Daenerys Targaryen is a character in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels, as well as the television adaptation, Game of Thrones, where she is portrayed by English actress Emilia Clarke.
As we all know, the role of Daenerys Targaryen, also known as Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Lady of Dragonstone, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons. However, Emilia Clarke been busy conquering kingdoms and playing the mother of dragons onscreen. Unfortunately, she’s been fighting for something even harder off-screen, so now we can call her Conqueror of Brain Aneurysms.
She never shares her off-screen story publicly, therefore, even her biggest fans were not aware of her condition. Finally, she decided to share her story with images of her in the hospital after suffering two life-threatening brain aneurysms.
As per her, the first time she experienced brain aneurysms was right after the first season of Game of Thrones.
However, the reason why she decided to open up with her experience as we approach the much-anticipated final season of Game of Thrones.
She shared her story as an essay in New Yorker, titled “A Battle For My Life”. She revealed many details about her experiences, as an example, how she was rushed to the emergency room for surgery after suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage in 2011.
An aneurysm is an abnormal swelling or bulge in the wall of a blood vessel, such as an artery. It begins as a weak spot in the blood vessel wall, which balloons out of shape over time by the force of the pumping blood.
She explained how the first aneurysm occurred while she was in the gym.
“My trainer had me get into the plank position, and I immediately felt as though an elastic band was squeezing my brain. I tried to ignore the pain and push through it, but I just couldn’t. I told my trainer I had to take a break. Somehow, almost crawling, I made it to the locker room.
I reached the toilet, sank to my knees, and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill. Meanwhile, the pain—shooting, stabbing, constricting pain—was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged.”
She was afraid for her life and for her career as well.
“I’d never experienced fear like that — a sense of doom closing in. I could see my life ahead, and it wasn’t worth living. I am an actor; I need to remember my lines,” she wrote with pure honesty.
“Now I couldn’t recall my name. 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.”
Some of the photos that she shared.
It was only six weeks and she was already back to work. She told her bosses that she wanted to keep the whole thing private. “I didn’t want it to be a subject of public discussion and dissection. The show must go on!”
She continued: “Season two would be my worst. I didn’t know what Daenerys was doing. If I’m truly being honest, every minute of every day I thought I was going to die.”
After 2 years, she realized that it is the second time of aneurysm. It was even worse.
“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.”
The most frightening thing is doctors weren’t aware of what was gone, some doctors thought it might be her attention, others presumed her peripheral vision was 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,” she jokes.
The biggest fear she had was losing her career.
“That was a deep paranoia, from the first one as well. I was like, ‘What if something has short-circuited in my brain and I can’t act anymore?’ I mean, literally, it’s been my reason for living for a very long time!”
If she thought to recover from the first brain injury was difficult, the second time around was that much harder. It was extremely painful and “I looked as though I had been through a war more gruesome than any that Daenerys experienced.”
“you go on set and you play a badass and you walk through the fire, and that became the thing that just saved me from considering my own mortality.” She said.
“After keeping quiet all these years, I’m telling you the truth in full. Please believe me: I know that I am hardly unique, hardly alone. Countless people have suffered far worse, and with nothing like the care I was so lucky to receive.”
“There’s been so much life that I’ve lived in the ten years that I’ve been working on the show. So, you’re saying good-bye to so much more than just the character. I’m saying good-bye to my twenties!”