"Daenerys Targaryen" almost died on the operating table. She ruptured an aneurysm in between seasons and had brain surgery.
By Vianey Olivares
Game of Thrones has managed to kill some of our dearest characters. We saw Ned Stark's head on a spike, Oberyn Martell being torn to pieces by The Mountain's bare hands, and Khal Drogo mercifully smothered to death with a pillow after being left in a vegetative state. It is hard to believe that a work of fiction has been able to stir so many feelings in us. If the death of these fictional characters has affected us so, imagine what the death of the actors that portray them would cause, more so in the case of the Mother of Dragons!
Actress Emilia Clarke, who plays the brave Daenerys Targaryen, recently shared with her fans in an interview with The New Yorker the horrible ordeal she went through while filming, something that almost costed her her life and put her on the operation table more than once to have brain surgery in between seasons. In the interview, she also talked about her desire to become an actress when she as a little girl and her delight to be chosen after the casting for the series, as well as the fears she had after her health scare.
So, what happened?
After the end of the filming of the first season of Game of Thrones, in 2011, Emilia began an exercise regime with a personal trainer. During one of these sessions, she got an excruciating headache which made her feel dizzy and lose consciousness while trying to get her sneakers on in the gym's lockers. She was rushed by ambulance to a London hospital. On arrival, she was diagnosed with subarachnoid hemorrhage, bleeding in the area between the skull and the brain, as a consequence of a ruptured aneurysm.
To stop the bleeding, the doctors had to clamp the aneurysm (which is an artery with a congenital defect) or she could die from blood loss. In spite of being right in the middle of a lot of very important professional commitments, she accepted to have the surgery done, although she felt terrified. The operation lasted three hours, and it was a total success, but while she was convalescing she showed signs of aphasia, which prevented her from communicating verbally, and made her fear the possible consequences in the long term. Thankfully, she made a full recovery a few days later.
The filming of the second season of Game of Thrones began a few weeks after she left the hospital. Emilia says that, all the time they were filming she felt terrified she could die any second, because of the intense pain she experienced, which could only be calmed with the use of morphine. Still, she finished filming the second season with no further health complications and even attended some promotional events.
Doctors had found a second aneurysm and kept a close look, but declared her out of danger. Then, in 2013, in a routine checkup, doctors found out the aneurysm had grown considerably and had to be operated on.
The first surgery had not been very invasive: through a catheter inserted through a small incision in her groin they reached her artery and then the blood vessel in her brain with the aneurysm. For the second procedure they had planned the same method, but something went wrong and she started to bleed uncontrollably, and the doctors were forced to operate directly on her brain to save her life.
Clarke woke up from surgery with a terrible headache and pieces of titanium in place of chunks of her skull. As a result of this, Emilia suffered from self-esteem issues, fearing the scar would be too visible and this would prevent her from getting work, because of her appearance.
Healthy and happy
Currently, Emilia Clarke has made a full recovery and has left behind the hardest episode in her life. Now she can focus on her career and the amazing life that she has made for herself after her role in Game of Thrones, which will premiere its eighth and last season on April 14.
We just cannot imagine what would happen to this intense series full of drama and dragons without Emilia Clarke.
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