Emilia Clarke on the role of women and being back to square one on Game of Thrones

Dany group

Emilia Clarke talks to Entertainment Weekly in a new interview about what we can look forward to for Daenerys. The actress who brings the khaleesi to life shares what it’s like returning to “square one” with the Dothraki in season 6, and discusses the controversial role of women on Game of Thrones.

In season 6, after flying away on Drogon and landing smack in the middle of a Dothraki khalasar, Daenerys is “back to square one, feeling like a slave – simply for being a woman!”, Clarke says.

On her big season-ending moment, the actress says, “It was lovely because you got that sweet-and-sour of riding off into the distance at last – and then it’s like: ‘Where the f— am I?’ This season it feels like she’s learning the last lesson she needs to learn. She’s not being swayed by anyone. She knows what’s-what. There’s just few remnants of being a human being that she’s shaking off.”

It’ll be a difficult road with this new group of Dothraki warriors, however. “This is not the khalasar that she conquered,” Clarke tells EW. “She knows all too well that getting on the wrong side of the Dothraki is not what you want to be doing. But on the same breath she’s kind of a Dothraki at heart because that’s where she learned her strength. Not just that she’s fireproof and gave birth to dragons, but her strength as a woman.”

Game of Thrones has occasionally been the focus on controversy due to scenes involving women. Clarke isn’t bothered by the show’s depictions, and reports disliking how the scenes are taken out of context.

She applauds the show’s portrayal of women “in so many different stages of development. There are women depicted as sexual tools, women who have zero rights, women who are queens but only to a man, and then there are women who are literally unstoppable and as powerful as you can possibly imagine. So it pains me to hear people taking Thrones out of context with anti-feminist spin – because you can’t do that about this show. It shows the range that happens to women, and ultimately shows women are not only equal, but have a lot of strength.”

For more of Clarke’s thoughts, read the complete interview at Entertainment Weekly!

117 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Hodor?

      RE: Being back at square one – I hope this is a good season for her tbh. I don’t think I’m in the minority when I say that I prefered her Khaleesi seasons to the Meeren seasons.

        Quote  Reply

    2. The only pictures they show of Dany is her as a prisoner, which I’m guessing doesn’t last more than a couple of episodes (at least, I hope that’s the case). Can one assume she has some serious spoiler-y stuff later that they’re keeping under wraps?

        Quote  Reply

    3. After reading that interview, I was already ready for people arguing about (some have showed up already a day or 2 ago):

      1. Dany going mad because of this quote: “There’s just few remnants of being a human being that she’s shaking off.”

      2. Arguing whether Dany is fireproof or not.

        Quote  Reply

    4. Mihnea,

      Well not according to GRRM. That being said, it might be so in the show, I suppose. Although that’d defeat the entire purpose of the Mirri Maz Duur blood magic and the result of that. We’ll have to wait and see if this is a significant show change or not, I guess.

        Quote  Reply

    5. I’m sure Dany will be fine. It’s clear where her arc is going.

      Obligatory “Targaryens aren’t fireproof and neither is Dany” comment.

        Quote  Reply

    6. Kargaryen,

      I believe Dany is fireproof but I’ll wait until further information is provided. Alltaugh this Clarke herself saying this only makes me even more confident.

      Dany is heat resistant, this no one can argue. She entered scolding water without feeling anything. She held the dragon eggs without flinching, when they burned someone else’s hands.

        Quote  Reply

    7. lp,

      Like I said, i’ll wait until more information is provided, to make a definitive affirmation.
      I don’t really care what the books say. I no longer care.

      That said, I don’t think this defeats MMD’s purpose. I think she was a sacrifice needed to wake the dragons. She, Drogo and Rhaego.

        Quote  Reply

    8. Ross Doherty,

      That she didn’t burn….?
      That the burning eggs didn’t burn her hands?
      That the scolding water didn’t faze her at all?

      I’m not entering this dabate tough. I think she truly is HEAT resistant and will wait for further evidance to see if she is fireproof as well.

        Quote  Reply

    9. I’m really excited about seeing the Dothraki again! Rewatching season 1 for the momorial lane reminded me of how much fun they are.

