Natalie Dormer's mouth hung open in sheer disbelief. She could not believe the words spewing out of her teen co-star Sophie Turner's mouth at the "Game of Thrones" junket last week in Beverly Hills, Calif. Clearly shocked, Dormer exclaimed, "Are you serious? We can't be friends anymore."
Judging by her reaction, you'd think Turner was divulging Season 3's biggest secrets. But all of you who fear spoilers can exhale, as she did not reveal who her character's groom will be, whether she'll ever escape King's Landing, if she'll reunite with her Stark siblings again, or if she is on the receiving end of any more of King Joffrey's punishments. Nope, all Turner did to horrify Dormer was admit she is "a fiend" for "Jersey Shore," "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," and "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."
"Is this a generational thing? Am I showing my age?" questioned Dormer, who eschews reality TV in favor of more critically acclaimed fare like "House of Cards" or "Breaking Bad." Turner just shrugged off her judgment and reminded her, "Opposites attract, Natalie."
As they giggled about their differences, it was clear that the increase in shared screen time in the third installment of "GoT" has made these two actresses closer, and that the protective older-sister dynamic that Margaery Tyrell (Dormer) finds with Sansa Stark (Turner) has crept into their real lives. Turner, 17, often let Dormer, 31, give the first answer to journalists' questions, and Dormer often commented from a place of "been there, done that, just you wait."
Like when the subject of fanatic series supporters came up. "Soph' has been spoiled because her first experience of a fanbase is the 'Game of Thrones' fanbase. They are incredibly supportive, enthusiastic, and there's this lovely cross-pollination between people who love the books and people who have discovered the story through the show," she declared, turning her glacial blue gaze at Turner, who coincidentally shares a very similar striking eye color. "Like, you've really been spoiled. It is a cultural pivotal moment, and how amazing to be part of that. It's only downhill from here."
Dormer also mentioned, but only after getting the OK from Turner, that Turner got a dose of downhill when a recent birthday made her eligible for adult schedules and regulations. "She's no longer doing child hours. This is the first season that Soph' had to do the same hours as everyone else and it came as a shock. I was like, 'Do you want a coffee? Welcome to my world, the world of wig fitting at 4 a.m.,'" Dormer recalled. "But you totally used it, darling -- that weariness and tiredness."
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Turner, who jokingly accused Dormer of enjoying "watching her be tortured," agreed that it came in handy as she brought this "broken human being" to life again: "[In] Season 1, you have this innocent, naive, enthusiastic 13-year-old girl. Skip to [Season] 3: You notice a huge difference. She doesn't do everything wholeheartedly like she did before. She doesn't have the same spring in her step. She carries herself differently. She doesn't want to look like this, but she has to. If she looked any different, Joffrey or the queen would punish her. She is totally broken, emotionally and physically. She is nothing like me, to be honest, but I have total empathy with her."
Luckily for Sansa, the Tyrells -- in the form of Margaery, who is now destined to become Joffrey's queen, and her wise and influential grandmother, Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg) -- have come to King's Landing, and in them she finds potential allies. "The Tyrells have a plan, and Sansa thinks she has a plan. When Sansa meets Lady Olenna, she is very educated, and Sansa believes she knows how to play the game. Margaery offers this protective, motherly figure because Margaery educates Sansa," Turner said. "I really like the relationship between them because they're manipulated into becoming friends, which they would have done [anyway] if they had met in any other circumstance. It is a little bittersweet between them."
Dormer continued, "They are two young, personable, intelligent, sensitive women in quite a scary situation. It would be oh so much nicer and more reassuring if they could actually be friends, but unfortunately it is not up to them to decide, because they are both pawns in a bigger game. It is sort of a big-sister dynamic: 'Let me take care of you. Listen to me.' The Tyrells move in to take on the Lannisters, and poor old [Sansa] is smack in the middle of that. We are trying to win her over to us."
Margaery is also trying to win over the kingdom -- flashing warm smiles, visiting orphans, trying to bond with Cersei, seducing her future husband with skimpy silks and complimenting his big crossbow. Dormer described her character as "very pragmatic, sincere, and [full] of warmth." When asked if she thought it was all an act, she gave it careful consideration. "I'm not playing it as insincere." Turner added, "Margaery may feel she is using Sansa sometimes, even though they have this friendship. It will be difficult to deceive the other because they are so close. They are friends, but maybe with different intentions."
Dormer felt that theory could be applied series-wide. "Whether you're talking about Tyrion or Littlefinger, the ambiguity of motivation is what makes the characterizations and plots so interesting." she remarked. "You can't quite define people. There aren't goodies and baddies, [except] when you talk about Joffrey; just people just trying to survive. They might not want to betray or hurt someone, but everyone's finding that events are bigger than them. Reversal of fortune -- what Season 3 is all about."
Watch a trailer:
"Game of Thrones" Season 3 premieres Sunday, 3/31 at 9 PM on HBO.