Two weeks ago, Emilia Clarke penned an incredibly well written essay for the New Yorker in which she revealed that she’d suffered two brain hemorrhages, two years apart, in between filming seasons of Game of Thrones. Her essay was masterful in that she managed to convey how painful and scary it was but she never sounded self-pitying and she didn’t even use flowery language. In an appearance on The Late Show this week, Emilia gave an extra detail about her hemorrhage which was not in her article. She said that she realized as it was happening that she was suffering brain damage and that she actively worked to try to counteract that. She was just as matter-of-fact in her description of that as she was in her writing. I am so impressed with her.
On her brain hemorrhages
I suffered two brain hemorrhages while we were filming. Right after we shot season one and right after we shot season three. The best way to describe it is it’s the worst headache a human could manage to experience.
What did you think was going on [as you experienced that]?
I genuinely knew I was being brain damaged. You’re incredibly ill and you’ve got this horrific headache. I knew that meant brain damage. I tried to keep as active as possible, move my fingers, toes, hands, ask myself questions. Really trying to force my memory to work to stay conscious.
How did you know that would help you?
The mind is an extraordinary thing. I just knew. Not today.
People die frequently from this. Did it change your attitude to life?
It made me petrified most of the time. At some point you start to realize how lucky you are. The perspective that gives you is enormous and that is for the rest of your life.
[From The Late Show]
Emilia is getting the most headlines for admitting she told her mom how Game of Thrones ended. Her mom has already forgotten though! My mom is like that, she would forget, and I would have told her too. Emilia said that after she read the final season she went for a walk for two hours because it was hard to take. She said it was really hard not to spoil the ending because she so wants to talk about it. (That must be what happened to Maisie Williams, although I heard that was an April Fool’s joke.) She also made fun of Kit Harrington because he always complains about his heavy cloak and the cold weather for when he films. She said she has to film in the heat all day and it’s way harder.
As for Emilia’s brain hemorrhages and realizing that she needed to keep active, I heard a fascinating story from Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist who had a stroke and realized as it was happening. She had the background to recognize and observe how she was processing information differently. Taylor wrote the book My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey (I have not read it) where she describes having a stroke and her recovery. Emilia could easily write a book about everything she’s gone through and I’m sure it would be a bestseller.
Here’s Emilia’s interview!
Emilia has also started a charity called SameYou.org to help young adults recover from brain injuries. She’s asking other people to share their recovery stories.
View this post on Instagram
🙏🏻 A million million thank you’s to everyone who has read shared and sent love for my story, it’s a beautiful thing to behold and I can’t quite believe how many of you this has affected! #❤️@sameyouorg is ready to hear your stories, how you recovered and what could have made that recovery experience better. By hearing your stories we can build a case for an improved aftercare experience for all in the future…who wouldn’t want that! #sameyoucharity #love #sometimestheworldshowsyouwhatkindesslookslike #thankyou #❤️ #💪🏻 #🙌
Photos credit: Backgrid and Avalon.red