Between intense trailers and cryptic hints from actress Sophie Turner and fellow cast members, as Game of Thrones season seven approaches, it’s easy to assume that the eldest Stark daughter, Sansa, will be the main focus of the show’s upcoming plot line. After all, when season six ended, we left off with Sansa facing a major decision: will she betray her long-lost “brother” Jon Snow to pursue the Iron Throne with megacreep Littlefinger, or will she stand by her family?
As Sansa has moved to the forefront of the series, a major point of discussion among fans has been the increasing similarities between Sansa and her departed mother, Catelyn Stark. Sophie Turner herself has chatted with POPSUGAR about this transition, and it’s a common sentiment that Sansa is slowly becoming Catelyn as she grows older.
But when we talked to award-winning GOT costume designer Michele Clapton, who is responsible for much of Sansa’s visible evolution over the past six seasons, she vehemently disagreed with the idea that Sansa and Catelyn are the same. And, after talking with her about the reasoning, we’ve officially been swayed.
POPSUGAR: I was actually just talking to Sophie Turner earlier this month, and we were talking about how Sansa seems to have slowly transformed a bit into Catelyn Stark over the course of the series. Was that intentional on the costume side of things?
Michele Clapton: It’s funny, because I don’t actually agree. To me, Sansa’s journey is one of the most interesting, and until this season — though she’s been something of a giddy girl who wants to be queen or whatever — to me, her journey has been one of the most difficult and tragic. And I think by this season, she’s finally found herself. Now that she’s come back to Winterfell, there are slight elements of Catelyn, but I think it’s more, maybe, what Catelyn would’ve wanted to be.
Maybe she has some of her mother’s sensibilities, and maybe she’s smarter than her father.
I think there’s a real strength in Sansa this year and I tried to, in her costume, evoke all the different things that have happened to her along her journey. And I’m trying to show elements of strength, while also at the same time trying to show her vulnerability. You see the circle [necklace], which is her strength from when she left the Eyrie; you see the big fur cape, which is very much her father’s side; you see the sort of wraparound belt which is something that was incredibly key in her costume this year, and it was the idea that she’d been so abused in her relationship — well, relationships — so I wanted this idea that she was so belted and strapped that no one would ever get to her again. And within this, I wanted to give her strength.
In season six, she suddenly realizes that she can have strength, and she can fight, and she is strong.
I shortened her dresses so she’s no longer a victim of hems; she can actually have boots and ankle-length so that she moves with freedom. And I think that there’s this strength, that she’s finally grasped all of these horrific things that she had no power over — only to send messages through her embroidery and to try and send out what was happening to her, but she had no verbal chance to do this — and in season six, she suddenly realizes that she can have strength, and she can fight, and she is strong. Maybe she has some of her mother’s sensibilities, and maybe she’s smarter than her father. And I think it was really important to elevate her to a new level.
I can picture her now — there’s one dress that she wears where in the fabric, there’s a sketch of this fish, for her mother [the Tully house sigil], obviously. I think there’s so much of actually just Sansa in this and that she’s probably experienced more than her mother ever did and actually elevated herself beyond Cat. Though I do think that Cat was an incredibly brave woman, but I think that Sansa’s experienced so much more in the world.
So, do you still see a young Catelyn when you look at Sansa, or do you agree that she’s finally coming into her own? We’ll be looking out for hints supporting either argument when the new season premieres in July.