‘Game of Thrones’ Star Sophie Turner Talks Sansa’s Loyalty, Finale Twists

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Courtesy of HBO

This interview contains spoilers for the “Game of Thrones” Season 6 finale, titled “The Winds of Winter.”

Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” finale saw the power shift in Westeros once more, with Cersei Lannister seizing the Iron Throne after the death of her son, Tommen, and Jon Snow being declared King in the North, moments after the audience learned that he’s actually the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, and not Ned Stark’s bastard at all. Unfortunately for Jon, his new leadership role comes with new enemies — some closer to home than others, with Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish already plotting to undermine him and marry Sansa in his quest for the Iron Throne.

And even though Sansa has no love for Littlefinger, after years of being underestimated and mistreated by the men around her, there’s a chance she might be susceptible to his manipulative charms. Whether that ends in marriage or an alliance of convenience remains to be seen, but it’s clear that the Starks still have plenty of threats surrounding them, both internally and externally. Variety spoke to Sansa herself, Sophie Turner, about her character’s loyalties and what the revelation about Jon might mean for their relationship.

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What’s going through Sansa’s mind in those final moments as Jon’s being declared King in the North?

She’s not getting the credit she feels she deserves, that Littlefinger would grant her with. He obviously wants her on the Iron Throne and him by her side – she doesn’t want that, but she wants recognition for the effort that she put in, in order to claim back Winterfell, because if it wasn’t for her, it wouldn’t have happened. So I think she’s seeing Littlefinger as a bit more trustworthy and more of an ally than she initially thought.

Would discovering that Jon is her cousin change anything for Sansa, in terms of where they currently stand with each other?

Yeah, definitely. Sansa always took her mother’s side on that. She was always influenced by her mother’s resentment towards Jon because of Ned allegedly cheating on her and bringing back an illegitimate child, so finding out that Ned never cheated, that Jon isn’t an illegitimate child of Ned’s, would probably bring them closer together. I think at this point where there could be a lot of rifts in their relationship, it’s good to have something that would probably draw them closer together.

Does she feel like she has more of a claim on Winterfell than anyone else at this point?

Totally… She tirelessly has worked so hard to get Winterfell back and constantly been battling with these men, trying to prove herself as a real contender and a real player, and she kind of feels like she deserves the recognition for it, but she’s not satisfied now. I think she’s got a lot more things on her checklist to do before she’s completely satisfied.

In episode 9, Ramsay tried to make the point that she’s changed Sansa — what effect do you think he’s had on her, if any?

I think he thinks he’s imprinted on her and obviously he’s taken away something that she can never get back, something that, especially in those times, there’s a lot of importance placed on that so it is a really big deal, but you can see in episode 10, she doesn’t mention him once. She said to him “your memory will disappear, your name will disappear,” and she means it, she’s moving on, she doesn’t want to think about it, she doesn’t want to dwell on it, she’s stronger than that. And she doesn’t want to let him get at her anymore, now that he’s gone. She’s strong enough to do that, I think… as long as she’s not up the duff. [Laughs.]

Some fans have been speculating that Jon and Sansa might end up marrying, since they’re both in a pretty vulnerable position politically right now. What’s your take on that?

Oh my god, really? I haven’t actually heard that. Stranger things on “Game of Thrones” have happened… Maybe politically, it makes sense, I honestly don’t know how I would feel about that, I’d have to speak to the producers about that one. Honestly, what I think is going to happen – and I don’t know where the story is going to go, but I think Jon and Daenerys are going to end up together, probably. I feel like Jon and Sansa would be a strange one, especially because isn’t it considered not legitimate if you haven’t consummated the marriage, and I really don’t think either of them would be particularly up for that. It would be very difficult to do that. [Laughs.]

As an audience member, how did you feel about Arya killing Walder Frey?

