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Sophie Turner's Candid Thoughts On Living Through Game Of Thrones Trauma

Sophie Turner, who portrays Sansa Stark on "Game of Thrones," certainly had to act out a great deal of traumatic subject matter, particularly for someone who was only 15 when filming began for Season 1 of the show. Sansa is forced as a young teenager to get engaged or married to two of the most sadistic characters on the show: Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon). For example, Joffrey physically abuses Sansa and decapitates her father Ned (Sean Bean), then displays his head on the castle for Sansa to see. Later on, Ramsay sexually abuses her, locks her in a room, and sends his man-eating dogs after her, as he has also done with past girlfriends. Ramsay is so horrible that fans consider her revenge against him as the Sansa scene that may have gone too far. In addition to witnessing the murder of her father and her aunt, Sansa learns about the murders of her mother, uncle, and other loved ones. 

Given everything that happens to Sansa's character, it must be emotionally taxing acting out all these scenes, even while knowing they're not real. Luckily, there are some strategies that work for different actors wishing to reduce or soothe the trauma they experience while filming intense shows or films like "Game of Thrones," and Turner is no exception to that.

Turner made it through GoT trauma by having fun

In an interview with The Cut, Sophie Turner said, "Growing up on a show like Game of Thrones, the subject matter was so heavy that I just developed a coping mechanism of just having the most fun in between takes, so I wouldn't get traumatized." She also added "The first few years, I had my mom with me because she was chaperoning me, so she would be very helpful and give me snacks." 

Turner added that she later used this same strategy while filming "X-Men," and even got other actors to participate with her: "You saw on X-Men, in between takes, singing and dancing together. It does help having people around that are also willing to step out of it as well." In an interview with Rolling Stone, Turner noted that on the set of "Game of Thrones," she was particularly close with Maisie Williams, who portrays Sansa's younger sister, Arya Stark. She said that from the moment they met at casting, "We were pretty much best friends from that second on."

Even with these coping mechanisms, Turner admitted the role was taxing to play. She told The Cut, "I'm sure I'll exhibit some symptoms of trauma down the road. At that age, I don't think I could comprehend a lot of the scene matter." Hopefully, as time goes on, people will work together to find ways to continue to lessen the trauma endured by young actors playing in non-child-friendly shows and films.