Emilia Clarke’s Dark Turn as Daenerys Targaryen in ‘Game of Thrones’ Makes Her the Most Likely Villain to Take Home an Emmy

Some of TV’s best villains have taken home Emmys over the years, and with Game of Thrones expected to clean house at this year’s award ceremony, fans fully expect that Emilia Clarke will have a successful night for her part as the villainous Daenerys Targaryen. Clarke, who starred in all eight seasons of HBO’s hit series, is up for Best Drama Actress. So will Clarke join the ranks of Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), John Lithgow (Dexter), and Margo Martindale (Justified) as this year’s Emmy villain?

Daenerys Targaryen Emmy
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) | Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO

Clarke leading the pack for Best Drama Actress

To be fair, Daenerys was not a villain for most of the series. Instead, she was a complex character who freed the enslaved, helped defeat the White Walkers, and had a promising romance with the show’s other main star, Jon Snow (Kit Harington).

Daenerys’s journey, however, took a turn in the final season of Game of Thrones. After burning most of King’s Landing, Daenerys was set to become one of the biggest tyrants in the history of Westeros – at least until Jon drove a sword through her.

Although Daenerys does not conform to a traditional villain role, many fans believe that Clarke has a good chance of taking home an Emmy this year. According to Gold Derby, a recent fan poll put Clarke at a 37 percent chance to win the award for Best Drama Actress. That does not mean that Clarke, who has been previously nominated in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, will win the award, but she definitely has a good shot.

Clarke’s co-star, Peter Dinklage, is the only cast member of Game of Thrones who has won an Emmy in a leading category. While Dinklage is certainly not viewed as one of the show’s main heroes, he also does not fit in a villain role either. If Clarke does win, then she will be the show’s first villain to be recognized at this level.

Will Clarke finally win an Emmy?

Emmy voters examined Clarke’s work in the season 8 episode of Game of Thrones: “The Last of the Starks.” The installment featured Daenerys mourning the loss of Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) following the Battle of Winterfell. Although other characters are celebrating the Night King’s defeat, Daenerys is worried about her bid for the Iron Throne after discovering that Jon is the rightful heir.

The episode also shows Daenerys planning her attack on King’s Landing with some of her most trusted advisors. At the end of the day, Daenerys is persuaded to meet with Cersei (Lena Headey) in a last-ditch attempt to broker a peace.

On her way south, however, one of Daenerys’s dragons, Rhaegal, is killed, while her trusted advisor and friend, Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) is captured in an ambush. Cersei ends up killing Missandei right in front of Daenerys and her army, a move that ultimately seals her fate.

Clarke’s performance in the episode is great, which is why she is a clear frontrunner for an Emmy. Her character’s journey in the final season, however, is a different story. A lot of fans had mixed feelings about Daenerys’s end, though that should have no bearing on what happens at the Emmys.

While Clarke has a good shot at the award, she is up against some good competition for Best Drama Actress. This includes the likes of Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder), Sandra Oh (Killing Eve), Robin Wright (House of Cards), Jodie Comer (Killing Eve), Laura Linney (Ozark), and Mandy Moore (This Is Us).

Clarke dishes on Daenerys Targaryen’s controversial end

Speaking of Daenerys’s ending, Clarke recently opened up about her character’s twist in the final season of Game of Thrones. The actress revealed that she was very shocked about what happened to Daenerys and had to take a walk after reading the final script.

Fortunately, Clarke figured out what to do with the story she was given and gave an amazing performance. Whether or not that will be good enough to win an Emmy is yet to be determined, but we like her chances.

Fans can see if Emilia Clarke takes home the Emmy for her final performance as Daenerys Targaryen when the Primetime Emmy Awards air Sunday, September 22, on Fox.