Natalie Dormer on how Margaery refused to be a victim right to the very end


Perhaps, in the end, going out with a bang was for the best.

Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyell) seems to think so. She talked to HBO’s official Making Game of Thrones blog about her final year on the show.

"I read the King’s Landing scenes so I know what’s going on in the capital, but I purposely chose not to read other storylines. I watched Season 1 as a fan, and in the last few years I’ve really tried to go back to that feeling – on Sunday night I have the most amazing experience like every other audience member."

As a fan, Dormer particularly enjoyed seeing the mystery of Jon Snow’s maternity solved (“I’ve had that theory for a long time”), watching Sansa’s “complex, dramatic growth,” and seeing Rory McCann return as the Hound. But of course, it all comes back to Margaery. Even if Dormer hadn’t known ahead of time that Season 6 would feature her character’s last stand (unlike several other cast members, she got all the scripts in one blow), she says that the clever queen had boxed herself in, and that there was an impending sense of dread she wouldn’t find a way out of this one.

"What I think I was able to play this season was her genuine concern and fear that she wasn’t going to get out of this situation. You see that in her fear for the lives and safety of her family – that’s why she sends Olenna away, and it’s why she appears to seem converted in a last-ditch attempt to save Loras’s life. Loras has been profoundly damaged, and now she’s trying to limit the damage as much as possible. Obviously she doesn’t think she’s going to die, but she’s not sure what is going to happen; I think there was a massive question mark over the whole day."

Giving up Tommen to the High Sparrow was a risky move, but one that Margaery thought she had to make. Was there any truth to what she said to the king in “Blood of My Blood,” that Margaery had spent a lot of time thinking about “how good I was at seeming good?”

"I think she’s articulating out loud something she’s always known about herself. If any of us were forced to sit in a dark cell on our own, we would do some soul searching. But I’ve always held firm that Margaery’s heart is true – I don’t think she has a dark spirit. She’s giving a narrative to Tommen that helps convert him at that moment. Maybe she was able to mix a bit of the truth in there – that’s the most effective kind of lying isn’t it?"

That might be Dormer engaging in a bit of denial about her character, and it’s not the only time. For example, she actually doesn’t blame Cersei, but rather the High Sparrow, for Margaery’s death. “I loved that Margaery’s demise was not at Cersei’s hand, but at the hand of someone else underestimating Cersei when Margaery wasn’t in a position to wield the power herself,” she said. “That feels right, because Margaery’s done such a good job over the years of keeping up with Cersei. They’re pretty well-balanced.”

"That’s the beauty of what Dan and David wrote. They gave her the privileged position of being the only person to realize what’s happening, a moment of vindication that just summed up her personality. She was always a couple of steps ahead of everyone else, even to her last moment. I’m very grateful, because Margaery Tyrell was never a victim – even in her last moment they allowed her to not be."

That’s a reasonable stance, but the fact remains that Cersei was crowned Queen of the Andals…and Margaery was burned to ash along with most of her family. Margaery may have been a few steps ahead of everyone else, but no one expected Cersei to make a move that bold.

Happily, Dormer’s last day of filming wasn’t the nasty business in the Sept, but rather the touching scene from “The Broken Man” where Margaery gives Olenna a drawing of a rose. “It was very fitting: the actor hugging the actor goodbye, and the character hugging the character,” she said. “Dan and David were both there in order to give me the proper send-off. It was an emotional day.”