The dark secret hidden in Sansa Stark’s costume on Game of Thrones

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Kayleigh Dray

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the seventh season of Game of Thrones.

Everyone is obsessed with HBO’s Game of Thrones at the moment and, now that the surviving Stark children have all reunited at Winterfell, fans are desperately searching for something, anything, that could hint at their future.

We’ve waxed lyrical about the hidden meaning behind Arya’s three little words. Our friends over at Shortlist have told you e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g you need to know about Bran’s relation to the ‘catspaw dagger’ – and we’ve taken a closer look at Sansa’s not-so-subtle hairstyle tributes, too.

However, as it turns out, there’s even more to Sansa’s appearance than even we realised.

As stalwart fans of the show will remember, Sansa (Sophie Turner) has suffered greatly during the past seven seasons of the show. She was bullied by Queen Cersei, abused by King Joffrey, and raped by psychotic Ramsey Snow – and, yes, these traumas have had an undeniable effect on her.

She’s more reserved than she once was: less trusting, less open, less naïve. She’s put up a wall against the world – and that has been intentionally reflected in her costume design, too.

Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones

Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones

Writing on Making of Game of Thrones, costume designer Michele Clapton explained: “Her dresses are tightly-laced on, incredibly difficult to remove – it’s a message to Littlefinger [to stay away].”

Sansa’s leather belt, likewise, is a way for the character to regain some sense of power over herself.

“This is her taking back control of her body,” says Clapton. “I designed it to wrap around over her side-laced dress to represent the absolute removal of any possible physical touch.”

Despite all she’s been through, though, Sansa refuses to let her past dictate her future. Indeed, the formerly spoiled young girl has proven herself to be an ambitious and shrew political leader – with big plans for Winterfell.

And, again, this is reflected in her wardrobe choices.

“Sansa's cape, for instance, represents Ned and her desire to take on more of a leadership role at Winterfell,” says Clapton.

It was previously pointed out that Sansa had been (perhaps unconsciously) mirroring the hairstyles of Cersei Lannister – but, nowadays, she’s been spotted wearing an elaborated braided bun in a half-up hairstyle.

A ‘do that’s very similar to that worn by her late mother, Catelyn Stark.

Speaking to Refinery29, Turner admitted that her character’s hair actually reveals a lot more about her than we’d ever realised.

“Sansa’s hair is constantly reflecting the people she’s learning from, or mimicking, or inspired by at the time.

“When she’s Cersei’s prisoner, and she’s kind of absorbing all her manipulative techniques, it’s reflected in her hairstyle, and when she’s finding the spirit of Margaery in herself, she wears her hair like Margaery.”

So what does the Catelyn style mean for Sansa? Well, it’s yet another sign that she’s in charge – that she’s the true Lady of Winterfell, just as her mother once was, and she's feeling secure and in control.

All in all, it seems as if Sansa could be destined for far greater things than we ever realised: could she be the “younger and more beautiful queen” that is set to overthrow Cersei, after all?

Images: HBO


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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