Curtain Call: Natalie Dormer


Of all those who perished in the Great Sept, it was Margaery Tyrell’s death that hit me the hardest. Not just because we will never get to find out what Margaery’s end game was with the Faith, not because we lost one of Cersei’s best foils nor even because sweet and innocent Tommen lost his Queen, but because Natalie Dormer will no longer grace our TV screens.

Anne-Boleyn-anne-boleyn-25635784-575-551I was first introduced to Natalie when I watched The Tudors, where she played Anne Boleyn. She was magnetic. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her, for both obvious and non-obvious reasons. But more than just her beauty and charisma onscreen, was the fact that she could act. Her final scenes on The Tudors were a master class. The show wasn’t the same after she was gone.

So I was plenty familiar with her when she was cast as Margaery Tyrell and, needless to say, I was thrilled with the choice. That being said, she didn’t quite fit the Margaery of the books, who was younger and more demure. Natalie’s strength isn’t playing shy and demure characters, so many fans suspected that the Margaery of the show would be different from the one in the books.

Those suspicions were confirmed right from the jump as Margaery worked to seduce King Renly to bring about an heir, even offering to let her brother Loras join in if that would help things along. This was most decidedly NOT the Margaery of the books. But Natalie player her so well that pretty soon the Margaery of the books faded from memory and she became Margaery.

Natalie DormerThey say that acting is all in the eyes and that is most certainly true in Natalie Dormer’s case. Her piercing blue eyes say so much. When she smiles, there is a twinkle there, as if you are sharing a secret. And when her eyes narrow, it’s as if she is staring into your soul, trying to ferret out your true motivations.

Natalie Dormer’s Margaery was a masterful player of the game. She had a way of ingratiating herself with powerful people. With that playful half-smile/half-smirk of hers, she would convince kings and princes that they were the most interesting person in the world. All the while gathering information about them that she could one day use to her advantage. Some of my favorite scenes of Natalie’s were her doing just that. First with Renly, then Joffrey, Tommen and lastly the High Sparrow. Each time Natalie plays Margaery’s feigned interest so well that at first you think she really is fascinated by crossbows or devoted to reading “The Seven-Pointed Star.” It’s only that twinkle in her eyes that belies Margaery’s true intentions.

Cersei Margaery

The only one in King’s Landing who didn’t seem to be fooled by Margaery’s game was Cersei. That led to some of Natalie (and Lena’s) best work as Cersei and Margaery sparred with mostly cordial conversations that underneath it all were about two women vying over the most powerful men in the realm. Ultimately, Cersei wins that battle, but it is not Margaery’s fault as she recognizes what is about to happen, but is unable to convince others of their impending doom.

And so we must bid farewell to Natalie Dormer. Thankfully, this won’t be the last we see of her in films and TV as, since her casting on Game of Thrones, she has developed a bit of a Hollywood career, with roles in The Hunger Games and CBS’s Elementary. Her beauty and undeniable talent will keep her gainfully employed for the foreseeable future.

But we will certainly miss her on Thrones. Her Margaery was a formidable opponent for the other players in the game and brought a measure of graciousness and femininity to the screen, but unlike the Margaery of the book series, hers came with a steel resolve underneath.

“I want to be the queen,” she said. And she was.

Natalie Dormer eats an apple


  1. She was a great score for the show. I’m not sure if they were consciously trying to get Anne Boleyn to play a faux Anne Boleyn: but it worked!

    EDIT: Oh, right: Seymour!!!!!! No, wait. Wilson!!!!!! No, no, that’s not right either…

  2. A small role in the books, elevated to great highs by the writing but most of all by Natalies outstanding acting!

  3. I kept screaming at the screen get out get out … Actually believed she was going to get out … So sad she’s gone

  4. She was one of only people I knew prior to watching Game of thrones.I loved her in The Tudors.I think it just hit me that Margaery is really dead.She was amazing in all five seasons and a joy to watch in every scene.Natalie played her to perfection smart and conniving but not a bad person and with a great love for her family.In other times and with a different husband she would have really been the perfect queen.Natalie has had and will continue to have a great career I’m sure but I’ll miss her on the show.

  5. ash,

    Darn it lost my edit post…..

    She was amazing – I was in love from the time I saw her with Renly. In every single scene she showed her ability to get everyone (well most everyone) to fall under her spell. She was the good witch to Cersei’s bad, and I hoped she’d make it. But alas, not to be

    Phil you are right about those eyes – whether it was the half mocking of Cersei at breakfast, the innocent play with Tommen, the seductive scene with Joffrey or the desparation in the Sept, you saw those eyes work. That scene with her brother, oh…..

    Even tho I know they’ll be many other parts for her to see, Im very sorry to see her go from the show. Thank you for putting your heart into everything you did!

  6. Natalie is a doll and played the part of Margaery so well. She was ambitious, clever and cunning with the strength and confidence to stand up to anyone, even Cersei, but she never came across as evil. She was a kind and caring person…with big plans. She came so close! Unfortunately, she was outplayed at the end.

    Continued success to Natalie!

  7. Sansa’s Knight: I kept screaming at the screen get out get out … Actually believed she was going to get out … So sad she’s gone

    It should not have mattered: given the blast radius, nobody could have gotten far enough away to avoid being incinerated.

    UNLESS…. Marg has superpowers that would have let her grab Loras and then run about 200 kph through the zig-zagging streets! (That’s just a rough guess, but given the way that they show Kings Landing, one would have to run 2-3 times the distance that a crow would fly.) Maybe that was the original plan, and they were going to take advantage of Dormer’s secret athletic superpowers! 😀

  8. This is the number one most painful death of this season for me too. Margaery is one of my favorite characters both in the books and the show and one of the best decisions D&D ever made was casting Natalie and expanding the role.

