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Emilia Clarke. photo courtesy of HBO

Game of Thrones Star Emilia Clarke Reveals her Incredible Health Battle

Emilia Clarke has played the resilient Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones for 8 seasons. She’s powerful, confident, and the most influential character on the series. She’s a leader. She inspires fear, loyalty, and most often, awe. As it turns out, Clarke is even more indomitable in real life than the Mother of Dragons.

We warn you, the details from Clarke’s trauma may be upsetting.

The actress revealed in a deeply personal essay in The New Yorker yesterday that she endured a life-threatening health scare just as she was gaining international fame. Clarke opened up about the terrifying ordeal where she suffered two brain aneurysms.

Clarke shared what happened after she collapsed with excruciating pain at the gym. “I heard a woman’s voice coming from the next stall, asking me if I was O.K. No, I wasn’t. She came to help me and maneuvered me onto my side, in the recovery position. Then everything became, at once, noisy and blurry. I remember the sound of a siren, an ambulance; I heard new voices, someone saying that my pulse was weak.”

Clarke went into emergency surgery where they repaired the bleed and discovered a second aneurysm. As she was enduring a long and difficult recovery from the first incident, Clarke feared she may be struck with lifelong effects – including one that most directly impacted her budding career. “I was suffering from a condition called aphasia, a consequence of the trauma my brain had suffered. Even as I was muttering nonsense, my mum did me the great kindness of ignoring it and trying to convince me that I was perfectly lucid. But I knew I was faltering. In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug. I asked the medical staff to let me die. My job—my entire dream of what my life would be—centered on language, on communication. Without that, I was lost.”

Clarke returned to her normal life, but the second aneurysm grew in size. After a less invasive surgery failed and left her in terrible pain, doctors had to operate through the skull. “The recovery was even more painful than it had been after the first surgery. I looked as though I had been through a war more gruesome than any that Daenerys experienced.”

Clarke is truly a fighter and we are even more grateful to have her as our queen. Whoever you wish to end up on the Iron Throne, we are all now Team Daenerys for life.

The final season of Game of Thrones returns April 14.

Featured image: Emilia Clarke. Photo courtesy of HBO

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The Credits

The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.

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