Sophie Turner on her return to blonde hair — and the ensuing freak-out in the fandom

Winterfell, Sansa, Season 7

When we first saw Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones season seven, one thing stood out. As you may notice in the promotional photo above, Sansa’s hair now looks… different. Maybe it reminds you of Margaery’s around season two. And that’s because, for the first time, Sophie Turner is wearing a wig to play Sansa, hiding her blonde hair… and the fans freaked out! In a new interview, Turner reveals all about this transformation.

VOGUE got in touch with the actress to discuss her new (or, rather, old) blonde hair:

“People really freaked” she admits, regarding the reactions to the hair color change, from theories that Sophie may not be involved with the show anymore so Sansa might die to unlikely Targaryen connections: “People seemed to think it was a spoiler for Game of Thrones. It was kind of quite flattering really, because when I first started, a lot of people didn’t like that I changed my hair to blonde, they were attached to the red on the show, which only adds to why I think hair is so important — it ignites a connection that people feel with the character. I [dyed my hair blonde] for a movie called Huntsville. I played a girl from Alabama with tattoos up my arm. It was such a different character for me, so I wanted to completely transform myself, and the hair was the icing on the cake.”

Sophie Turner with her new old blonde hair. Photo: Laurence Ellis / VOGUE.

Sophie Turner with her new old blonde hair. Photo: Laurence Ellis / VOGUE.

However, this transformation was much easier than the first time, when she went from her natural blonde hair to red: “It was difficult, especially being in an all-girls school. There seemed to be a bad connotation with red or ginger hair, so I was nervous, but it was nice to transform my look for my first role. Plus, it spurred my appreciation for how hair can change one’s look and personality.” Turner elaborates: “My blonde hair always made me feel more confident and outgoing, and a bit more rock ’n’ roll. Now, I wear a lip or darker eye makeup, and I wear it more messy than when I had the red hair. I wouldn’t wear bright clothes because I wanted the hair to speak for itself, but now as a blonde, I wear whatever I want. It affects everything from clothing to how I walk and talk and hold myself. It kind of felt like coming home, there was a comfort in it for sure.”

And so Turner must still feel at home, because she remains a blonde and now wears a redhead wig for Game of Thrones — which I admit shocked me a bit the first time I saw it, but I am now getting accustomed to it, and the show hasn’t even returned yet.

Oh, and what are her “hair crushes”? Kristen Stewart’s buzz cut (I very much agree,) Robert Sheehan’s curls and — you know what comes next — Kit Harington’s famous locks: “He’s like the number one hair crush in the world, right? Every guy wants that hair… But don’t tell him. I’d hate for his head to get any bigger… I’m joking! I love him.”

87 responses

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    1. I found it funny that, due to interview lag, this was published after she dyed it red again (for X-Men: Dark Phoenix).

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    2. OHHhhh goody… I was sooo looking forward to this and was disappointed that it got delayed a day because of the dang trailer release…

      😛

      (you’re just doing your job, Luka, so nothing against you posting it)

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    3. Clob,

      I really couldn’t sleep at night. 😛

      ….

      You’re doing a great job Luka on the site keeping us all updated. Thank you so much! I mean it.

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    4. Dee Stark,

      That is very likely, Sophie finished filming GOT before Christmas unlike a lot of other cast members. She probably just did quite a few Belfast inside scenes all at once but X-Men is called “Dark Phoenix” named after her character so I imagine she’ll be in it quite a lot. The last X-Men movie in that timeline took 5 months so that’s a lot longer than her got filming.

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    5. As long as she doesn’t die next season (or worse, turns into antagonist), I’m prefectly fine with her hair. I always admired her character.

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    6. Mel,

      Let’s see if she returns to dyed hair instead of a wig for season eight. We will have to wait a very long time to know that, though.

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    7. Luka Nieto,

      Don’t rub salt in the wound… I’m still reeling from the news we got the other day haha. Can’t take yet another reminder that the wait between Seasons 7 and 8 will be the longest of Long Nights.

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    8. I don’t see wigs, not unless they’re really bad. Toupees on the other hand I can spot half a hundred miles away. Side effect of being bald mayhaps.

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    9. I’ve got to say, she really looks beautiful in that photograph. In GoT, she always looks sullen or cranky. Maybe because she rarely smiles? I don’t know.

      It’s kind of a shame, because in real life she comes across as charming and vivacious, especially when she’s yukking it up with BFF Maisie. I wish some of that emotiveness (is that a word?) would carry over to her portrayal of Sansa. Even when she gives interviews about Sansa, her real personality seems to be subjugated to the haughty character she plays.

      I should hasten to add that I do understand her character is not written as or intended to be a happy-go-lucky free spirit. Also, if her facial expressions and voice inflections seem out of synch with what we’re (later) told she’s thinking or feeling, that’s on the director(s).

      PS. I know I will get lambasted for this, but I thought she was surprisingly good in the otherwise middling “X-Men: Apocalypse.”

      The plot/story felt like a retread of earlier X-Men movies, ie:
      Magneto: “I’m evil!”
      Prof. X: “No. There’s good in you.”
      Magneto: “No! Humans suck and
      I’m evil.”
      Prof X: “No they don’t and no you’re not.”
      Magneto: “Okay.”

      The end.

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    10. WHAT I live in Huntsville Alabama (they spelled it wrong) but how is she going to pull off a southern accent I just don’t see it.

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    11. GeekFurious:
      If anything, this says she’s going to live. They would pay her extra cash money to look no different until her death scene so as not to cause a stir.

      Why does this suggest she’s going to live? I’ve thought S7 might be Sansa’s swan song, especially after getting matching tattoos with Maisie memorializing the date they were both cast. I even perceived her appearance as the first character in the trailer as a way to build up her significance in advance of S7 in order to increase the shock when she’s whacked. I just hope she takes out DouchebagFinger at the same time or before then.

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    12. She is an amazing actress I agree. I just hate when a show butchers a southern accent like in the walking dead its just hard to watch. I just don’t know why they don’t ever cast actual people from the south to play those parts.

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    13. Ten Bears,

      For sure. The best thing about the last X-men movie was all the younger versions of the mutants (especially Jean).
      I was so bored watching this existential crisis again:

      “Magneto: “I’m evil!”
      Prof. X: “No. There’s good in you.”
      Magneto: “No! Humans suck and
      I’m evil.”
      Prof X: “No they don’t and no you’re not.”
      Magneto: “Okay.”

