Natalie Dormer Thought Her Game Of Thrones Death Was A 'Golden Ticket'

When an actor signs onto a TV series, it can be a leap of faith. The threat of cancellation in an ever-increasing unpredictable media landscape hovers over ensemble casts like the Sword of Damocles. On the flip side, for a popular TV series like HBO's "Game of Thrones," the series can last for an incredibly long time. When this happens, it introduces a new dilemma: characters outlasting their narrative purpose.

In the case of Natalie Dormer's Margaery Tyrell, the character was killed off at the right time. That isn't to say that viewers wanted her to meet a tragic end; Margaery was a fan favorite for her beauty, cleverness, and likable personality. But by season 6, there wasn't much more that could be explored with her character after she became Queen Consort. With Cersei Lannister still alive, Margaery's fate was inevitable. 

Showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff crafted a fiery send-off for Margaery and several other characters in the "Game of Thrones" season 6 finale. Outmaneuvered by Cersei, Margaery is killed alongside her brother, father, the High Sparrow, and others when the Great Sept of Baelor is destroyed by wildfire. The execution of this particular moment stills sends chills up and down the spine, and wraps up the life of a character who had always aimed to outmaneuver those around her, but — ultimately — lost the game of thrones. 

For Dormer, though, this exit from the award-winning series ended up being a godsend.

A golden exit

Natalie Dormer had been itching to be released from "Game of Thrones" long before her demise in season 6. As she revealed during an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she had prompted the discussion with showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff while in the middle of shooting season 5. With a variety of different projects calling her name, she didn't want any opportunities to pass her by. She wasn't let go immediately, but Weiss and Benioff did let her know that she would be available to pursue other opportunities soon. 

By the time season 6 rolled around, the timing of Margaery's departure felt right. "I got the golden ticket, the perfect length of time," Dormer shared with Variety. "I watched season 1 as a fan, came in the second season, did a good solid five years just as the show had this incredible explosion, and then I got out in time to watch the end and sit on the couch again."

By leaving when she did, Dormer avoided the infamously negative fan reaction to the show's final season. While the end of "Game of Thrones" wasn't for everyone, Dormer's reaction to its conclusion was amicable. "It was almost going to be the impossible task," she shared with People. "Regardless of what [Weiss and Benioff] had done, to satisfy a third act for everyone in the time that they had." 

Since her departure from "Game of Thrones," Dormer has kept busy. Of particular note are her appearances in the limited series "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and the mini-series spinoff "Penny Dreadful: City of Angels".