‘Game Of Thrones’ Star Emilia Clarke Reveals She Nearly Died During Filming Twice

Joshua RogersJoshua Rogers in Entertainment, News, TV, World
Published 22.03.19
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Much of what the Game Of Thrones come out with at the moment varies between ‘yeah we all cried at the end’, ‘oh, it’s so bittersweet,’ ‘your mind’s going to be blown.’

We get it, it’s going to be good.

However, the Mother of Dragons herself, Emilia Clarke, has shared a harrowing and inspirational story about how she suffered two brain aneurysms that required life-saving surgery.

The 32-year old said she was unable to remember her own name after the haemorrhage left her in intensive care, sharing her story for the first time for The New Yorker.

She explains that her health problems began in February 2011, soon after she had finished filming for Game of Thrones’ first season.

Clarke revealed that she was working out with her trainer in London when she experienced a painful headache that felt like “an elastic band were squeezing my brain”.

She says the pain eventually became so intense that she had to “almost crawl” back to the locker room before falling to her knees and becoming “violently, voluminously ill”.

“For a few moments, I tried to will away the pain and the nausea,” she wrote. “I said to myself, ‘I will not be paralysed’.

“I moved my fingers and toes to make sure that was true. To keep my memory alive, I tried to recall, among other things, some lines from Game of Thrones.”

Emilia was rushed to hospital where a brain scan revealed she was suffering from a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a kind of life-threatening stroke. After this surgery she felt immense pain.

“I had no idea where I was. My field of vision was constricted. There was a tube down my throat and I was parched and nauseated,” she said.

“Meanwhile, the pain — shooting, stabbing, constricting pain — was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged.” 

However, the surgery wasn’t completely successful as Clarke was left unable to remember her name after suffering from a condition known as aphasia – when a person has difficulty with their language or speech caused by damage to the left side of the brain.

“In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug,” she revealed.

“I asked the medical staff to let me die. My job — my entire dream of what my life would be — centred on language, on communication. Without that, I was lost. I was sent back to the ICU and, after about a week, the aphasia passed. I was able to speak.”

Shortly after she was able to return to work but during promotion for Game of Thrones, she often felt weak and revealed that she had to take morphine for pain relief in between interviews.

In 2013, a brain scan revealed that Clarke’s second aneurysm had doubled in size and required another operation.

Thankfully this went more successfully, but she now has a scar going from her scalp to her ear and parts of her skull are now titanium.

She said: “After keeping quiet all these years, I’m telling you the truth in full. Please believe me: I know that I am hardly unique, hardly alone.

“In the years since my second surgery I have healed beyond my most unreasonable hopes. I am now at a hundred per cent.”

In the years since, Clarke has launched SameYou, a charity aimed at supporting young people with brain injuries and helping them access resources to aid recovery.

She said she wanted to break her silence over her near-fatal brain injuries to help others with the “invisible illness”.

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