As Robb is king in the north and a king protects people, she hopes Jon will help her escape. She is pregnant and fears, if it is a male child, Craster will sacrifice her baby. Craster sacrifices his male children to the Others to appease them but he hasn't had a male child in a while. Jon tells her he can't help her because they are heading further north to seek the undead threat, not south, and neither she or her baby will be safe with them. Gilly asks if Jon will come back this way and Jon does not know. Gilly despairs but Sam tells her that if they come back the same way, he will help.
A Storm of Swords Edit
After being attacked on the Fist of the First Men by Wights, the Night's Watch escape for Craster's Keep. Gilly gives birth to a son. However, Craster is killed before he can sacrifice the child and in the confusion, Gilly flees south with Sam.
On their way to the Wall, Sam and Gilly spend the night at Whitetree, where they get attacked by a dozen wights, including Small Paul and Chett. Sam and Gilly escape with the help of a man dressed all in blacks and greys astride a great elk, who appears with thousands of ravens.
A Feast for Crows and A Dance With DragonsEdit
Gilly talks with Jon after he is elected Lord Commander. Val sends her frequently to plead for the release of Mance Rayder, who has been captured by Stannis. Fearing Melisandre is looking to sacrifice Mance's son and Maester Aemon for their king's blood, Jon sends a disguised Mance's son with Gilly, Sam, and Maester Aemon to Oldtown, forcing her to leave her own son behind at Castle Black. Gilly fears her son will be sacrificed. Jon promises Gilly her son will be safe because he has no king's blood and Stannis would not allow Melisandre to burn an innocent child without cause and Stannis wants the free folk to fight for him. Jon assures Gilly that her son will be raised under his protection with the care of wet nurses. Gilly holds Jon to this promise, telling Jon to find a wet nurse for her son and has Jon promise her that he will not to name her child until he is two years old per wildling customs.
Onboard the Cinnamon Wind with Sam, Maester Aemon, and their party, Gilly spends most of the journey weeping over being separated from her son. She comes to love Mance's son as her own and intends to name him Aemon Steelsong when he reaches two years old, after Maester Aemon who dies on the voyage. When Sam comments on Jon's decision to send Maester Aemon on this journey, Gilly reveals to Sam that Jon sent both Aemon and Mance's son away to save them because their king's blood put them in danger. Later, Gilly and Sam consummate their relationship. Sam feels guilty over breaking his Night's Watch vows of celibacy but Gilly tells Sam, "The trees watch over us. In the forest, they see all... but there are no trees here. Only water, Sam. Only water."