Emilia Clarke, of “Game of Thrones,” on Surviving Two Life-Threatening Aneurysms

Sunday, Apr 7, 2019

Just when all my childhood dreams seemed to have come true, I nearly lost my mind and then my life. I’ve never told this story publicly, but now it’s time.

It was the beginning of 2011. I had just finished filming the first season of “Game of Thrones,” a new HBO series based on George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels. With almost no professional experience behind me, I’d been given the role of Daenerys Targaryen, also known as Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Lady of Dragonstone, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons. As a young princess, Daenerys is sold in marriage to a musclebound Dothraki warlord named Khal Drogo. It’s a long story—eight seasons long—but suffice to say that she grows in stature and in strength. She becomes a figure of power and self-possession. Before long, young girls would dress in platinum wigs and flowing robes to be Daenerys Targaryen for Halloween.

The show’s creators, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, have said that my character is a blend of Napoleon, Joan of Arc, and Lawrence of Arabia. And yet, in the weeks after we finished shooting the first season, despite all the looming excitement of a publicity campaign and the series première, I hardly felt like a conquering spirit. I was terrified. Terrified of the attention, terrified of a business I barely understood, terrified of trying to make good on the faith that the creators of “Thrones” had put in me. I felt, in every way, exposed. In the very first episode, I appeared naked, and, from that first press junket onward, I always got the same question: some variation of “You play such a strong woman, and yet you take off your clothes. Why?” In my head, I’d respond, “How many men do I need to kill to prove myself?”

To relieve the stress, I worked out with a trainer. I was a television actor now, after all, and that is what television actors do. We work out. On the morning of February 11, 2011, I was getting dressed in the locker room of a gym in Crouch End, North London, when I started to feel a bad headache coming on. I was so fatigued that I could barely put on my sneakers. When I started my workout, I had to force myself through the first few exercises.

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Emilia Clarke on “Game of Thrones” and her near-death experience

Sunday, Apr 7, 2019

Spend any time with Emilia Clarke, and it’s easy to see that she’s not like the character she plays on TV. “The big difference between me and Dani [is] my sense of humor, in that I have one,” Clarke laughed. “I mean, that lady ain’t cracking jokes!”
“That lady” is Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, rightful heir to the Iron Throne, rightful Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, and Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, among other titles. She commands an air force of dragons, walks through fire, and is a serious contender to win the “Game of Thrones.”

The final season of the series, which begins next week on HBO, is the biggest TV show on Earth. It’s famous for killing off its lead characters, but (so far) Clarke’s has survived.
Correspondent Tracy Smith said, “Even though you are one of the obviously most powerful characters in the show, I don’t think audiences would be surprised if they killed you?”
“Well, this is the incredible writing, the incredible storytelling on the show,” Clarke said. “And in that way that life can be shocking and frightening and confusing, this show doesn’t shy away from that for the sake of storytelling. It embraces that.”
“So, without giving anything away, when you read that final script, what happens to Daenerys, what was your reaction?”
“It’s sort of almost impossible to answer that question.”
“Without giving something away?”
“Uh-huh. I have so much to say about that!”
Continue reading Emilia Clarke on “Game of Thrones” and her near-death experience

Gallery: First Look at Game of Thrones Season 8

Sunday, Apr 7, 2019
Gallery link: Photos taken from Far Far Away

Gallery: Magazines & Photoshoots 2019 Update

Sunday, Apr 7, 2019

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Gallery/Video: Emilia Clarke at The Late Show with Stephen Colber

Sunday, Apr 7, 2019
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