sophie Turner

Sophie Turner talks Sansa Stark 

Words: Holger Potye
Photography: Getty Images 

With season 5 of Game of Thrones marching upon us, Sophie Turner talks about her role as Sansa Stark, her choice in men and male nudity. 

THE RED BULLETIN: Can you tell us anything about what happens to Sansa in season 5?

SOPHIE: Well at the end of last season she kind of had this big change to “Darth Sansa”, and now she has got this whole new mentality about her. This upcoming season sees her go through a lot of hardships again, it is Games of Thrones of course! She approaches them very differently though.

So you can’t say how the relationship with Littlefinger develops?

It certainly develops. The thing about Littlefinger and Sansa, I think, is that they seem like a very weird, kind of messed up couple to a lot of people, especially from an outsider’s perspective.  It is not really a wholly messed up relationship though, it is more the fact that the only way for her to get what she wants is to express her sexuality a bit. Like we saw with the change of costume and the change of hair and everything. Littlefinger has got to keep her on her toes as well. It is kind of like this tag team going back and forth one-upping each other. But they are also like a force to be reckoned with together, I think. 

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Season 5 premieres April 12, on HBO.

Is the fact that she is learning how to play the game going to make her less likeable? She was always so decent. Now I am kind of scared as to what she will turn into?

I know, people are scared that she is just going to turn into an evil Queen Cersei kind of thing, but the thing is that she still has morals. She is still a Stark, she is still very noble and wants to do the right thing. I think the way that she can get that is probably different to how the other Starks have approached it. They had real honesty and truth, whereas she kind of has to deceive and manipulate in order to get what she wants. But at the end of the day it’s all for the right thing, for the greater good.

Sophie Turner

© Getty Images/Stefania D’Alessandro/WireImage

 Can Sansa be seen as a villain?

I don’t think people will see her as a villain, necessarily. I don’t think this show has purely good and bad people. That’s the great thing about it, every single character is so complex. I don’t think she will be seen as the villain rather than maybe just like a force to be reckoned with. It’s not a bad thing to be seen as intimidating. Maybe she is annoying to some people, but that’s not a bad thing either. She is still only a fifteen year old girl. Aren’t most fifteen year old girls annoying? They really piss me off, so you know …

She seems to have a very strange taste in men. First Joffrey, then Tyrion …

I mean, let’s be honest. She didn’t really have a choice did she? She didn’t go for them, I think it is more who people set her up with. She saw the good in Joffrey, well, not the good in him, but she saw the world through rose-tinted glasses. And she thought: “Great! Like a prince, I’ll be the princess and then I’ll be the queen and that will be amazing!” And also, you know, he is not a bad looking guy. So why not? The rest of it was not her choice. Tyrion was not her choice. She does have an interest in guys though, but she doesn’t seem to have much luck. Loras (Tyrell) is gay, and yeah, Littlefinger kind of manufactured that one himself.

“The more violence the better!”
Sophie Turner

What are the main goals for Sansa this season? What does she want more than anything?

That’s difficult for me to say without giving anything away. I think her aims throughout this whole series since the end of season 1 have always been to see her family again. That family is obviously dying off pretty rapidly. I think it is just about her survival now more than anything. She is being shipped from one place to another and she doesn’t know how the hell she is going to see her family again. But I think she knows, you know, if she just survives and continues to kind of somehow manipulate it so that she gets a little bit of good out of it, then hopefully maybe one day she will get to see whoever is left of the Starks.

Don’t you think it gets more and more violent from season to season?

Yeah, I do. It’s pretty good. I am not complaining.

Is there a limit to the violence?

I don’t think with Game of Thrones there is a limit on anything really. But that is the great thing about our show - is that we really kind of push the boundaries. So I think the more violence the better!

There seem to be limits on male nudity. How do you feel about that?

