Emilia Clarke reflects on how she feared being fired from ‘Game of Thrones’ for a terrifying health reason

Emilia Clarke reflects on how she feared being fired from ‘Game of Thrones’ for a terrifying health reason

Emilia Clarke’s portrayal of Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO series Game of Thrones made her an icon. But there was a time when she was concerned she would be fired from the show after experiencing two brain hemorrhages.

In an interview with The Big Issue, she discussed the incidents in 2011 and 2013:

“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. … 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?’”

The actress returned to work only weeks after the first health scare, and her dedication to her job was clear. “Well, if I’m going to die, I better die on live TV,” she recalled of her thought process at the time.

The effects of her brain injury were not just physical, as Clarke recalls the overwhelming feeling of loneliness. “One of the biggest things I felt with a brain injury was profoundly alone. That is what we’re trying to overcome,” she explained.

Emilia Clarke discusses her feelings about her brain injury

Emilia Clarke previously discussed the life-threatening subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) she experienced in an essay for The New Yorker in 2019 (the same year she founded her charity, SameYou, in support of brain injury recovery).

“As I later learned, about a third of SAH patients die immediately or soon thereafter,” she wrote. “For the patients who do survive, urgent treatment is required to seal off the aneurysm, as there is a very high risk of a second, often fatal bleed.”

Later in the essay, she recalled how she was 24 at the time, and brain surgery was the last thing she expected to need. “I remember being told that I should sign a release form for surgery. Brain surgery? I was in the middle of my very busy life — I had no time for brain surgery,” she wrote. “But, finally, I settled down and signed. And then I was unconscious. For the next three hours, surgeons went about repairing my brain. This would not be my last surgery, and it would not be the worst.” Not only was she fortunate to keep working on the hit television series, but she’s also lucky to be alive.

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