Emilia Clarke is a survivor. And not only in Game of Thrones, where her character, Daenerys, has fought her way to season 8 despite the numerous deaths throughout the series.
In a letter she wrote to the New Yorker that was published on 21st March this year, the British actress made quite a shocking revelation. She had suffered two brain haemorrhages which could have cost her life when they were filming the first two seasons of Game of Thrones. The first incident occurred following an aneurysm on 11th February 2011. Almost unconscious, Emilia was immediately taken to hospital.
‘I asked medical staff to let me die’
‘The diagnosis was quick and ominous: a subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH), a life-threatening type of stroke, caused by bleeding into the space around the brain (…) I was 24 years old’, she reminisces in her long narration. Fortunately, she underwent an operation that allowed the worst to be avoided. But when she woke up, the actress was in intense pain and had aphasia, a speech problem.
‘My full name is Emilia Isobel Euphemia Rose Clarke. But now I couldn’t remember it. Instead, nonsense words tumbled out of my mouth and I went into a blind panic,’ wrote the actress.
‘In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug. I asked medical staff to let me die. My job – my entire dream of what my life would be – centred on language, on communication. Without that, I was lost.’
‘Season 2 would be my worst’
The aphasia faded off after a few days and Emilia Clarke was able to get back on track with her life a month after she was hospitalised. But season 2 of the series proved to be even more strenuous for the star.
‘But after that first day of filming, I barely made it back to the hotel before I collapsed of exhaustion. (…) Season 2 would be my worst (…) If I am truly being honest, every minute of every day I thought I was going to die,’ she writes.
Especially since a second aneurysm, identified by doctors during her first operation, would prove to be problematic. In 2013, yet another scan revealed that this aneurysm had doubled in size and had to be operated on immediately. But the operation, however simple it may have been, failed and she needed emergency surgery with trepanation to control the haemorrhage.
‘I’m so happy to be here to see the end of this story,’ concludes the actress, ‘and the beginning of whatever comes next.’
Take a look at the video above for more on Emilia's terrifying ordeal...