In a personal essay published in The New Yorker today, Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke shared publicly for the first time that she underwent not one, but two brain surgeries during the course of the hit show.
The actress explains that she suffered two subarachnoid hemorrhages (SAH), a life-threatening type of stroke. She underwent the first surgery after filming GOT season one, and the second after finishing season three.
In the powerful essay, Clarke recounts the first surgery’s success, the near failure of the second (“I looked as though I had been through a war more gruesome than any that Daenerys experienced.”), and the challenges of working while going through these medical emergencies.
Clarke also launched a new charity today, SameYou, that supports young people rehabilitating from brain injuries and strokes.
Recovery from brain injury and stroke is both tough and painful. It impacts millions of people worldwide every year, and this is why we have set up @SameYouOrg, dedicated to increasing access to rehabilitation services for young people #sameyoucharity https://t.co/99s9EiNYZx pic.twitter.com/EAxSvi2gTe
— SameYou (@SameYouOrg) March 21, 2019
The internet had a lot of feels after Clarke’s essay started making the rounds, with fans and celebrities alike tweeting their support. Many compared her to her GOT character, Daenerys Targaryen.
— Liz Gonzales (@TheLizGonzales) March 21, 2019
This is one of those WOW stories. Emilia Clarke tells it beautifully. https://t.co/Wk0cVZn3aG
— Kevin Fallon (@kpfallon) March 21, 2019
— Alicia Lutes (@alicialutes) March 21, 2019
Though the essay focuses on a difficult topic, Clarke does include some lighter anecdotes and details, including what she did after learning she’d landed the role on GOT — “I went back to the hotel, where some people invited me to a party on the roof. ‘I think I’m good!’ I told them. Instead, I went to my room, ate Oreos, watched Friends, and called everyone I knew.”
The essay is available to read in full online. Clarke will also appear Game of Thrones season eight, premiering next month on HBO.