    Not only is she a fantastic actress, but she seems like a really cool, funny, and smart person. If I could pick any cast member to be friends with, I’d pick her.

    I know we’ll see plenty more of Natalie on other shows and in movies, but I’ll definitely miss her on GoT.

  9. I heartily agree. I really wish she would have lived on a while longer, with her smarts and good looks it would have been one hell of an endgame and I wish we would have seen it play out.

  10. Natalie was perfect for the role and I’m going to miss her! So sad how she tried to help Loras at the end. Their relationship was one of the few genuinely caring ones on the show I think. I was really hoping they would have lasted a bit longer. Ah well… all hail Queen Natalie! We shall miss you! 🙂

  11. I really loved Natalie Dormer as Margaery and she is one of the only characters in the tv series that is better formed than the character in the book in my opinion. Her realisation of what was about to happen made the explosion at the Sept so much more powerful. Farewell Natalie Dormer, you truly are a class act.

  12. Margaery was my 2nd favourite female character, solely due to Natalie Dormer’s wonderful performance. She was also the main reason I watched Tudors. She is one of the many actors in GoT that have made their characters more interesting and complex than their book counterparts. She was mesmerising, beautiful and full of grace. A caring sister and a good-hearted woman, loved by the common people and admired by the lords and the ladies . A most gifted person that used her intellect and a woman’s best weapon in the best way she could. She would definitely be one of the best queens Westeros had ever seen.
    Natalie was just amazing in this portrayal. Her performance reached perfection. Nothing more to say. We will miss you Natalie!

  13. A much stronger and interesting character than in the books. Natalie made the role so much bigger. I’m sure that we’ll be seeing lots more of her. Cheers!

  14. One thing about it we will be seeing a lot of Dormer on the silver screen, one film not released in the US yet and 3 in production and I would guess now a number of A-list roles in probably some big productions.

  15. Wimsey: It should not have mattered: given the blast radius, nobody could have gotten far enough away to avoid being incinerated.

    That’s assuming that what we saw onscreen just before the detonation was unfolding in real time, unedited – which is a lot to assume given the way that time is telescoped regularly on the show.

    I too will miss Dormer’s fine portrayal and the presence of the interestingly greyish character of Margaery in the King’s Landing mix, which I expect to lose a lot of its appeal once reduced to Mad Queenland. And I’m going to hope against hope that the showrunners chose to abbreviate her book arc for reasons of time economy, and that Margaery will remain a player until much closer to the end on the printed page. She really would have made quite a decent queen, given less stubborn opposition – perhaps more decent than the bloody Seven Kingdoms deserved.

  16. Hers was the only death in the finale that I cared about. Not that I loved Margaery or anything. Actually, she irritated me. But I have to admit that she was a great player and I was more than sad to see her character reach its end before she had time to do all that she could. I mean, her death came too soon.
    On the other hand, Margaery was a very clever woman, and at this point in the show you must either be extremely powerful or batshit crazy to survive. She was neither.
    Still, her death left me with a sentiment of unfulfillment, if that word exist.
    So long then, Margaery. See you again, Natalie.

  17. Firannion: That’s assuming that what we saw onscreen just before the detonation was unfolding in real time, unedited – which is a lot to assume given the way that time is telescoped regularly on the show.


    But the sad part is that I could see some fans buying this while at the same time insisting that this could be possible, while at the same time insisting that Varys must have magically teleported back to Daeny along with Martell and Tyrell ships and troops!

    On a related note, that is Marg’s last and most lasting contribution to the overall arch. The Tyrell ship(s) in Daeny’s fleet are there because of her as much as (and even more than) for Loras or Mace. And Tommen’s death (setting up a Mad Queen for whom almost nobody will fight) is also because of her. So, in many ways, Margaery is going to ironically provide the “younger, more beautiful queen” that Cersei thought was being incinerated!

    Ah, sweet, sweet irony…..

  18. pretty sure it was Ygritte.

    Ygritte and Milisande were the only major female additions in season 2.

    So when do we get to find out who she originally auditioned for?

  19. Twinfist,

    I thought that I read that she originally auditioned for Daeny? Keep in mind that people that they did not cast for Season 1 would have been kept in mind for Season 2 parts.

  20. Firannion: And I’m going to hope against hope that the showrunners chose to abbreviate her book arc for reasons of time economy, and that Margaery will remain a player until much closer to the end on the printed page.

    Whoops! I meant to reply to this, too. I think that this is highly improbable. Show!Margaery was much more prominent than was (is) Book!Margaery. Show!Marg actually was a minor protagonist in some seasons (albeit not this one). Book!Marg is really a tertiary character: she has nowhere near the impact as the true secondary characters such as Littlefinger or Varys (or Stannis or Robb, etc.). However, TV and film does much better to consolidate the contributions of multiple secondary and tertiary characters into one character: and that is what the show did with Margery. That’s part of what let Dormer show her stuff: if she’d just gotten the book part, then she would have had nothing to do.

    My bet is that Book!Margaery is going to meet a similar fate, and that this is what is going to push the Tyrells back to the Targaryens. She’s basically the equivalent of a laser pointer for Cerise’s Cat that is being used to get Cersei to the cat carrier of her self-destruction. But it will be relatively minor compared to what Show!Marg had.

  21. So it goes.

    Well thought she totally nailed Margaery; I mean, some may disagree and say the Margaery of the books was shy and demure, as you point out but…..even in the books, I suspected that was all just an *act*.

    So when the TV series decided to show what the Tyrells were actually doing “off screen” (they’re not POV characters), I ASSUMED they would have to show that Margaery is secretly a very different character just pretending to be demure.

