Emilia Clarke discusses filming ‘Game of Thrones’ after secret brain surgery

"I spent a lot time just being like: 'Am I gonna die? Is that gonna happen on set?'"

Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke has detailed her experience filming the show after having brain surgery.

The actress, who played Daenerys Targaryen on the HBO show, opened up about the aftermath of suffering a brain haemorrhage in London after filming season one of Game Of Thrones.

Describing filming a scene in season 2 in which Daenerys demands refuge for her khalasar by the Gates of Qarth, the actress explained to Entertainment Weekly what she had previously dismissed as “heatstroke.”


“It was crazy intense,” Clarke said. “We are in the desert in a quarry in like ninety-degree heat, and I had the consistent fear that I was going to have another brain haemorrhage.

“I spent a lot time just being like: ‘Am I gonna die? Is that gonna happen on set? Because that would be really inconvenient.’ And with any kind of brain injury it leaves you with a fatigue that’s indescribable. I was trying so hard to keep it under wraps.”

Game Of Thrones Emilia Clarke Kit Harington
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Kit Harington as Jon Snow in ‘Game Of Thrones’. Credit: HBO

Alan Taylor, who directed the episode, added: “We were afraid for her. She’s so brave, because it never affected her commitment to the work.”

Game Of Thrones showrunner Dan Weiss described the experience as “terrifying”, as Clarke kept her diagnosis mostly under wraps.

“It was terrifying because this amazing, sweet, wonderful human being came this close to not being around anymore – this person we loved so much after just one year,” he said.


“Obviously you need to make the show, but the important thing was making sure she was in a safe situation. You ask yourself: Is she as safe doing this show as if she was not doing it? If she was home sitting on her couch?”

He continued: “She was so gung-ho, the main thing for us was making sure she wouldn’t put herself [in dangerous situations]. She would say: ‘Yeah, I just had brain surgery and if I need to gallop on a horse down a mountainside, I’ll do it.’ You would have to tell her no because she would never say no.”

Meanwhile, Game Of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has explained his “least favourite” scene in the HBO show.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the writer said the scene he liked the least cropped up in season one, and pointed to potential budget issues as the reason behind his disappointment.