Emilia Clarke reveals how Dany saved her; discusses relationship with Jon, toxic fan reactions to Game of Thrones Season 8

Daenerys Targaryen Winterfell Season 8

We’re less than a week away from the final Game of Thrones season premiere ever, and Emilia Clarke remains busy with press appearances, revealing how playing Daenerys Targaryen saved her during her darkest moments, discussing Dany’s relationship with Jon, dreading the fights that may break out among friends after the ending, and more.

When CBS Sunday Morning asks about the possibility that Daenerys, as crucial as she is, could die this season, Clarke replies: “This is the incredible writing [and] storytelling on the show. In that way life can be shocking, and frightening, and confusing, the show doesn’t shy away from that for the sake of storytelling—it embraces that.”

“It’s almost impossible to [say what my reaction was to reading Dany’s final moments in the show without spoiling anything],” she teases. “I have so much to say about that!”

She also expounds on the hemorrhagic strokes she suffered during filming, about which she recently opened up, and explains how playing Dany helped her through this ordeal:

“I definitely went through a period of being ‘down,’ putting it mildly,” Clarke admits with a sad smile. “You go on set, and you play a badass, and you walk through fire, and that became the thing that saved me from considering my own mortality.”

“There’s been so much life that I’ve lived in the ten years that I’ve been working on this show,” she contemplates. “So you’re saying goodbye to so much more than just a character. I’m saying goodbye to my twenties. It feels as exciting as it does sad.”

17. Season 8 Trailer Crypts Winterfell Daenerys Targaryen Jon Snow 2

Meanwhile, at BANG Showbiz, via MSN, Clarke talks about Dany’s relationship with Jon:

“It’s the most contemporary relationship she’s had in the show,” she says. “They’re incredibly similar, they have so much that binds them. He brings out an honesty in her that she hasn’t experienced. So I think that’s an interesting relationship.”

“You want everyone to be happy. But in the final season of any show, there’s going to be upset people, there’s going to be fights within friendship groups, there’s going to be, ‘Whose side are you on?'”, the actress warns.

Despite her trepidations about the fandom’s reactions to the ending (please, let’s pleasently surprise her: act civilly, whether you love it or hate it), Emilia is ready for the end, not only personally but also in terms of not stretching out the story until it breaks:

“I’m a big fan of TV shows finishing when you’re still ready for more,” she says. “If the series goes on too long, you’re doing a disservice to both the characters and also to the writing. It’s important to have that want for more to still be there.”

43 responses

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    1. I agree, anything that drags on for too long is a recipe for disaster on any great momentum… sad but after this we will still embrace the lovely world that GRRM has built for us for years to come 🙂

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    2. Ninjabear:
      I agree, anything that drags on for too long is a recipe for disaster on any great momentum… sad but after this we will still embrace the lovely world that GRRM has built for us for years to come 🙂

      Agreed. As much as I don’t want it to end, I’m glad they’re going out while they are still relevant and at the top. I saw they announced a THIRD The Walking Dead show today. Talk about overkill.

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    3. krtmd:
      Sorry to be the grammar nerd, but should be “whose side” not “who’s”.

      Don’t be sorry! Thank you, truly. I don’t know how I did that. So embarassing. WHO IS SIDE.

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    4. Luka Nieto,

      WHO IS SIDE? WHAT IS BRAIN? (Old Star Trek TOS joke, this. :P)

      On-topic, Emilia Clarke is just… phenomenal. There’s this ongoing joke in my friends group that I’m her #1 fan on earth, and that’s why I’ve ended up with meme email addresses like “[email protected]” (which, without context for how the joke progressed, would honestly sound… troubling, lol).

      But at the end of the day, it’s not about fandom or stardom or anything of the sort. She’s just a tremendously inspirational woman who happens to be very close in age to me. So there’s a sort of, I don’t know, a millennial connection? So it’s very empowering whenever I read or hear about the trials and tribulations that she’s gone through. It makes me feel like I can get through my day, too. It isn’t that I am a fan of an actress across an ocean from me — I just find her highly inspirational.

      And I reckon I’m not the only one!

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    5. Jack Bauer 24,

      Wow really? I believe they are sacrificing quality with quantity? It’s one things I’ve always admired with GOT, as much I’d love 24 episode per season the “fewer” episodes have been more poignant so to speak.
      Not speaking bad for any other shows like Walking Dead (I’ve never seen it) I’m just a Song of Ice and Fire fanboy 🙂

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    6. Jack Bauer 24: I saw they announced a THIRD The Walking Dead show today. Talk about overkill.