    So if anything I thought she was a perfect fit.

    Margaery’s death in the TV show is the first one that truly shocked me as a book reader – even Shireen’s death seemed foreshadowed. But Margaery? Up until the second of the explosion, I honestly thought she’s manage to get out of the Great Sept in time.


  22. I’ll admit to being a bit surprised when Natalie was cast because of the age difference between her and the book character, plus the fact that Book Margaery is very much a background character until late on. Pretty much “Serial fiancée/widow” sums it up.

    Seeing the series of course it made much more sense, that they were giving Margaery much more of a foreground role and given some correlation with Anne Boleyn’s story who better to play the part? That and a cleavage that could stop an army, but I digress…

    So show Margaery was shown to be smart enough but while being a little devious just could not match Cersei for her ruthlessness and total selfish disregard for those around her and the smallfolk. And we saw her view of her marital relationships which was very much skimmed over in the books, giving us a POV we were denied.

    When it came to the face-off, the urge to see Margaery get the drop on Cersei was all the stronger for me than through reading the books thanks to the greater exploration of Margaery’s character in the show and Natalie’s portrayal of her. Very fitting that Margaery was the one to cotton on to the danger that no-one else could see at Cersei’s abortive trial and a good if depressing sign off.

    Would love to have seen Margaery continue in the show (although we don’t yet know what plans GRRM has for her), and given that Natalie was hoping to leave the show at the end of S5 to pursue other goals she put in a very strong performance through season 6 with no hint of just phoning it in for “contractual obligation”. It sounds like she was pleased to have taken part in season 6, all said and done too.

    Thanks you Natalie – may the odds be ever in your favour!

  23. It’s amazing that a show with a named cast of hundreds can still pull names like Natalie Dormer. She was the perfect Margaery, and it was a privilege to watch her in this role.

  24. Wimsey,

    I could see some fans buying this while at the same time insisting that this could be possible, while at the same time insisting that Varys must have magically teleported back to Daeny along with Martell and Tyrell ships and troops!

    don’t give them any ideas! 🙂


    Ygritte and Milisande were the only major female additions in season 2.

    I think they made a good decision then. Can’t see her in either of those two roles Dany however? Yeah, that would work

  25. I dreaded this day. I really really dreaded this. Margaery, since Season 3, won my heart and has become my favorite female character in the show (besides Cersei). I can’t really believe she’s gone. Her intelligence, beauty and grace handling situations demonstrated how strong her character was and Natalie just made it work, she brought to life a character I didn’t care much about in the books and transformed it into her own powerful image. Margaery and Natalie will always be in our hearts for doing such a magnificent work on GoT and thank you, D&D, for giving her as much screen time as possible.

    And thank you, Natalie. You did a wonderful job with her. May the Warrior grant you courage; may the Smith grant you strenght; and may the Crone grant you wisdom and guide you through the dark places that lie ahead. Wish you the best of luck!!!!

    At least Margaery got to be The Queen as she wanted; though for a short period. She’ll always be the true Queen in my heart.

  26. They say that acting is all in the eyes and that is most certainly true in Natalie Dormer’s case.

    I think Natalie does a lot with her mouth, as well. Goodness that sounds dirty!

  27. I too, was yelling at the screen the second I saw she was wise to the danger. “Go! Just go!” I feared we might lose Marg in this episode, and now when I hear the mournful score from this sequence, I almost tear up for the loss of this wonderful character and Natalie Dormer. I loved the Tyrells, and Margaery especially.

    She did have a plan: to first get Loras safely out of the hands of the sparrows, and then probably work her influence on Tommen to turn against the High Sparrow. If only she had had more time. One of the things I loved about Marge was that her revenge to Cercei would have been to send her packing to Casterly Rock, whereas Cersei savagely sent her and her brother to the dungeons and then brutally murdered them and their father. Can’t wait to see Lady Olenna’s revenge. In fact, seeing the Rose sigil on the sails made the final scene even sweeter! I can’t say enough good things about Dormer’s portrayal, as well as her enthusiasm and insight in interviews. She’ll be so missed.

  28. It was a real pleasure to watch Natalie Dormer’s portrayal of Margaery. Her performance was great and I commend D&D for fleshing out her character.

    She (and the rest of the Tyrell family) will be sorely missed.

  29. I did like that her spider-sense went off, so that she didn’t die a chump (like everyone else in the Sept) I thought she would wriggle out of the trap … but then they showed us Pryce’s utterly oblivious and dismissive smirk, and I knew it was game over for the Tyrells.

    Super job, Ms. Dormer!

    (Favorite moment of all time: Her masterful eyeroll/shrug/nibble combo move after being informed that Joffrey is “a monster.”)

  30. I remember Natalie from ‘The Tudors’ and was a big fan of hers ever since then.

    I always considered her one of the most powerful female actresses on the show. She is the biggest loss this season IMO by far.

    I remember all the “Natalie Dormer is so hot” lines myself and other WiC folks would come up with when news of her casting hit the net and that was sooo fun! (Anyone else remember that?)

    She is an amazing actress that can speak a line so perfectly using just her eyes and facial expressing alone, no words even required.

    She ranks right up there was Charles Dance, Stephan Dillane and Liam Cunningham as far as actors who have their acting craft down to a science and I will miss her.

  31. Ah, the Curtain Call I’ve been dreading.
    I’ll probably just convince myself Margaery staged her death and secretly took off to Highgarden cause she was fed up with all the KL BS.

    Yeah, that’s it.

  32. One who waits:
    I too, was yelling at the screen the second I saw she was wise to the danger. “Go! Just go!”

    Same here. “Grab your brother and go.” But it was not to be.

