EntertainmentEmilia Clarke's hidden battle: Brain aneurysm nearly ended GoT role

Emilia Clarke's hidden battle: Brain aneurysm nearly ended GoT role

The star of the HBO series was in serious condition.
The star of the HBO series was in serious condition.
Images source: © Licensor | Neil Mockford, Ricky Vigil M

2:38 PM EST, November 7, 2023

It's hard to imagine one of the all-time most popular series without this actress. After only the first season, she almost bid farewell to the role that brought her immense fame. Emilia Clarke of "Game of Thrones" was faced with a challenging health predicament.

"Game of Thrones" ran from 2011–2019 and spanned eight seasons. However, for Emilia Clarke, it could have concluded after the first season. Clarke, who portrayed Daenerys Targaryen, grappled with severe health issues after suffering a brain aneurysm.

"Death wasn't my fear"

The actress first opened up about this dramatic event several years ago, but she revisited it in a recent interview with "Harper's Bazaar" magazine. She revealed that struggling with aphasia, a severe speech disorder caused by stroke, significantly affected her life and career. Interestingly, Clarke was less concerned about her health and more about her role in "Game of Thrones".

"I was not afraid of death, but I was afraid they would fire me!" she recalled. Determined not to let this condition define her, she added, "I never gave into feelings of 'Why me? This sucks'. I had to get through this."

Desperate to keep her job, Daenerys from the series kept her condition from the creators of the hit show.

"I had two brain hemorrhages, which roughly translates to strokes." she elaborated. "The first one occurred just after filming the first season of "Game of Thrones". So it was a tense period, wondering if I would survive and be able to film another season. I held off telling David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], the showrunners, about the incident until I was stable. I didn't tell anyone outside my immediate circle because I needed time to process it myself."

Star admitted to wanting to give up on life

The second incident occurred while working on "Breakfast at Tiffany's", Clarke's Broadway debut. Struggling with aphasia at the time, she confessed that she wanted to die and asked the medical staff to let her pass. "My job - my envisioned life - was centered around language and communication. Without it, I was lost," she stated.

Due to the sustained injuries, the actress now lacks a major portion of her brain. However, this was not her toughest blow. The real tragedy was the death of her father from cancer in 2016. With his loss, she lost her safety net. Nevertheless, this did not deter her from continuing her career and setting up a foundation for those recovering from brain injuries.

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