Great! I haven’t watched the finale yet, I’ve been doing promotion… but obviously it’s such a big moment and it’s the Starks redeeming themselves again and getting the upper hand again. It’s very, very exciting and Arya is such a little badass, she just keeps checking those people off her list.

Season 6 finally saw the women seizing power across the landscape of the show — who do you think is most qualified to rule at this point?

I feel like Daenerys is probably the most qualified to rule at this point because she’s spent so much time and effort preparing, it would be a real disappointment if she didn’t end up on the throne for her I think, for sure. In terms of the story, I really like Cersei on the throne. I love a bit of madness; I think it’s hilarious and she should stay on there for as long as possible. She’ll have a lot of fun, it’ll make for a good story.

How will Sansa feel about Cersei being on the throne, given their history?

Probably not great, but maybe it presents an opportunity for her to go back and get revenge. But then again, her ally Margaery isn’t there to help her out so it might be tricky, but Sansa doesn’t know that yet.

Daenerys has shown some despotic tendencies in her quest to rule; do you think there’s a possibility that she might follow in her father’s footsteps and go bad?

I think the Targaryens have it in their blood that they’re power-hungry and very ambitious, and will stop at nothing to get what they want. I don’t know if Daenerys will go bad – I think she’s ruthless, but what made her great and loved by the armies that she has behind her is that she isn’t like the rest of the Targaryens in terms of brutality and madness. She’s one of the good ones, so I hope she stays that way. But who knows, it’s “Game of Thrones,” everyone could end up crazy and dead.

What was your favorite scene to shoot this season, and your favorite to watch as a fan?

My favorite scene to shoot this season was Sansa’s killing of Ramsay, just because I feel like it’s been such a long time coming and I’ve been waiting on it for so long, and it really excited me. It was such a brilliant death, it meant that it was the first time that Sansa had ever been given the freedom to do what she wants without anyone telling her what to do. It was honestly the first time ever, in her life, that she’s been able to take charge and take command and make her own decisions, and that was a really big moment for her. And my favorite scene to watch was the battle, I think Miguel [Sapochnik] did the most incredible job in making it look totally realistic and dirty and not glorified at all and how distressing real battles were and the pile of bodies… each shot was so interesting. I’m rooting for him to get an Emmy, I want him to get an Emmy.

What are you most proud of in Sansa’s evolution, since Season 6 was such a turning point for her?

The moment when she really stood up to Jon when they were having that battle planning [session] the night before the battle, that was probably when I was the most proud of her and most proud of what she’s achieved. You really see how far she’s come, going head to head with her older brother, which was basically unheard of in those times on which it’s loosely based. I thought it was an incredibly strong moment for her. He didn’t listen, but she proved him wrong.

What did you think of “Game of Thrones” Season 6? Do you think Sansa and Jon will be at odds in Season 7? Weigh in below

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  1. Ashley says:

    Someone needs to explain Jon’s parentage to Sophie. xD She says she doesn’t want Jon and Sansa together, because they’re cousins, but she thinks Jon will end up with Dany…..his aunt? lol GAH! I do love her to death though. Sansa=favorite

  2. arafat says:

    I think many sansa will ..marry jon snow

  3. I don't think Jon and sans a will marry says:

    I don’t think Jon and sansa will marry they’re still cousins but I think they’ll get closer and closer as cousins

  4. Kingin DaNorf says:

    Dont be a moron. Sansa wont marry Littlefinger or Jon. She is going to lead the Riverlands now that Edmures as good as dead rotting beneath Casterly Rock. If she marries anyone it will be sickly cousin Robert to be Baelish at his own game.

  5. aris says:

    sansa: “nobody ever listens to me i have vauable input why doesn’t anybody ever ask me??”
    jon: “ok how and where are we supposed to get more men?”
    sansa: “i don’t know i’m not a soldier!!!” *keeps littlefinger and the knights of the vale a secret*

  6. Darren Long says:

    The thing is if Sansa had trusted Jon, they could have formulated a plan that did not require the sacrifice of so many men. Her silence cost many a man their death in the battle of the bastards. This was a cruel action on her part. Sure, she also saved the day but had she told Jon, Davos and Tormund they could have won and had more troops in the coming fight. Every battle is fuel for the white walkers army and wights if the bodies are not burned.

