‘Game of Thrones’ Finale: Emilia Clarke Talks About Filming Daenerys Targaryen’s Death Scene With Jon Snow

Emilia Clarke was stunned to learn of Daenerys Targaryen’s heartbreaking ending, she was stunned to find out the dark turn her character would take leading up to that ending. Wrapping her head around who the character she’s gotten to intimately know and craft over the better part of a decade has become was not an easy task for Clarke.

“I cried, and I went for a walk,” she told EW of her reaction to first reading Season 8. “I walked out of the house and took my keys and phone and walked back with blisters on my feet. I didn’t come back for five hours. I’m like, ‘How am I going to do this?’”

Emilia Clarke | David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The MS Society
Emilia Clarke | David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The MS Society

But she did it. She got there; she justified Dany’s breaking points, as she was taught to do in acting school. Before Clarke was the Mother of Dragons she studied stage acting. It’s not shocking to learn the actress has a background in live theatre, because she very obviously pours her entire heart, soul, body into her work.

An inside look at the acting choices Emilia Clarke made in Daenerys Targaryen’s death scene

In a post-finale interview with The New Yorker, Clarke spoke about her process of filming her death scene with her co-star, Kit Harington (Jon Snow).  

“As I say, I always wanted to show that softer side of Daenerys—or more textured. There’s always a thousand reasons why anyone comes to any conclusion or says anything. We are the product of the experiences that we’ve had, and so with all of these moments when they’re kind of, like, ‘She’s just brutal, she’s cold,’ I really tried to bring a kind of lightness.

I wanted to play a game with what the scene was about. It’s not that I wanted to show her as ‘mad,’ because I really don’t like that word. I don’t enjoy fans calling me ‘The Mad Queen.’ But she is so far gone in grief, in trauma, and in pain. And yet our brains are fascinating in the way that they find a fast route to feel O.K., whether you’re relying on a substance or you’re mildly deluded.

If you see abuse in someone young, they often are able to mentally leave the room. I wanted Daenerys to be there. I wanted to show her as we saw her in the beginning: young, naïve, childlike, open, and full of love and hope. I wanted so much for that to be the last memory of her,” she said.

Clarke said a lot of thought went into that final scene, not just from her but the showrunners and crew as well.

“The scene was definitely under the microscope for quite some time—understandably so—but it was poetic and beautiful,” she said.

Though the scene was incredibly sad for Clarke to film (as it was for us to watch), she said she felt “very taken care of” in terms of how her character died.

“I feel very taken care of as a character in that sense,” she told EW. “It’s a very beautiful and touching ending. Hopefully, what you’ll see in that last moment as she’s dying is: There’s the vulnerability — there’s the little girl you met in season 1. See? She’s right there. And now, she’s not there anymore…”

Read more: ‘Game of Thrones’ Finale: Jon Snow Actor Says Fans Are ‘In Denial’ About Who Daenerys Really Was