Let’s think about Game of Thrones in comparison to any other series. There are a whole lot more dicks in our show than there is in any other series! We just don’t think about it because the ratio is a tiny bit off. The reason we have more female nudity in my opinion, is because in those days women used this to manipulate people. Even though we have characters like Daenerys or Brienne who can fight, we still have a lot of women who don’t have the authority to do anything. So they use their bodies to get what they want. I mean that’s what they did back then. In order to gain power they have their sexuality and that’s about all the say that some of these women have. So I think that they can use that to kind of get what they want. They are very aware of that and some women can’t just go around slashing a sword around!

What defines the Stark clan?

They really have the nobility and the good morals. That’s what makes the Starks the Starks. They want to strike for what’s right. We were very aware of that in the first season when we were building our characters. All of the different houses have the different traits, and you can really see it. You can really see that the Tyrells use manipulation to get what they want, especially with Olenna and Margaery. And then you have the Lannisters, who are the bad guys, except for Tyrion obviously, so I think it was very important from the pilot that we all knew what our real traits were to each family, and then you just have to keep that in mind.

“There are a whole lot more dicks in our show than there is in any other series.” 
Sophie Turner

Maisie (Williams) said she had to change the way she studies, because kids started bullying her in school because of her fame. How was it for you?

It is difficult, because kids can be mean, and kids don’t understand and they can be jealous. Yeah, I don’t think Maisie had a great experience at school. That wasn’t the case for me thankfully. I just managed to kind of go back and catch up with my work and my friends were very supportive. You certainly learn who your friends are though.

Why do you think this show has had such a universal appeal all over the world?

I think it is down to the incredible writing and getting the balance between fantasy and very, very human emotions just right. A lot of fantasy shows don’t really resonate with audiences, because it is too far fetched. Yes, we have dragons and ice-zombie-monsters, but we also have relationships like Jon and Sam, which everyone can relate to. I mean everyone has a friend like that. All those relationships really kind of resonate in modern times as well. And the politics of the show is the same, despite there being just really fantastical elements to it.

Sophie Turner in her role as Sansa Stark

Is there anything you have been able to learn from your character that has helped you in real life? 

Luckily I have never had the problems that Sansa has. I definitely admire qualities in Sansa, and I wish I could be more like her. But I have never been in such extreme situations where I have had to pretend to love my abusive fiancé. I mean her survival techniques are very admirable and I am sure if I ever did get stuck in a situation like that I would use that kind of stuff. But luckily no, I haven’t. I do see a lot of myself in her though, and I see a lot of her in me. So I would look up to her quite a lot, and I do.

The show has been going on for 5 years now and you are 19 now. In a way GoT must be kind of a weird video-diary of you growing up. Does it feel weird?

It is quite weird. You know Maisie (Williams) and I and Isaac (Hempstead-Wright), we were all going through puberty on a show that is quite popular. It can be quite awkward and embarassing. When I look back in season 1, I am like: “Oh my god! Are you serious? Did I really look like that? Did I act like that? This is terrible!” So it is quite daunting having your whole adolescence plastered in front of however millions of people. But at the same time my formative years have been on a Game of Thrones set and that has really kind of forced me to grow up quite fast, and I am really appreciative of that. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wouldn’t want a boring normal school and then university and then job in an office. I wouldn’t like that. So I am very happy the way I am. 

“I make my mom watch Game Of Thrones.”
Sophie Turner

Can you walk the streets of London without being noticed?

Yeah, well - it happens a few times a day. But it is nothing terrible. I am fine with it. It was quite weird at the beginning, especially when we had our first premiere for season 3, we hadn’t had a premiere for Game of Thrones before and we got out of the cars and then the fans walked down the street and we were like: “Are these people here for us?” That is kind of when it hits you, and you realise that people are watching you and you have to be on your best behaviour all the time. But no, I found it quite easy to adapt. I think it is because the show has slowly grown in success and it wasn’t a massive hit immediately. It gradually came into it’s own. The same can be said for the celebrity side of it. It didn’t just suddenly hit us all. It was like: “Okay, more and more people are starting to recognise us.” But it is fine. It is easy to adapt to. 

Does your mom watch it?

Does my mom watch the series? (Laughs.) Yeah, I make her watch it. We watch it together.

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