The wait between Game of Thrones Seasons 6 and 7 may be longer than usual, but fans still have plenty to speculate about until the summer premiere. For example, what’s next for Sansa Stark, the would-be Queen in the North? Sophie Turner, who’s played the eldest Stark daughter these past six years, has had much to say on this subject of late. She recently sat down with Vulture to further discuss Sansa’s rise to power.
At the end of the season, Sansa gets a taste of power—and it’s the first time that she’s had that ever, really. She feels like it’s deserved because she did so much for Jon and the North, so when she saves the day and doesn’t get any recognition for it, it was like she had that first taste of power and then was immediately stripped of it. She was stripped of the respect that she really feels she deserves. She was trying to give her input to Jon and trying to be a collaborative leader, but it’s difficult when it’s a patriarchy and when there’s sexism. It would be a real adjustment for Jon to listen to her and do what she says.
Game of Thrones is indeed set in a patriarchal world. The likes of Sansa, Brienne, Cersei and Daenerys have all struggled with it, fighting for power, recognition and freedom and overcoming obstacles that their male counterparts don’t have. It sounds like that won’t be something Sansa takes lying down. “She’s playing the game now, and very ruthlessly,” Turner said of Sansa’s transition. “When she wants something, she’s going to go out and get it.”
We see a bit of that ruthless side in “Battle of the Bastards” when she leaves Ramsay to his dogs. What was that triumphant smirk about, after all? Turner offered some insights.
You wonder if it’s just a smile because it’s her first kill, because this man is out of her life, or whether she’s going to get a taste for it. Whether she enjoyed it. Whether it’s a power trip. But she definitely is a lot more powerful, and it’ll be very interesting to see how she handles that coming up this season.
Personally, I’ve always felt that Sansa smiled at that moment because she had gained justice for herself and her family. She never got revenge against Joffrey for taking her father’s head, or for the abuse he subjected her to afterwards. But with Ramsay’s death, Sansa not only avenged herself, but avenged Rickon and Theon and even, by extension, the people Ramsay’s father killed at the Red Wedding.
Now, who’s left to kill? The Boltons have kicked it, and Arya ensured that Walder Frey paid for his part in the Stark massacre. If Sansa had a kill list, I’d bet Petyr Baelish’s name would be the last one on it. He’s caused her a lot of grief, not to mention betraying her father back in Season 1. But that’s conjecture. In any case, Turner agrees with Sansa that when it comes to Littlefinger, “you can’t really trust him.”
She holds a power over [Littlefinger]. And after she confronted him about selling her to the Boltons, he owes her big time. He knows he has to be loyal to her now, and he has to serve her well, because she holds so much over him. It would destroy his reputation if she revealed any of the stuff that she knows about him. It’s tricky. She has power, but it’s a question of whether people listen to her or not. You’ll see more of that in this upcoming season.
What does Sansa hold over Littlefinger? She knows he conspired to kill Joffrey, and she witnessed Lysa’s death by his hands. Young Robyn Arryn might worship the ground Baelish walks on now, but what would the Lord of the Vale say if he knew how, precisely, his beloved mother died? Curiouser and curiouser…
However Sansa exercises her power, she may do it quietly. As Turner points out, silence is something she’s learned to work with over the course of the series.
That’s how she survives, you know? Sansa has had to do everything nonverbally. She’s never been allowed to speak up or say anything. She’s learned to never say what she means. She’s always had a bit of a façade, so that’s just the way she plays the game, I suppose. That’s how she’s had to adapt to this cruel, cruel world.
Sansa’s self-control has saved her a lot of further pain—recall her pledging love for Joffrey even after he had her humiliated in front of his court back in Season 2’s “Garden of Bones.” She knew one word against him would cause her further torment, and didn’t give him the excuse. We’ll see how it benefits her now that she’s free of her abusers.
Turner does continually hint at a possible “power trip” for Sansa, but who among the Thrones characters has been exempt from that? When it comes to power trips, Daenerys has collected a lot of frequent flyer miles, for example.
Turner also discussed the show’s imminent end. She and her costars have felt the effects of closing time during Season 7 production.
It’s definitely emotional. We can really feel everything slowly coming to an end. We’d have these discussions like, What are we going to do on the last day on set? What are you going to get the producers? It’s all becoming quite real now that we’re coming to a close. It’s quite somber on set, but everyone’s just trying to enjoy it as much as possible. Trying to get the most out of it. Trying not to take anything for granted.
It appears that the Game of Thrones cast members are bound for life. Being part of a cultural phenomenon can have that effect on people. For the Thrones cast, it looks like matching tattoos will seal the deal. Turner and onscreen sister Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) have their own identical ink, but according to the former, “I think the plan is for everyone to get matching tattoos if we survive to season eight. That’s the plan. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m in there!”
Hmmm… The lady doth protest too much, methinks (mehopes). Whatever Sansa’s endgame is, it sounds like she still has quite a ways to go before she reaches her point of no return. We’ll see how it unfolds this summer. Until then, winter is here, and I wish for my fellow Sansa Stark soldiers to find some solace in this long night.