Emilia Clarke on why she still ‘stands by’ Daenerys
(“Game of Thrones” Season 8 spoilers ahead)
Emilia Clarke “completely flipped out” when she discovered Daenerys’ fate in the final “Game of Thrones” episode—and now fans can understand why.
After being built up as a liberator of oppressed peoples, Daenerys’ claim to the Iron Throne is dashed after she was killed by her own lover—and nephew—Jon Snow (Kit Harington).
Clarke told Entertainment Weekly on Monday, May 20, that she read the tragic end of her character seven times found in Season 8’s sixth episode and was reduced to tears.
Harington, who read the script for the first time alongside the cast, cried too when he got to their last scene together.
She recalled the shock she felt after reading the script in her London home: “I walked out of the house and took my keys and phone and walked back with blisters on my feet. I didn’t come back for five hours. I’m like, ‘How am I going to do this?’”
Part of Clarke’s strong reaction to the story is how much she has identified with the character over the past decade. “It’s gotten to that point now where you read [comments about] the character you [have to remind yourself], ‘They’re not talking about you, Emilia, they’re talking about the character,” she said.
She admitted that she called her family for reassurance while trying not to spoil the season.
“I asked my mom and brother really weird questions. They were like: ‘What are you asking us this for? What do you mean do I think Daenerys is a good person? Why are you asking us that question? Why do you care what people think of Daenerys? Are you okay?’”
In an interview with The New Yorker on Sunday, May 19, she recounted how worried she was that Dany’s character arc would affect what Beyonce thought of her.
During an Oscars after-party last February which was thrown by Beyonce and Jay-Z, Clarke recalled the starstruck moment when the singer told her she was “brilliant.”
While she complimented Beyonce back, she said other things were running through her mind. “And all I wanted to scream was ‘Please, please still like me even though my character turns into a mass-killing dictator! Please still think that I’m representing women in a really fabulous way.’”
“Every time I was faced with Daenerys having to do something pretty cold, like a mass killing, it was always with this thought that she’s headed toward her destiny. She’s gone too far to turn back now,” she said in The New Yorker interview.
She explained Dany’s choice to burn down King’s Landing with her dragon, even if the city had surrendered. “All she’s known is people turning on her, people betraying her, and she’s completely alone. And so, with all of that, I think that it brings us to the moment where she’s on top of the dragon and making that choice.”
While fans complained Daenerys suffered from the final season’s hurried plots and disjointed character arcs, Clarke, despite her frustrations, seems to have accepted her fate.
She told Entertainment Weekly, “I stand by Daenerys. I stand by her! I can’t not.” Niña V. Guno /ra
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