Emilia Clarke is a beloved actress best known for her role as The Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, on the series The Game of Thrones. Years ago, a well-known tabloid magazine published a story saying that Clarke had needed some kind of brain surgery. She denied the accusations at the time. In 2019, however, Clarke finally came out and published the story of the two brain aneurysms she suffered while filming Game of Thrones. This is her story.
Emilia Clarke Suffered Two Brain Aneurysms While Filming Game of Thrones
Imagine getting your big break only to immediately suffer an injury or illness that threatens to take it all away. That is exactly what happened to Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones fans’ beloved Mother of Dragons. Shortly after wrapping up filming for the first season of the hit HBO series, Emilia Clarke had an aneurysm. She then had another one not long after filming season 3. She thought she was going to die, or worse – never be able to act again. (1)
The First Aneurysm
For her entire life, Emilia Clarke wanted to be an actress. She finally received her big break when directors cast her as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones. They had just finished filming the first season and Clarke had begun working out with a personal trainer. In the personal story she wrote for The New Yorker, she says she recalls going in for her session but she felt really awful. She had a headache and felt incredibly tired.
Clarke asked the trainer to excuse herself and went to the bathroom, willing away the pain and nausea. She began vomiting profusely, and someone called an ambulance. Mostly everything after that is a blurry, terrifying nightmare. The doctors immediately performed a surgery, telling her later that she had suffered an aneurysm.
Two weeks after the aneurysm, a nurse asked her what her full name was – Emilia Isobel Euphemia Rose Clarke. The only problem was that instead of her name, just a nonsensical jumble of words came out of her mouth. She was suffering from aphasia.
“Even as I was muttering nonsense, my mum did me the great kindness of ignoring it and trying to convince me that I was perfectly lucid. But I knew I was faltering. In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug. I asked the medical staff to let me die. My job—my entire dream of what my life would be—centered on language, on communication. Without that, I was lost.” she wrote.
What Is Aphasia?
Aphasia is a language disorder caused by damage to the areas of the brain that control language expression and comprehension. Often stroke patients will then struggle with aphasia. In some instances, it can leave people essentially unable to communicate. (2)