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    14. A Dornish Tyrell: Why couldn’t it be Arya’s swan song?

      Characters like Arya usually are there until the finale at least. Storytellers do not spend that much time developing and then evolving characters without it having big payoff in the end.

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    15. Wimsey: Characters like Arya usually are there until the finale at least.Storytellers do not spend that much time developing and then evolving characters without it having big payoff in the end.

      I don’t think I understand why you continually apply statements like this to Arya but exclude Sansa from the same. The level of character development and evolution for these characters is at least equal. Especially given Arya’s “development” in the last two seasons consisted primarily of being hit with a stick over and over… I am hopeful, however that things will improve for Arya’s development now that she’s in Westeros.

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    16. QueenofThrones,

      Arya is one of the original main characters in GRRM’s conception, so her likelihood of survival to the climactic moments is definitely stronger than Sansa’s (even though I’m pretty sure Sansa will too; in the books, Sansa’s the sixth-most-important character, after the five original central characters).

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    17. There seemed to be a bad connotation with red or ginger hair, so I was nervous

      “Britain: the land of embarrassment and breakfast.” — Julian Barnes

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    18. QueenofThrones,

      Because Sansa is not as important as Arya. No matter how much time the show has devoted to Sansa, they have said many times that they will end the same way as the books for the major characters. It is quite clear in the books that Arya is going to have much more of an impact than Sansa. Sansa is important, don’t get me wrong, but the big five are Jon, Dany, Bran, Arya, and Tyrion. And these aren’t my words, they are George R.R. Martin’s.

      Because of all of this, Arya’s likelihood of surviving until the end is inherently greater than Sansa’s, though I personally believe both will survive the story.

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    19. “but I am now getting accustomed to it, and the show hasn’t even returned yet”

      lmao accurate allegory of an impatient GOT fan

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    20. mau,

      I imagine so yes, she only bleached it blonde for a movie but then it damaged her hair so badly she couldn’t touch it for like 6 months or so. That’s why she wore a wig and didn’t dye it red and per pictures had lot’s of regrowth. Whether or not she will stay a red head after GOT S8 finishes filming is debatable, though I don’t think she’ll ever dye it that blonde again, more of a natural blonde next time.

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    21. Ten Bears: Why does this suggest she’s going to live? I’ve thought S7 might be Sansa’s swan song, especially after getting matching tattoos with Maisie memorializing the date they were both cast.I even perceived her appearance as the first character in the trailer as a way to build up her significance in advance of S7 in order to increase the shock when she’s whacked. I just hope she takes out DouchebagFinger at the same time or before then.

      This is probably way off base, but when I first heard the trailer, it felt to me like that little speech could be as she’s about to die.

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    22. QueenofThrones: I don’t think I understand why you continually apply statements like this to Arya but exclude Sansa from the same. The level of character development and evolution for these characters is at least equal.Especially given Arya’s “development” in the last two seasons consisted primarily of being hit with a stick over and over… I am hopeful, however that things will improve for Arya’s development now that she’s in Westeros.

      There was indeed a lot of stick-hitting, LOL. It was rather parallel to Jon being formed by starting as Mormont’s steward. Mormont told Jon that if he wanted to be Lord Commander, he couldn’t learn to lead without learning to follow. Jon had a pretty tedious training, and took his lumps too, but at least interacted with more people. One must look past the beatings to suss out what Jaqen intended for Arya. He observed she was already talented, fierce, very instinctive but uncontrolled and undisciplined (other than weapons practice). He said, “A Girl has more courage than sense”, which implied she needed sense to avoid constantly endangering herself. In Braavos, reconnaisance, self-discipline, plan-development, impulse-control, lie detection were beaten/drilled into her. She also learned quarterstaff-fighting, poisons, etc, not to mention blind combat and how to use faces. All of this is going to make her formidable in the Great War.

      They/Jaqen seem to have designed the lesson plan to address her weaknesses, and enhance her strengths. And her personal transformation from a lost child back to Arya Stark was another goal. Do you think it;s a coincidence that they sent her on an assignment when Meryn Trant arrived? Or that they sent her on another to a play that showed her what she had seen but thru a distorted lens? The planning and physical danger required to kill the Waif (Jaqen did warn Waif that a Girl has many talents) and give a face to the MFG was a final exam. When she declared herself Arya Stark of Winterfell Jaqen let her go home.

      Anyway, what Wimsey said reflected George’s (and thus D&D’s) intention, and that presumably this and next season will give a big payoff for all that Braavos training. Not just in assassinations, but in what Arya will do in the War and perhaps her post-war role, should she live. She learned ever so much more than how to take a beating. BTW, I agree Sansa also learned a lot, but she still hasn’t learned not to keep a poisonous snake around who has a history of killing people. Nor has she learned mercy, empathy or selflessness.

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    23. Golly gee. Hairgate. Great Vogue/Vague photo, however.

      Yeah, Famke Janssen is the only Jean Grey I care for, that franchise has really gone on too long. Which is saying something as I really like Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender, but blah already. Fortunately mine is a rare opinion and they will keep milking it for all they can.

      Also rare, apparently, is my opinion of Sophie’s wig – I don’t see what’s wrong with it. I really don’t. It’s not 10 feet off her head or elaborately braided like a fancy helmet, it’s just….hair. When I saw the trailer yesterday, my first thought wasn’t LOL WIG. Sophie’s real hair isn’t all that thick and is quite fine (which is interesting as she’s the new Wella spokesmodel), and I still don’t think her Season 7 hair looks fake. Cersei’s, on the other hand, looks like she scalped Tommen’s corpse under the influence of a few litres of wine and is wearing it like a hat.

      Watching Season 1, it’s pretty funny to see the Hairvolution that a lot of characters have gone through (looking at you, Tyrion).

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    24. Pigeon:

      Cersei’s, on the other hand, looks like she scalped Tommen’s corpse under the influence of a few litres of wine and is wearing it like a hat.

      Lol… I’ll never escape this image… I think I’ll keep hysterically laughing any time I see Cersei… Like other people commenting on Cersei’s new hair, I should have liked her to have a nice bob. Bob hair styles become Lena.
      I share your opinions about Famke, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender. I enjoyed seeing Peter Dinklage in one of the X-Men films. Sophie… I didn’t like or dislike her. Almost no memories about her part.

