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As we all prep for the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, due this April, fans are learning so much about what the cast has put themselves through to see the hit HBO series through to the end. Kit Harrington, who plays Jon Snow on the series, needed therapy after his character was killed off. Now, we learn Emilia Clarke a.k.a Daenerys Targaryen, survived two life-threatening aneurysms and temporarily lost her ability to comprehend and formulate language following surgery to remove the first growth — all while working on the show. Recalling the grueling time in her life, Clarke even admitted she wanted to die.

“Just when all my childhood dreams seemed to have come true, I nearly lost my mind and then my life. I’ve never told this story publicly, but now it’s time,” she begins in the personal essay, published by The New Yorker. Clarke explains how a day at the gym suddenly went horribly wrong—she thought she might end up paralyzed, ended up in an ambulance, and eventually had to recover from the medical condition twice, a nightmare that left her wanting to die. Hit the flip for 8 interesting and shocking truths we learned about her life and near death experience.

Clarke says she felt extremely exposed and was annoyed by critics’ empty take on Daenerys:

The show’s creators, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, have said that my character is a blend of Napoleon, Joan of Arc, and Lawrence of Arabia. And yet, in the weeks after we finished shooting the first season, despite all the looming excitement of a publicity campaign and the series première, I hardly felt like a conquering spirit. I was terrified. Terrified of the attention, terrified of a business I barely understood, terrified of trying to make good on the faith that the creators of “Thrones” had put in me. I felt, in every way, exposed. In the very first episode, I appeared naked, and, from that first press junket onward, I always got the same question: some variation of “You play such a strong woman, and yet you take off your clothes. Why?” In my head, I’d respond, “How many men do I need to kill to prove myself?”

To relieve the stress, I worked out with a trainer. I was a television actor now, after all, and that is what television actors do.

Landing ‘Game Of Thrones’ & Flirting With Death: 8 Thought-Provoking Truths We Learned From Emilia Clarke’s Personal Essay  was originally published on

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