    UNLESS…. Marg has superpowers that would have let her grab Loras and then run about 200 kph through the zig-zagging streets!

    If anyone has superpowers, it would be Margaery. She is gone too soon and I will miss her.

    Natalie was just magnificent in this role. GOT will not be the same without her.

  33. Such a great actress. She will be sorely missed. I was rooting for Margaery to win over Cersei, but alas.

    And now her watch is ended.

  34. mariamb: If anyone has superpowers, it would be Margaery.

    Alternatively, if she could fly or run through walls, then she would not have needed to run so fast…..


    One who waits: Can’t wait to see Lady Olenna’s revenge. In fact, seeing the Rose sigil on the sails made the final scene even sweeter!

    Yeah, and that will be Marg’s lasting contribution to the plot and to Cersei’s storyline. And, of course, it makes Cersei’s prophecy all the more MacBethian: and audiences love MacBethian prophecies.

  35. Kosten: I’ll probably just convince myself Margaery staged her death and secretly took off to Highgarden cause she was fed up with all the KL BS.

    Where she is partying with Stannis and other “they cannot really be dead” characters, I am sure! Oh, wait: partying with Stannis would mean that Marg and the others died and are in some sort of hellishly awful hell….

  36. Fabulously talented actress. Margaery’s death was definitely the one that hit me hardest of the finale deaths, but to be honest the others didn’t really “hit” me much at all.

    Margaery’s death was the one that made me feel genuinely sad, and gave the events in King’s Landing a decidedly tragic feel, even if most people who posted reaction videos seem to have celebrated Cersei’s torching of the Sept instead of realizing that she was burning hundreds of people alive and therefore committing an atrocity.

    Dormer truly gave us a brilliant performance, and made the character much more engaging than she would have been had the show given us the book version of Margaery. She’s probably one of the only characters I would consider to be more interesting in the show, along with Osha, Shireen and Hizdahr.

    Obviously, Natalie is also a great beauty, so her presence on the show will be missed in many ways.

  37. Wimsey: it makes Cersei’s prophecy all the more MacBethian: and audiences love MacBethian prophecies.

    That makes me wonder whether the showrunners intend to get punnish with the concept of Cersei enjoying a Pyrrhic/pyre-ic victory? (Yes, I know Pyrrh- and pyre aren’t pronounced the same, but still…)

    Wimsey: partying with Stannis would mean that Marg and the others died and are in some sort of hellishly awful hell

    Gall and wormwood frozen margaritas, anyone?

  38. Markus Stark,

    I would add Cersei, Tywin and Oberyn to that list.

    Margaery was probably my favorite secondary character on the show. While sad about her death, I am glad the show did justice to her right till the end. It was fitting that she was the only one to realize that Cersei had plans of her own. She probably understood Cersei better than anyone else in KL.

  39. One who waits,

    Can’t wait to see Lady Olenna’s revenge. In fact, seeing the Rose sigil on the sails made the final scene even sweeter! I

    Me too! Maybe she’ll be able to make Elarian’s character do something interesting instead of something destructive and useless.

  40. Markus Stark,

    Even if most people who posted reaction videos seem to have celebrated Cersei’s torching of the Sept instead of realizing that she was burning hundreds of people alive and therefore committing an atrocity.

    I didn’t see those but yeah, some people are pretty sick, or clueless. Or they were celebrating that they were right.

  41. She did such a great job on the show. Easily one of my favorite female characters on GoT.

  42. While I’ll definitely miss having Natalie on this show, I can certainly understand why she’d want to strike when the iron is hot on a movie career. She’s 34, and- while that’s certainly far from old in conventional terms- it doesn’t leave her a very big window in which to cash her chips. (On a side note, how much do you think that Emilia Clarke wishes she was in her position right now?) Best of luck to her in her career.

  43. Arguably the most improved character from book to screen, and a lot of that had to do with Natalie’s performance. It is hard for me to separate my love for the character from my love for the actress. Margery was such a great player, always fascinating to watch, and because she was such a good player, it was always fun trying to sort out her actions from what she really thought. Natalie herself seems like such a funny and thoughtful person. She brings an intelligence and charisma to every role she plays because that’s just the way she is.

    I thought the contrast between her and Cersei was always very interesting. Cersei always gated that she was always relegated to inferior roles because of her sex. I think I remember her telling Robert she should wear the armor, and him the skirts. Her method of playing the game usually involved acting outside society’s sexist parameters and operating as a man would. That made enemies of those like Kevan who saw her actions as particularly power hungry. Meanwhile, Margery always gained power through influence, getting those in power to want what she wanted. Which often, for her, meant embracing society’s constructed role for women, even telling Joffrey that “politics always confused me.” She was so good at playing the game this way, but it made her dependent on powerful men in order to have any influence. And that ended up being her undoing. I was worried Margery would just be another casualty in the Sept explosion, but they did proper service to her character by having her be the only one who could see the danger coming. But the powers she had aligned herself with kept her inside the Sept and ensured her death.

    I’m really going to miss this fascinating character and the wonderful actress who played her.

  44. Nononononononononononononono….

    *bangs head against wall 25 times*

    I loved Margaery. Not surprising since I love Natalie Dormer, whom like many others I first saw in The Tudors. Heck, I knew she would die there, but somehow still managed to hope she’d manipulate history and live.

    King’s Landing has lost so many of it’s wonderful characters this season, and I have no emotional investment left there, aside from Jaime. Cersei has lost any redeeming qualities that make me care what happens to her going forward, which is sad.

