Sophie Turner Talks About Filming Traumatic Game Of Thrones Scenes And How She Coped At The Time

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones
(Image credit: HBO)

It’s been a few years since HBO’s Game of Thrones ended after eight seasons of cunning savagery. While many fans reveled in the series (well, maybe not that disappointing finale) and its darkest moments, some of the younger cast members were busy trying to keep their cool on set. Sophie Turner, who was just 14 when she started playing Sansa Stark, has now opened up to address filming traumatic scenes in the epic fantasy drama, and how she coped on the set of Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones brought about some pretty dark fates for its characters, regardless of age or importance, and although Sansa kept her head throughout the series, she had a pretty rough go of it for pretty much all eight seasons. Obviously, that means Sophie Turner herself had to play out some seriously brutal scenes, a lot of which she filmed while she was a minor. 

For her cover issue of The Cut, Sophie Turner spoke with her fellow X-Men: Dark Phoenix star Jessica Chastain on growing up in the very public eye thanks to Game of Thrones. In that interview, Turner touched on pivoting from her character to her real self, and how she was able to keep both in check considering how brutal Game of Thrones could be. Here is what she said on that front:

And it’s just something that 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.

Sophie Turner also referenced her and Jessica Chastain’s time on X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and how the cast members would have fun together in between takes, saying that she finds it easy to have fun on set and then turn her character back on for the cameras. It sounds as though Turner is just good at keeping her sense of self separate, even when she is embodying someone else entirely. This is probably a pretty vital skill for an actor who is playing in a more heavy project. Still, for someone who was so young at the start of her career, this skill set would have been a huge ask.

I, like a lot of my Game of Thrones obsessed peers, was in high school when the epic HBO series set the world ablaze upon its release. The very first episode features some scary ice zombies and a beheading, which is honestly kind of tame for the series as a whole. I may have been something close to viewer-traumatized as a near-adult watching the series, so for the young cast members who grew up on the series,  I can only imagine what it was like being there on set and seeing all the barbarity behind the scenes of Game of Thrones

When asked if she still feels some effects from filming Game of Thrones, Sophie Turner admits that she isn’t quite out of the woods yet where trauma from the series is involved. Here it is in her own words:

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.

Trauma can pop up years after events have occurred, and Game of Thrones was pretty much an eight-year event for its core stars. Sophie Turner pretty much grew up surrounded by the debauchery that was the HBO show, so it would totally make sense for there to be some lasting effects, even if they were delayed. 

It’s pretty clear she has coped with the Starkness of her adolesence on Game of Thrones pretty well, because now Sophie Turner is pregnant with her and her husband Joe Jonas’ second child and acting in other serious productions, like her new series The Staircase. You can check out that show, along with rebinge Game of Thrones, with an HBO Max subscription. Both series are heavy, so you may need to come up with some of your own coping mechanisms when watching.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.