With so much to theorize about as a new season of Game of Thrones approaches, fans don’t have to overthink at least one element: Sophie Turner’s blonde hair.
The 21-year-old actress, whose character Sansa Stark sports red hair, has been seen in recent photos with long blonde tresses, leading fans to speculate that the change held some deeper meaning for Season 7 of the HBO megahit. A major change in houses, to be exact, to the notoriously silver haired family lead by Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).
“A lot of people started thinking it was because I was going to be a Targaryen or something, that it was a Stark spoiler, but it was for another role,” Turner tells USA TODAY.
Other Thrones-ologists have wondered if the color change signified Sansa’s death. Turner won’t comment on upcoming plotlines, but expresses her hope that her character will survive, even to the end: “I think she could. She’s made it this far.”
The role that spawned the hair-color change is in Huntsville, an upcoming film set in the American South that also stars Dylan McDermott. Although blonde is her natural hair color, Turner “dyed it back blonde to fade out the red” for the movie role, a sharp departure from Winterfell noblewoman Sansa or red-haired Jean Grey of the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which Turner is now shooting.
“I finally get to be blonde in a role! That was really fun,” says Turner, who adds that the Huntsville transformation goes well beyond hair color. “I had fake tattoos all up my arm and bright, blonder hair and crazy makeup. (And) an Alabama accent. It was really exciting.”
Thrones premieres July 16 at 9 ET/PT.