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    25. One thing I have learned through the years here is that I really can not, for the love of everything that is sacred, spot a fricking wig. I mean, some of the early Cersei hairdo’s looked terrible, but I assumed they twisted her hair in some awful alien bun (did not know Headey had dark hair back then). When I look at Sansa in the new trailer, nothing betrays to me it is a wig. So I guess I am lucky with that.

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    26. Sean C.,
      Markus Stark,
      Stark Raven’ Rad,

      I mean, maybe… GRRM does have a history of changing his tune. I mean after all “originally” Arya was going to marry Jon and Sansa was going to die along with Joffery. It seems like what has happened is that the Arya character as originally concieved has had parts of her story given to Sansa and Dany… while she goes off to do… train to be a ninja assassin supposedly, but actually what has really changed in her during her trip to Braavos. I honestly think not much. She is a bit more of a cold-blooded killer, and has some competences she doesn’t have before which will be useful in the fight ahead. But the same can be said for Sansa, IMO. She has learned about politics and manipulation from the best – and those skills have been and will continue to be useful in the fight ahead as well.

      As for the whole Big Five thing – I am not sure. Certainly the Big Three are Tyrion, Jon, and Daenerys. Other than a few crazies who think Dany is Aerys come again (despite all evidence), these are the most important characters. One from each of the major houses. Tyrion has met both Dany and Jon. All of their moms dead in childbirth. All with daddy issues. And it goes on…

      When we look at Bran / Arya / Sansa I feel things are less clear. All 3 characters roles’ have been… marginal at best so far TBH. They are all young, so it makes some sense. Bran has always had potential to have a huge impact but his character development in books and show has been weak. Sansa has been a huge window into political goings-ons in KL and the North but strictly speaking she hasn’t herself become a leader as such. Arya, again, has learned how to kill people more easily. I just am not sold on any 2 of these 3 being more important simply because GRRM once had an idea that they should be. If that were the case, he wouldn’t have written so much interesting material for Sansa and such boring-ass material for Arya (just IMO, YMMV).

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    27. The wig this season just doesn’t suit her very well imo. Too flat and too long. I have very similar bone structure as Sophie and need some kind of volume and/or layering in my hair, this emphasizes the cheekbones as opposed to making the face appear more round/full.

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    28. QueenofThrones,

      GRRM has not stopped saying that Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Arya, and Bran are the main characters. Sansa on the show has clearly inched into 6th place. Arya is such a strong character that GRRM could isolate her away from the main story line and from the other main characters and still make it so mysterious and fascinating and relevant because it’s her. Many book fans really like it. The show didn’t do it as well. Sansa was a whiny, naive little wannabe Southron whose early interest came almost exclusively from letting us see the very interesting characters in the most interesting setting in the story. She remained mostly passive despite mildly subversive moments. LF has been manipulating her all along, but In the Vale he slowly shared his philosophy and methods. Now, he is fascinating. Many fans found the Vale arc frustrating and boring. Dave and Dan apparently did because they shortcutted that to make her the new fArya and a victim who eventually shows a bit of bottle.

      Whatever Arya learned in Braavos is meant to pay off in some fantastic ability, which I hope D&D, who have shortchanged Arya from way back–ahem, warging abilities–will deliver. Sansa they’ve let inch forward with fascinating wardrobe and hair-dos, but under the tutelage of the most detestable person in Westeros and her family’s greatest enemy. Thus far, every time she’s seemed on the cusp of agency, she’s reverted to victimhood. This in itself is frustrating and boring. I think this year will reverse that, but at what cost and to whom? Last season showed her as cold (Rickon), calculating, and mendacious with her own brother when he was in charge. Despite knowing LF participated in killing 3 times she still hasn’t totally wised up to him or even realised he effectively framed her for Joffrey’s murder. Even “Only a fool would trust LF” shows only the barest awareness of what he’s truly capable of. Keeping LF around the precious home she should protect is like hiring Typhoid Mary to teach you cooking. (Varys called him the most dangerous man in Westeros.) So even if she shows some bottle and gets rid of LF with her siblings, I think LF will somehow get his own back. If so, that will be Sansa’s fault. I hope I’m wrong. In the meantime, I now know what YMMV means, and I agree. Thanks. 🙂

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    29. Of the old gods: This is probably way off base, but when I first heard the trailer, it felt to me like that little speech could be as she’s about to die.

      Sadly yes, how I heard it. : (

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    30. Stark RAven' Rad,

      I mean a lot of what you’re saying is the sort of thing books fans have been talking about for ages – way before the show. Whether one of Arya or Sansa are more “important” or they are equally important is and has always been up for debate and isn’t a settled issue by any means. I don’t know about this idea that GRRM “keeps on talking about” the importance of the Arya and Bran while excluding Sansa (idea of the Big 5). He much more often talks about the importance of Dany/Jon/Tyrion and the importance of The Stark kids as a group (which does include Sansa by the way).

      To be honest with you I think GRRM got a little lost on what to do with Arya even as early as ACOK. He decided by the time he finished AGOT that he didn’t want to go with the Arya-Jon incest plot (though there are some Arya/Jon shippers who still believe)… and that left him with “what to do with Arya” until the planned 5 year gap begins. So he has her wander around the Riverlands for the meanwhile, and with her gives us some stuff about various factions (BwB, what Tywin and Roose are up to, eventually the Hound). Then he intends to have her actually learn how to do shit via the 5 year gap. Instead we have her really incredibly protracted and boring (books especially in this regard) training montage in Braavos with the FM. Which I guess some people enjoyed? Not I.

      And with Sansa I think he changed his mind somewhat as well by the time he finished AGOT. Based on the original outline, he originally intended for her to really and truly betray her family, side with Joffery. Instead by the end of agot she loathes and fears Joffery, and a prisoner. So GRRM uses her, like Arya, to help us learn more about KL and later LF’s plans. With the idea that eventually she’ll become important in politics. To be honest in the books I am still not sure where he is going with her, other than to take out LF which I am hopeful is her shared destiny in the books and show. But Sansa’s story at. least has the advantage of being interesting, IMO. The marriage to Tyrion and the big LF reveal at the end of ASOS. Then she’s supposed to be learning how to manipulate/politic from LF during the 5 year gap. Which we are sort of shown in her scant affc chapters but really like with Arya they are protracted and boring.

