If you are a fan of Game Of Thrones, you are now used to the emotional roller-coaster resulting from a show that does not follow the traditional rules, gleefully torturing and slaughtering lead characters regardless of popularity or heroism. Many a favorite character has fallen within the five seasons aired and many still living have suffered ghastly experiences, but one main character has arguably been subjected to the most emotional traumas of all -- and, of course, her last name is Stark.
Sansa Stark has had an incredible character arc from her naive season 1 beginning to her world-wary approach to survival in season 5, with her controversial story lines becoming darker in parallel to her loss of innocence (and family members). Actress Sophie Turner is likely used to tactful defense when discussing her character's struggles, so it must be refreshing to be finally able to deliver some exciting hints about positive future plot developments for season 6 -- which is exactly what the actress has just revealed.
GOT is adapted for HBO by showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss from fantasy author George R.R Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire book series. The hugely popular show has caught up with its source novels for the most part in season 5, with Benioff and Weiss choosing to make significant deviations with certain events and in some cases surpassing the published material. One of these examples is the character development of Sansa who's marriage to the deviant Ramsay Bolton and subsequent rape was one of the show's most controversial story lines to date.
The season finale saw Sansa attempt to escape her bleak predicament by leaping from the Winterfell battlements with Theon Greyjoy, a.k.a. 'Reek' (Alfie Allen). Although it was unclear from the edited action whether the pair would survive the fall, Turner's recent comments to EW suggest that the eldest Stark daughter may finally surpass her seemingly eternal victim status:
"I mean this season is a really, really big one for Sansa.... It’s probably her best season yet. It’s her really coming into her own. She, this season, really commands the respect that she deserves and she grabs hold of it and she runs with it and it’s really good."
Turner went on to hint that Sansa will possibly maneuver into a position to achieve some retribution for the horrible abuse she has been subjected to:
"It was amazing because the past five seasons, it feels like it’s been building up and up to that..... You can only suffer so much before she finally gets her, the respect that she deserves."
Regarding Sansa's upcoming story lines, Turner's next comment should certainly tantalize fans' anticipation for season 6, offering that they will be "finally getting that story line that you’ve been craving for the past five seasons." She also shared her enthusiasm for the season as a whole:
"I mean this season there’s like so many shocks, it’s massive... It’s the biggest season yet. And just like in terms of character development, so many people’s story lines, I’m so excited for. I’m so excited to see Alfie’s one this season. It’s going to be good."
Turner's comments certainly give eager fans plenty of fuel for speculation, particularly her reference to fan-craved story lines. Perhaps this refers to a grisly end to Ramsay and/or a Stark sibling reunion and retaking of Winterfell led by a (hopefully) resurrected Jon Snow (Kit Harington). It will also be very satisfying to see Sansa come into her own politically, allowing her to turn some of her sufferings into strength. She is now the eldest legitimate Stark and has had the opportunity to learn from some of Westeros' preeminent manipulators from her time with Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), and recent mentorship from Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish (Aiden Gillen).
With many fans' opinions that the abuse of Sansa was taken too far in season 5, a shift of power and circumstance for the character could (to some extent) appease these plot decisions by giving them a deeper narrative purpose than the sensationalistic aim of shock value many felt was inappropriate exploitation. With Game Of Thrones, Turner's confirmation to expect something "shocking" in season 6 is probably the least surprising of her reveals.
Game of Thrones season 6 will premiere on Sunday, April 24th, 2016 on HBO.