WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from season 8 of Game of Thrones.
While it was hard to miss Sansa Stark’s coronation as Queen of the North during the series finale of Game of Thrones, many fans may not have realized the special significance of Sansa’s hairstyle during the scene.
After having a hand in her brother Bran’s ascension to become king of the Six Kingdoms — and insuring that the North will once again be an independent state — Sansa returns home to Winterfell for her triumphant coronation.
Exchanging the chain-covered black dresses she’s worn during the recent time of war for an elegant gown, Sansa simply wore her hair down while receiving her crown, instead of twisting her hair into any of the elaborate braids viewers have seen her sport in the past.
However, behind the simple hairstyle lies an important message about Sansa’s character development, and the fact that for the first time, she’s completely in control of her own fate.
During a 2017 interview with Refinery29, Sophie Turner shared that all of the hairstyles her character has worn on the show have always told a bigger story.
“There’s always a pattern,” she shared. “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,” she shared.
Ahead of the series’ eighth and final season, Turner continued to open up about how the style and color of her character’s hair silently spoke volumes.
“The first few episodes she was a Northerner in Winterfell and took after her mother with a simple braid down the back,” she told InStyle in January. “Then when she went to King’s Landing it was a big, decadent halo that was very much like what [Cersei Lannister] wore. With Littlefinger, she dyes her hair black and wears all black. Then she goes back to Winterfell and returns to her mother’s hair.”
As time went by, and Sansa began speaking up for herself and coming into her own as a leader, her hairstyle also reflected that shift.
“She created her own identity in season seven and that kind of runs through to season eight,” she added. “She’s chosen how she wants her hair to be, and she’s finally the leader and influencer instead of being influenced by everyone else.”
Therefore, her simple and unadorned hairstyle at the very end of the season can only be seen as another step in Sansa’s evolution, ending the series as an accomplished leader with nothing left to prove.