The first that most Game of Thrones stars know about the fact that they’re being killed off is when they’re flicking through the pages of the script in question or – if showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss are feeling particularly charitable – in a quiet chat not long before filming begins.
But Natalie Dormer, who played Margaery Tyrell in the notoriously bloody fantasy drama, has revealed that under special circumstances she was told a full year before her character was due to be vaporised in Cersei Lannister’s destruction of the Kings Landing Sept with deadly wildfire.
“We all have to dedicate, like, six months of our lives to [Game of Thrones] every year,” Dormer told an audience at the London Film and Comic Con. “As actors we do get frustrated if we can’t do the other jobs we want to do in the other months of the year. So I phoned Dan and David because there was a job that I really wanted to do and they said ‘no, you can’t do it, we won’t release you from the schedule’ and I was really upset and they said ‘but don’t worry Natalie, we’re gonna kill you next year’.
“So unlike a lot of cast I found out a year earlier than normal because it was meant to be like compensation: ‘you will soon be free so shut up and stop complaining’.”
And although Dormer was at pains to point out that she would never have wanted to leave “the zeitgeist show of the world”, she admitted there had been an upside to her fiery death.
“I finally made the movie that I wrote,” said Dormer. “It took about eight years to get it together – it’s hard to make an independent movie – and if I’d still been in Game of Thrones I wouldn’t have been able to make In Darkness.”
So it seems every cloud has a silver lining – even if it’s a cloud of infernal wildfire.
Natalie Dormer was speaking on a panel at the London Film and Comic Con