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Is sansa stark a real redhead?

Sansa Stark is one of the most beloved characters in the epic fantasy series Game of Thrones. As the eldest daughter of House Stark, Sansa has flowing auburn hair that is her most striking physical feature. But is Sansa’s vibrant red hair natural? Let’s take a look at the evidence.

Sansa’s Hair in the Books

In George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Sansa is described as having the typical Tully look, with long auburn hair and blue eyes. The Tullys of Riverrun are known for their trademark red hair, which Sansa inherited from her mother Catelyn Tully. Here is how Sansa is described in the books:

Sansa had the Tully coloring, the auburn hair and blue eyes of her mother’s family. Her brother Robb and younger sister Arya took after the Starks, with dark brown hair and grey eyes.

Sansa’s red hair is repeatedly mentioned throughout the books as her defining physical characteristic. When she is forced to disguise herself as Alayne Stone in the Eyrie, Sansa even laments having to dye her red locks dark to hide her identity. It’s clear from the books that as a trueborn Stark-Tully child, Sansa’s red hair is completely natural.

The Genetics of Red Hair

In the real world, red hair is caused by a genetic mutation in a gene called MC1R that results in the red pigment pheomelanin being produced in hair and skin cells. For a child to have red hair, both parents must be carriers of the mutated MC1R gene. Only 1-2% of the global population has natural red hair.

Genetically speaking, for Sansa to have red hair, both Eddard Stark and Catelyn Tully must carry the recessive gene for red hair. Even though Ned has dark brown hair, he may still carry the mutated MC1R gene from past ancestors. When combined with Catelyn’s own red hair gene, the chances of their child having red hair increases dramatically.

Red Hair on Game of Thrones

In the Game of Thrones TV show, many characters are depicted with red hair, from the wildlings north of the Wall to members of House Tully and their relatives. Let’s look at some examples:

  • Ygritte – Jon Snow’s wildling lover has fiery red hair and beard, common among the Free Folk.
  • Roslin Tully Frey – Daughter of House Tully with dark auburn hair.
  • Talisa Maegyr – Volantene noblewoman and wife of Robb Stark, played by a red-haired actress.

Red hair is clearly an important genetic trait displayed by several characters on the show. As Catelyn’s daughter, it makes sense that Sansa would share this physical feature.

Sansa’s Hair Colors Over the Seasons

Over the 8 seasons of Game of Thrones, Sansa’s hair color noticeably shifts between more strawberry blonde and a richer auburn. Let’s analyze her changing hair colors year by year.

Season Hair Color Notes
Season 1 More golden strawberry blonde
Season 2 Darker and more auburn red
Season 3 Bright coppery auburn
Season 4 Dark auburn brown
Season 5 Dyed black hair as Alayne
Season 6 Strawberry and copper blended tone
Season 7 Deep auburn red
Season 8 Softer strawberry red

Sansa’s hair goes through various shades of strawberry blonde, copper, and auburn red throughout the show. This suggests that the actress Sophie Turner’s natural hair color is being enhanced with dyes and wigs to match Sansa’s signature auburn locks. But the roots remain in the red color family, indicating Sansa is indeed a natural redhead.

Sophie Turner’s Natural Hair Color

Actress Sophie Turner had to dye her blonde hair red to play Sansa Stark. In interviews, Turner has stated her natural shade is blonde. Here are some photos of Sophie with her blonde hair:

Photo Description
Sophie Turner with long blonde hair Sophie with long platinum blonde hair
Sophie Turner with short blonde bob Blonde bob hairstyle

As a natural blonde, Sophie Turner’s hair needs to be dyed to achieve Sansa’s auburn shade. However, this doesn’t mean Sansa isn’t a natural redhead in the show’s mythology. The books clearly establish Sansa’s Tully red hair as an innate genetic trait, even if the actress’s natural color differs.

Sansa’s Hair and Character Development

Throughout Game of Thrones, Sansa’s red hair is an external reflection of her inner identity. When she disguises herself as Alayne, the loss of her Stark-Tully coloring reflects her inner turmoil. As Sansa reclaims her name and heritage in later seasons, her fiery red hair becomes symbolic of her strength and resilience.

Some key symbolic hair moments for Sansa include:

  • Forced to dye her hair black to pose as Littlefinger’s bastard daughter Alayne
  • Removing the black dye to reveal her red hair again when taking back Winterfell
  • Styling her hair like her mother Catelyn in Season 7 to highlight her Stark heritage

Sansa’s hair evolves in color and style alongside her character growth throughout the series. But the red hue remains an iconic representation of her Stark lineage.


Based on the literature and in-universe genetics, Sansa Stark is definitely a natural redhead. The books explicitly describe her auburn Tully locks, while the show depicts how intrinsic her red hair color is to her identity and ancestry. While dye jobs were needed for the actress Sophie Turner, the character of Sansa is undeniably a real redhead.

So while hair dye might have been used occasionally behind the scenes, there is no doubt that in the world of Westeros, Sansa’s vivid auburn tresses are as Stark as they come.