February 2, 2023


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Emilia Clarke says its ‘remarkable’ she can still speak after suffering brain aneurysms

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. [Source: NZ HErald]

Actress Emilia Clarke has opened up about her battle with brain aneurysms throughout her rise to fame on Game of Thrones, revealing she has lost use of significant parts of her brain.

“It was the most excruciating pain,” Clarke explained in a recent interview with the BBC.

She said she suffered severe headaches that came on suddenly during a workout in February 2011, roughly around the time she was wrapping up filming the first season of the HBO hit.

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“The amount of my brain that is no longer usable … it’s remarkable that I am able to speak, sometimes articulately, and live my life completely normally with absolutely no repercussions,” Clarke continued.

“I am in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that.”

Clarke said surgery had left her with “a deep paranoia” over whether it would prevent her from continuing a career as an actor.

“There’s quite a bit missing, which always makes me laugh,” Clarke said. “Strokes, basically, as soon as any part of your brain doesn’t get blood for a second, it’s gone. So, the blood finds a different route to get around, but then whatever bit is missing is therefore gone.”

She said after her second major episode, blood was cut off to her brain for over a minute, meaning it will no longer work. She liked the condition to having your brain “short circuit”.

“With the second one, there was a bit of my brain that actually died,” Clarke said, adding, “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.”

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“So, I had that. And [doctors] didn’t know what it was,” she continued. “They literally were looking at the brain and being like, ‘Well, we think it could be her concentration, it could be her peripheral vision [affected].’ I always say it’s my taste in men that’s no longer there! That’s the part of my brain, yeah, my decent taste in men.”

Clarke said her Game of Thrones character, Daenerys Targaryen, helped her overcome her health obstacles.

“For me, the show became my escape from all of it. If I was changing, I wasn’t really aware of it. All the change was done for me. Because she did it. Daenerys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons. F**king Game of F**king Thrones,” she said.

Following her health battle, the entertainer founded the charity SameYou, which “aims to provide treatment for people recovering from brain injuries and stroke”.