    • Yvonne says:

      Completely agree! To me it was a strange twist that she wouldn’t trust him with something like that. I mean sure, don’t trust him with personal things, but this just didn’t have any rhyme or reason to it. Maybe she thought Jon would say no to asking Petre because of all he has done, idk?

  7. Kingslayer says:

    What’s interesting is the fact that incestuous marriages have happened in the Stark House before! Lady Lyarra Stark was the second daughter of Rodrik Stark and Arya Flint. She was married to her cousin Lord Rickard Stark, and they had four children: Brandon, Eddard, Lyanna and Benjen Stark. So if both Sansa and Jon’s grandparents were cousins what’s to stop them marrying once Jon finds out he is not her brother. This would unite their claim to the north!

  8. A- says:

    Please get the pronounce right, (he’s, she’s, etc.) otherwise reading the review is confusing!

  9. George says:

    Yes, Sansa feeling her efforts unrecognized might create some friction with Jon. But I still think that shouldn’t be the issue next season… It would be AWESOME if Sansa put the skills she’s learned all these past seasons and outplay Littlefinger at his own game. Like her final exam. That would be WAY more entertaining than she acting all resentful because she wants recognition.

    • Yvonne says:

      Oh, good idea! It is kinda perfect actually!

    • ArthurDayneSotM says:

      I feel like having Arya and especially Bran (heir to Winterfell and North) show up early in S7 will help fix things. Jon has given Sansa her due but he seemed to have a hard time passing the baton to Sansa when he was being heralded as the King in the North by his bannermen

  10. dee says:

    No Jon DID NOT give her credit in front of all the other houses he should have they won back the North because of Sansa and only Sansa 1) If she doesn’t convince Jon to go back to fight for their home It NEVER happens, 2) If she doesn’t get the Vale to come join the battle it NEVER happens. Sansa was smart to not completely rebuff Littlefinger because she still needs him to get what she wants and what she wants is to sit on the Iron Throne and she will there are still two more seasons to go Sansa will be the ultimate winner.Sophie Turner is wrong Margarey was NEVER her ally, she always interprets her storylines completely different than for what they really are I do believe when Jon’s revealed as a Targaryean he and Sansa will end up together it will be a do over of Rheagar Targaryean and Lyanna Stark a love story that was denied and brutally cut short out of jealousy you can see them going this direction by they way Jon looks at Sansa in their scenes.

    • Kingin DaNorf says:

      Youre batty. Sansa does NOT want the iron throne which is her most powerful asset over Littlefinger. Like Arya, she wants justice for the wrongs against her people, and as she has said on the show, they should have never left Winterfell at all. Now she has her home back and you think vanity is gonna make her frigg off to Kings Landing with Littlefinger??? When Cersei went off the deep end and crowned herself queen it was all but said the chair no longer holds any power. The Tyrells, Dorne, and Dany are banded together and The Ironborn clearly dont kneel…Who even wants the throne if not just as a result of taking out the Lannisters? Who will probably take themselves out for good…

    • Ashley Schafer says:

      Jon looks at Sansa like a brother would a sister. They grew up together, it doesn’t matter if she’s revealed to be his cousin. That won’t change the way they see each other as brother and sister or suddenly create feelings that have never existed.. Rhaegar and Lyanna have nothing in common with Sansa and Jon. Also…Jon very clearly told Sansa that she was responsible for the win. He said it directly to her. She may have called the Vale but Jon had no clue she had that resource. Sansa convinced him to join the fight but Jon is the one that got the Wildlings on his side, without them there would have been no fight. Saying it was ONLY Sansa is a bit ridiculous. Jon was out there on the battlefield risking his life for a fight he didn’t want to join in the first place all because of his family. Now he’s been thrust into the King of the North position without asking for it. He didn’t do anything wrong. Besides, I think Sansa will eventually get Winterfell anyways and that Jon has a different destiny.

