Is Margaery fundamentally evil?
She doesn’t think about herself that way, but of course very few people think of themselves as being bad. Margaery believes that she would be a much better queen for Westeros and that she would improve the lives of the people. Now she’s faced with a much more difficult challenge, of course.
You’ve become identified with strong-willed, determined female characters. Is that how you perceive yourself?
I like being part of the changing climate when it comes to female characters and the way women are represented in films and series. The industry needs to keep heading in the direction where women are shown to be vital and dynamic individuals and who help drive a story forward.
Katniss and The Hunger Games have had a huge impact… I get written to by a lot of young girls who really connected with The Hunger Games books and Katniss and Cressida. And they see the renaissance of three-dimensional, fleshed out, complicated, contradictory female roles.
These are young ladies who I want to be able to go along for the ride, into dramas and horrors and whatever else I do.
How does Margaery compare to Cressida?
They’re both women who are actively defining their lives and their journeys. Cressida is driven by her political beliefs and Margaery is also very ambitious on that level. And even though she (Margaery) has had several husbands, she’s never allowed herself to be defined by any of the men in her life. That shows how women can lead interesting, engaging lives apart from their romantic relationships.
We need to keep sending that kind of message to young audiences and young women in particular.
Is there a lot of that kind of determination and fire in your own personality?
It took me time before I was able to become more forceful. I suffered from a lot of bullying in school, and I needed to work on my confidence level in my twenties. I’m much more open now and I’m pretty straightforward. I think I keep gaining confidence every time I play these kinds of characters.