        Quote  Reply

    10. Mihnea,

      I’m aware. But Aemon Targaryen burned when his body was burned, Viserys burned when they pored the molten gold over his head and Jon was burned when the wight attacked Jeor Mormont in season 1. Why does Dany specifically have an immunity to fire and heat on the show?

        Quote  Reply

    11. Ross Doherty,

      Did you read what I said?

      Targaryons are NOT fireproof!
      Only Dany is.

      As why Dany doesn’t burn? I believe she is azhor ahai/the one that was promised and her dragons are lightbringer.

        Quote  Reply

    12. Ross Doherty,

      Sorry if it read that way!

      I’m just a bit bothered when people bring other Targaryan’s as ”proof” when I clearly said they aren’t fireproof.
      Again sorry if it came across as mean or rude!

      Edited my comment to say why I think Dany in particular is fireproof.
      Also realize I misspelled Targaryan, lol!

        Quote  Reply

    13. Yeah guys remember the giant Dothraki temple being built for the show (Season 6) and then the pyrotechnics team burning it down? Thats probably where Drogon saves Daenerys, and she will walk out of the temple unburnt and gets the Dothraki’s respect.

        Quote  Reply

    14. I wonder were where these people when there were theories on how Jon will rise from ashes and tyrion will survive a dragon fire ..

        Quote  Reply

    15. Flayed Potatoes,

      Or Bran being a greenseer. Or Jon being a prince’s son…. Or Arya meeting a faceless man, or Tyrion surviving 2 battles, in the books. Or Stannis being azhor ahai.

      This ”special snowflake” argument really doesn’t stand with me.
      All main characters are in one way or another special snowflakes, if they where not we wouldn’t have a story.

        Quote  Reply

    16. “It shows the range that happens to women, and ultimately shows women are not only equal, but have a lot of strength.”

      For what it’s worth, it shows a wide range of situations for men too, not that anyone cares!

        Quote  Reply

    17. I hope this means Daenerys finally means business, and earns Drogon’s loyalty and trust. Enough with this dilly dallying. Leave governing to people like Tyrion, look at the big picture.

      Judibatt:
      Targaryens are NOT fireproof.

      YES! Very important point to remember. I am sure Rhaegar was not fireproof, for example. Daenerys in the show IS fireproof, and it’s not because she is a Targaryen!

      Ross Doherty: But Aemon Targaryen burned when his body was burned, Viserys burned when they pored the molten gold over his head and Jon was burned when the wight attacked Jeor Mormont in season 1. Why does Dany specifically have an immunity to fire and heat on the show?

      Because Dany is Dany, not Aemon, Viserys, Jon, Aerys, Rhaegar, whoever! Why is Bran a greenseer and every single person who has ever been a Stark?

        Quote  Reply

    18. Ross Doherty,

      Beats me?

      It’s rather clear why in the books, and I thought rather clear here on the show too since they followed what happened in the books. But if now they’re about to make this significant change…well then I have no answer why she’s suddenly fireproof at all times. Special hollywood plot armor I guess.

        Quote  Reply

    19. mau:
      Mihnea,

      With the leaks we have from S6 I think that we can say that

      Yep, I don’t think there will be much discussion or debate about that after this year, regardless of what happens in the books. I do think it’s a Danny specific thing, though, not a Targaryen thing. (In the show, at least.)

        Quote  Reply

    20. Kay,

      Why people feel the need to bring other Targaryan’s as ”evidence” that she isn’t fireproof, when most of us clearly admit that they are not, is beyond me.

        Quote  Reply

    21. Ross Doherty,

      Why died bran is the only one that can warg hodor a human being …

      Similar to that dany being AAR /TpTWP makes her fireproof …she is not ordinary targaryen .

        Quote  Reply

    22. cosca:
      Ross Doherty,

      Why does there have to be a reason? Is there any reason that Bran is a greenseer?

      First men’s blood, Starks marrying Wildlings (there were 2 wargs mentioned on the show and by the looks of it that type of magic is more common there). It’s also why all the Stark kids are wargs (at least in the books…we’ll see if the show does something with that in the future). Jojen has (well…had) the sight as well (I believe Crannogmen mixed with the Children of the Forest).