      And honestly has the same problem with Bran. And his solution was basically have him walk very slowly from WF to north of the wall over the span of 3 books. If you are going to single out Sansa as not really being an important member of the Stark family and yet include Bran just because he has magic powers I don’t really think that makes much sense at all. Sansa has like double the page/screen time as Bran and IMO a much more interesting character arc.

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    31. QueenofThrones: Whether one of Arya or Sansa are more “important” or they are equally important is and has always been up for debate and isn’t a settled issue by any means.

      It should not be debated. Arya clearly has been one of the main protagonists from the very beginning. Her arcs have contributed heavily to each of the first four book stories, and we can see strong parallels between Arya’s evolution and Jon’s, Daenerys, Tyrions and (especially) Bran’s. And, of course, we get verification of that in GRRM’s old “teaser trailer” letter: he points out that there were to be five main protagonists, and that Arya was to be one of them.

      Sansa’s place in the books is much more murky than is that of Arya’s. Sansa has not undergone anything like the character evolution of the “big 5.” Her character has been remarkably static, and her primary contribution to each of the first three stories was to wonder why this particular dilemma (conflicting values, conflicting loyalties, love/hate relationships) existed when they never happened in the songs. To top that off, Sansa is essentially absent from the fourth story. All of the main characters share the arc of “reaching” for something that they perceive as greater than their current status, struggling and ultimately crashing badly. In some cases (e.g., Arya) we actually see the Phoenix “woman” rise from the girl’s ashes. In other cases, the rise is setup (Jon, Daenerys, Tyrion & Bran). Even more minor protagonists than Sansa do this: Theon, Jaime, Cersei, Brienne and Sam all are in this, too. Even new protagonists like Yara/Asha do this. However, Book!Sansa only gets as far as realizing that the girl needs to die: we never see her try to act as the “woman” she thinks and/or believes she needs to be. That’s obviously a huge difference: Show!Sansa tries to step up to be Lady of Winterfell, gets burned badly by circumstances that she did not foresee (as Jon does at the Wall, Daenerys does in Meereen, Tyrion does on the road to Meereen, Arya does in Bravos, etc.). Show!Sansa then gets bailed out by a cultivated ally (Theon), just as does Daeny (Drogon), Jon (Davos & Mel), Arya (the Kindly Man/Red-Haired Jesus), and even Tyrion (Jorah).

      What this tells us is that B&W are setting up Sansa to (potentially) be a key player at the climax of the series, just as they are setting up the “Big Five” that GRRM clearly is setting up. Now, it could be something of a “tease”: Show!Sansa could be a faux-protagonist for the whole series, just as Ned, Catelyn and Show!Robb are. Or it could be that GRRM is going to shoehorn Sansa into importance in the end, after belatedly deciding to do so. Or it could be that the show is going to do one thing and the book is going to do another.

      (One thing to keep in mind is that GRRM did not start out writing the series with Sansa as a primary protagonist in mind; thus, even if he decided belatedly to make her so, his own thought process on how to make her evolve lagged far behind his thoughts for how JDTAB should be evolving, and there probably was already at least one published novel or two that could not be rewritten; moreover, given that GRRM did not make a Sansa arc for the last story, I still suspect that Book!Sansa will never be anything more than a second-tier protagonist. However, B&W clearly decided to make Show!Sansa part of a Big Six from the outset: and that let them plan accordingly. In a sense, Sansa gets a “do-over” with the show!)

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    32. Grail King: Sadly yes, how I heard it.

      I think that you should be hearing this as Sansa urging her siblings and/or Northerners in general to pick one fight (and perhaps one particular fight), and not to pursue tactics that would divide them, either figuratively or literally.

      (But, then, I’m totally sold on the idea that this is going to be a story about choosing battles when all have merit and all have faults.)

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    33. Seeing as Arya is the only character with a POV in every book and has the third highest number of chapters in total behind Tyrion and Jon I’d say she’s pretty damn important. Not to mention George clearly mentioned who the mains are in his original outline and he’s said he’s sticking to the same ending. George has been quoted as saying: “Some major characters — yes, I always had plans, what Tyrion’s arc was gonna be through this, what Arya’s arc was gonna be through this, what Jon Snow’s arc is gonna be.” So obviously Arya’s story is going somewhere and all that wandering through the Riverlands and Braavos won’t be for nothing. If Braavos was useless for Arya’s character then the show could have easily just trimmed the fat and send her elsewhere, but they obviously sent her there and spent some good money for two seasons on a storyline where she’s the sole protagonist.

      Wimsey,

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Sansa has a different ending in the show compared to the books.

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    34. Ten Bears:
      valerie kirby,

      She did a pretty convincing American accent in “X-Men: Apocalypse.”

      She has the same problem most British actors have when doing an American accent… I call it the marble-mouth speak. Because they pronounce their R’s so differently, they have an unnatural way of saying words with R’s in them. It comes off sounding like someone trying to speak with an American accent with a small marble on top of their tongue.

      Many Irish actors don’t have this problem because they use the R similarly to Americans. Same for Australians.

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    35. Wimsey: It should not be debated. Arya clearly has been one of the main protagonists from the very beginning. Her arcs have contributed heavily to each of the first four book stories,

      I personally struggle to see how any action Arya has taken has impacted the main storyline one whit. Other than surviving. By far the most impactful thing she actually did was to kill Walder Frey and that is show only. She’s been in a holding pattern since the end of AGOT – observing but having little or no impact on pretty much anything.

      and we can see strong parallels between Arya’s evolution and Jon’s, Daenerys, Tyrions and (especially) Bran’s.

      I flat out disagree here. If you want more info about Sansa’s very real development, symbolic parallels with other characters and impact there are dozens of essays about it here and there on the interwebs – like wiht most characters. The “From Pawn to Player” threads on asoiaf are an excellent place to start. TBH there’s more Sansa analysis out there than Arya. There is plenty of character evolution meat in the text.

      And, of course, we get verification of that in GRRM’s old “teaser trailer” letter: he points out that there were to be five main protagonists, and that Arya was to be one of them.

      …And in that same letter he talks about how Arya and Jon will have a forbidden romance, Sansa will die with Joffery after having his kid, and Dany will murder Kahl Drogo in vengeance for her brothers’ death. Oh and Jaime murders everyone and takes the throne then Tyrion kills him. Not to mention Cersei doens’t exist.