      You have to be f’n kidding me!? AMC is nuts and can’t let it go. They just finished a season with the lowest viewership numbers as the bottom continues to drop out and they’re going to add ANOTHER series!? Apparently they haven’t figured out that (most) appear to have tired of it. “We’re losing viewers and the buzz has worn off about our show. What should we do…? Hmm… Lets add another boring series and water it down even more!” >.>

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    7. Its only just hitting me now that there are 6 days left.

      I kinda don’t ever want the 8th season to air.

      I want these characters to remain “alive” forever 🙁

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    8. With less than a week to go now I wouldn’t mind if everything went completely silent outside of maybe ads and teasers. I don’t need any more cryptic interview comments and articles to make my mind spin. Of course that won’t happen since we know there are more appearances this week… Just start the damn show before I piss myself!

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    9. So glad they won’t turn it into sth like the Walking Dead, unofficial subtitle “A Soap Opera. With Zombies”.
      That said, GoT season 7 felt like the other extreme, three more episodes would have much improved it and possibly spared us the terrible storytelling of “Beyond the Wall”.

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    10. Nick20:
      What’s up with episode titles ? We’ve never waited so long before knowing the titles of the first few.

      I’m going with Friday for the Belfast Red Carpet. Hopefully have the premeire title by then.

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    11. I do wonder why they’re waiting so long to release the episode title. How spoilery could it possibly be?

      Then again, is it really that big of a deal that we don’t know the title of the episode yet? Would it change anything if we knew what it’s going to be called?

      We should focus on more important things like, ya know, planning the season premiere dinner menu for our GoT parties 🙂

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    12. Mr Derp: is it really that big of a deal that we don’t know the title of the episode yet? Would it change anything if we knew what it’s going to be called?

      Nope, not really. Like the season poster it’s just something to talk about for a few hours but certainly not a thing to pine over.

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    13. Nick20,

      Last year we also had to wait quite a long time (to the extent that Jack claimed there wouldn’t be episode titles at all 😉 ). The titles for “Beyond the Wall” and “The Dragon and the Wolf” weren’t revealed until three days before those episodes aired, if I remember right.

      Usually HBO releases a couple of images on the wednesday/thursday before an episode airs. That might be a logical moment for them to add title + short summary to those press releases.

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    14. Nick20,

      Episode 1: The Long Night I
      Episode 2: The Long Night II
      Episode 3: The Long Night III
      Episode 4: The Long Night IV
      Episode 5: A Dream Of Spring I
      Episode 6: A Dream Of Spring II

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    15. In defense of The Walking Dead, Season 9 was one of it’s best seasons. Sure, Season 7 took a dip in quality and Season 8 was absolutely terrible, but Seasons 1-6 & 9 were solid television. Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes is one of the best characters in television.

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    16. Clob,

      HBO2 is airing all of season 1 today/tonight. In fact, they’re airing all 7 seasons over the next 7 days. That’ll keep me busy this week.

      Season 1 – Monday
      Season 2 – Tuesday
      Season 3 – Wednesday
      Season 4 – Thursday
      Season 5 – Friday
      Season 6 – Saturday
      Season 7 – Sunday (leading up to the season 8 premiere)

      I’ll be trying in vain to come up with the answers to how it all ends even though I probably won’t come close to being correct 🙂

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    17. The more Emilia goes on about it, the more I get this sinking feeling that Dany is going to behave very badly in S8. She seems very worried about ending up being remembered for having played an unsympathetic character.

      That’s not the worst thing that could happen, in my view. Unless it involves her roasting Tyrion. That would make me detest Dany forever, instead of merely finding her boringly overpowered and annoyingly entitled, with an arc that mostly seemed like part of a separate story.

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    18. Undead Elephant,

      Season 1 was strong. Season 3 till 4 okay. Season 5 till 8 just bad. Season 9 is okay. Not bad nothing special just repeating the same story that happen before in a new jacket.

      About fear the walking dead. Season 1 and 2 were okay. 3 was amazing and how a zombie show should be. Season 4 the same bad format of the main show.

      Firannion,

      Even if that happens Emilia remains an amazing person and actress. And I will never see her badly.

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    19. I have to say Emilia is amazing.

      Even without her health issues, she’d be the brightest, most fun member of the cast. Knowing her health issues… I just don’t understand how she did it.

      She’s so brave and positive. A real role model, and I’m glad she’s supporting a charity and spreading awareness. She’s timed this for maximum exposure and effect because of GoT, and I think she’s absolutely, brillianty fucking right.