    Natalie as Margaery embodied the true character of the ‘strong woman’ which the show seemed so eager to show this season, she was the best of them, and she’s gone. Her acceptance of her marriages without being a pushover, her role as Queen, her controlled yet laid back attitude while cleverly seeing through the falseness of others, her devotion to her brother (her anger when learning he was imprisoned was wonderful), and her fiery resolve to play the players against her was incredible. Her ability to adapt and react to hardship, and her ability to convince others was impressive.

    The casting never fails to impress me with this show – Natalie became Margaery completely, regardless of the differences from her book character. She will be missed as one of the most interesting characters to watch on screen. Thank you, Queen Natalie! ☺

  45. RBloodworth,

    (On a side note, how much do you think that Emilia Clarke wishes she was in her position right now?)

    Dunno – she has appeared in several movies so its not like she’s totally trapped…. I think she’s also younger, which makes these decisions less of a concern.

  46. Out of all recurring characters from the book, who became more prominent on TV (ser Alliser, Shireen, Tormund, etc.), Margaery was the one, who got expanded the most, being elevated to a minor protagonist. I remember the confusion when much older actress was cast as Margaery (who is only 16 in the books) but I believed in this decision and now I know I wasn’t wrong. I haven’t watched the Tudors before watching GoT and I only remembered Natalie Dormer from having a minor role in Captain America, but her performance in GoT totally bought me from the first moment. And after seeing Natalie Dormer among the main cast, I knew there would be a lot more in store for TV Margaery than her book counterpart. I’m glad that her motivations were clear on TV, instead of being just subtely hinted like in the books. She hasn’t disappointed me in a single scene – from playing a beloved wife to Renly and later Tommen, to more serious and cunning character she became in later seasons. Her death is the one that affected me the most in The Winds of Winter and I sometimes still find hard to believe that her character is now dead in the show. She remained strong till the end and never became a victim.

    Two years ago, I watched the Tudors and I noticed a couple similarities between Anne Boleyn and Margaery Tyrell. I can say that she didn’t disappoint me there as well and my belief, that Natalie Dormer is a really talented actress, only became stronger.

  47. Jenny,

    I liked her the best of the female characters. She was clever, intuitive, affectionate and kind. The kind of “strong” woman that didn’t have to be a bitch unless she was giving back as good as she got. Dormer was a natural in the role. RIP Marge 🙁

  48. Another casting coup – will be looking for Ms Dormer in all her upcoming works…Farewell Margarey!

  49. Couldn’t have hoped for a better Margeary. Gutted she’s been offed! ?

    Thank you Natalie for a superb portrayal of the character. Cersei had met her match had it not been for the dozy High Sparrow and his arrogance.

  50. Out of all the characters and actors that we lost in the finale, this one hurts the most, for all of the reasons that WinterPhil so eloquently laid out in this excellent Curtain Call.

    Casting Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and expanding her role was one of the show’s greatest triumphs. Being freed from the novel’s strict POV structure certainly afforded the writers more creative license to explore Margaery’s psychology, in addition to allowing her to have more screentime. Perhaps David Benioff, Dan Weiss, and Bryan Cogman just had a natural affinity for and understanding of the character, or perhaps Margaery’s inherent strengths simply translated better to the screen. Whatever the case, I found the show’s version of Margaery to be a vast improvement on her counterpart from the novels (personally, I feel there are many such characters, but Natalie’s vision of Margaery is definitely near the very top of that list). I felt far more emotional and intellectual investment in the onscreen iteration of the character than I ever had on the page, and Natalie’s performance was critical to that. She was captivating. She was strong. Brilliant Beautiful. Graceful. Charismatic. Cunning. Masterful. Pick your superlative, it applied to Natalie. Yet none of them alone could define her or Margaery, because the character transcended such easy labels.

    Overall, I think it could be argued that Margaery played the political game better than perhaps any other character, especially given the institutional disadvantages that she faced. While Cersei openly and relentlessly chafed against the limits that were imposed upon her due to her sex, Margaery consistently found strength in her femininity. She suffered those same indignities with a smile and found ways to make a rigged system work to her advantage. And yet, in the Great Game, somehow all of that talent still wasn’t enough to allow her to protect her family and hold on to her dream of being the Queen. The archaic structures of power in the Seven Kingdoms forced her to wield influence through others, usually men who were far less capable and savvy than she was. In the moments before the Sept was incinerated, it is both fitting and infuriating that Margaery would be the one to recognize the danger that Cersei’s absence foretold, only to perish anyway because of the High Sparrow’s obstinate pride.

    Speaking of Cersei, the polite (and eventually not-so-polite) antagonism that Margaery shared her rival was consistently one of my favorite running subplots in the show. Cersei lacked Margaery’s subtlety, but she was more willing to cross lines and turn to violence when necessary. Margaery was far from gentle – she could definitely be ruthless when necessary. But she did whatever she could to avoid shedding blood or causing death whenever possible. Ideally, that restraint should have been yet another virtue. In this world, it became a curse.

    Ordinarily, I’d delve in to several of the character’s most memorable scenes and what I loved about the way they were written and performed. But in Natalie’s case, there are far too many of them for me to choose. I could talk about her attempted seduction of Renly, the scene with Joffrey and the crossbow, her first visit to Tommen’s bedchamber, or her negotiation with Cersei after Tommen is crowned. Hell, I could talk about any time she shared the screen with Lena Headey. Or Diana Rigg. Or Jack Gleeson. Or Sophie Turner. Or Jonathan Pryce. I should probably stop, lest I list every scene that she ever did on the show. The baseline for her performance was so absurdly high that it’s difficult to pick out moments where she raised the bar even higher. Natalie was always on her game, and that game was pretty close to perfect.

    And then there’s that smile. Good God, that smile. Perhaps it’s for the best that Margaery never visited the North. I’m pretty sure that her smile could melt the Wall. I’m getting weak knees just looking at it, and I’m sitting down right now.

