Season 6 of Game of Thrones came to a close in thrilling fashion last night with the season finale episode, The Winds of Winter. This episode confirmed several long-standing rumors, along with giving fans a few surprises to boot. As is the case with most Game of Thrones season finales, several characters lost their lives, and will not be returning in the new season. Today we have details from one of these cast members. If you have not seen the shocking Season 6 finale, there will be MASSIVE SPOILERS below, so read on at your own risk.
The season finale, which HBO confirmed is the longest episode in the show's history at 69 minutes, begins with the High Sparrow's (Jonathan Pryce) trial of both Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). While we saw Loras confess his sins and commit the rest of his life to the Sparrows, Cersei had other plans, refusing to show up for her own trial. With the help of Qyburn (Anton Lesser) and some brutal youngsters, Cersei lead her cousin Lancel Lannister into the tunnels beneath the Great Sept of Baelor, where, with some properly placed candles, used barrels of wildfire to blow up the entire place, killing everyone inside, most notably, the High Sparrow and the Queen, Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). Entertainment Weekly caught up to Natalie Dormer, who shed some light about how she was informed about Margaery Tyrell's death.
"I preempted the phone call because in true Natalie Dormer-style I tried to fit a million projects into a single year. I requested [while making season 5 that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] release me from working on the show earlier than usual so I could do another project, and they ended up phoning me - and that was The Call. But I got it six months ahead of normal. They were like, 'We weren't going to tell you this for a few more months, but we're not going to release you now, so you can't do that job you really want to do and we're really sorry about that. But on the bright side, we are going to release you proper in the not-so-distant future.' It was good news, bad news - no you can't do this, but don't worry, you're going to have lots more opportunities very soon."
Earlier this season, Margaery managed to escape the embarrassing walk of shame Cersei had to endure in the Season 5 finale, as she and King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman entered into an alliance with the High Sparrow. Tommen also outlawed trials by combat, likely anticipating that his mother would use The Mountain (Hafthor Julius Bjornsson), but when Cersei refused to show up for the trial, Margaery tried to evacuate the Sept of Baelor, but it was too late. When asked how she felt about this brutal death, Natalie Dormer had this to say.
"They have to tighten the storylines given however many episodes are left. They have to focus them, down to get to the real business of the throne. Dany's not far away. I appreciate they have to streamline and they've come up with some ingenious ways to do that that the audience will not see coming. That's Game of Thrones all over, isn't it? Every year something comes from the left field that no one could have predicted. It's great they can still shock people six years on. I watch as an audience member as well, you get side swiped. I thought it was really clever. I really did. It's not an echo of anything you've seen in the last six years. It's truly it's own unique moment to tie up what's been a unique storyline about what's happened in King's Landing over the course of season 6. I thought it was an inspired choice. And it's really interesting that I am given a moment of some vindication at the very end, which was the perfect way for Margaery to leave the show. She's given a platform to say that she was right, as she always is. But because the power was taken from her, she couldn't do anything about it."
There had been rumors swirling all season that Cersei may use the wildfire that had been stored underneath the Sept, which, like many rumors this season, turned out to be true. This magnificent explosion is the culmination of this battle of wits between Margaery and Cersei which had been going on for quite some time, and resulted in Cersei herself taking the Iron Throne, after King Tommen ended up taking his own life. When asked why Margaery lost this battle against the cunning Cersei, Natalie Dormer had this to say.
"The reason it all goes tits up is because Margaery wasn't in control of the battle against Cersei. She had to hand the reins over to the High Sparrow and Cersei outplays him. By the end, Margaery is a victim of the High Sparrow's incompetence. He underestimates Cersei and that's something Margaery Tyrell would never do. David and Dan try to stay as close to human nature as possible. Margaery had a fantastic arc in comparison to what's in the books. David and Dan stood by what they originally said they would do, which is give me stuff to get my teeth into. It's the longest time I've every spent playing a character. I'll always have a little yellow rose after my heart, and I think it was just the right length of time, to be honest. It's time for the Westeros story to move on and it's a perfect time for her to exit."
Much like Season 6, which was the first where the show had caught up with and surpassed the books written by George R.R. Martin, we aren't completely sure what will happen in Season 7, but it's quite clear that the greatest war in Westeros history is in fact coming. The last scenes of the finale showed Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her massive fleet including ships from Theon (Alfie Allen) and Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) along with their new allies in Dorne, setting sail for Westeros. We'll be sure to keep you posted with more on Season 7 of Game of Thrones as the long countdown to this season begins.