When one user wrote to her online in response to the show, “This is so gross,” she was quick to respond, “I’m sorry, that’s hilarious, I just want to thank all of these people online and the folks that have helped out in terms of helping me to talk to people about suicide, and help me better realize that I’m not making excuses because we didn’t ask these questions to the users at the start of the show. We need to be able to be ourselves again. We’re not just talking about it now, but how we’re going to react later in the season and get it over with for people like YouTuber Bongman or the fans that took umbrage at my character’s characterization.” Turner, who is a member of the podcast community and a contributor to a variety of online forums and podcasts for show and website audiences, hopes other commenters have learned through their experiences, and it’s only fitting. “So every one out there out there is more than a little bit of knowledge, but every person’s an individual,” she says. “It’s not always on this list but every one of you know that I had fun playing my characters off the ground, and I think the people who have shared the knowledge probably have better ideas about how we can come up with real, meaningful solutions to this, just do the right thing and stay together.” It’s not hard for one to think about Turner’s time on “Game of Thrones,” and her time on “Downton Abbey” was, in a lot of ways, an exercise in human interaction. “All my life I’ve thought about how this show could use a really small amount of people in our world to solve some huge problems,” Turner says. “I know that I’ve had people tell me that my character, because she’s so powerful and beautiful in the show and so selfless and the person who would do anything that the show would do, should be given a role that’s bigger than the role my characters actually do. But these are real people. They don’t look like us. They don’t have complex and different motivations and motives. Their only motivations are their own.” Turner’s passion for television brought her to television as a child. “I’m not saying that it was what it should be, but my childhood had given me the greatest sense of self and an ability to make decisions for my own benefit,” she says. “I think that because of the people I knew, in my personal life and in the books… my character could go and do a thing, and, even if it did not work out, that was how I would want it to be in me.” With that motivation came great and true responsibility for what led up to that decision, even if not with the characters and events of actual episodes. As the show’s series progressed, Turner moved on from the books and turned her attention to other parts of the character. “I think I still felt very free to be whatever I wanted to be and I think it’s really exciting to have people who are as open and honest about their reactions to what may be happening to them as I have been and as I’ve been a part of so many stories,” Turner says. “I’m lucky enough to have somebody who feels as though they can be anything they choose.
“I’m fortunate enough to have somebody who feels as though they can be anything they choose.”
When I ask Turner how she feels about having a third TV show on the air? “My personal situation is so different from what I would find on other shows,” Turner says to chuckles. “I’d say I’d find that my family is different from TV shows. It’s more about what I feel in others. My family and everybody I’ve touched, people I’ve made friends with, my friends who have put in a lot of time and effort, are just, because I can and I feel so much love and affection for them and even support them even now, that it’s so much more difficult to connect with people than be with anything else.” She adds, “That’s really why ‘Game of Thrones,’ you know where we were, so many things about who we were as a family, that made us really happy. I’d love to see something made that doesn’t all fit neatly into the same kind of genre. But I honestly think, if we could do something that would reflect the characters, then there would be a real audience, and that would be great.”
What do we know about how TV is impacting the health of this country this summer? For Turner, it’s just about the most powerful shift she’s ever seen. “We’re doing something that’s not limited to sports, but will ultimately impact all those other things, the health of the planet,” she says. “Obviously we’re making a lot of TV out of just showing the world around, but it was just so important to give people from all sorts of different viewpoints, different perspectives a chance.”