While her tumbling red hair has stayed consistent, the character Sansa has transformed greatly over the course of the series, particularly in the last season—following the show's most controversial scene to date, which showed Sansa violently raped by Ramsay Bolton on the night of their wedding—as the character morphed into a strong, independent leader. “It has been such a blessing,” says Turner of Sansa's ever-changing trajectory. “Normally you play a character for a month or so, and then you are done with it, but to be able to flesh out a character for over eight or so years has been really amazing.
Regardless of lack of details, it clear that Turner is sticking to that New Year's resolution. “I guess in the beginning, Sansa was quite a damsel in distress," Turner says. "I never saw her storyline going in the direction it has, but now that I’ve got a taste for playing someone that was an underdog and now is really coming into her own being a strong, powerful female character, I’ve really got a taste for it.
For one, it’s hard to imagine Sansa was a big fan of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, the Disney show which launched Sprouse and his twin brother to stardom. “I love Cole,” Turner says of the shoot, which took place back in May along the River Thames in London. “I watched him when I was growing up.
The new season also marks the show’s second-to-last season, and, in turn, the impending end of a role that has ushered Turner from adolescence and into adulthood. “I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it,” she says. “It's not like I’m brushing it under the carpet; I am fully aware that it is coming to an end, but I don’t think I’ll be ready until I shoot my final scene, and then I think I will be completely an emotional wreck for the next year or so of my life.
But stripped of her character’s signature red hair and medieval garb, and in it’s place cast in the hazy English countryside light, where was was photographed by fellow Young Hollywood megastar, the __Riverdale actor Cole Sprouse, it’s all too clear that beyond the character of Sansa, Turner is very much a woman all her own.
Yes, she may be dating a Jonas brother, and yes, she knows that her real life friendship with co-star Maisie WIlliams elicits a certain obsessive friendship that most other 20-something-friendships would not. ("Maisie and I have the purest form of true, true friendship," Turner says of the latter relationship. "She’s been my rock.
The natural blonde had to go red. “I was a little skeptical about it,” Turner admits. “Being a thirteen year old girl and going red, of course you kind of get mercilessly teased about it, but I spoke to the producers before I got the role and they explained to me that it is so integral to the part and her ancestry and it's a subliminal message to the audience about her mother and Robb and then Ayra’s closeness to Jon and her father.
In true HBO sworn-to-secrecy form, Turner can’t share many details about what is in store for the show this season, instead offering a perfectly enticing teaser that soundbite dreams are made of, “Now that she’s became a leader, she has Winterfell, she has her home, she has her brother [Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington. ] She’s got to the point where she has that power that she’s been longing for.
However, Turner, who works with stylist Elizabeth Saltzman, who also dresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Saorsie Ronan, for red carpet appearances, claims her off-duty style is not so ultra-glam. “Well, I’m working on my street style,” she says. “It’s difficult because part of me wants to look really nice when I go out, but my natural style is jeans and a plain t-shirt that preferably matches the jeans, and boots or trainers.
Which is not to say she’s not keeping busy beyond Game of Thrones. “This year my New Year’s resolution was to push myself and not be afraid and to make bold choices in my acting and my project choices,” says Turner.
There’s a lot of people pitching you ideas saying, ‘it’s a really strong female character, she’s 19 years old and she doesn’t live with her parents, and she’s doing her own thing. ’ Sometimes I kind of think, ‘Well, what’s wrong with the 19 year old who is living with her parents and that is having a fucking mental breakdown because she’s depressed or this or that. ’ Every women is strong, no matter whether they are queen of the North or they are homeless and not doing particularly well for themselves.
Turner has played Sansa Stark, the eldest daughter of Ned and Catelyn Stark on the hit television series Game of Thrones, which returns this Sunday, July 16th on HBO for its 7th season, for eight years now.
It was only a few years after that when Turner landed the role of Sansa—her first ever professional gig—at the age of thirteen, after dabbling in acting as a hobby. “My mom putting me into a one hour acting group on a Saturday because she wanted some time to herself,” laughed Turner. "She sent me off with all of my friends and we all did this acting class and we all ended up loving it, just completely falling in love.
Beyond acting, there is also the matter of Turner’s status as a burgeoning fashion staple; just last week, it was revealed that she was the face of Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2017 campaign. “We have a great relationship,” Turner says of the house’s designer, Nicolas Ghesquière. “He’s lovely.