      Sansa has not undergone anything like the character evolution of the “big 5.” Her character has been remarkably static,

      Not as nearly static as Bran’s. Which is basically non-existent except for magic powerz. You could make an argument that Arya’s development is similar to Sansa’s, certainly do not see an evidence that it is way more. Unless like with Bran you believe Magic = character evolution.

      In some cases (e.g., Arya) we actually see the Phoenix “woman” rise from the girl’s ashes.

      Do we? I see a damaged child soldier (so far).

      Book!Sansa only gets as far as realizing that the girl needs to die: we never see her try to act as the “woman” she thinks and/or believes she needs to be.

      And where does Arya make such a leap? So far in the books it hasnt’ happened. In the show when she says I’m Arya Stark of Winterfell and I’m going home? Ok. Well from Sansa we have very similar statements in asos.

      Or it could be that GRRM is going to shoehorn Sansa into importance in the end, after belatedly deciding to do so. Or it could be that the show is going to do one thing and the book is going to do another.

      However, B&W clearly decided to make Show!Sansa part of a Big Six from the outset: and that let them plan accordingly.In a sense, Sansa gets a “do-over” with the show!)

      Myself and half of book readers do not see any shoehorning here or an overreach by D&D. The books (not the stupid letter which GRRM clearly tore up halfway through writing ) are clearly about the big three, and the stark kids.

      If you want to make an argument about increasing the role on the show relative to the books, you could make a case for Jaime, Cersei, Brienne, Tormund, Theon, Yara… However by the time of AFFC (or even ASOS in the case of Jaime) GRRM was going the same direction with his expansion of such previously minor characters. It’s the whole gardener thing. You seem determined that GRRM had a static plan that never changed in terms of who mattered. This is clearly untrue even if you compare the letter to the first book.

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    36. QueenofThrones,

      I loved Arya’s Braavos chapters! I thought most people liked them! There’s such a sense of mystery with the faceless men and the HoBaW, blind Arya warging into a cat to “cheat” on her task and finally the mercy chapter which gave a much darker vibe to her.

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    37. Vincent Stark,

      No doubt.

      I just think it’s weird that people are obsessed with tossing her out of the family/story. Maybe it all goes back to what happened with Lady – people can’t seem to get over that.

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    38. I honestly have no idea why people like to cling so desperately to GRRM’s original outline. It’s a draft for a reason.

      In the original story, Jaime Lannister was supposed to sit on the Iron Throne and be the main enemy. Do you guys think this will happen? Do you guys think Jaime will still play the role of the main enemy of the series?

      I don’t. GRRM changed his role radically, like he did to many other characters. The original draft doesn’t hold that much relevance to the books anymore, and it has even less relevance to the show, that is clearly its own entity from as early as season 01.

      The books are the books, and the show is the show. I don’t know why this is so hard to understand.

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    39. ghost of winterfell,

      Oh man, those chapters literally put me to sleep. I generally disliked AFFC but Arya’s chapters were even worse. Not that I would defend Sansa’s AFFC chapters either… Or the new PoV’s… I could go on. Sansa’s story in the show was at least an improvement over sitting in the vale doing nothing. I really cannot say the same about Arya’s – I’m left baffled by her arc in the last season. But the material they had to work with was pretty awful.

      I did like Bran’s chapters in ADWD, mostly because finally something actually happened in his story. But the show really took it to another level!

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    40. Vincent Stark,

      This is a classic false equivalency argument if you are comparing characters like Jaime to characters like Arya. Jaime is a second-tier protagonist. He does not even become a PoV character until (I think) the 3rd book, and his contributions to the individual storylines are much less than are the contributions of GRRM’s original Big 5. There is a lot more room for authors to play around with these sorts of second tier characters than there is for them to play around with the characters around which authors are building a story.

      The other key thing to remember is that the story that GRRM has had in his head all along revolves primarily around those five characters. At the end of the over-arching story, he and B&W are going to need a character who started where Jon did and evovles to where Jon is, another who started where Daenerys did and evolves to where Daenerys is, etc. (This is a loop with x <- c("Jon","Daenerys","Tyrion","Arya","Bran) and using x[i] for i=1:5).

      The other false equivalency here is that you are talking about basic plot when the issue is story. As such, your rhetorical question does not have an answer of "No": the answer, is "Yes, Jaime is going to sit on the Iron Throne and be the adversary.” However, something happened along the way in GRRM’s mental evolution: Jaime bifurcated into Jaime + Cersei. Cersei now is getting that role: but she evolved from GRRM’s original concept of Jaime. (Keep in mind that there are two evolutions happening here: one is the evolution of GRRM’s ideas about characters and the other is the evolution that GRRM has them undergo; hopefully this is clear!) But that is fine: Jaime & Cersei are lesser main characters, and the overall SoI&F story is not going to depend on their evolutions. Indeed, it will be somewhat surprising if they are heavily involved in the big climax.

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    41. Vincent Stark,

      It’s clear some of the plans he had for Jaime were given to Cersei.

      But…

      Assuming Jaime dies at the end, whether or not he sits on the throne doesn’t matter. The end result is the same. But Jaime is not a Big 5 character in the books, so his story can change more dramatically from outline to the actual printed novel as opposed to someone like Tyrion.

      Let’s say that Tyrion becomes lord of Casterly Rock at the end of the story. If that happens, he doesn’t need to be in a love triangle with Jon and Arya to accomplish it.

      It’s clear some things from the outline appear in the books, but in different forms:

      – Ned, Cat and Robb still die (method of death changes, but the result is the same; they were always marked for death)

      – Tyrion-Arya-Jon is turned into Ramsay-fArya-Jon (different characters and it’s brotherly love as opposed to romantic one, but the end result is that the men in the triangle are still enemies in both book and outline and will have a confrontation)

      – Outline Bran makes it to the Wall and goes North (happens in the books, but he has different companions)

      – Outline Cat is killed by WW (and I assume she’ll be reanimated…in the book her death and reanimation still happen but differently)

      – Outline Dany kills Khal Drogo for revenge on Viserys (book Dany kills him to spare him from the suffering, but the result is still the same – Dany kills Drogo and gets dragons)

      – Outline Dany invades Westeros with Dothraki (I think I’ve seen a trailer with this recently)

      – Ned is not Jon’s father (still holds up)

      and so on

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    42. Wimsey,

      I don’t see it as false equivalence. Jaime may not have been one of the main five, but he was set to be the main antagonist. That is an extremely important role.

