Sansa Stark may have started her Game of Thrones journey with hopes of leaving Winterfell to one day become the queen of the Seven Kingdoms as the wife of Joffrey Baratheon, but after her father, Eddard Stark, was killed in King’s Landing, Sansa’s biggest desire was to return home.
She got that wish (and then some) in the Season 8 finale episode, when she proclaimed the North as a free country, separate from the Six Kingdoms under her brother Bran Stark’s rule. In the final moments of the episode, Sansa is back in Winterfell and crowned Queen in the North.
While some fans were upset Sansa didn’t get the title of Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, actress Sophie Turner, who played Sansa, thought her character’s ending was an even better one than what viewers hoped for.
“I think it is a better thing for Sansa,” Turner told The Wrap during an interview released Monday. “The one thing she always strived for throughout the whole series was to be back home—home, home, home. She wanted to be at Winterfell with her family, with the North. It’s where she felt most comfortable, most safe.”
It took Sansa five seasons just to get back to Winterfell, and even then it wasn’t the place she once knew. When she learned she would return to her childhood home in Season 5, Episode 3, it was occupied by the Boltons—the family who helped orchestrate the slaughter of her mother, brother and sister-in-law during the infamous Red Wedding in Season 3. Worse, Sansa discovered her return to Winterfell came with a dangerous condition: an arranged wedding to the sadistic Ramsay Bolton.
Only after Jon Snow’s epic showdown with Ramsay during Season 6’s Battle of the Bastards was Sansa finally able to regain her status as Lady Stark and assume a leadership role in Winterfell.
Although Sansa learned a great deal about rulers and leading people during her experiences outside the North, Turner thought it was more fitting the character’s fate only required her to lead the people of the North, as opposed to everyone within the Seven Kingdoms.
“She’s an incredibly capable ruler, absolutely. But I think Bran would be a much better ruler on the Iron Throne—well, not on the Iron Throne anymore but ruler of the Six Kingdoms—because as Tyrion kind of says, in order to move on with the future you have to look at our history and look at the mistakes we made and the things we did right, and there’s no one better to do that than Bran because he knows everything,” Turner continued. “He knows all of our history, and he’d probably be a really just and fair ruler.”
Turner wasn’t the only GOT star who felt her character received an accurate ending. Emilia Clarke also stood by her character’s demise over the course of Season 8.
“I was [taught in drama school] that your character is right. Your character makes a choice, and you need to be right with that. An actor should never be afraid to look ugly. We have uglier sides to ourselves. And after 10 years of working on this show, it’s logical. Where else can she go?” Clarke said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, released on Sunday. “I tried to think what the ending will be. It’s not like she’s suddenly going to go, ‘OK, I’m gonna put a kettle on and put cookies in the oven, and we’ll just sit down and have a lovely time and pop a few kids out.’ That was never going to happen. She’s a Targaryen.”
Clarke continued, “I thought she was going to die. I feel very taken care of as a character in that sense. It’s a very beautiful and touching ending. Hopefully, what you’ll see in that last moment as she’s dying is: There’s the vulnerability—there’s the little girl you met in Season 1. See? She’s right there. And now, she’s not there anymore.”