      I think a better question would be why Bloodraven is a greenseer because I don’t think he has First Men’s blood. I don’t remember if we got an answer to that, but hopefully we will.

        Quote  Reply

    23. Mihnea:
      Flayed Potatoes,

      Or Bran being a greenseer. Or Jon being a prince’s son…. Or Arya meeting a faceless man, or Tyrion surviving 2 battles, in the books. Or Stannis being azhor ahai.

      This ”special snowflake” argument really doesn’t stand with me.
      All main characters are in one way or another special snowflakes, if they where not we wouldn’t have a story.

      Of course they’re all special snowflakes, otherwise we wouldn’t have them as central characters :P. I’m not arguing against that.

        Quote  Reply

    24. Dany is quite clearly fireproof on the show. You can’t walk into a blazing funeral pyre and emerge the next morning without a single mark (even her hair survived) and still be considered susceptible to fire. They gave us the two hints of her invulnerability leading up to that scene, and now it’s obviously canon. That wasn’t some weird side-effect of sacrificing the maegi.

      Now then, I’d listen to arguments that she is susceptible to dehydration, because I think that was made clear in season 2, but mortal weaknesses to lacking water and a mystical inability to sustain burns are two different things.

        Quote  Reply

    25. Mihnea:
      Ross Doherty,

      Did you read what I said?

      Targaryons are NOT fireproof!
      Only Dany is.

      As why Dany doesn’t burn? I believe she is azhor ahai/the one that was promised and her dragons are lightbringer.

      Plus the blood magic thingy, maybe the effect never wore off even after the fire in the pyre went out…

        Quote  Reply

    26. lp,

      It wasn’t clear in the books. Trust me. I’m part of this fandom since 2004-2005 and until goerge said she isn’t in the books, there where planty of debates on this.

      As to why I think she is in the show? Is because there where more scenes showing this in season 1. The dragon eggs scene and the bath scene. That is why I say she is definetly heat resistant and no one can argue this.
      For her being fireproof I will wait for more information.

      I already made a comment on this ”special snowflake” arguement so I won’t adress it again here.

        Quote  Reply

    27. I don’t remember. Did we ever get an answer as to why Bloodraven is a greenseer in the books? I don’t think he is blood of the First Men, so I’m intrigued. Does anyone know?

      Also, is Bloodraven fireproof?

        Quote  Reply

    28. George,
      Mihnea,
      I think the fireproof nature of SHOW Daenerys will not be questioned once Season 6 has aired; I have a feeling there will be a scene or two to emphasize that. When Mirri Maz Duur will not be around as well. 😀 Just Daenerys and Drogon.

        Quote  Reply

    29. Mihnea:
      lp,

      It wasn’t clear in the books. Trust me. I’m part of this fandom since 2004-2005 and until goerge said she isn’t in the books, there where planty of debates on this.

      As to why I think she is in the show? Is because there where more scenes showing this in season 1. The dragon eggs scene and the bath scene. That is why I say she is definetly heat resistant and no one can argue this.
      For her being fireproof I will wait for more information.

      I already made a comment on this ”special snowflake” arguement so I won’t adress it again here.

      I still dont think that is a fact on the show. They have a lot inconsistencies on the show, at one point she will probalby get burned just like everyone else.

        Quote  Reply

    30. George,

      Hmm this is a interesting idea! It’s definetly worth a taught.

      I still think that her being AA/TOTWP is the reason, but this is a really interesting idea!

        Quote  Reply

    31. cosca:
      Ross Doherty,

      Why does there have to be a reason? Is there any reason that Bran is a greenseer?

      ‘Cause there’s greenseer blood mixed in the Stark bloodline and it occasionally resurfaces every other generation or so?

        Quote  Reply

    32. taim,

      we will see. I doubt this, but we will see. This is exactly why I said that I’ll wait more until I say for sure she is fireproof.

      But I don’t think you can argue she is not, at least, heat resistant.

        Quote  Reply

    33. Dany in the show is fireproof. Emilia flat out says so in this interview. Maybe if you wanted it to be like in the books, you could argue that she only has a natural heat resistance, and is only fireproof when she is around her dragons. But I think it is clear that they want her to be completely immune to fire in the show.

