Emilia Clarke Opens Up About Her Health Battle

Emilia Clarke at Cannes festival. Photo by David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock (9672309dj)

Daenerys Targaryen may be an undefeatable Mother of Dragons, and it now appears as though the woman behind her is undefeatable too.

Emilia Clarke has revealed in an essay published by The New Yorker that she is lucky to be alive.

“On the morning of February 11, 2011, I was getting dressed in the locker room of a gym in Crouch End, North London, when I started to feel a bad headache coming on,” she wrote in the piece entitled A Battle for my Life. “I was so fatigued that I could barely put on my sneakers. When I started my workout, I had to force myself through the first few exercises.”

The Game of Thrones actress continues by detailing how the pain intensified and she became violently ill. The episode led her to the conclusion that her “brain was damaged” and she was taken from the gym to the hospital where she had an MRI.

“The diagnosis was quick and ominous: a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), a life-threatening type of stroke, caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain. I’d had an aneurysm, an arterial rupture. As I later learned, about a third of SAH patients die immediately or soon thereafter. For the patients who do survive, urgent treatment is required to seal off the aneurysm, as there is a very high risk of a second, often fatal bleed. If I was to live and avoid terrible deficits, I would have to have urgent surgery. And, even then, there were no guarantees.”

Despite having surgery, Emilia developed another smaller aneurysm on the other side of her brain that doctors said could pop at any time. Even so, she continued filming Thrones. “If I am truly being honest, every minute of every day I thought I was going to die,” she says of season 2.

Two more surgeries were required, both with more painful recoveries than the first, but Emilia says she is now at 100%.

Nothing takes down Khaleesi.