Fans of the hit TV show Game of Thrones were left in shock after Sansa Stark actor Sophie Turner posted a photo of herself asleep on set, sparking fears the character was about to be killed off.

Ms Turner, 23, who plays the elder daughter of Lord Eddard Stark in the wildly popular drama posted a picture of herself on Instagram laying down with her eyes closed during filming of the final season of GoT.

Sansa Stark played by Sophie Turner.
Sansa Stark played by Sophie Turner.

The first episode aired this week and set new ratings records for the show.

In her Instagram post, Ms Turner messaged: "In honour of the final season of Thrones premiering tonight … Here's a picture of me asleep on set."

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The post has since recorded 1.7 million views.

But while some people thought she looked like "sleeping beauty", the picture has alarmed many fans who fear it may be a spoiler pointing to the demise of Sansa Stark, who is locked in battle with other famous Thrones characters to win the right to sit on the Iron Throne.

Sansa Stark has been widely acclaimed as one of the most admirable characters in Thrones, respected for her development through the series from a largely naive young girl easily manipulated by others who matures into a strong and impressive woman ready to rule the Seven Kingdoms.

Sansa Stark is the elder daughter of Ned Stark.
Sansa Stark is the elder daughter of Ned Stark.

After years of sibling clashes, Sansa and her younger sister Arya finally settled their differences at the end of seven season, realising that the Stark clan must be united if they are to survive.