        Quote  Reply

    34. Kay:
      George,
      Mihnea,
      I think the fireproof nature of SHOW Daenerys will not be questioned once Season 6 has aired; I have a feeling there will be a scene or two to emphasize that. Just Daenerys and Drogon.

      In a word, yes.

        Quote  Reply

    35. Mihnea,

      It was clear in the books right away. All her hair burned off. Besides that, while she bathed in hot water in the books, her hand maidens cleaned and washed her in the book scene. Meaning it certainly didn’t burn them. And George answered the question in 1998 and again in 1999. So when you entered the fandom in 2004-05 the people debating in these “plenty of debates” during that time must have missed his answer.

      By the way I’m not arguing at all that this is a possible show change. It’s clear it is.

        Quote  Reply

    36. I’m really looking forward to Dany’s story this year. I like that she has to sort things out on her own this time. I wasn’t a huge fan of her Meereen storyline. Tyrion in Meereen seems more interesting. Can’t wait to see what happens!

        Quote  Reply

    37. Mihnea,

      Where is it stated original Azor Ahai was fireproof?

      Some special snowflakes are more special than other special snowflakes. Adding to Dany’s ‘specialness’ is the thickest plot armour of them all.

        Quote  Reply

    38. mau,

      Uh guys… what in the holy hell is that shot of what looks like the silhouette of the Night’s King in front of a wall of fire? Did we miss that when we were looking at this promo before? (It might not be the Night’s King… but it looks like the Night’s King to me). It’s at 21 seconds into the short trailer.

      ETA: tkk beat me to it! But yes, that’s the screencap.

        Quote  Reply

    39. Grrrr, more feminism rubbish. So many women characters of “diverse” backgrounds and life experiences yet here they are in a pseudo medieval man world kicking arse and surviving with their own various skills.Not to mention life isn’t exactly a feather bed for the guys depicted. Absolutely nothing for SJWs to complain about yet they will. Oh yes, they will.

        Quote  Reply

    40. mau,

      At 0:17 in the video, we can see a cavalry charge from up close. I can’t 100% tell what the banners are, but I think the far away one is Stark, and the close one (upper left corner, rolled around the staff/spear) is orange with something spiky-looking. A Hornwood banner?

      There’s one more to the far right, but I can’t see anything…

        Quote  Reply

    41. phantomstrife,

      Mate we argued this on another thread. We will never agree on this subject.

      Let’s just wait until we have a definitive answer.
      If she burns, you are right!
      If she doesn’t, I am right!

        Quote  Reply

    42. Mihnea:
      taim,

      we will see. I doubt this, but we will see. This is exactly why I said that I’ll wait more until I say for sure she is fireproof.

      But I don’t think you can argue she is not, at least, heat resistant.

      My idea, which tries to reconcile both books and show, is that all Targaryens are naturally resistant to fire (not immune) to varying degrees depending on how much “blood of the Dragon” is in their genome (presumably a characteristic brought over from the gene pool in Old Valyria). AND that Danny is even more so because of the fact that she’s AA (or at least a half or a third of AA if they are multiple people, LOL) AND because of the blood magic thingy…

        Quote  Reply

    43. mau:
      The discussion about the role of women on Game of Thrones is so tiring and boring at this point. Will it ever stop?

      Agree. There’s dozens of female characters in the show. Some are victims, some leaders, some are strong, some weak, some heroic. Having them be all one stripe would just be bad storytelling.

        Quote  Reply

    44. cosca:
      Flayed Potatoes,

      I don’t recall any of this. Would be wrong to say this isn’t firmly established, and is mostly based off a couple of lines throughout the series?

      They expand on warging, the sight, magic (and all that jazz) in the Histories and Lore videos too, so it’s established I would say.

        Quote  Reply

    45. mau,
      Thanks for the higher quality. First time I’m seeing it!

      kit_hepburn: what in the holy hell is that shot of what looks like the silhouette of the Night’s King in front of a wall of fire?

      It definitely looks like NK!!! Oh my! Something is burning and NK is watching it burn. So… Castle Black is burnt to the ground and that’s how NK’s troop get south? Or as more wiser others suggest, could be BR’s cave set on fire!

