Sophie Turner says the abuse Sansa suffers in 'Game of Thrones' made her become an activist
The world of Game of Thrones isn't exactly the easiest place to live, and Westeros is definitely not kind to its women. Sansa Stark has gone through a lot throughout the series, with her dreams of being married to a prince and living happily ever after quickly coming crashing down when she realised the world wasn't as nice as she believed it to be.
Instead of her Prince Charming, she got Prince Joffrey - one of the most hated characters in the show (and it's not like he became any nicer when he became king).
In the following seasons she was stripped in court, watched her father beheaded for a crime he didn't commit, was married off to two men she didn't know - the second of which being the other most-hated character in the show: Ramsay Bolton.
This eventually led to one of the more controversial moments in the HBO series, when Sansa was sexually assaulted by the husband she had been forced to marry. Some critics of the gruelling scene referred to it as "gratuitous" while others condemned its frequent use as a plot device in the show.
For Sansa, she survived all this suffering to become a stronger and capable person by the most recent season - and the actress who plays her, Sophie Turner, says she has learned some lessons to.
In an interview with Harper's Bazaar published last Sunday, the actress said that the adversity Sansa faced inspired her to become an outspoken advocate for women's rights across the world.
"Initially, I didn't feel there was anything that stayed with me from all the things Sansa went through," Turner said. "But though I think it hasn't affected me emotionally, I did start thinking about the domestic abuse and rape, and it spurred this little part of me that might be an activist."
In 2017, she became an ambassador for Women for Women International - a charity that provides support to female survivors of war rebuild their lives. During her time with the charity, she visited Rwanda, and even wrote a short essay about her experience in the country - where it's estimated up to half a million women were systematically raped during the 1994 genocide.
"At first I was angry," she wrote, addressing what she learned and how she feels about the depiction of rape in Game of Thrones. "I was angry that there is such a taboo surrounding rape and that depicting it on screen was seen as vulgar."
"Sexual violence happens every day all around the world and yet for that to be represented on television, when other forms of violence are so often represented and more importantly, accepted and even welcomed in some cases, was considered disgusting instead of important.
"In a time where it seems a lot of focus is being placed upon domestic issues and concerns, it's important that we draw some attention to the people who aren't able to publicise the horrors that are occurring or have occurred in their own countries."
Throughout the show, Sansa has grown from strength to strength through her hardship - but we'll have to wait until April 14 to find out where she's at in the final season's premiere.