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'Game of Thrones' star Natalie Dormer a cut above with half-shaved head

On "Game of Thrones," Natalie Dormer's Margery has had to endure some pretty tough moments, courtesy of her sadist fiancé, King Joffrey. But on TODAY Monday, the British actress revealed she can be one tough cookie right back.

Take, for example, her hair. Cast as Cressida in the upcoming "Hunger Games" movie "Mockingjay," the actress braced for a serious transformation, as she'd been told her head would be shaved. "I got away lightly in the end," she said. "I reconciled myself to shaving my entire head, and then I had a conference with Francis Lawrence, the director, and he said, 'You know what, I was thinking maybe we'd just go half.'"

And then she lifted up her shoulder-length blonde locks from the left side of her head to reveal that yes, it was still barely a buzz-cut over there. "Margery (wears) a wig," she added quickly, "so 'Game of Thrones' didn't need to have a panic attack."

Acting has always been something Dormer wanted to do; she said as a child she would talk to herself in the mirror and make up characters from her "dressing-up box." A kid who does that, she said, is "either going to be schizophrenic or an actor."

Fortunately, for her, it was the latter. But just because she's able to reveal a shaved head with aplomb, or go up against the serious nastiness that can show up in Westeros on "Thrones" doesn't mean she occasionally doesn't need a boost. For that, she has a small tattoo on her left wrist ("fear is the mind-killer"), which she explained is an excerpt of the Litany Against Fear from Frank Herbert's novel "Dune."

"It's ... to remind me to take myself out of my comfort zone," she said.

Done, and done. 

"Game of Thrones" airs on Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO; "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1" will be in theaters on Nov. 21.

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