chat room

Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer on Margaery’s Virginity, Ser Pounce, and Her Role in Mockingjay

Natalie Dormer Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

“So am I the queen?” Margaery Tyrell wondered not so long ago on Game of Thrones. Her grandmother told her at the time, “You did wonderful work on Joffrey. The next one should be easier.”

And Sunday night, she learned that not only did her grandmother have a hand in disposing of hubby No. 2, but she already had No. 3 picked out — Joffrey’s little brother, Tommen. If they could only get it past Cersei, that is. “You’ll need to act quickly,” the Queen of Thorns advised the would-be queen of Westeros. “She’ll turn the boy against you as soon as she can.” So Margaery called upon Tommen (and his kitty Ser Pounce), and in what could have been a creepy exchange, told him to keep her visitation to his bed chamber their little secret. It’s all very innocent for now, unless you consider that her grandmother just helped kill his brother, she’s trying to semi-seduce a child, and if he did marry her, he’d be marrying his brother’s wife. It isn’t Game of Thrones without a little murder and incest, right? Natalie Dormer chatted with Vulture about Margaery’s virginity, slut-shaming, and finally getting some action of a different kind.

I just wanted to express my condolences for your being widowed twice over now …
[Laughs.] Yeah, poor Margaery! Third time lucky, hopefully.

Well, if that third time is to be with Tommen, it’s a little tricky, since he is just a child.
Yeah, it’s a very difficult position. Margaery is genuinely having problems recalibrating, because this is not what she planned for, and she’s taken aback by the Queen of Thorns’ suggestion that she go for Tommen instead.

And for her to be even eligible for this third marriage, she has to position herself as a virgin. Her other two marriages can’t have been consummated. Not that there was time with either one of them before they died …
[Laughs.] My interpretation is that nothing ever happened.

Although there was a point where she was willing to have a sort of threesome with Renly and Loras, to get her then-husband “started,” as she put it. 
I think she tried to get Renly into bed, and offered a threesome or whatever to get him moving, but nothing ever happened. It wasn’t consummated in any capacity, at all. But it gives a great insight into Margaery, that she would have done that. I think the Tyrells would have worked as a team, but there was no practical opportunity to act on that. But whether Margaery is a virgin or not is not synonymous with whether she slept with one of her two husbands. I mean, officially, Margaery is a virgin. Even Loras is ambiguous about whether Margaery is a virgin or not, but it’s definite that she didn’t sleep with either of her husbands.

Joffrey wasn’t even interested in sex so much…
[Laughs.] He got his kicks elsewhere.

But that will be a question, her virtue. And it’s an unfair question, but given the time and place, slut-shaming is a part of this world …
… in this fantastical medieval world that we’re in, yes. It’s a very uncomfortable spotlight. But it’s about the purity of blood. It’s not so much about promiscuous behavior — it’s about keeping the bloodline pure. You want whoever is sitting on the throne to be of the heritage, of the genealogy of the family. So it’s not just saying, “She’s a whore.” It’s not a comfortable or pretty scenario for Margaery to be in at all, but she’s not just some cold-hearted, calculating cow that will do anything for power. She’s been given an instruction, and they’re so deep into the game now, she has to follow through. So we’re getting deeper and deeper into the machinations, and it gets more dangerous the further forward she steps. And we can predict that Cersei is going to make that path as rocky as possible. And Cersei is an immoral bitch. [Laughs.]

And a hypocrite. What she accuses others of doing is often something she’s done herself.
But Margaery knows that Cersei is a hypocrite, so it’s very interesting how those two women are going to lock horns. It’s going to become an intense chess game, and you wonder, is Margaery going to get pulled to the dark side, to get dirty, in order to survive playing against Cersei? The Tyrells are not the Lannisters. They are politically savvy, but there’s not the darkness to them. I would like to think that even Olenna, who as it transpires was responsible for the Purple Wedding, would never do something like the Red Wedding, would never stab a pregnant woman in the belly. So it’s levels of ethics, which is a modern debate, really. If you could get redemption for killing anybody, it would be for killing Joffrey!

Did you know that Ser Pounce is a fan favorite? In the books, he’s one of the three kittens Margaery gives Tommen, to win him over.
Is he? That’s so cute! She would have made a very good therapist, I think. She’s very skilled at personality analysis. Tommen’s too young for her to appeal to him in a certain way, the way she could with Joffrey, because he’s still a child, so she wants to befriend him, gain his trust, and make him feel safe. He has an attachment with the cat, so she draws on that. She’s very good at figuring out what makes people tick.

Then why, if she ‘s able to do this with everyone else, is she unable to have any effect on Cersei?
That’s a very good point. I don’t know! Because Cersei is such a veteran, you almost wonder if when she looks in the mirror, she sees a little bit of her younger self in Margaery. You get the feeling that there was once a purer heart in Cersei that got twisted. So then you wonder, is this how Margaery could turn out? If things go wrong? In another world, if Margaery and Cersei were playing for the same team, they would be a formidable force as teammates. They would probably like each other, because they’re so well-matched. Lena [Headey] and I love playing those scenes, because there is so much unsaid that is being said. It’s all daggers behind smiles.

Since Margaery plays a war of words, did that help you find common ground, to play Cressida, the propaganda filmmaker from Mockingjay?
You know, that’s an interesting point. Cressida is employed by the rebellion in this modern capacity that we would recognize as PR and propaganda, winning over hearts and minds in the civil war. And yeah, what Margaery does is modern PR-stunting. So yes, there would be a similarity between the two characters, that they are astute at media manipulation. But that would probably be the only similarity. [Laughs.] Margaery is not running around with a semi-automatic rifle and army boots! Which I actually quite enjoyed. There was this great scene in episode one this season between Margaery and Brienne, and they talked about the difference between fighting with words and fighting with weaponry, and a woman’s lot in Westeros, as it were, but unfortunately a lot of that scene got cut. Maybe it’ll end up on the extra features on the DVD.

Can you imagine if Margaery got to be more physical? After all, her brother Loras is a famed swordsman …
It would be great if Margaery Tyrell could do a bit of a Katniss Everdeen, and pick up a bow and arrow! In my dreams!  [Laughs.]

GoT’s Natalie Dormer on Margaery’s Virginity