Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke has recently gone on the record discussing her health problems while filming the acclaimed HBO series. In a new interview, the 32-year-old actor describes what it was like to be on the set filming while recovering from two brain hemorrhages.
According to Clarke, her situation helped her relate to her character, Daenerys Targaryen.
"I didn’t want to give anyone a reason to say, 'Oh, she’s just a kid -- she can’t handle this,'" said Clarke in an interview with The New Yorker. "You just want to do the job well. You don’t want to give anyone a reason to go, 'Oh, no, look at her -- young, inexperienced female, whatever -- she’s not capable of doing it.'"
As her health continued to decline during Seasons 2 and 3, Clarke recalled fearing that she'd lose her job, saying:
"I just felt weak and consistently in this mode of, 'Please don’t fire me. Please, please don’t let me fuck this up. Please don’t let anyone have an opportunity to think I’m anything other than beyond capable of taking on this role.' Every day I would fight my own demons of thinking, 'You’re sick, you can’t do this. You’re tired, give in. Stop.' I just bulldozed through. There were a couple of seasons where I just questioned everything and struggled through everything and felt a tremendous amount of guilt at not being able to fully inhabit this role of a lifetime that I was given when I had many friends who were still knocking on casting directors’ doors. It left me fatigued and exhausted and anxious and worried and fearful every day."
The conditions of filming didn't always help either, leaving the star often fearing that she would die during scenes filmed in hotter climates.
"I’d feel incredibly faint and want to pass out," said Clarke. "I got headaches and thought I was dying. But I just didn’t ever say anything."
She also feared judgment from the public, saying that she felt uncomfortable admitting that she was struggling. However, she eventually learned to rely on the support of her cast and crew members to help her through her anxiety attacks over her fear of dying.
Game of Thrones stars Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark and Kit Harington as Jon Snow.