      Even though he is not an irrelevant character by any means, he is not nearly as important now. Between Cersei, Littlefinger and Euron, who are all bound to play big antagonist roles in the books, his importance has diminished.

      He may even get a full redemption arc and play exactly the opposite role he was set to play in the original draft: a hero.

      This is why I don’t place much value in this “big five” stuff. George has stated time and again he is a gardener type of writer, and that he creates the story as he goes along. I don’t see why it’s impossible for an character with an small role in the beggining to become pivotal to the story in the end, or vice-versa.

      And in fact, if I’m not mistaken, after season 05 aired George stated he would change the fate of a character after watching the season. So nothing is set on stone.

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    43. Wimsey:
      Vincent Stark,
      This is a classic false equivalency argument if you are comparing characters like Jaime to characters like Arya.Jaime is a second-tier protagonist.He does not even become a PoV character until (I think) the 3rd book, and his contributions to the individual storylines are much less than are the contributions of GRRM’s original Big 5.

      Are they now?? What exactly has Arya done that impacts any story greater than her own (so far)? Even Bran hasn’t actually done anything that impacts any other storyline, though most certainly his magic will matter eventually to the “Ice” battle.

      Certainly Arya may surprise me and either get romantically entangled with Jon or do something like Assassinate LF, Cersei or Daenerys. But likewise Sansa may assassinate LF, and Jaime may kill Cersei. Not that everything has to be about killing to matter. Sansa has actually married one of the three main characters, and in show has been used extensively to forward storylines in KL and in the show contributed to unification of The North which obviously will matter for the Ice Battle.

      There is a lot more room for authors to play around with these sorts of second tier characters than there is for them to play around with the characters around which authors are building a story.

      The other key thing to remember is that the story that GRRM has had in his head all along revolves primarily around those five characters.At the end of the over-arching story, he and B&W are going to need a character who started where Jon did and evovles to where Jon is, another who started where Daenerys did and evolves to where Daenerys is, etc.(This is a loop with x <- c(“Jon”,”Daenerys”,”Tyrion”,”Arya”,”Bran) and using x[i] for i=1:5).

      I mean… all you are really doing here is claiming special status for Arya and Bran, and excluding Sansa. GRRM plays around with all of his characters. Extensively. And it’s beyond doubt that “what he had in his head all along” has changed. Extensively. Unless you are going to defend the Jon x Arya incest fest.

      The other false equivalency here is that you are talking about basic plot when the issue is story.As such, your rhetorical question does not have an answer of “No”: the answer, is “Yes, Jaime is going to sit on the Iron Throne and be the adversary.”However, something happened along the way in GRRM’s mental evolution: Jaime bifurcated into Jaime + Cersei. Cersei now is getting that role: but she evolved from GRRM’s original concept of Jaime.

      I’d argue that Sansa and Arya are a similar situation as Cersei-Jaime (though in a heroic role rather than an antagonist role). The girls clearly evolved from that original letter into what we see now – that is that what GRRM intended to do with the character Arya in his original outline was split between the two girls (and Sansa from the outline was essentially dropped as a character). In his original plan, Arya would go to the North much earlier and meet up with Jon – which is what Sansa, not Arya, ended up doing in the show (and I think will before Arya in the books as well). And while I don’t believe in Jon x Sansa will happen in either medium it’s at least more sensible than Jon x Arya! Meanwhile, GRRM wanted Arya all along to become a warrior of some kind, and she is doing so in the books and show. So we have “Arya warrior princess” from the original outline being split into “Sansa political leader” and “Arya assassin girl”.

      But that is fine: Jaime & Cersei are lesser main characters, and the overall SoI&F story is not going to depend on their evolutions.Indeed, it will be somewhat surprising if they are heavily involved in the big climax.

      I would be quite surprised if after the development Jaime has gotten from GRRM that he will not eventually be one of many people actually fighting in the Ice battle. Alongside such exalted figures as the Stark siblings, Jon Snow, and his own brother.

      Alternatively if you’re correct there’s an outside chance he could kill Cersei and die himself (or both could be killed by Tyrion / Daenerys this fulfilling the role of the character in the book). But I am not seeing how that would happen in the books given his current situation, and I do think that his ultimate fate will be the same in books and show – he’s a major enough character for that. And obviously the twins are favorites of D&D – they are going to want to be true to the ultimate outcome with these characters. I’m 100% sure after last season that Cersei will crown herself in the books after her children die, for example.

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    44. I wonder what is with these “big 5”? Bran is supposed to be one of them but when we take a look at his story, both book and show, he had much smaller presence than many other main characters. Also, was “the big 5” only mentioned in GRRM’s original draft (which is BTW very different) or did he mention them later as well? I would say Sansa has her own storyline as well… a different one, but a story inside the overall story. Same for Jaime, Cersei… these two characters had really big presence in the show.

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    45. Lord Parramandas,
      Bran’s story is… different isn’t it? It’s almost like George had the outline for the ending where Bran would be a big part of it, but to get him to that point didn’t require a lot of storytelling. “I’ll just drag him around for a few years and have him do something here and there until his moment comes.” *shrug*

      I really do wish he’d get the next book out to see where he actually takes Sansa. He either didn’t give D&D any specific hints for them to work with or they simply decided the path they did take her was more entertaining for the show. If the TWoW sample chapter of her’s is any indication I would lean towards the latter.

      Agreed about Jaime and Cersei on the show. They’ve been a bigger presence than I would have expected throughout, even though they were always important pieces. I suppose that could simply stem from neither of them being pov characters until well into the books.

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    46. ghost of winterfell:

      QueenofThrones,
      I loved Arya’s Braavos chapters! I thought most people liked them! There’s such a sense of mystery with the faceless men and the HoBaW, blind Arya warging into a cat to “cheat” on her task and finally the mercy chapter which gave a much darker vibe to her.

      Ditto. Braavos is one of my favorite places in GRRM’s world, and I love the exploration of Arya’s character in those chapters. And because GRRM’s world is so detailed and the storyline so complex, there really is something in it for everyone, whether it’s people who love the more fantastical elements or people who prefer its political aspects.