    I don’t really need to wish Natalie luck, because she’s probably one of the safest bets among the departing Game of Thrones cast members to become a major star. She’s already gotten some major film roles, and she’s going to have no shortage of future offers now that she has more time to pursue other projects. But I’ll wish her all the best anyway, because a world where Natalie Dormer graces our screens as prominently and frequently as possible is a better world than the alternative.

    I’m going to wrap this up, because while I was writing I got distracted by staring at that GIF again, and if I scroll back up the page there’s a chance I’ll get hypnotized and lose the rest of my day. So cheers to Natalie Dormer, and the spellbinding work she did with Margaery Tyrell these past five seasons. I say this (and mean it) about every departing cast member on this wonderful show, but with Natalie, it’s even more true than usual: she will be terribly missed.

  51. I’ve been quite simply infatuated by Natalie Dormer since The Tudors (indeed, an absurd number of my favorite traits in women can be attributed to her) and seeing her show up on GOT was a thrill. Margaery, beautiful cunning Margaery, Margaery who was always the most captivating person in a scene, Margaery with the wonderful faces and the wardrobe that’s had quite an impact on popular fashion (that’s to Michelle Clapton’s credit, of course, but some of it must be due to how fabulous Natalie makes it all look too), Margaery whose every interaction was fascinating and who could have made so many more brilliant connections. I am a big believer in “Margaery likes girls” and a big part of this is season three, Margaery and Sansa. These interactions are still some of my favorite in the show, compelling and interesting and fraught with subtext, which is largely played out in Natalie’s expressions. All of this is to say I’ll continue to follow her to projects and I commend her always.

  52. As an aside, Cersei didn’t win. First, Margaery successfully got Olenna out of the city. Second, by murdering the Tyrell heirs, Cersei effectively pushed the Tyrell family into an alliance with Dorne. Who have now both been allied with Dany and the Ironborne. So Cersei is alone, and the Tyrell’s are part of a four-house alliance, which includes dragons and unsullied. I think Maregaery, despite her death, and Olenna, won this round.

  53. ygritte,

    I agree she was my favourite female too.I loved that she wasn’t mean just to appear strong.She was clever and knew how to play people to her advantage without them realizing it and without whinning every step of the way.Truly a class act

  54. Going to miss Marg and Natalie.
    It made narrative sense but that didnt make it easier.
    The fact that she knew made it even harsher… I thought she had a chance till those zealots stopped her. She should have just sneaked off without Loras. Of course she couldnt know how much or little time she had till things would go boom.

    I am curious who she auditioned for as well. It would be ironic if it was Melisandre.
    she was my favorite for that role before S2 casting while her Tudors costar Sarah Bolger was my favorite for young Margaery…

  55. Of all those who perished in the Great Sept, it was Margaery Tyrell’s death that hit me the hardest.


    She was my hope of a peaceful united realm. The only and last hope. It failed… And so it is chaos that ensues.

    Obviously a great portrayal by Natalie Dormer, I find pretty much everybody fell in love with her very, very fast.

  56. Natalie Dormer was a perfect Margaery. One of my favourite characters in the books, in spite of her relatively small “screen time,” was given so much more with Natalie’s portrayal. Margaery shows a relatively unseen side of nobility. She is clever and cunning, but also generous and kind. It’s incredible refreshing beside some of the wicked and despicable characters who hold power in this world.

    I don’t disagree with the writing choice to end her character’s time on the show – I’m not saying it was bad writing – but I’m personally devastated. Magaery’s death still stands out to me as the most significant event of the finale. When I see people rejoicing at how the finale gave the audience what they wanted, I can only say “not what *I* wanted.”

    Thanks, Natalie, for your amazing work and best wishes in everything ahead.

  57. Estelindis,

    I don’t disagree with the writing choice to end her character’s time on the show –

    Actually Natalie asked them in Season 5 to release her so she could work on another project They said no but promised her she’d go out big in season 6 So she was going to be gone, just a matter of how.

  58. Of all the characters that died in the finale, hers is the only one I truly mourned. As someone said before, I was screaming at the TV for her to get out of there and RUUUUNNNN!! And when it was obvious she was going to die, I was seriously shaken.

    I loved her banters with Cersei, her conversations with the Queen of Thornes (the only one, besides Tywin, who could actually have a one-on-one with her), and despite being a shrewed player of the game, she treated other people nicely, even if she did not think much of them (Renly, Tommen, Sansa). It was a breadth of fresh air in a place where everybody despised everybody else.

    I would have loved to see her getting back at Cersei, but… oh, well, we will always have Paris… I mean KL.

    I hope they do a “Fallen” video like the one they did after season 4.

  59. Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell was the sort of character that grew on you without you even noticing it. Initially, I wasn’t too thrilled with her being cast for Marg, because of her age, especially since I hadn’t watched the Tudors or any of her other shows. I also didn’t like that the conflict was shifting from Starks vs. Lannisters to Tyrells vs. Lannisters. But before long, her scenes would become the ones that I watched and rewatched. Other people have mentioned her contrast with Cersei, her cleverness, and use of her feminine attributes to play the game of thrones. But most of all, I loved that she was a person who was geniunely caring, who also excelled at politics. She was a rarity in Game of Thrones, where a lot of “good” characters were sort of “dumb”, and the villains were usually a lot more efficient. Her scenes with Cersei and the other players at court ended up being some of my favorites overall. I think I only realized she was my favorite character the moment she died.

    I understand the decision to cut her off. Ultimately, the main story was always going to be about the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens. The Tyrells, Dorne and other plotlines are only ornamental for the main plot. Still, I don’t think I’m going to derive the same enjoyment of the scenes at court now, with Margaery gone. She was definitely one of the driving forces of the show up to this point.

