Emilia Clarke Overcomes Brain Aneurysms: From Fear of Failure to Advocacy

The Game of Thrones star shares her journey of resilience and raising awareness for brain injury survivors

Emilia Clarke has opened up about the fears and challenges she faced after suffering two brain aneurysms while filming Game of Thrones. The actress, who brought Daenerys Targaryen to life on the HBO series, experienced the aneurysms in 2011 and 2013, causing her significant worry about her ability to continue working on the show.

In an interview with Big Issue, Clarke revealed the intense insecurities that arose following her brain injuries. “When you have a brain injury, because it alters your sense of self on such a dramatic level, all of the insecurities you have going into the workplace quadruple overnight,” she explained. “The first fear we all had was: ‘Oh my God, am I going to get fired? Am I going to get fired because they think I’m not capable of completing the job?'”

Clarke also shared her fear of suffering another aneurysm due to the stress and demands of filming the George R.R. Martin series. Reflecting on this period, she said, “Well, if I’m going to die, I better die on live TV.”

Today, Clarke is dedicated to raising awareness about brain injuries through her charity, SameYou, which has partnered with Big Issue Recruit to support individuals who have suffered similar conditions. “Having a chronic condition that diminishes your confidence in this one thing you feel is your reason to live is so debilitating and so lonely,” Clarke said. “One of the biggest things I felt with a brain injury was profoundly alone. That is what we’re trying to overcome.”

Despite the severity of her injuries, Clarke has found strength in her journey. She recalled asking medical staff to let her die, fearing she would never act again. However, she overcame these dark moments and now believes others can too. “It has given me a superpower,” she added, emphasizing the resilience and determination that have defined her path forward.

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