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Emilia Clarke survived near-fatal brain strokes while filming Game of Thrones


For the most part of shooting Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen actor Emilia Clarke was in incredible pain and thought she was going to die at any moment. In a personal essay published in The New Yorker on Thursday, the 32-year-old actor revealed for the first time that she had suffered two near-fatal brain aneurysms requiring multiple surgeries since 2011.

The aneurysms (rupture of artery walls) caused Clarke severe pain and trauma for almost eight years. What she had suffered is called Subarachnoid Haemorrhage (SAH), a type of brain stroke caused by excessive bleeding in the space surrounding the brain. About one-third of SAH sufferers die immediately or soon after; another one-third never fully recover from the ensuing brain damage.

Throughout this period, Clarke was in constant fear of death and cognitive decline. She had developed a condition called Aphasia after the first stroke. It affected her memory, so much so that at one point she couldn’t recall her own name. She was in “blind panic”, and even contemplated suicide, Clarke recalls in the essay:

“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.”

The first aneurysm happened during a workout session shortly after Clarke had wrapped up filming for Season 1. She was 24 years old at that time. A brain surgery had to be performed to repair the rupture. Recovery was slow, and Clarke was in incredible pain throughout the filming of Season 2. Clarke recalls how it affected her performance in the show:


Emilia Clarke in a scene from Game of Thrones Season 2.

“On the set, I didn’t miss a beat, but I struggled. Season 2 would be my worst. I didn’t know what Daenerys was doing. If I am truly being honest, every minute of every day I thought I was going to die.”

But Clarke’s ordeal didn’t end there. In 2013, soon after she had finished filming for Season 3, a brain scan revealed another aneurysm in her brain. She went in for a preventive minimally-invasive surgery in New York on her doctor’s advice, but it went horribly wrong. Clarke had to go through with an open-skull surgery immediately after.

Eight years later, Clarke is now healthy and pain-free. Since recovering from her condition, she has helped developed a charity organization called SameYou that provides treatment to people recovering from brain injuries and stroke. She also talks candidly about her inability to manage the stress of new-found fame after Season 1. Like many of her co-stars, Clarke was a debutant and had no experience of celebrity pressure before Game of Thrones.

“I hardly felt like a conquering spirit. I was terrified. Terrified of the attention, terrified of a business I barely understood, terrified of trying to make good on the faith that the creators of “Thrones” had put in me.”

Well, Emilia Clarke is no less a survivor and fighter than the Mother of Dragons, it seems.


Game of Thrones is the biggest TV show to have ever filmed, both in terms of its budget and viewership. It also holds the record for the most number of Emmy Awards won. Have you ever wondered, why the show is so popular? Research by data scientists and network theorists might hold the key to the secrets of the show’s unprecedented fame!

Researchers from five universities from the UK and Ireland came together to unravel A Song of Ice and Fire, the books on which the TV series is based.


A paper was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A team of physicists, mathematicians and psychologists from Coventry, Warwick, Limerick, Cambridge and Oxford universities got together. They used data science and network theory to analyse the acclaimed book series by George R. R. Martin.

The study shows the way the interactions between the characters are arranged is similar to how humans maintain relationships and interact in the real world. Although important characters are famously killed off at random as the story is told, the underlying chronology is not at all so unpredictable.

The team found over 2,000 named characters in Martin’s book and over 41,000 interactions between them. Even the most pivotal characters average out to have only 150 others to keep track of. This is the same number that the average human brain has evolved to deal with.

Did the results surprise you? Tell us what you think of the research in the comments below!

Revenge was the main driving force for Maisie Williams’ Arya Stark that kept her going against all odds on Game of Thrones. Her will to survive and the flame of vengeance turned her into one of the most formidable assassins ever in Westeros. Maisie is back with the same burning rage in the new trailer for HBO Max’s dark action-comedy Two Weeks to Live.

Williams, who earlier said her new role was the polar opposite to Arya, is seen raising her kill-count in the trailer. Her character, Kim Stokes is a 20-year-old girl who finds it hard to fit into society after living for a long time in isolation with her mother. Her mother, Tina, played by Sian Clifford, is a paranoid mom who went into hiding after her husband died under murky circumstances.

The story takes a hilarious and action-packed turn when Kim butts her head with her brothers Jay (Taheen Modak) and Nicky (Mawaan Rizwan) in a nearby town. The fun begins when they come across a rumour about the world ending in two weeks. Maisie’s character then ropes in the brother duo in her dangerous quest of exacting revenge on her father’s killers.

Maisie’s new character looks spine-chilling when going for a kill, yet cute when she’s back with her family. Are you excited about the humour-packed thriller? Tell us in the comments below!

Game of Thrones was a life-changing experience for both the fans and the cast of the show. Many of the stars have moved onto new projects ever since the show wrapped up filming. John Bradley, who played the affable Samwell Tarly on the acclaimed TV series, recently joined Lionsgate’s space epic Moonfall.

Bradley was selected as a replacement for Josh Gad for the movie. The Frozen star couldn’t continue due to his scheduling complications. Other than Bradley, the space-epic boasts of a highly acclaimed roaster consisting of Stanley Tucci and Halle Berry.

The casting update arrived via Deadline. Disaster-epic-specialist Roland Emmerich’s upcoming movie features the Moon being knocked from its orbit of Earth by a mysterious force and then heading straight for our planet. The description to the movie says,

With mere weeks before impact and against all odds, a ragtag team launches an impossible last-ditch mission into space, leaving behind everyone they love and risking everything to land on the lunar surface and save our planet from annihilation.”

John Bradley plays the role of KC Houseman, who is an eccentric and unkempt genius. It is his character who discovers the Moon’s potentially catastrophic fall from orbit. Similar to John’s Game of Thrones character Samwell Tarly, KC prefers brains over brawn to deal with a situation. (Check out his views on the show’s finale)

Are you excited to see Bradley once again over the silver screen? Let us know in the comments below!