Towards the end of her time as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones, actor Emilia Clarke opened up about having had two brain aneurysms early on in the show’s run. It got to where she wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to continue acting—at one point she was suffering from aphasia and couldn’t remember her own name. But she pulled through and finished the series, and has a vibrant career today.
The experience inspired Clarke to create the SameYou charity, which helps people with stroke and brain injury. She talked more about her journey recently on BBC One’s Sunday Morning.
“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,” she said. “I am in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that.”
Clarke, who always seems like she’s in good spirits during interviews, is now able to find humor in her ordeal. She noted that when she has brain scans, quite a bit of her brain is “missing.” That “always makes me laugh.”
“As soon as any part of your brain doesn’t get blood for a second, it’s gone,” Clarke continued. "And so the blood finds a different route to get around but then whatever bit it’s missing is therefore gone.”
Clarke is currently starring in a production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London. She’ll also appear in the upcoming Marvel series Secret Invasion on Disney+.