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    20. talvikorppi,

      You are going be in trouble with Ten Bears – Maisie is always the best and most fun!

      Pity this charitywork was not lauched before – so the inflow would have been over more of the life of GOT. Just think of the inflows that would have happened every time a new season was launched. And over the weeks of the particular season. Now within a few weeks, GOT will be gone from screens – not forgotten though.

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    21. Firannion:
      The more Emilia goes on about it, the more I get this sinking feeling that Dany is going to behave very badly in S8. She seems very worried about ending up being remembered for having played an unsympathetic character.

      That’s not the worst thing that could happen, in my view. Unless it involves her roasting Tyrion. That would make me detest Dany forever, instead of merely finding her boringly overpowered and annoyingly entitled, with an arc that mostly seemed like part of a separate story.

      Her mentioning the “Who’s side are you on?” bit almost certainly confirms we’ll see a split in the Dany – Jon camp. What else could that possibly mean? Who in their right mind would be on the side of the WWs or Cersei/Euron? The parentage reveal is ripe for drama and we’ll see people like Sansa, Sam, Varys and others push for Jon to claim his birthright and will not be wowed over by Dany as she will probably do some questionable things, stuff she’s done before but mostly to slavers and she’s only ever had to appease dorthaki and ex slaves who give her unconditional love pretty much. I mean, her burning the Tarlys is already spooking Varys and Tyrion…

      I think Varys will be caught conspiring against Dany in favour for Jon, Dany fulfills her promise of burning him alive if he ever “betrayed her again” and this will push Tyrion away from her. You don’t have Varys panicking over the Tarlys for nothing, you don’t have her threatening him with death for nothing prior to that scene. Jon will be a serious threat to Dany’s legitimacy as we will find out and I think it will be good stuff.

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    22. As a relative of a young brain injury survivor, I am so thankful for Emilia and her spotlight on this issue. During the recovery period, it is truly scary to ponder how an injury might change the person.

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    23. BeardedOnion: I think Varys will be caught conspiring against Dany in favour for Jon, Dany fulfills her promise of burning him alive if he ever “betrayed her again” and this will push Tyrion away from her. You don’t have Varys panicking over the Tarlys for nothing, you don’t have her threatening him with death for nothing prior to that scene. Jon will be a serious threat to Dany’s legitimacy as we will find out and I think it will be good stuff.

      As much as I find this scenario fairly likely, given the setup, the thing that leaves me scratching my head is do we really have time for all this political stuff ? It would essentially have to happen in the first two episodes.

      The more I think about the less I understand how they’re going to deal with everything they need to deal with in just 6 episodes.

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    24. Nick20,

      We won’t have 6 episodes of fighting, we need some political drama as well, otherwise it would be boring. The last 4 episodes are 80 minutes, that’s like short movies. A lot can happen in a movie, and here we already know the characters etc unlike in movies where they all have to be introduced first.

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    25. Nick20: e less I understand how they’re going to deal with everything they need to deal with in just 6 episodes.

      Given that we have 6 episodes, most of them being over 70 mins I say we have enough time.

      Keep in mind, it’s less than the traditional 10 but we’ll see those 6 episodes heavily focus on 2 groups, 2 locations, at all times. No longer is the show spread heavily thin and can only spare 10 minutes for each location per ep or sometimes even less.

      This political drama would be given the lion’s share of screen time, in fact all the characters minus the Cersei camp will have something to do in this arc so even when Dany and Jon aren’t present we’ll see the arc unfold in enough time for it to feel natural.

      We saw the rise and fall of Oberyn in 20 minutes total of screen time, for example. I feel confident it can be played out well enough.

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    26. BeardedOnion: I think Varys will be caught conspiring against Dany in favour for Jon, Dany fulfills her promise of burning him alive if he ever “betrayed her again” and this will push Tyrion away from her. You don’t have Varys panicking over the Tarlys for nothing, you don’t have her threatening him with death for nothing prior to that scene.

      This does indeed seem like a plausible scenario. It will be sad to watch Varys sizzle, and I will miss Conleth Hill’s portrayal when his number comes up; but the TV show has pretty seriously simplified his character, never really questioning his straightforward representation of his motives as being “for the realm.” So there’s less to miss, other than a consistently fine performance. Book!Varys is a much greyer and more devious creature whose true agenda is not yet completely clear. Having Show!Varys turn against Dany will actually make him a little more interesting (before he becomes a lot more dead).

      I love how, anytime interviewers ask GoT actors who’s the biggest cutup/trickster on set, they almost invariably respond “Conleth.” Sounds like he’d be a fun guy to toss back a few pints with.