  11. Alicia says:

    Sophie was wonderful this season, and Sansa is definitely my favorite Stark. I just hope that there will be a nuance to her story next season, and not just her painting her evil because of showing a little ambition and maybe going against Jon. I want a Littlefinger/Sansa team up again. Their scenes together are captivating. Some mutual manipulation, maybe some rivalry to out-best each other would make for a thrilling TV.

    • George says:

      I completely see your point!
      Although I’m not sure I’d be rooting for Sansa-LF teaming up for real but for them “teaming up” in a way that Sansa is manipulating and outplaying him. That way the apprentice becomes the master and would be an amazingly cool arc for Sansa’s character.
      She’s also my favorite Stark :)

  12. Yvonne says:

    At the same time, Jon did give her the credit, and is giving her the “Lords” room. That happened in the scene as they watched the red witch ride away, and she said, “Winter is here”. He asked her to be honest with him so they could work together to save their home and their name. This is hers to throw away and mess up, if she chooses not to speak to him about how she feels or what she is thinking. So maybe she really hasn’t matured at all then :-(? Season 7 is going to be AWESOME! When Arya and Bran get back, and all the latest news gets caught up. Little Finger making a move for the iron throne is pointless when they find out about Dany. Tyrion will get Jon’s backing and probably won’t need to send men to fight, whereas Peter will need men to fight which goes against the point of why they/the North came together in the first place and that is to prepare for the battle against the white walkers.

    • Chris says:

      Sansa HAS grown up and if nothing you can tell it by the look she gives Baelish while Jon is declared King.It is not a “that should be me” look but a look of pure weariness.The man killed her aunt who also happened to be his wife right in front of her and in cold blood.She knows he is capable of going at great lengths when things are not going along with his plans and he is not pleased now which makes her fear for the future of house stark considering he commands the largest army in the North currently and knows nothing about the white walkers.Yes she wants some recognition but we’re talking about Sansa.She’s not power-hungry or spiteful and most importantly she still has a kind heart and sane mind.If she sides with Littlefinger and seemingly betrays Jon it will all be to make sure the former is no threat to her house.Personally I believe and hope she’ll take him iut early on next season.

      • Yvonne says:

        However, if you read her interviews she says she is jealous. I just hope it is resolved quickly in season 7, so that all she went through is not for naught (so?). Sophie Turner says Sansa has grown up and so with maturity, jealousy will hopefully not last long. I do have hope for Sansa (and maybe a reunion with Tyrion, xp). I was sad to read that she was jealous. I think Little Finger and Cercei (sp?) Need to die next, lol.

    • Mark says:

      Yeah, I def think it’s less Jon’s fault (though he is predictably oblivious to Sansa’s feelings, because “you know nothing, Jon Snow” will never NOT be an accurate summation) and more the fault of the stupid male-dominated system. None of the lords are recognizing Sansa’s efforts because they aren’t ever looking at them, their attention is solely on the man and his efforts because that’s their default mindset. The sooner Daenerys changes this system, the better.

      • vinoo says:

        That’s not true…The northerners didn’t choose jon because he was a man, they chose him because they thought he was their best chance to survive the long winter…This is what d&d said in an interview…moreover it was a lady in lyanna mormont who spoke up for him

  13. Marilyn says:

    Loved this episode! I can’t wait to see where the next season goes. I really want to visit one of these filming locations before it comes out, does anyone have any recommendations? Thanks :)

    • Jordan smith says:

      I really want to visit one of the filming locations too . i hear a lot of the fil mi g is done in Scotland. My favorite show ever !!!!! I have bendge watched the wole show like 6 times. Johm snow is my favorite character. He has been sense the begining !!!!!!

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