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Game of Thrones is one of those shows where there are a lot of big, epic moments that just make audiences fall deeper in love with the show. That said, one of the most pivotal moments for the show involved no dramatic deaths, no sex scenes, and not even many words of dialogue.

This was the scene in the first season where Daenerys Targaryen, or Dany, eats a horse’s heart. While it may seem kind of ridiculous, this scene was very important and effective in many ways. That said, in order to shoot this scene, Emilia Clarke, who plays Dany, had an easy, but difficult, job ahead of her.

What ‘Game of Thrones’ is about

The premise of the show is simple, but it ends up being pretty complicated when everything is spelled out. Basically, in Game of Thrones, everyone is trying to gain control of the Seven Kingdoms. As such, there are many characters in the show, and almost all of them are trying to, in one way or another, win control of those kingdoms. 

One of the most important characters, however, is Dany, and her story starts off in the east, far away from everyone else in the show. Her brother thinks that he’s the true king of the Seven Kingdoms, but he doesn’t have the army to back up his claim to the throne. So, he creates an alliance with the Dothraki, which is a nomadic warrior culture led by Khal Drogo, who’s played by Jason Momoa. 

This alliance is created by the forced marriage between Dany and Khal Drogo. Dany doesn’t like living with the Dothraki, but she eventually becomes accustomed to them. However, for the first few episodes, she hasn’t proven her worth to them just yet.

The horse heart scene in ‘Game of Thrones’

That’s where this horse heart scene comes along, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Dany is pregnant with Khal Drogo’s baby, but in Dothraki culture, a Khaleesi, which is a woman who’s married to a Khal, must first prove herself by eating a horse’s heart. Since Dany is a Khaleesi, naturally, she also had to prove herself by eating a horse’s heart.

Since this is the first season of an eight-season show, obviously, Dany, despite, struggling with the task, eventually eats the whole heart. The other women in the Dothraki accept her into their culture, and eventually, she becomes the ruler of all the Dothraki. While that’s the simplified version of things, in reality, Clarke had a very hard time doing what Dany did, even though she didn’t have to eat an actual horse heart.

What Emilia Clarke had to eat

Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys Targaryen | HBO

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As Mental Floss said, the “horse heart” that Clarke munched on was actually made from the same stuff that gummy bears were made of. It also had some pasta to simulate arteries and some fake blood to make it look real. That said, while the horse heart was made from gummy candy, it didn’t actually taste like gummy bears. In fact, it tasted like bleach.

Unsurprisingly, Clarke didn’t have an easy time eating this fake horse heart, and Mental Floss said that she ate 28 hearts before they finished filming the scene. Between takes, she’d also puke from time to time, and, unfortunately, she had a similarly messy situation when it came to using the bathroom.

That said, at the very least, as The Hollywood Reporter wrote, Clarke had an easy time acting for this scene. The purpose of this scene was to show Dany having a hard time eating the horse heart, but persevering and getting the job done. This was exactly the same feeling that Clarke had when she shot the scene, so she basically didn’t have to do any acting at all.