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    27. Lonely Cat:
      As a relative of a young brain injury survivor, I am so thankful for Emilia and her spotlight on this issue. During the recovery period, it is truly scary to ponder how an injury might change the person.

      As a brain injury survivor myself (fractured skull from falling off a ledge while rock scrambling, not an aneurysm), I grok this. Effects vary very heavily depending on what areas of the brain are damaged and where the blood pools. That’s why some stroke victims have verbal expression issues while others have mobility problems, memory loss, distorted perceptions etc. I had lousy concentration for months after my fall and could not have memorized dialogue from a script, had I been in Emilia’s place!

      Also, the emotional effects of brain injury can be as bad as or worse than the cognitive or motor problems. PTSD isn’t necessarily just psychological. It’s pretty amazing that she held up through Season 2 and got the work done.

      But that’s the thing with personal disaster: You’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt, to keep putting one foot in front of the other. During my recuperation, occasionally someone would say something to the effect that I was being “brave,” and I’d sort of look at them like they were nuts. I mean, what else is there to do but keep on doing, to the best of one’s compromised abilities? If anything, having specific goals and tasks helps one heal more quickly. (Also dark humor, if your humor circuits are still working.)

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    28. BeardedOnion,

      I still have a feeling dragons bay will fall and we get news it is in the hands of the slavers again. Giving the northern lords a argument: everything she build has failed.

      I think dany will not turn evil. I think she will be pushed to do evil things. What we know of her is that when she acts like that. She hates herself for it.

      I think she will turn against the starks and Jon is the one to defeat her. But I think we will not have a victory feeling with it. More a “it needs to be done” and we will feel sorry for Dany at the same time.

      If they play it right they could have it that way. If they go that route.

      Nick20,

      Just 6 episodes? It’s almost 6 hours we will get. Will ony 3 storyline.
      1. White walkers.
      2. Cersei
      3. Dany Jon.
      4. I will not call a storyline because it will be over in 1 or 2 episodes my guess is theon euron.
      Compare that to season 2 which had 11 or 12 storylines.

      Look at for instance LOTR or other shows. How much you can do in 6 hours. Look at peaky blinders. It’s enough.

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    29. Kevin1989,

      I edit something but I was not saved. I said I wonder how jorah will react if she indeed burn varys at the stake. If he will lose faith in her it will be even more sad for dany.

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    30. Emilia and her zest for life is just amazing. Had I faced similar health problems, I would’ve just crimped inwards and died, feeling sorry for myself.

      The character she plays is an inspiration, but Emilia herself is the biggest inspiration.

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    31. Firannion,

      I agree. Personally, I am quite convinced that the most likely narrative outcome for Dany is to be an antagonist. She is Achilles (Conqueror) to Jon’s Hector (Defender). And to be honest, Dany – and Emilia’s terrific potrayal of her- would go down as one of the best characters in television history. An anti-villain whose rather tragic journey the viewers followed closely from the beginning and for whom we all cheered. What could be better and more exciting?

      “The villian is the hero of the other side.” And that’s the key, its all about perspective.

      As a GoT viewer I am very much invested in many sides and multiple characters. That’s what I find so great about this story. It got me interested in the storylines of all these anti-heroes and antagonists as much as in the journeys of the “heroes”. Moral dilemmas always included 😉

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    32. Even though I am not a fan of the character (who I actually really liked in earlier seasons) I do find Emilia the polar opposite and really respect her.

      As for Dany, it’s clear she’s going to have an ending that will polarise people, probably this means death or killing a beloved character, I really don’t foresee too many other options.

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    33. Jack Bauer 24: Agreed. As much as I don’t want it to end, I’m glad they’re going out while they are still relevant and at the top. I saw they announced a THIRD The Walking Dead show today. Talk about overkill.

      I’m amazed the Walking Dead is still going, it used to be big, not quite GOT big but popular here yet now I never see it advertised and thought it had finished completely.

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    34. Clob:
      With less than a week to go now I wouldn’t mind if everything went completely silent outside of maybe ads and teasers.I don’t need any more cryptic interview comments and articles to make my mind spin.Of course that won’t happen since we know there are more appearances this week…Just start the damn show before I piss myself!

      I am the same the hype is optimal, I’m quite happy not to have any more staff interviews although I see D&D have just done a great interview with James Hibberd today; in which they discuss fearing spoilers could leak but are happy nothing has got out so far. Regardless we are now just a few days from the network premiere and still don’t have an episode title. It now has me wondering whether we will get the usual weekly previews of the next episode, because they may want to keep everything so closely wrapped.

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