5. Queen Margaery’s Naked Ambition
THE CHANGE: I believe it was the great Russian playwright Anton Chekov who wrote that one mustn't cast an actress from The Tudors if one has no intention of requiring her to take her top off. That's certainly one advantage of hiring 30-year-old Natalie Dormer to play the teen queen of the novels – like every character from Rickon Stark to Tywin Lannister, she's been aged up on the show to better reflect modern-day societal – and legal! – norms regarding sex and marriage. But Dormer's sly, sexy performance does more than provide a few more (exquisite) inches of skin to bare: It transforms Margaery from a largely mute mystery whose motives and level of involvement in the game of thrones are unknown at this stage in the book series into a no-holds-barred power player.
THE VERDICT: I'm on board with this one. While George R.R. Martin never made Margaery's political cunning this clear, he never did anything to indicate she wasn't this ambitious, either, so it fits perfectly well. It's less an invention than a peek behind closed tentflaps at something that was there all along, and that's a thrilling sensation.