"Game of Thrones" is known for not completely following George R.R. Martin's books, but Sunday night's episode, "The High Sparrow," took some big liberties with one major character. (Spoiler alert for the episode and books.)
Before we get into the show's major twist, let's recap what happens in the books. The last time we heard of Sansa Stark was when she was at the Eyrie following her Aunt Lysa's murder in A Feast for Crows. The Stark girl is still with Littlefinger at the Vale in the recently released chapter from Martin's upcoming The Winds of Winter. But meanwhile, in the published books, there's a character introduced named Jeyne Poole, Sansa's best friend, who ends up impersonating Arya. The Lannisters send Jeyne (also nicknamed fake Arya by fans) to marry Ramsay Bolton. But in Sunday night's episode, it is revealed that Littlefinger has set up Sansa to marry Ramsay instead. But why have poor Sansa marry possibly the worst, most sadistic character in all the Seven Kingdoms?
Showrunner David Benioff told Entertainment Weekly that the producers of "GoT" decided to put Sansa in this storyline because of the character's strength. “We really wanted Sansa to play a major part this season,” Benioff told EW. “If we were going to stay absolutely faithful to the book, it was going to be very hard to do that." Writer-producer Bryan Cogman also chimed in saying, "While this is a very bold departure, [we liked] the power of bringing a Stark back to Winterfell and having her reunite with Theon under these circumstances.”
Speaking with the New York Times, Sophie Turner described the plot twist as "really quite devastating," saying that she was hoping for a better life for Sansa after Season 4. But the actress knows her character can handle it. "If anyone can deal with these kinds of people, it’s Sansa," she said.
However, fans are already freaking out and rightfully concerned for the Stark girl. One Redditor, vinee060708, wrote on the episode discussion thread that they were "really scared for Sansa." And we're scared too, considering in the books, fake Arya is horrifically tortured by Ramsay (and Reek) and Turner has hinted at a "super, super traumatic" scene to come. Yet that may not happen. The showrunners teased EW, saying more twists are in Sansa's future and that book readers may still be in the dark.
For more, head to Entertainment Weekly.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misstated that Jeyne Poole was Arya's best friend.