Emilia Clarke: ‘If I’m Going to Die, I Better Die on Live TV’

Emilia Clarke: ‘If I’m Going to Die, I Better Die on Live TV’

Emilia Clarke is opening up about returning to “Game of Thrones” after suffering two brain aneurysms during her time as Daenerys Targaryen on the HBO show.


In a new interview with the Big Issue, Clarke said that after her first injury — which occurred in 2011, in between filming the first and second season, and required surgery — she feared that she would be dropped from the series.


“When you have a brain injury, because it alters your sense of self on such a dramatic level, all of the insecurities you have going into the workplace quadruple overnight,” Clarke said. “The first fear we all had was: ‘Oh my God, am I going to get fired? Am I going to get fired because they think I’m not capable of completing the job?’”


Another fear was that it would happen again — and this time on set. She told the Big Issue that she remembers thinking, “Well, if I’m going to die, I better die on live TV.”


Clarke did suffer another brain aneurysm in 2013, and underwent a second surgery. In an interview with the BBC’s “Sunday Morning” in 2022, she revealed that she lost “quite a bit” of her brain in the process.

“The amount of my brain that is no longer usable — it’s remarkable that I am able to speak, sometimes articulately, and live my life completely normally with absolutely no repercussions,” Clarke said. “I am in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that.”


As a result, Clarke has founded the charity SameYou to help other victims of brain injuries with their recovery and mental health.

Emilia Clarke: ‘If I’m Going to Die, I Better Die on Live TV’
Emilia Clarke

“Having a chronic condition that diminishes your confidence in this one thing you feel is your reason to live is so debilitating and so lonely,” Clarke said. “One of the biggest things I felt with a brain injury was profoundly alone. That is what we’re trying to overcome.”

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