The Spotlight: Sophie Turner opens up on 'bittersweet,' 'epic' final season of 'Game of Thrones'
(image via HBO)
Aside from maybe AMC's The Walking Dead, no other show has had its stars losing sleep like Game of Thrones.
In a lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sophie Turner, who plays the ever-evolving Sansa Stark, says there's now an incredible sense of relief among the cast as the HBO series comes to a close.
"We've imagined it for so long," says Turner. "There's also an ambiguity every season when we would get the scripts: 'Is this the season where we die?' To have made it this far is pretty unbelievable, considering the amount of deaths there have been. All of us have always had discussions about theories about what we think is going to happen — who's going to die, who's going to end up ruling. Now, we know. It almost feels like another one of our theories. It doesn't even feel like it's what's actually happening. It's very satisfying."
Exactly how much the cast would truly know about the series ending has been a bit of a mystery, but it sounds like Turner and Co. aren't being kept in the dark. The show began production on its eighth and final season in October, reportedly with plans to shoot multiple endings in the event of a leak or hack.
"It was very, very bittersweet," Turner says of the mood on set. "The first day of the actors coming in and that kind of production starting, the day where we had the final read through for the final script... it was really bittersweet. It was hard. At the end of the very last script, they read aloud, "End of Game of Thrones." As soon as they read that out, pretty much everyone burst into tears.
"There was a standing ovation for [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss]. We were all clapping and cheering. It was amazing. It was the first time every single cast member had been there and sat through all of the scripts for season eight — obviously not cast members who had died in the earlier seasons, but..."
GOT has done a pretty good job of grounding the story into a practical, real-world setting. Yea, dragons, I know, but still. There's aren't many magical "get out of jail free" cards. Characters typically die due to politics, often brutally. As last season ramped up its magical elements, Turner says Benioff and Weiss found a way to maintain a perfect balance.
"It's definitely more epic this season, for sure," says Turner. "It grows and grows and grows. There are bigger and more fantastical elements, which have always been underlying throughout, but this time, it's really emerging and there are very big roles this season. But we still very much managed to maintain those human relationships and stories that bring it back to reality and keep it resonating with the audience. The thing with Game of Thrones and the reason why I believe it works so well is we have these fantastic elements, which are balanced so perfectly with the real human elements — the character-driven plot points and things like that, where you get that escapism, but it's also very personal. It's really key to keep that going.
"The greater the fantastical elements become, and the more epic it becomes with the fighting and everything, the greater the character-driven storylines become as well, and the more epic they become. There are more relationships formed this season than any other, and more people meeting and more conspiracies and plotting and forming of alliances. We have had to parallel the two, just to insure we keep that balance just right. It's a special, magic recipe."
Game of Thrones is expected to conclude in 2019.
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