Natalie Dormer, Game of Thrones
Natalie Dormer may have been topless during one of her first scenes in Game of Thrones, but it was her character's attitude about sex with her husband that made the biggest impression.
In Sunday's episode, Dormer had to play the not-so-shy virgin Margaery Tyrell, who tries to consummate her marriage with Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony). When he can't quite rise to the occasion, she offers to enlist the help of her brother Loras (Finn Jones), who just so happens to be Renly's lover.
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"I think she's empathetic and understanding. There is no malice, there is no anger toward Renly and his love for her brother," Dormer tells TVGuide.com. "The family bonds between the Tyrells is incredibly strong. She has a lot of love and respect for Loras, and since Loras chooses Renly to love, I think she tries to be supportive.
"The political aspect is a practicality of the marriage in order to benefit all parties, to benefit their house, to benefit Renly. The Baratheons may be the future of Westeros," she continues. "I think that she genuinely sees that they can be a trinity and that they can work as three. They say that the strongest shape is a triangle, so I think she believes there is an exciting, plausible future of the three of them working together."
Check out what else Dormer has to say about Margaery's practicality, locking horns with Littlefinger and wearing that plunging neckline.
You're best known in the U.S. as Ann Boleyn on The Tudors. You've become quite the go-to girl for period drama on cable!
Natalie Dormer: [Laughs] My range does exchange beyond that. But I hear it's a commonality to jump between HBO and Showtime and vice versa, so I take it as a compliment really.
How would you describe your character Margaery?
Dormer: She's very genuine, she's old beyond her age. Through her family, she's always been educated and trained to be a political operator and play the cards for her family the best that she can for their ambition. There are comparisons you could make with my experience playing Ann Boleyn in that regard. The big difference between playing Margaery and the machinations and politics of court in playing Ann Boleyn is that Margaery a lot more of a genuine, sincere, straight-playing woman. As compared to Cersei, there's quite a Machiavellian element to her. Margaery has a pure heart. She's trying to do the best she can for her brother, for her house and for the good of the people, what she thinks is best for the realm.
The same is true for Loras, the Knight of Flowers, that sort of optimistic, liberal feel from the South. Michelle Fairley as Catelyn says "They're the Knights of Summer, and winter is coming." She feels sorry for them because they do come from a more positive, liberal attitude, environment and culture as they do in King's Landing. I think it'll be very interesting when the cultures collide.
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In the last episode, you have a scene where you have to try to seduce your husband Renly...
Dormer: That was the first scene I shot. I was having a good laugh with the creators of the show, David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], that it was a nice initiation to Game of Thrones. It was a bit cruel that they had to schedule it that way, but they denied all knowledge of the scheduling. I hadn't met Gethin Anthony before, and obviously his being a veteran from the last season, he was very generous, very welcoming. The family spirit on the show is quite amazing considering the sheer number of cast [members]... You're a new character, and there are lots of new characters for the second season. There's this ethos on the show that starts with David and Dan and it works its way down. I was made to feel very welcome immediately, which was much appreciated on quite a delicate scene to begin with.
What can you tell us about a scene you have with Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) in the upcoming Sunday's episode?
Dormer: I knew Aidan before joining Thrones and I think he's an absolutely incredible actor. His creation of Littlefinger is exciting and impressive. It's a testament to Aidan's skill as an actor that he has managed to create this fascinating character that viewers just adore to watch how he operates. I was very excited to begin Margaery's relationship with Littlefinger because even though she is a woman and even though she is so very young, because of the way she was brought up and the world she comes from, she's an old spirit. Littlefinger would make a mistake in underestimating such a young, innocent woman in the game of thrones. So it was very interesting to raise my bar as an actress to play opposite an actor such as Aidan the way Margaery knows she's going to have to raise her skills and her bar in being able to interact with Littlefinger. Maybe there's a little bit of life imitating art there.
Were you familiar with the books and Margaery before auditioning for the part?
Dormer: I wasn't familiar with the books... I think every actor on the show makes the decision whether to [read them] or not. Even though the first season was incredibly accurate to the book, there's the suggestion that in the future, because of the enormity of the scope of the books and the characters we already have in place on the show, that it might not be easy to be 100 percent so faithful to the books in the future. Not necessarily in the character story lines but in what we're able to see. I had the advantage of not really knowing who Margaery was previous to going in, so I did my interpretation on how the creators saw her...
Did the costumers want you to be cold as possible? That neckline plunged to your navel!
Dormer: Oh man, yes, absolutely. It was freezing. It's a shame. I think it was on the back of your Hurricane Irene or something, but the tail end of it came across The Atlantic and it hit the north coast of Ireland so hard. It was scheduled to happen earlier in the month when it was slightly sunnier, but because of problems with the weather, we had pushed shooting that scene. So it was really probably about fall by the time we shot it. In an ideal world, we should have been where Emilia [Clarke, who plays Daenerys] was in Croatia. That tournament scene was just unfortunate. From my experience of shooting Tudors on the island of Ireland, you cannot predict the weather. I had a lot of costume girls running over to me with hot water bottles and blankets. They were very dutiful and took great care of me.
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What would best represent you on your own personal sigil?
Dormer: It's funny you should say that because I could answer that straightaway. It's a twist of fate. When I was a little girl, my grandfather who I was very close to used to grow yellow roses. He had yellow roses growing all the way up his drive. I remember watching him [raise] them when I was a little girl. I always used to joke when I was playing Ann Boleyn — the Tudor roses are white and red because they're the amalgamation of the two houses during the civil war in England — I used to say, "The roses are in my life because of The Tudors, but I love yellow roses." And it was just a twist of fate that the Tyrell's sigil is the yellow rose. I took it as a sign at the time that I was destined to play Margaery because I've always had a thing for yellow roses. Now I actually have one as a sigil. It was a twist of fate.
If you sat on the Iron Throne, what would be your first edict?
Dormer: Worldwide emancipation for women, equality for the sexes in all areas.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO. Check out a preview of "Garden of Bones" below:
Do you like Dormer's interpretation of Margaery?