I vowed last year that I would stop comparing the HBO series Game of Thrones to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, in part because it becomes more and more difficult to hold a story told in the television format to the story found in a (so-far) five-volume, 3,000+ page series of novels. Also, the TV series deserves to be judged on its own merits, not just for its fealty to its source material. That said, the first few episodes gave depth to two characters that, to the best of my recollection, was missing in the books.
SPOILER ALERT: I’m going to talk about things that have happened so far on season 3 of Game of Thrones, some of which also happened in the book A Storm of Swords (book 3 in the ongoing series). This will, of course, draw on things in the first two seasons and first two books. I am still only halfway through book 5, A Dance With Dragons, so if something I say here contradicts something I haven’t read yet, shut up. I’ll finish the book, really.
Margaery Tyrell: The books are told in third-person, but each chapter is from the point of view of a specific character. You therefore see certain events from a specific character’s perspective. The death of Ned Stark, for example, was seen through Arya Stark’s eyes in the book, and we learn about Sansa Stark’s experience later. At no point so far have we seen anything from the point of view of any of the Tyrells. Most of what we have seen of Margaery Tyrell is through the eyes of Sansa and Cersei. Cersei is obviously a less-than-reliable judge of Margaery’s character, but the fact that Cersei hates her is a mark in Margaery’s favor. It is therefore fascinating to see how the show develops her.
We know from an exchange with Littlefinger in season 2 that Margaery is ambitious (“You want to be a queen.” “No, I want to be the Queen.”) Now we get to see her schemes firsthand. Natalie Dormer plays the role with both hypnotic beauty and a very subtle cunning (which might be redundant.) She is genuinely kind to the orphan children, even if we know she has an agenda. That scene was a brilliant foil to Joffrey’s character, who refused to get out of his litter lest the common people try to hurt him. Joffrey expects the people to follow and obey him because they have to, because he is their king, end of story. Margaery knows that she must earn their trust and their love, and that this will bring their obedience. The books only show this through Cersei’s horrified eyes. Continue reading