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Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner on Playing Sansa, Skyping With the Cast, and Joffrey Haters

Sophie Turner as Sansa. Photo: HBO

Poor Sansa: All season long on Game of Thrones, she’s been kept hostage by her engagement to a monster, Joffrey the boy king who prefers to torture and torment innocent victims rather than rule his kingdom or even lead his troops into battle. Although Tyrion Lannister tries to be kind to her and Joffrey’s bodyguard the Hound tries to protect her, she’s not safe so long as she remains at King’s Landing. Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa, calls this situation a “perverted fairy tale,” but is luckily in a much happier place in real life. As the show’s finale approaches on Sunday, the 16-year-old is in the running for an Emmy nod and almost done taking her finals. Vulture spoke with her about prom plans, Sansa’s state of mind, and all the Joffrey hate.

So you’re in school right now?
I’m in the middle of final exams, the type that determine which college you’ll go to. I had the Spanish one today. I think I did okay. I mean, it’s a bit scary — but not as scary as someone pointing a crossbow at me! [Laughs.

How do you get through scenes like that, such as Joffrey’s torture of Sansa at court and the near rape during the riot? How do you handle it?
The way I stop myself from going into a depressed stage during those scenes is that the other actors and the crew all try to keep me happy. I mean, I’m happy to do those scenes anyway — and I’m happy to do stunts — but the other actors are so nice and lovely, especially Jack [Gleeson, who plays Joffrey] and Peter [Dinklage, who plays Tyrion]. Like in season one, when I had to beg for mercy for my father? That’s when Conleth [Hill, who plays Varys the Spider] decided to pull a few faces at me, to distract me. And Peter, every time I work with him, I can’t help but be inspired and think, Wow, what a great actor. He’s totally down-to-earth, too. We talk in between scenes about anything and everything, like school, or his daughter. He knew that crossbow scene was quite difficult for me, so he just tried to make it as lighthearted as possible.

Well, it’s nice to hear that Jack is lovely, even if Joffrey is not. People love to hate that guy. Have you seen the videos of Tyrion slapping him over and over?
No, I haven’t! Is it multiple times? That’s hilarious! But no, he really is lovely. After our takes when he’s mean to me, he’ll come over and have a nice chat with me. It’s kind of surreal. I had one particularly horrible moment with Joffrey, and then he came over afterwards and he said [imitates male Irish accent], “Yes. How are you?” I kind of wish he would do more television interviews so that people can see what he’s really like, because there is so much hate for Joffrey, I feel protective of Jack now. If I were him, I’d be petrified that people would come up and slap me on the street! [Laughs.] I should be his bodyguard.

Richard Madden and Kit Harington said the guys in the cast text each other to share theories and geek out. Do the girls get in on that action?
We’re all really close. We constantly Skype. And I was just having a conversation with Emilia [Clarke, who plays Daenerys] about all this, because I have all these theories about who Jon Snow’s mother and father really are. I think that his mother is Lyanna Stark, Ned’s sister, and I think his father is not Ned, but that Ned just took him on, that his father was actually Rhaegar Targaryen. The Targaryens had a lot of incestuous relationships, to keep the bloodline pure, so this wouldn’t be out of bounds for them, but I want Jon Snow and Dany to get together! I would love for Jon Snow and Dany to end up on the Iron Throne together. That’s just if I’m watching it, and not in it, because of course I would love to see Sansa on the Iron Throne, too — and I don’t want anything incestuous for Sansa! [Laughs.] I love her, because I’m very biased towards my character, but Arya is my favorite. I think the women are the ones with the real strength in the series, the mental strength, and you can see this divide clearly in the books — that the women are going to come to power. Although Sansa is in a very complicated position right now, in a state of domestic abuse.   

The Hound, who’s been sort of Sansa’s savior this season, gave her a chance to escape during the battle. Why do you think she rejected him?
She wants to go back to Winterfell and see her family again, but after being caged up, she’s learned not to trust anyone. She knows her family isn’t going to be like it is in the fairy tales, waiting for her return. She hears that her brother is fighting a war, and she knows it’s never going to be the same. It’s not like she has a plan to get out, because she’s only thinking about her survival now, and she’s kind of just going with the flow. But she’s very broken, kind of stunned and traumatized, and it’s hard for her to function without the people who love her. I would love to see Sansa marry for love, but after what’s happened with Joffrey, I think it’ll be hard for her to trust anyone.

It was so cute when you and the actors who play the Stark kids sang the theme song on the DVD commentary track. Any plans for anything like that for the next round?
I think I am doing some commentary, and hopefully it will be just as entertaining, but that was pretty much improvised! I mean, it’s music, so we were like, “We can’t talk over it. Let’s sing.” It was very spontaneous.

A friend of mine does an interpretative dance to that theme song when it comes on.
I would pay to see that video. [Laughs.] You know what my favorite fan video is? I was tweeted this thing a while back that was a mash-up of Merlin with Game of Thrones, with Sansa and King Arthur. I didn’t realize people were doing these things, and it was really well put together. It was really cool. It left a real impression. And I’m dying to see The Hunger Games–Game of Thrones mash-ups.

What are you going to do before you have to start shooting again?
I have exams until June 20 — and then prom! I have no clue what I’m wearing.

Maybe you can borrow one of Sansa’s dresses.
Oh, I would get ripped for that! [Laughs.] Too attention-seeking. But maybe I can ring up our costume designer and be like, “Make me a prom dress!” And then I can invite everyone around for a pre-prom party. Jack can be my prom date! That would be wonderful. [Laughs.] It’s my first prom, and I’m very excited. It’s really an American thing to do — we’re just doing it for the party.

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