[This post contains SPOILERS for the Game of Thrones season 6 finale.]
Several dramatic developments transpired during the Game of Thrones season 6 finale - with the most dramatic of them taking place in King's Landing, as Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) dealt with her enemies in a rather effective manner: blowing them up using the caches of wildfire lingering beneath the city's streets from the days when Aerys II "The Mad King" Targaryen sat on the Iron Throne. Among those who ended up being obliterated during the Sept of Baelor's destruction-by-wildfire were the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), in addition to the Tyrell siblings, Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Loras (Finn Jones).
Both Dormer and Jones' characters were either being held prisoner by the High Sparrow's forces or, in Margaery's case, playing the long-con by pretending to have become a devoted follower of The Faith, during Game of Thrones season 6. The Tyrells' deaths were nonetheless quite significant in the grand scheme of the TV show's overarching narrative and certainly emotional impactful for fans of the characters - though, in the real world, the future's looking bright for Dormer and Jones, as far as their post-Game of Thrones work slate is concerned.
Loras' future on Game of Thrones was in doubt well before the season 6 finale aired, due to the actor having signed on to star in Marvel and Netflix's upcoming Iron Fist TV series. Nevertheless, as the actor told EW, he didn't know for certain what the future held for Loras until he got "the call" from Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss:
Well, I got scripts 1 through 9 and read them all and thought, “Cool, cool, cool. This is good. I only got episode 10 to come.” I felt really positive, there’s only one more episode left! Then it was the evening before we got together for the table read and they were holding back the script for episode 10. And I was like, “Why didn’t I get episode 10 yet? That’s really weird. It’s 5 p.m. and we’re doing it tomorrow. Why haven’t I received it?” And just as I was saying that I get a call from [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss]. And as I’m picking up, I’m staying positive, thinking, “Maybe they’re checking in to say ‘Hi.’” And they were just like [a long pause of dead silence….]. And I was like “Ahhhh, God no! I was so close to season 7!”
Jones then assured that EW that when it came to Loras' death, he felt "the timing of it was so perfect. Better to blaze out, quite literally, than fade out in seasons to come." The actor also expressed his enthusiasm about his next major role, that of Danny Rand/Iron Fist, and told EW that he's "in the physical preparation for the role" every day - but even though production on the show is now underway, he has yet to try on the proper Iron Fist costume. As far as what drew Jones to the Iron Fist series to begin with, he offered the following answer (which brings to mind similar statements he's made about Danny Rand in the past):
I love the character. What really drew me was the character and the story. I really enjoy how he’s a superhero with a real heart but has spiritual elements as well. I think it’s going to be an exciting character to play because there’s this contraction of on one hand he’s from a very wealthy family, he’s a billionaire, on the other hand he’s been in this world of K’un-Lun for a long time where he’s learned kung fu and buddhist philosophy. There’s a contradiction in those elements that’s going to be really fun to play.
Dormer, for her part, is keeping busy too, having already lined up roles in such upcoming films as In Darkness (among others), post-Game of Thrones. Interestingly, Dormer told EW that she had requested to be released from the show in season 5, in order to free up her schedule - at which point, she herself got "the call" from Benioff and Weiss:
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.
Like Jones, Domer told EW that she was ultimately pleased with how Margaery met her end on Game of Thrones - namely, not through some incompetence on her behalf, but because the High Sparrow has under-estimated Cersei's ruthlessness and failed to realize that he had pushed Cersei to the point where she would be willing to take desperate (and horrifying) action. As Dormer put it:
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.
As indicated before, Dormer is already looking to keep busy and fill up her schedule with additional film and/or TV shows in the foreseeable future. That being said, now's as good a time as any for those fans who have been wanting to see her take on a particular role in an upcoming franchise film or major tentpole to let their wishes be heard...
Game of Thrones will return to HBO with season 7 in spring 2017.
Daredevil season 1 & 2 and Jessica Jones season 1 are now available on Netflix. Luke Cage season 1 will arrive on September 30th, 2016. Release dates for Jessica Jones season 2, Iron Fist, The Defenders and The Punisher on Netflix have not yet been announced.