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    47. Clob,

      I mean to say that even if the characters are not big 5 or “key characters for the endgame”, that doesn’t make them any less of main characters. Sansa had her own story since S1, she was never a character in someone else’s story (in a way that she wouldn’t carry her own story at the same time) and in terms of episodes, she never appeared in less than 7 episodes a season. And when it comes to Cersei and Jaime, they had independent scenes since S1 and at this point of the show, they clearly carry their own stories. As for Bran, he seems a key piece for the endgame but we didn’t follow him as a character as much as some others… only 4 apperiances in S4, no apperiances in S5, 5 apperiances in S6.

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    48. Clob,

      I might be talking nonsense… but still! That’s my crazy idea: I think that Sansa’s arc in TWOW will be somehow resemblant with her unfortunate marriage with Ramsay and her escape. After reading the Alayne chapter I had the feeling that something dark was in store for Sansa from Harry the Heir and, no matter how sure she was she would be able to manipulate him, she would suffer a lot. D&D could have combined two arcs in season 6, as they had already done with Gendry, including the Edric Storm and Melisandre story.

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    49. QueenofThrones:

      Vincent Stark,
      No doubt.

      I just think it’s weird that people are obsessed with tossing her out of the family/story. Maybe it all goes back to what happened with Lady – people can’t seem to get over that.

      It’s confounding to me that so many people seemingly believe that Lady’s death should equate to either Sansa’s death or Sansa’s loss of her Stark family. (As Wimsey has pointed out, Summer is gone… but Bran certainly isn’t!) I’ve always seen Lady’s death as a preamble to the “death” of Sansa’s naïve dreams of ladyship. Lady belonged to, and was named by, a girl whose head was full of fantasies of courtship and love in a glamorous South. That girl could not survive the very different reality of the court; hence, the death of the wolf that represented her.

      Hope that makes sense.

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    50. Shy Lady Dragon,

      Yes… and the name “Myranda”. There is a character Myranda Royce in the books and she’s implied to not be a particulary nice person. And as we know, the writers have been planning to merge Ramsay’s story with Sansa since S2 ended.

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    51. Shy Lady Dragon,

      The writers mentioned in an interview during S5 that they started planning to move Sansa story to the North after S2 finished as they felt the Vale story was not suitable for TV. As for Myranda Royce, she’s the daughter of the other Royce, lord Nestor. She tried to marry to Harry Hardying but was rejected by lady Waynewood. So I assume she could be the “jealous woman” if Sansa marries ser Harry. And I believe “Myranda” isn’t a coincidence.

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    52. QueenofThrones,

      Surely, it’s a much less a question of what fans think as what GRRM intended and apparently still intends. And D&D are committed to following the conclusion of his main story and main characters. Sansa is learning the political game, but we mustn’t forget that her family, her homeland (the North), and frankly most people around the world today, don’t think highly of playing those games, fascinating as they are. Most people think politicians are in it for themselves. I can think of few who aren’t. To make it worse, Sansa’s mentor is so diabolically evil–which she knows, though not by half– that one has to question the morality of her allying with him. Especially while the world burns, as it is in reality and on the show. FWIW, recentlyStephen Hawking has been warning us that humanity has 100 years on earth.)

      The big 5 are the big 5 for a reason: the Great War. It’s real, it’s coming, and humankind must unite to win it…or else. Of the 5, only Arya and Tyrion’s roles are unclear. Certainly their underlying characters, their fortitude, moral fibre, honesty, and intelligence bode well. Tyrion and Arya also share an instinct for martial matters. Arya has developed enough diverse skills that her physical achievements may be electrifying. I’m not blaming Sansa, but in a way her arc, while interesting becomes much less meaningful when humanity is fighting for its very existence. The fact that her three siblings are among the leaders of that fight, putting their lives on the line to win it, shows up the hollowness of politics, which I suspect is part of what GRRM and maybe D&D are getting at. In the Martinverse, the world will go on after the war, and politics will pick the pieces. I think Sansa will be part of that. And so will the Big 5 survivors.

      BTW, you mentioned the characters’ impact on the story. In the books so far, neither Arya nor Sansa has had any major impact. The faster-moving show has changed that. Sansa goading Jon into battling Ramsay is important, obviously. Arya’s actions at the Twins will prove much more critical militarily than most fans realise. She also stayed free and was not a pawn for Cersei, the QoT, Margaery, LF etc to use. Symbolically, that represents a victory of sorts for our good guy family, who’ve been down and out for a while. I’m on S3E6 of my first re-watch with the non book-reader spouse, who remarked last night that several times Cersei had badgered people to capture Arya Stark so she must be really important. Arya like Sansa has also been making contacts and learning skills that will be important when everyone has to unite for the War.

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    53. QueenofThrones:

      Do we?I see a damaged child soldier (so far).

      That’s actually a great analogy. Arya’s spent all her time with outlaws and soldiers and assassins, all teaching her to kill and fight and become desensitised to violence.

      Most child soldiers are orphans or stolen from their parents too.

      The producers have made efforts to retain some of her humanity (e.g. her refusal to murder Lady Crane).

      But she needs to reconnect with her family to start deprogramming that instinct to resolve things with the sword.

      Over the seasons we’ve had various characters express their shame and disillusionment over the things they’ve had to do (e.g. Jon and The Hound in Season 6; Jaime pretty much every season).

      Whereas with every kill the look of satisfaction on Arya’s face has seemed to grow.

      She needs a reality check and a reminder of who she really is. She says she’s Arya Stark of Winterfell. Well, Ned and Cat didn’t raise a daughter who carves off people’s faces and butchers sons and feeds their flesh to their father.

      That’s other people’s doing.

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    54. Ten Bears:
      I’ve got to say, she really looks beautiful in that photograph. In GoT, she always looks sullen or cranky. Maybe because she rarely smiles? I don’t know.

      It’s kind of a shame, because in real life she comes across as charming and vivacious, especially when she’s yukking it up with BFF Maisie. I wish some of that emotiveness (is that a word?) would carry over to her portrayal of Sansa. Even when she gives interviews about Sansa, her real personality seems to be subjugated to the haughty character she plays.

      I always thought it would be cool to see a *gasp* reality show of the two, or like a sitcom similar to Broad City for them to star in. It would be so out of character for what we are used to seeing from them in GOT but their youtubes and vines are so funny they have that real jokey back and forth that I think would be super funny to watch and see their natural personalities shine. They have great chemistry together.

