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Sophie Turner on the Game of Thrones Rape Scene: ‘She Could Have Fought Back If She Wanted To’

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During the Game of Thrones panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Sophie Turner defended her character Sansa, who was assaulted this season. A fan asked the actress why the director chose to focus on a bystander, Theon, in the scene—which some critics have argued made Theon seem like a victim and diminished Sansa’s own pain. He went on to ask why she had said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that she “secretly loved” the scene in which her character was violated.

“You’ll have to ask why they focused on Theon, because I was giving a great performance,” the actress said jokingly. “I think Sansa has gone through a lot, and has developed skills from Margaery and others. But she’s just as strong as before. What’s she’s been doing this whole series is just getting by without doing anything totally radical because that could totally change her situation—she could die.”

Turner holds out hope for her character, who she believes has made the choices she has to survive (unlike many of her family members). “I think she thought it through in her head. She could have fought back if she wanted to. But she didn’t,” she added. “She’s one of those characters that does her scheming in her mind, not outwardly.”

MORE: Maisie Williams on How Game of Thrones Treats Women and Her Dream Superhero Role

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com