10/16/2012 10:14 am ET

Michelle Dockery Talks Surprising 'Downton Abbey' Season 3

There's no doubt that Lady Mary's (Michelle Dockery) character has changed since the first few episodes of "Downton Abbey."

But while chatting with "Mad Men" star Elisabeth Moss for Interview magazine, Dockery admitted she was surprised by just how different her character became.

"When I first read the role, I assumed [Lady Mary] would stay -- a not very emotional, very tough aristocrat. And then, episode by episode, her character just softens," Dockery said, "particularly in Season Two, because she discovers that she's actually deeply in love with Matthew and is devastated to find that he's engaged to someone else.

"What's interesting about the new season is that some characters can't quite adapt to the rapid changes that occur after the First World War ... particularly Lord Grantham and, of course, Violet [Dowager Countess of Grantham] ... They find it difficult to adapt, whereas Mary goes along with the changes quite well in the third season."

Season 2 of "Downton Abbey" saw a more soap-like plot, largely brought on by the first world war.

“This is going to sound quite, um, pretentious, but someone said that it’s like a soap written by a poet," Dockery said in an interview with Harper's Bazaar in August. "I used to get quite defensive of people saying it’s soap-like, but it kind of is."

Season 3 of "Downton Abbey" will premiere in the U.S. in January 2013.

Emmy Nominees 2012