Why Emilia Clarke Says Season 2 of ‘Game of Thrones’ Was Her Worst

Emilia Clarke has been slaying our lives as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones since 2011. The British beauty was relatively unknown until she became the Mother of Dragons, and we’ve been following her meteoric rise to the A-list ever since. Now that Game of Thrones is set to premiere its eighth and final season — Clarke is getting personal about some of her health struggles, and why Season 2 of Game of Thrones was her worst.

Why does Emilia Clarke say Season 2 of Game of Thrones was her worst?

In early 2011–just after wrapping filming for the freshman season of Game of Thrones and just before the pilot premiered on April 17, 2011 –Clarke experienced a medical emergency. After feeling terrible pain during a workout, the actress was rushed to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), a life-threatening type of stroke, caused by bleeding. She’d had an aneurysm. After undergoing a three-hour surgery –she also suffered a smaller aneurysm on the other side of her brain –her doctors warned her that she would need to pay close attention in case it popped.

Just a few short weeks after surgery and experiencing aphasia –where she couldn’t even recall her own name, Clarke embarked on a whirlwind press tour for Game of Thrones Season 1 and she had to begin filming for Season 2. Clarke recalled it all being the worst time of her life. She told The New Yorker,

I was deeply unsure of myself. I was often so woozy, so weak, that I thought I was going to die. Staying at a hotel in London during a publicity tour, I vividly remember thinking, I can’t keep up or think or breathe, much less try to be charming. I sipped on morphine in between interviews. The pain was there, and the fatigue was like the worst exhaustion I’d ever experienced, multiplied by a million. I am fine, I’m in my twenties, I’m fine. I threw myself into the work. But, after that first day of filming, I barely made it back to the hotel before I collapsed of exhaustion. On the set, I didn’t miss a beat, but I struggled. Season 2 would be my worst. I didn’t know what Daenerys was doing. If I am truly being honest, every minute of every day I thought I was going to die.

Is Emilia Clarke completely healthy now?

In 2013 –the Game of Thrones actress went in for her second surgery. After going in for a brain scan –Clarke’s doctor noted that the growth on the other side of her brain had doubled in size. Unfortunately, a less invasive surgery failed. This time around –Clarke needed to get her skull cut open to fix the issue. She remembered, “When they woke me, I was screaming in pain. The procedure had failed. I had a massive bleed, and the doctors made it plain that my chances of surviving were precarious if they didn’t operate again.”

Though the invasive surgery was successful, Clarke’s recovery was much more painful and difficult the second time around. Luckily, Clarke is now 100% healed. She explained, “In the years since my second surgery, I have healed beyond my most unreasonable hopes. I am now at a hundred percent. There is something gratifying, and beyond lucky, about coming to the end of Thrones. I’m so happy to be here to see the end of this story and the beginning of whatever comes next.”

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