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Emilia Clarke shares never-before-seen photos from the hospital after her brain surgery

It was the darkest period of her life, but she pulled through it with guts and panache worthy of the Mother of Dragons. Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke is finally opening up about the life-threatening brain aneurysms she suffered. On Monday she shared some never-before-seen photos from the time of her surgeries during an interview with CBS, and they are simply heartbreaking.

In a piece written for The New York Times this March, Emilia revealed for the first time that she had suffered two brain aneurysms during the filming of Game of Thrones, and had to undergo multiple surgeries. In the CBS Morning Show, she goes into some more details about her condition.

The first aneurysm happened right after wrapping up Season 1, but Emilia was back after a small surgery. But one blood vessel remained swollen and went bust during a routine health procedure right after season 3 filming. This one almost killed her.

“So, with the second one, there was a bit of my brain that actually died. If a part of your brain doesn’t get blood to it for a minute, it will just no longer work. It’s like you short circuit. So, I had that.”

In her line of work, the implications of permanent cognitive damage are grave indeed, for most of it depends on her ability to remember lines. The recovery took forever, there was great uncertainty, and Emilia found it extremely hard to stay optimistic. This is evident from the photos, which are so very different from the chirpy, happy soul she comes through as.

But Emilia had an ally in her dark times – the Dragon Queen herself. Playing a character as resilient and powerful as Daenerys Targaryen helped Emilia find her foot, and her confidence in those troubled times.

“Then you go on set and you play a badass and you walk through fire, and that became the thing that just saved me from considering my own mortality.”

Now fully recovered, Emilia has founded a charity called SameYou aimed at rehabilitating people with brain injuries and stroke. The need to raise awareness about brain injuries is what prompted Emilia to share her story and now these photographs from the recovery process with the world.

She has not only survived what is surely the stuff of nightmare, but is working to make it easier for other sufferers as well. Now that is truly heroic!