Sophie Turner is well aware that her Game of Thrones character, the dutiful and beautiful Sansa Stark, may not have the most fans. But she hopes that Sunday's episode, airing at 9/8c on HBO, will help change their minds.
"She makes a lot of mistakes that lead to some really bad consequences," Turner tells TVGuide.com. "I think the fans of the books and of the television show are angry at her. People who haven't dug deep enough into the character can't really see the good intentions in Sansa's decisions."
The problem is that Sansa is a stereotypical 13-year-old girl who is — what else? — boy crazy. In a mistaken attempt to remain with her betrothed Prince Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), Sansa revealed her father Ned Stark's plans to leave King's Landing with her. This led to his capture and imprisonment, and in the last episode, we saw Sansa plead with Joffrey, who is now king, to go easy on her father (Sean Bean).
It's not clear why she has such admiration for Joffrey, though. Previously, her own direwolf and an innocent boy were killed as a result of Joffrey's cruelty and lies. Somehow, she forgave him and blamed her little sister Arya (Maisie Williams) instead.
Sansa apparently still believes in gallant princes and fairy tales, despite magic taking a backseat to the everyday brutality prevalent in Game of Thrones. At one point, Sansa tells her father, "I don't want someone brave, gentle and strong, I want [Joffrey]! He'll be the greatest king who ever lived, a golden lion, and I'll give him sons with beautiful blond hair."
"Sansa is naive and quite vulnerable at the start," Turner observes. "She's a complete romantic and lives in a fantasy world. She just wants to be the girl that her father and her mother expect her to be. She just wants to make her family proud, and her good intentions can be manipulated, mainly by Joffrey. I think she's very immature for her age and she needs a wake-up call."
Innocence is understandable, but fans are less forgiving about Sansa's attitude toward Arya, a fan favorite for her rebellious, tomboy ways. "Sansa completely disapproves of everything that Arya does," says Turner. "She finds her sister a complete a nuisance. Sansa is so different from Arya she can't relate to her."
In fact, the siblings so rarely spend time together, Sansa doesn't even notice Arya's absence when the Lannister loyalists take the Stark family members prisoner following the death of King Robert (Mark Addy). In real life, however, Turner and her on-screen sister are the best of friends.
"We spent so much time together, you might expect us to get bored of each other or get a bit cranky but we never do," she says. "We have such a fun time. The other day Maisie actually came over to my house to spend the weekend with me. We did normal things: We went bowling, we rented a few films, we went shopping, the normal girly things."
Williams is also Turner's biggest defender and wants it clear that her friend is not to be confused with Sansa. "We're supposed to not really like each other in the series, but it's pretty hard to hate Sophie," Williams says. "We just hit it off straightaway. Sansa is a difficult part to play, and I don't think Sophie gets enough credit for how good she is. She's nothing like Sansa in real life; she's really, really funny."
Williams doesn't need to worry though. Apparently, the naturally blonde Turner is not immediately recognizable as the redheaded Sansa. "My parents, friends and the people that watch the show always ask if I'm another character because of the hair color," Turner explains. "Everybody gets muddled up between me and the other female roles."
Nevertheless, Turner still identifies with Sansa and urges Game of Thrones viewers to give her a chance.
"I think people can defintiely look forward to sympathizing with Sansa because she will go through some brutal treatment, particularly by Joffrey," Turner says. "At the end of the first season, I do think that she realizes that she has to be as independent and strong as her other siblings."
Game of Thrones airs on Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.
What's your opinion of Sansa? Did she redeem herself by pleading her father's case?