Possible major spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 7 lie ahead. If you don't wanna know, turn back now.
Game of Thrones is famously no stranger to major character deaths. From Ned Stark lost his head in Season 1, to the Red Wedding and last season's 'Hold The Door,' every year brings with it the promise of emotional turmoil and a beloved character death. Season 7 will undoubtedly be no different, especially if this spoiler from Austin's South By South West Festival is anything to go by.
During a panel at this year's #SXSW Festival, Thrones cast members and on-screen sisters Maisie Williams (#Arya Stark) and Sophie Turner (#Sansa Stark) moderated a conversation between showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. In-between gossip about Ed Sheeran's cameo and a possible spin-off, Williams dropped a bit of a bombshell seemingly on accident. During the Q&A, the color of Turner's hair prompted someone to ask why her hair was not the rich red associated with her character. Williams answered for her, saying "she's dead":
That's right, looks like the Queen of the North will meet her maker, either this season or the one after. If that wasn't enough to ponder, Benioff later backed up Williams' comment, telling the audience that the writers had already begun prepping for Game of Thrones' eighth and final season, and the team had even decided which writer was going to get each episode:
“We argued over who got to kill Sansa.
It's not clear from whether these comments were awkward jokes, red herrings, or the biggest spoilers in Game of Thrones history. Misdirection seems like a prime culprit, since Maisie's comment suggests Sansa has already died, but the producers' comments place her death in Season 8. If our beloved Queen in the North is going to breathe her last, it seems likely that it will happen in the final season, as Sophie Turner promised fans Sansa would survive until Season 8, which is due to start shooting in May. Will she die? Won't she die? Benioff, Turner, and Williams have all essentially given us Schrödinger's Sansa — but the theory that she will die in Season 8 seems plausible (or maybe Sophie Turner just wanted blonde hair for a little longer, who knows?).
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In terms of narrative, #Season7 begins with Ramsey out the way, the High Sparrow dead, and the entire Tyrell family blown to pieces (R.I.P.), leaving Sansa and #Daenerys the only people really standing between Cersei and total control of the Seven Kingdoms. I can imagine Cersei looking to eliminate Sansa before she can unite the North and ally with Dany, which puts Sansa (once again) in Cersei's ever more powerful crosshairs. As the Season 7 finale proved, Cersei is one queen you don't want to mess with, so it looks like Sansa is in trouble — if what's hiding beyond the wall doesn't get them all first, that is.
Whatever happens this season, it's sure to be one hell of a ride. With only six episodes, it will be a fast-paced epic on a whole new scale. Even if Sansa does manage to make it to Season 8, we can be sure there will be a lot more to break out hearts and make us question why we've allowed ourselves to get so invested in this show.
Game of Thrones Season 7 premiers July 17 on HBO.