  60. Jenny,

    Yeah that was kind of surprising. I can understand not feeling anything over his death but I saw some actually find it funny. I’m guessing the humor was in the way the show had him just step out a windownd poof he’s gone, it was so random, but afterwards you’re supposed to feel bad for him not happy and clapping that a grief stricken kid went in such a way. Not judging, it’s just fiction, just thought it strange reaction.

  61. This was definitely the biggest case of a character in the show being greatly improved from the book version. A lot of that was due to the writing of the character, but a lot of it was also due to Natalie’s breathtaking performance.

    Margaery played the game better than almost anyone else, and even often had me believing that her kind, generous actions were genuine… even though I knew they were just a publicity stunt. The fact that I also couldn’t quite tell whether or not she had truly converted to the Faith, also speaks to Natalie’s talent.

    While I can’t say hers was the death that broke me up the most this season (Hold the door! 🙁 ), I was definitely greatly saddened to lose her. I really wish she had managed to escaped that explosion… but at least her death was through no fault of her own. She played the game perfectly to the end, and only died because the High Sparrow was outplayed.

    Thank you very much for your performance over these 5 years, Natalie. Margaery will be missed greatly.

  62. Like many others have mentioned, when Margaery went to get Loras and started heading for the door, I thought they might make it out. Then, of course, the Sparrows blocked them, and I was surprised how upset I was. Once again, the way Sapochnick was able to build the tension in that whole sequence was amazing.

    As for Natalie Dormer, I’ll admit, I didn’t like her very much, at first. I found her Margaery too much like her Anne Boleyn. However, as the seasons progressed and I got to see more of her Margaery, I ended up really enjoying her work. She had some sublime moments, and I realized she was far, far more talented than I’d originally given her credit for being.

    Other than having a chance to enjoy more of Ms. Dormer’s work, I wish Margaery could have survived, because I really wanted to see how she was going to disentangle herself and Tommen from the High Sparrow (I feel like we at least saw the success of her plans for getting Loras out, albeit with the unexpected caveat of his forehead art).

  63. ash,

    I don’t understand this point of view at all. I keep seeing it everywhere though, especially on reaction videos. It’s a television show, nobody actually died or got hurt – it was a victory (albeit a rather Pyrrhic one) for Cersei, so of course I cheered! I actually laughed out loud, but that’s not because I think death is funny! It’s theatre, it represents life, rather than reflecting its actuality.
    Frankly, I feel like some people take fictional drama – and especially fictional deaths – way too seriously…

    Was sorry to see Margaery go but it felt right to me. She was taken out by circumstances completely beyond her control. It would’ve been difficult for her to foresee this. Natalie Dormer is amazing and beautiful though, so I expect she’ll go onto many more substantial roles. She does very subtle “eye-work”, as you noted. Also gonna miss Finn Jones, one of my few criticisms of the series is his lack of a real character arc.

  64. RIP Margaery. The true queen of Westeros. I will miss you and Natalie’s spectacular performance. Thank you Natalie.

    In honor of Margaery and Natalie, here’s a video i would like to share.

  65. RIP Margaery – and Natalie…you brought life to and far exceeded a character from the books.

    In honor of Margaery and Natalie, here’s a video i would like to share.

  66. Ahh, I thought Natalie’s curtain call was on the previous thread. Most of the comments seemed to pertain to it being that. So I’ve just copied and pasted what I wrote there.

    I was surprised Margeary met her demise when the Sept was destroyed. I thought she was one character who would continue on in the GoT series.

    Natalie Dormer played her part well and I wish her all the best of luck in the future.

  67. Roger Sykes,

    It’s theatre, it represents life, rather than reflecting its actuality.
    Frankly, I feel like some people take fictional drama – and especially fictional deaths – way too seriously…

    I do get what you are saying and think you have a point. But its complicated. Art imitates life, and yes represents it – but I think that often the line between art and life is blurred, esp in regards to fictional horror or tragedy. At the the time its being watched, it feels like life, and our emotions react to what we see. They also react to how others react, which might be why some of us are uncomfortable about others laughing at such tragedy. I admit I cheered when Joffrey, Ramsey and Frey got their comeuppance which some people might find horrendous. I think laughing at a young man killing himself , or that innocent people are dying, even if its fiction, is awful – but perhaps I need to get some perspective that this is storytelling at its finest and people will react to it hopefully differently than they would to a real life tragedy.
    (I don’t remember this, but I have been told that when I was very little, watching Bambi, I laughed when his mother died. I doubt I did so because she died, probably something I saw, but I’ve never been able to live that one down 🙂 . Anyway its late and Im not sure I am making sense, but yes I do see what you are saying. Need to think more on it.

  68. I was sad She had to go. I thought She would have made a perfect Queen for Jon. He is too honorable for his own good and she will balance that with her ability to play the game. Alas on to season 7!

  69. It was Melisandre who Dormer auditioned for. It makes sense as Carice van Houten rejected Cersei as she was filming another project, then was invited back to play Mel. They’re similar sized roles in the show anyway.

  70. RBloodworth: .

    Oh for sure. I mean not getting to stay with the largest most successful show ever made for HBO and indeed Television, who would want to stay to the end and be one of the big three top stars? Pffffft. What a notion, I am sure that Emelia cries in her pillow every night counting all the roles she will miss for having to stay and drudge on as Danaerys. It must cause her a great deal of distress, don’t you think?

    Have you been smokin’ your tennis shoes again? *rolls eyes*

  71. JCDavis: I am sure that Emelia cries in her pillow every night counting all the roles she will miss for having to stay and drudge on as Danaerys

    LOL, indeed.