        Quote  Reply

    46. Kay:
      mau,
      Thanks for the higher quality. First time I’m seeing it!

      It definitely looks like NK!!! Oh my! Something is burning and NK is watching it burn. So… Castle Black is burnt to the ground and that’s how NK’s troop get south?

      I doubt the Night King uses fire to accomplish his goals.

        Quote  Reply

    47. George,

      Looks like the official HBO version has more shots.
      This was definetly not in the TV ad.

      Perhaps that’s why it took them so long to release it.

        Quote  Reply

    48. Mr Fixit: I doubt the Night King uses fire to accomplish his goals.

      Yes, you are right of course! Fire is poison to him. So is NK blocked by this fire? Perhaps BR sets fire to something to halt NK’s march southwards….

        Quote  Reply

    49. mau,

      That is possible. In the video they released earlier it did show a WW in a place with many roots, that did look like BR’s cave.

        Quote  Reply

    50. Kay,

      It’s odd though – in the clip it looks like he’s walking towards it.

      And do we know that regular fire stops WW specifically? I thought it was just wights.

        Quote  Reply

    51. Kay: Yes, you are right of course! Fire is poison to him. So is NK blocked by this fire? Perhaps BR sets fire to something to halt NK’s march southwards….

      during hardhome it looked like whitewakers arent affected by fire, so far the only thing that we know of that can destroy them is Valyrian steel. wights on the other hand seem to hate fire.

        Quote  Reply

    52. During Hardhome we saw how that WW Jon Killed walked through the fire and it didn’t do anything to him. I’m thinking common fire can’t hurt them. Dragon fire though… I’m pretty sure it does.

        Quote  Reply

    53. kit_hepburn,
      Yes, you are right. I forgot the WW’s immunity to ordinary fire at Hardhome. (I suspect that it’s dragonfire they can’t stand up to! and we’ll find out at the end).

      taim,

      Right! I forgot.

      But what if it’s BR and the CotFs who set up a special fire; they didn’t have that at Hardhome.

        Quote  Reply

    54. Mihnea:
      George,

      Looks like the official HBO version has more shots.
      This was definetly not in the TV ad.

      Perhaps that’s why it took them so long to release it.

      The first promo that we saw had the shot of Yara and the exotic woman kissing, this promo substitutes that image for the Night’s King shadow and the wall of flames…

      I wonder if there are other versions of this promo, aside from these two???

        Quote  Reply

    55. KaKa,

      So that means no sex scenes for Jon and Daenerys. I would be cool with it. Daeny is fireproof unlikey books to make her even more special? Anyway we should add another title to ever growing list of them. Khal of Khals if things go smoothly. But funny how things looks so different for Jon and Daeny. One gaining all the armies and other getting his ass kicked by Boltons with small army. Maybe saved by Vale. while Daeny while be triumphant wth Dothraki and to end Meereen arc.

        Quote  Reply

    56. Flayed Potatoes,

      Bloodraven’s mother was a Blackwood. Blackwood’s are a First Men House. That’s where Bloodraven gets it.

      I haven’t been paying to attention to specific Dany spoilers, but I guess she’s gonna gain a Khalasar. When will white women leading and ‘saving’ nondescript and exoticized brown people end though?

      (That’s a rhetorical question. I hope the khalasar is less othered this time around, but I’m not holding my breath.)

        Quote  Reply

    57. Blanche Holstein,
      mau,

      please don’t call feminism “rubbish” or act like it’s not an important thing to talk about.

      personally i think that women are very well-represented on GOT and that’s a big reason why i like watching it (i.e. i like GOT more than other shows *because* it’s feminist). with that said, it’s not perfect. healthy criticism doesn’t mean that a show is bad, just that there’s room for improvement, so idk why people get so defensive/unwilling to listen to criticisms about race/gender representations (as opposed to literally any other kind of critique).

      i agree with emilia and some other comments that it’s great to see women in so many different stages of development or who are strong in different ways. it gives a very real-world sort of feeling imo

        Quote  Reply

    58. Jenny,

      Bloodraven, like a certain Stark/Targ, is of the blood of Old Valyria AND of the First Men (Targ and Blackwood, or Bracken, idk). With his albinism, he’s like Ghost and those creepy giant white ravens that signal the changing of a season.