      Hopefully they get some air time together on the show in the next two seasons. Even if they’re not cracking jokes, I think at this time, their characters former animosity has melted away. Especially after hearing Sansa asking Brienne about Arya and how she was interested in her well being and all that.

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    55. Lord Parramandas,

      What you say is true, but I think the “Big 5” really refers to the core characters who will have the most impact on the endgame. I have no doubt in my mind that Bran’s impact on the endgame will be stronger than Sansa’s, Jaime’s, or Cersei’s.

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    56. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      You make some good points. She does have some PTSD. But Meryn Trant and Walder have been on her List for years, so iy must have been so satisfying to finally bring justice to them, hence the look. She doesn’t get it normally. But the Frey pie business is from the books and not by Arya but Manderly. She only did it because Walder and his henchman sons committed a mass violation of Guest Right. Compared to that, a few fingers in a meat pie is only symbolic She saw and heard what he and his family did, including the massacre, the murder of Grey Wind, and all the Frey men parading her beloved brother’s body with Grey Wind’s head attached and crying “King in the North”. That demands bloody punishment if there is any justice. Even in war, the bodies of dead enemies are supposed to be treated with respect, as in the Iliad. I would have wanted bloody vengeance if I were in Arya’s shoes. My guess is that we won’t see that look again, unless she kills Cersei. But she’s returning home and will meet up with people she loves. While adjusting to the new regime at Winterfell she’ll help rid the world of Littlefinger. And then she’ll be ready for her part in the Great War. Arya will be all right.

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    57. Markus Stark,

      Yes, the “key characters”… but I think at this point in the show, we cannot talk about “false protagonists” anymore (like someone described other main characters above) as Sansa, Cersei and Jaime have been carrying their own story for most of the series and I don’t think it makes them any less of “main characters” even if they’re not so crucial for the endgame.

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    58. Lord Parramandas: Also, was “the big 5” only mentioned in GRRM’s original draft (which is BTW very different) or did he mention them later as well?

      The last thing I read about this, was from a guy who apparently had lunch with GRRM and asked him a bunch of questions. Here’s what he said about the outline (I’m not including a link to westeros this time, because last time I tried to post, my comment was marked as spam…):

      “George said he was ‘pissed’ that the outline was posted in the office building and that someone took photos and shared them. He said it was a letter for him and the publisher only. He was very firm when telling this and it showed on his face.

      He then said that he is not good with writing outlines, making book deadlines, and that often in outlines he was ‘making shit up’, and ‘characters changed along the way’. Side note: I know he said other things in past interviews, so interpret this as you will. * ‘quoted’ words are his words exactly.

      He went straight from talking about the references in the actual books, to the ‘differences’ in the outline from then to now. He did say that he still knows who sits the iron throne and the end game of the main 5, but also included Sansa, but did not give any details (for obvious reasons).”

      And to what Wimsey mentioned about Sansa being a much more prominent character from the beginning in the show. I think that this could very well be a decision that had been made upon GRRM’s advice.

      “My Con Friend asked about Arya and Jon again. This time GRRM gave some very pointed replies:
      Friend: Ok, if you foreshadowed something in the first book, like, really cleverly hidden, would you then follow through on that hint? For sure?.. GRRM: ‘Well, this goes with what I said before, the story changes and expands as I write. I wish I was able to go back and make revised drafts, but that’s not going to happen.’
      GRRM finished (in the hallway now) by saying that he ‘wished some past things weren’t such strong foreshadowing,’ and that he, ‘wished some new things had stronger foreshadowing then.’

      And concerning the end game, I can’t see how Sansa would be relevant in the fight against the White Walkers, but same goes for Tyrion. So an idea could be that the end game is split into two different scenarios. One group of characters, let’s say the fighters and Bran, take on the White Walkers, while Tyrion and Sansa take on Cersei somehow (if she’s still alive at the end of the season)? It would be funny, if Tyrion turned out to be the valoqar after all (and he has some experience with choking people). Although Maggy’s death-by-choking-prophesy could also mean, she dies by the Strangler like Joffrey did (at least in the books, Sansa still does have the poison-necklace IIRC).

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    59. QueenofThrones:
      ghost of winterfell,

      Oh man, those chapters literally put me to sleep.I generally disliked AFFC but Arya’s chapters were even worse.Not that I would defend Sansa’s AFFC chapters either…Or the new PoV’s…I could go on.Sansa’s story in the show was at least an improvement over sitting in the vale doing nothing.I really cannot say the same about Arya’s – I’m left baffled by her arc in the last season.But the material they had to work with was pretty awful.

      I did like Bran’s chapters in ADWD, mostly because finally something actually happened in his story.But the show really took it to another level!

      I didn’t think learning to run a house, noticing alliances and possible double dealings or LF buying up the food stock as boring and nothing, and let’s not forget it’s Sansa not LF who is cultivating SR, she has Robin’s ear .
      I’m sure LF will try to use that though.

      I like Arya, not as much as Sansa,Jon or even Bran, but she is a tragic story at the moment in the books, what will help each Stark to turn around hasn’t been put out yet.
      PLEASE GRRM!

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    60. Grail King: I didn’t think learning to run a house, noticing alliances and possible double dealings or LF buying up the food stock as boring and nothing, and let’s not forget it’s Sansa not LF who is cultivatingSR, she has Robin’s ear .

      Yet if you compare all of her chapters to AFFC to her single chapter in the Vale in ASOS… I’d say there is less progress both plot wise and in the things you mention (Sansa’s developing some more political acumen). Plus the show even had some vale-related Sansa growth (when she made the calculation to save LF rather than throwing him on the mercy of the Vale Lords) before sending her to far more interesting pursuits…

      Anyway all of that is more part of GRRM’s overall slow-down and dragging things out which happened in AFFC/ADWD and it’s not specific to Sansa or Arya, necessarily. But at least with Jon, Tyrion, and Dany’s stories stuff happened which will clearly forward the overall story. At this point there’s no payoff at all for Arya’s or Sansa’s “training”. Or even Bran’s.

      I’m sure LF will try to use that though.

      and won’t he always… until his last breath. 🙂

      I like Arya, not as much as Sansa,Jon or even Bran, but she is a tragic story at the moment in the books, what will help each Stark to turn around hasn’t been put out yet.
      PLEASE GRRM!

      I can get behind this! SoS (Save our Starks)!

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