    Natalie Dormer was born to play the role of Margaery Tyrell – she brought a few words in a book to dazzling life and will remain in our memories as The Queen. As I’ve said before, when asked to make a prediction of whom would be left standing at the end of the season, I was sure Marge would be there. Alas, twas not to be; her death was a hard, sad jolt to her fans. That’s a pretty good legacy to leave, and it will be a delight to follow Natalie’s future career.

  72. What a gem Dormer was as Margaery. If I were to pick the character that ended up being most improved by the series from the books, it’s her, and a lot of that is on her shoulders. Terrific.

  73. I remember thinking when she was first cast…NO!!!
    I foolishly thought she was too damn sexy. Stupid reason to think she was miscast, I know, but I envisioned a soft, flowery girl. Like Sansa but with savvy for the game.
    Hell, I was so wrong. Everything about Natalie’s performance was such a highlight! From that first moment, jumping up as Loras sparred and yelled “Highgarden!”, I fell in love with her. She was fantastic from start to finish. She seriously has the most expressive face and for a show with so many fantastic women leading the way, I would say she was at the top of the pyramid from the beginning. She more than held her own with legends like Rigg and Pryce.
    So, yeah, I was wrong to think she was “too sexy” to play Margarey Tyrell. She was perfection.

  74. Continue to burn in hell, you second-rate Cersei Lannister. “I want to be THE queen.”

    (when it comes to Show!Margaery or Cersei)

  75. I adored Natalie in The Tudors. I was over the moon when she was cast on GOT. She was one of the few cast that I could not care less if she were “like the book character”. The most queenly of all, her very presence commanded the room. Like many others stated, her death in that episode left a space that will not be filled. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors, Queen Natalie.

  76. Sigh…Agreed. As many other comments posted, Margaery’s death, for this final episode, was not what I had hoped for.
    I too really wanted to find out what her end game plans were against the High Sparrow. And yes, however naively, I still believe if her intuitive warnings had been heeded…at least she & Loras might’ve made it out. Maybe. Also, I don’t look too closely, or critically, at the “time travel” phenomenon. It’s a tv show. A fantasy other worldly based tv show. I expect a bit of the unexplainable to take place. As a book reader there have been things that have been a bit frustrating…but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the HBO series….Just, however, a few things I take issue with. The only one that I’ll bring up, lest I cause an absolute barrage of haters toward me with one other issue…I’m sad that there are only two Direwolves remaining. And I certainly hope that D&D are benevolent in their treatment to the end.
    Sigh…again…I never wish for time to pass quickly….But, season 7 is so far away…

  77. Having known Natalie from The Tudors, where I completely loved her performance as Anne Boleyn, I was glad to encounter her as Margaery. I saw the similarity of these two characters and I applauded the show for presenting us the inner thoughts of the young noble woman whose objective was “to be THE Queen”. I did not have much love for Margaery at first, I must admit, but lots of admiration for Natalie’s brilliant acting. Her scenes with Diana Rigg and Lena were sheer delight! And my always wondering which of Margaery’s feelings were genuine or what percentage of her care for the others was felt, not planned enhanced my admiration for this wonderful actress.
    I was glad to see Margaery manipulating Joffrey and opposing Cersei and then I noticed that she was not evil and I began to like her. During season 6 I praised her commitment to her family and her struggle to save her brother. Margaery’s death seemed so unjust, I mourned the departed Tyrells. I’m so glad Olenna survived, but very sorry not to be able to see Natalie’s Margaery again.
    It was a pleasure to see Natalie in Mockinjay and Scandalous Lady W. I’ll certainly watch any future films starring Ms Dormer.

  78. I’ll miss her most of all. GoT was my first sighting of Natalie, then later I noticed her in a small part in “Captain America.” I’ve never seen “The Tudors” but it’s apparent I’ll have to seek that show out.

    The moment for me, was that same comment “I want to be the Queen.” Oh, yes, my lady, now you reveal your ambition and I wish you well. I was crushed that Margaery didn’t make it out of the Sept, but in the end, I see that Cersei’s victory had to be complete and leave no room for competitors. Well played, Cersei(And Nina Gold, for her always-brilliant casting).

    But Natalie will definitely be in my heart and on my watchlist. That smile would charm any king.

  79. And now her machinations have ended.

    I remember Ms. Dormer being a highlight of The Tudors, which I stopped watching after she lost her head, so to speak, and it became apparent that the network wasn’t ever going to allow Jonathan Rhys Meyers to look anything remotely like the actual Henry VIII.

  80. I hate to be that guy, but… dang she’s pretty.

    If I were ever to be in the same room as Natalie, I would likely be the first man to blush himself to death.

    You were fantastic, Natalie. Thank you.

  81. I loved Margaery SO much. She was one of my top female characters. She was the perfect mixture of cunning, resourceful, and ambitious while also being kind at heart and adaptable. She knew how to use her femininity and ability to manipulate to get what she wanted, and it got her pretty far. She was smart enough to realize that Cersei was up to no good, and had she been able to get out sooner, she would’ve lived. As sad as I am that she’s gone, I don’t feel her character was disserviced in the end. It was only the guards that stopped her from escaping Cersei’s wrath, and not the fact that she wasn’t up to speed on what was about to happen. I’m going to miss her.

  82. Took me awhile to even read this, kind of glad i’ve been busy around 4th of July… LOVE Natalie Dormer. She was one of the reasons I started watching, having enjoyed the Tudors… (Not being a previous book reader). She will be missed on this show, can’t wait to see what she does for future projects (Have heard she is good in Elementary as well, on my to watch list.)

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