The final season of Game of Thrones has been subject to criticism for its portrayal of female characters, storyline consistency, and the now infamous water bottle incidents. Actress Sophie Turner even recently confessed that she, too, wished the show ended differently. Especially when it comes to her character Sansa Stark’s relationship with the other Mad Queen, Cersei Lannister.
In an interview with The Wrap, she said, “I would have liked to see Sansa and Cersei reunited.” Same!
And before we get to the other ending changes Turner wanted for Game of Thrones Season 8, let’s get a refresher on what a Cersei-Sansa reunion would have meant.
This would have brought back together characters with a shared history who have both endured their share of trauma and pain over the course of the show. Some of the best scenes in the early seasons were the ones between Sansa and Cersei.
And their storylines have so many similar elements. Sansa escaped Cersei’s clutches as a prisoner of King’s Landing after she was forced to marry her brother, Tyrion—but she was then forced into yet another marriage, this time with an abuser. Ultimately Sansa helped Jon Snow defeat Ramsay Bolton in the Battle of the Bastards, reunited with her other siblings (minus Rickon and Robb, RIP), and served as Lady of Winterfell.
Cersei’s fate was ultimately tragic: After Joffrey’s death, she was held captive by the High Sparrow and forced to walk through the streets of King’s Landing naked. She lost her two other children (one to vengeance and the other to suicide), and aligned herself with Euron Greyjoy by promising to marry him after he helped her win the war—another man she did not love and another marriage for political expedience.
But here is where Sophie Turner suggests the ending to the show might have differed from what actually happened.
Perhaps instead of Cersei dying in Jamie’s arms, surrounded by the crumbling palace and threat of dragon fire, someone else might have killed her. Someone with just as much motive, and a list that used to have her name on it. Someone with a Needle.
“I thought Arya would kill Cersei,” Turner admits, speaking of her IRL-bestie, Maisie Williams’ character. (Williams herself has also expressed this preference for her character.) Instead, Arya walked away from her chance at vengeance for a life of exploring the world beyond Westeros, something Turner sees as an equally fitting end for the character.
Ultimately, while she appreciates the fans’ enthusiasm for the show, Turner rejects the criticism that less care was put into the final season than it deserved. When it comes to Sansa’s storyline, she couldn’t have been happier, saying “Sansa probably wouldn’t want to rule the Seven Kingdoms anyway—she wanted to stay in the North and defend the North.”
While not every character got the happy ending Sansa did (RIP Dany!), the actors should certainly be pleased with the show’s unprecedented 32 Emmy nominations. We’re so excited for their probable reunion at the award ceremony next month.