Game of Thrones: See how much the cast has changed since the first season

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Sansa Stark

Sophie Turner was only 16 years old when she was cast as Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones. Turner brought a youthful innocence to her role, which was fitting given how young Sansa is during the series’ pilot episode. It also helped Turner portray Sansa’s naivety, a quality that plays a pretty significant role early in the show.

And Sansa is incredibly naive when the series begins, something that’s to be expected of a young girl brought up in a loving household wrought with privilege. She looks past Joffrey’s cruelty, only interested in becoming his queen. She also places her trust in Cersei, a decision that later backfires on the Stark family.

As the seasons continue, both Turner and Sansa grow quite a bit in height—although Sansa matures significantly in other ways as well. For one, she begins to view the world more realistically, no longer relying on happy tales of knights and princesses to help her navigate King’s Landing. She learns to survive, even if she needs to lie and scheme to do so.

Episode 66 (season 7, episode 6), debut 8/20/17: Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner.

photo: Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

By the time season 7 ends, Sansa has learned how to play the game—even if it takes her a while to stop trusting others so readily. Sansa struggles through numerous difficulties, including a marriage to Ramsay Bolton and time spent in Littlefinger’s care.

When Sansa teams up with Arya to persecute Littlefinger for his crimes, it becomes evident how much she’s grown as a character. Sansa no longer places importance on petty grudges like the ones between her and her sister, and she realizes that she needs to be on the lookout for deception, even when it comes to people who claim to care about her.

She also learns that sometimes it’s necessary to be ruthless—a page from Cersei’s book that will certainly help her survive the game of thrones.