        Quote  Reply

    59. Jenny,

      Bloodraven, like a certain Stark/Targ, is of the blood of Old Valyria AND of the First Men (Targ and Blackwood, or Bracken, idk). With his albinism, he’s like Ghost and those creepy giant white ravens that signal the changing of a season.

        Quote  Reply

    60. Kargaryen,

      Wildlings will be pretty decimated after the battle and Umbers, Karstarks, Boltons done. Large part of North army is gone after season 6. Vale and what’s left of Stark forces. Not much and not even close to what Daeny will have.

        Quote  Reply

    61. Eh, who gives a shit? Women this, women that. I’m not a misogynist or anything but the constant focus on “GIRL POWER F-YEAH!” is getting kind of old.

      Inb4 Sue’s head explodes.

        Quote  Reply

    62. On Dany being “back to square one, feeling like a slave – simply for being a woman!” I fear to contemplate what would have happened to a man the Dothraki happened to run into.

      On “women are not only equal, but have a lot of strength,” huh?

      On Dany and the Dothraki: “she’s kind of a Dothraki at heart because that’s where she learned her strength. Not just that she’s fireproof and gave birth to dragons, but her strength as a woman.” Interesting that she believes her character is fireproof. Maybe the show’s Dany is extra magical, then maybe Clarke got it wrong.

        Quote  Reply

    63. Maria,

      Show Dany is very obviously fireproof. Season 1 showed that more than once. And rumors for season 6 indicate that we’ll see more of that fireproof ability. We already have the trailer with Dany’s hand touching the hot brazier.

        Quote  Reply

    64. B,

      Yeah, what was up with Jon’s only sex scene where Ygritte disrobes (It was nice they weren’t gratuitous here though) but Jon gets minimum exposure? It didn’t have to be anything explicit but they could have had him take his shirt off before all was said and done right? 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    65. ygritte,

      Kit had a broken leg. he was drunk climbing through window just befoe shooting and D&D were pissed. If it wasn’t for this he’ll do it.

        Quote  Reply

    66. There is actually almost an equal amount of male and female main cast members who have shown nudity on GOT. Maybe even more males. I haven’t counted in a while but it was just about even.

        Quote  Reply

    67. El-Bobbie,

      To some extent, so is the novel Dany. GRRM says that she is not immune to fire, but she has heat immunity most people don’t:

      Martin: No, no Targaryans are immune to fire. The thing with Dany and the dragons, that was just a one-time magical event, very special and unique. The Targaryans can tolerate a bit more heat than most ordinary people, they like really hot baths and things like that, but that doesn’t mean they’re totally immune to fire, no.

      In the House of the Undying and Draznak’s Pit, she shows some immunity to Drogon’s fire. It’s the same in the show, I think–she can touch the very hot eggs etc., but she can’t just walk into a fire and survive, not more than once, I think.

        Quote  Reply

    68. Maria: In the House of the Undying and Draznak’s Pit, she shows some immunity to Drogon’s fire. It’s the same in the show, I think–she can touch the very hot eggs etc., but she can’t just walk into a fire and survive, not more than once, I think.

      Hm… considering certain filming reports from season six, I think she may prove she can do exactly that again: walk into a fire and survive.

        Quote  Reply

    69. Will be interesting to see how it goes

      For her, Cersei, Marge, QoT, Sansa and Arya

      Ultimately though ASOIF and the show are about exploring power, with all its dimensions, eg between Nobility, Religion, Merchant Classes, Ethnicity, Trueborns vs Bastards etc and of course gender

      Ultimately as far as women goes there’s the matter that understanding that women can be as competent or incompetent as men, or go through development challenges and make mistakes etc just as much. Of course the difference lies in how this is articulated, eg different for men and women

      Tbf as well, picking up Alfie Allens quotes, people can go on about Khaleesi being “back to square one” as she has to become a Crone in Vaes Dothrak according to their customs but arguably the same may be said of Theon who is perhaps set to be “rejected by his father ala S2” again as he “can’t further the line” which of course opens up a good male/female debate regarding Yara/Euron which would have been nice to have a Dornish counterpart regarding Arianne and Trystane as a contrast but oh well

        Quote  Reply

    Jump to the Top

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *