Emilia Clarke reacts to Daenerys' fate in 'Game of Thrones' season 8 episode 6, says: 'I didn't see this coming'
Contains spoilers for ‘Game of Thrones’ season 8 episode 6
Emilia Clarke read the script for the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ almost two years ago and in an interview with The New Yorker, she said that the final episodes surpassed all her expectations. “I took a very long walk around London in a daze, not quite knowing how to digest the news,” Clarke reveals. “I hoped for some juicy things to get into, as I always do for each season, but I didn’t see this coming.” And according to Clarke, the challenge of performing that moment didn’t subside until much into filming.
Halfway through ‘The Iron Throne’ Game of Thrones’ final episode, Jon Snow confronts Daenerys — his lover, his confidante, and his leader — over the devastation of King’s Landing. After witnessing the ash-covered aftermath and Tyrion's alleged pep-talk, the real heir to the Targaryen throne decided there is only one choice: queen slaying. Jon takes a knife to Dany’s chest, lays her down for one more startling moment of romantic connection and then watched her son Drogon send the Iron Throne into a melted puddle of metal. And at the end, it seemed only fitting that Daenerys too ended up on a Death List.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Emilia Clarke has since addressed her character’s path in the final season, and how she’s standing firmly by the Mother Of Dragons. "It was a f***ing struggle reading the scripts," Emilia said. "What I was taught at drama school… I was told that your character is right. Your character makes a choice and you need to be right with that. An actor should never be afraid to look ugly. We have uglier sides to ourselves. And after 10 years of working on this show, it’s logical. Where else can she go? I tried to think what the ending would be. It’s not like she’s suddenly going to go, 'Okay, I’m gonna put a kettle on and put cookies in the oven and we’ll just sit down and have a lovely time and pop a few kids out.' That was never going to happen. She’s a Targaryen." Speaking about her character’s death, she added: "I thought she was going to die. I feel very taken care of as a character in that sense. It’s a very beautiful and touching ending."
“I really just had to sit there and wrestle with how I could make good on what they had written,” Dany tells The New Yorker of the surprising choice and the controversial turn of events that made it possible. “Because that’s her. They are the writers. They have made this woman, and I’m going to take on what it is and try and interpret that to my best ability ... [So] I did what any actor is told to do and would do. You have to agree with your character. If you don’t agree with your character, then you shouldn’t take the job.”
Dany's character arc seemed to dip in the last few episodes as we saw her go from savior of the slaves into a woman who scorched an entire city all because she couldn't have her way. But after years of standing by Dany, Clarke suggested that it all makes sense in the end.
In the interview, which is filled with anecdotes about how Clarke played the big death scene, the actress also explains how creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff compared Daenerys’s arc to an infamous film character: Lawrence of Arabia. “I watched Lawrence of Arabia, and I was, like, Great, cool. He’s brilliant. He survived, and it’s wonderful. But then you remember how that movie ended, with Lawrence’s disintegration. I didn’t quite put those two things together. Or maybe I didn’t want to see it coming because I care about Daenerys too much.” The classic tale of power, corruption, and the notion of a ‘savior’ has some major parallels to Daenerys and now that the series is over, it is probably easier to point them out.
Daenerys was the only casualty of the final episode of Game Of Thrones, which also saw Jon Snow exiled into the Night’s Watch and Sansa become Queen Of The North. Speaking of her death, she says: “Hopefully, what you’ll see in that last moment as she’s dying is: There’s the vulnerability — there’s the little girl you met in season 1. See? She’s right there. And now, she’s not there anymore.”
And with that explanation from Clarke, the ending seems comforting enough.
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