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Emilia Clarke Nearly Died of an Aneurysm After Game of Thrones Season One

March 21, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Emilia Clarke Daenerys Targaryen Game of Thrones

Emilia Clarke nearly went the way of Ned Stark after the first season of Game of Thrones. Clark, who plays Daenerys in the hit HBO series, wrote a piece in The New Yorker discussing how she was struck with a brain aneurysm while working out in North London after the first season had wrapped.

Clarke said, “For a few moments, I tried to will away the pain and the nausea. I said to myself, “I will not be paralyzed.” 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.” She was quickly transported to a hospital where she was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage — a stroke that is caused by bleeding into the space around the brain. Clarke said that she later learned that “about a third of SAH patients die immediately or soon thereafter. For the patients who do survive, urgent treatment is require to seal off the aneurysm, as there is a very high risk of a second, often fatal bleed. If I was to live and avoid terrible deficits, I would have to have urgent surgery. And, even then, there were no guarantees.”

The actress said that she later suffered from aphasia during her post-surgery recovery, which is a side effect of these kinds of brain traumas that prevented her from speak coherently. She was afraid that her career was in jeopardy, but that the condition passed after a week.

Clarke said she told the show’s executives when she returned to film season two and that she had to take morphine to deal with the pain of her recovery, “sipping on” it between interviews for a press event. “I was often so woozy, so weak, that I thought I was going to die,” she recalled. “On the first day of shooting for Season 2, in Dubrovnik, I kept telling myself, ‘I am fine, I’m in my 20s, I’m fine.’ I threw myself into the work. But, after that first day of filming, I barely made it back to the hotel before I collapsed of exhaustion.” She added that the second season is her worst.

She recounted that a routine scan after season three showed another aneurysm that was growing and needed to be removed, leading to two surgeries to remove them. She wrote, that “that I now have a hard time remembering those dark days [as she recovered] in much detail. My mind has blocked them out. But I do remember being convinced that I wasn’t going to live.”

Clarke added that she only ever had one news outlet ask about the scares and denied them, writing, “But now, 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. Countless people have suffered far worse, and with nothing like the care I was so lucky to receive.”