'It's corny as hell, but she saved my life' - Emilia Clarke says playing Daenerys Targaryen was what she needed after brain injury
Emilia Clarke says Daenerys Targaryen “saved [her] life”, after she battled two aneurysms.
The 32-year-old actress starred as the Mother of Dragons in ‘Game of Thrones’, and after struggling with life-threatening brain injuries during the filming of seasons two and three of the hit HBO show, she’s credited the role with giving her the “strength” to get back on her feet.
She said: "I've been lying about this for a number of years. Every time anyone was like, ‘Where do you get your strength?' I'm like, ‘Heavens, I have no idea.' But [my character] and I grew together and, it's corny as hell, but she saved my life.
“The main thing that happens after you've had a brain injury - paralysis and all of that aside - is that you have fatigue, which sounds like a fancy way of saying you're tired, but it's debilitating to the point of demoralising. And you can't look someone in the eye because it brings up shame.
“Most people don't have the mother of dragons' shoes to walk in to help them get out of it, and those are the people I speak to now. But for me, the show must go on, so you get back in those shoes and Khaleesi's killing all the masters, speaking to 300 people in a language that's not real and having sex with Kit Harington [who plays Jon Snow].”
Emilia says playing Daenerys - which is a role she held from the first series in 2011, until the last ever episode aired on Sunday - has been an “unbelievable blessing” to her, and believes her determination to continue in the role is what made sure she didn’t lose her “cognitive skills”.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter’s Roundtable series, she said: "It literally forced me awake again and to look someone in the eye because I had to. It's been an unbelievable blessing. And I'm so lucky to have my cognitive skills - there is a bit of my brain that's died and we don't know what it is, but it's probably my taste in men.”