On a recent afternoon in Montreal, actress Sophie Turner was walking down the street when she saw her face on an advertisement for Louis Vuitton’s fall campaign, in which she happens to star. She paused, hoping to sneak a photo. But then a guy walked by, stopped in front of the ad, and stared. It went on long enough that Turner considered filming him on her phone: “I wanted to go up and be like, ‘What do you think? Kind of bad, huh?’”
She’s joking. In conversation, Turner is droll, one way in which she differs from Sansa Stark, her ultraserious Game of Thrones alter ego. The actress is also blunt, outspoken (she made recent news lamenting that a robust social-media following won her a part over a more qualified actor), and someone who came of age in the entertainment industry without fully guzzling the Kool-Aid. Now 21, she landed the role of Sansa at 13, a drama-obsessed kid growing up in the English countryside with two older brothers, a nursery-school-teacher mom, and a dad who works for a pallet distribution company. When she showed up for the casting call, Turner had zero idea what she was getting herself into; she didn’t even know what HBO was. She did know enough to recognize that a gritty role like Sansa doesn’t come around every day: “That’s what I craved. I didn’t want some happy-go-lucky, bubblegum thing. I wanted real acting.”
For the first six seasons of GOT, her character was the biblical Job of Westeros, enduring horror after horror, including a very controversial brutal sexual assault in season five. (On that: “I was happy people were talking about it. But I was angry they put all their effort into [debating] a television sexual assault when it happens around the world every day, and you barely hear of it,” she says.) It’s only in recent episodes that Sansa has come into her own power, and just in time: Next season, the show’s eighth, will be its last.
The end of an era clearly weighs on Turner, who calls the show’s actors and crew “family.” (Maisie Williams, her on-screen sister, is her best friend—they embrace the portmanteau Mophie and share a tattoo commemorating the date they were cast.) “It’s like the carpet is being taken away underneath you,” Turner says. “It’s also exciting because there’s such freedom.”
She’s already begun laying the groundwork for post-Thrones life, with parts in the latest X-Men movies (she plays young Jean Grey); in an indie drama called Huntsville, for which she faked an Alabama accent and covered her body in temporary tattoos; and in Time Freak, a romantic comedy costarring friend Asa Butterfield as her boyfriend that presented some new challenges. “I was like, Oh, God, I’ve never smiled or laughed on camera before,” Turner says.
On the subject of her real boyfriend, (edit note—now fiancé) pop star Joe Jonas, she nervously giggles and won’t reveal a thing. Pure speculation: Perhaps Jonas has something to do with Turner’s recent interest in the guitar. “I’m terrible,” she says. “I really want to learn to play properly.” Also on the horizon: decorating her new home in London and throwing a housewarming for her GOT friends, including Williams, Kit Harington, Rose Leslie, and Alfie Allen, most of whom live “about 10 minutes away from each other.”
So maybe the era isn’t really coming to an end? "It’s still Game of Thrones town in London," she admits, laughing. "We meet up whenever we can. We all party together. We go to festivals together. We’ll probably all be 80 and still going to Glastonbury."
This article appears in the November issue of Marie Claire, on newsstands now.
The Perfumer Behind Last Year's Most Talked-About Fragrance Just Released Another Perfect Scent
Aqua Media Cologne forte embodies a feeling of balance and harmony.
By Deena Campbell
'Yellowface' Is Our June Book Club Pick
Read an excerpt from R.F. Kuang's latest novel, here, then dive in with us throughout the month.
By Brooke Knappenberger
I Scoured the Summer Runways—Here Are the Six Shoe Trends Actually Worth Buying
Hit the ground running this season.
By Emma Childs
Sarah Hyland and Adam Devine Play 'How Well Do You Know Your Co-Star?'
The 'Modern Family' stars reunited for the 'Pitch Perfect' spinoff series.
By Brooke Knappenberger
The 78 Best Celebrity Couple Halloween Costumes of All Time
Honestly, we're impressed.
By Charlotte Chilton
Super Rare Photos of Queen Elizabeth as a Young Woman
From childhood snapshots to portraits as a young princess, beautiful and rare photos of the late Queen Elizabeth as a young woman.
By Mehera Bonner
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla's Relationship: A Timeline
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Charles has ascended to the throne as king.
By The Editors
Who Is Next in Line for the British Throne, Explained
And yes—Harry and Archie are still in the line of succession.
By Andrea Park
Who Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Fiancé Riley Roberts?
AOC's husband-to-be is an "easygoing redhead" who lives with her in D.C.
By Katherine J. Igoe
68 Times the Kardashians Posed Fully Nude and Owned It
And we mean fully nude—as in, not a shred of clothing.
By Bianca Rodriguez
Who Is Jonathan Owens, Simone Biles's Fiancé and NFL Player?
"The easiest yes!" Simone wrote about the couple's engagement.
By The Editors