Gilly, named for the gillyflower, is a daughter of Craster and lives with him at Craster’s Keep beyond The Wall. Caster is a wildling who often marries his own daughters, so Gilly is his wife as well. He’s estimated to have around 19 wives. Gilly is pregnant with his daughter when the Night’s Watch first encounters her.
Gilly is a teenager, probably around 16 years old. She is doe-eyed and has a slim build, even after giving birth to the child. Most men consider her very beautiful. Even after her incestuous marriage and childbirth, Gilly retains the hope that her life will improve one day. She has a surprisingly sunny outlook on life, and is regarded by Samwell Tarly as being both brave and kind.
When the Night’s Watch first arrive at Craster’s Keep, Gilly is required by Craster to serve them food and wine. She is befriended by Samwell Tarly, who protects her from a direwolf travelling with him that she finds very frightening. Gilly asks Samwell to take her away and he asks Jon Snow to help him, but Jon refuses based upon threats from Craster. She resists Jon’s questioning when he uses her to try and figure out what Craster has been doing with his male children – Jon suspects that Craster leaves them in the wilderness to die. Samwell quickly falls in love with Gilly, feelings that persist even after the Night’s Watch leave Craster’s Keep.
After the Battle of the Fist of the First Men the Night’s Watch return to Craster’s Keep, and Samwell once again sees Gilly. This time he accidentally witnesses her giving birth to her child, which is a boy. While at Craster’s Keep the Night’s Watch mutiny, killing Craster and most of his daughters and wives. Samwell runs out with Gilly and her baby, protecting them from certain death. They take refuge in an abandoned cabin, where a White Walker attacks them looking for the baby as a sacrifice. Gilly and Sam escape the White Walker and continue their journey to Castle Black. When they reach Castle Black Maester Aemon is angry with Sam for violating his vows, but takes pity on Gilly after finding out that she was Craster’s wife and agrees to give her refuge.
Gilly is given a position assisting Hobb in the kitchens and cooking for the Night’s Watch. However, Sam continues to fear for her safety since many of the members of the Night’s Watch are former criminals who sometimes attack women. She has to run once again when the town she’s living in is attacked by wildlings but is able to escape once again to Castle Black. Here Gilly meets Sam again, but is upset about his participation in an upcoming battle. The two finally kiss before he leaves.