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Game of Thrones: Emilia Clarke Feared Being Fired After Health Scares

Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke on her two surgery-requiring health scares that left her fearing that her role as Daenerys would be recast.

It's hard to picture anyone else as the "Mother of Dragons" Daenerys Targaryen other than Emilia Clarke, who played the role across all eight seasons of Game of Thrones. Though she was the second actress cast in the role from the pilot, she initially became one of the two main protagonists of the series along with Kit Harington's Jon Snow. Her promise as a liberator and to break the wheel of corruption fell short by the time she finally claimed the Iron Throne in the series finale that saw her ambition twisted with wraith over the grief of losing two of her three dragons and spurned by her lover, Snow, who both discover they're aunt and nephew. Speaking with Big Issue, Clarke reflected on the two brain aneurysms she suffered while on the series, fearing she'd lose her job on the HBO series.

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Emilia Clarke in "Game of Thrones." Image courtesy of HBO

Game of Thrones Star Feared for Her Job Due to Health Concerns

The first occurrence happened in 2011 between the first and second seasons. "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," Clarke said. "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?'" Following the surgery, the actress recalled thinking, "Well, if I'm going to die, I better die on live TV."

The second brain aneurysm occurred in 2013 and also required surgery, revealing that she lost "quite a bit" in the process. "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 told the BBC. "I am in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that." Clarke has since also left her mark in other mega franchises like Star Wars, Marvel, and Terminator.

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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