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GOT‘s Emilia Clarke Releases Gut-Wrenching Photos Of Her Brain Aneurysm Recovery

When you’re playing one of the most badass women on television, we imagine it’s hard to feel like you can live up to the character. But Emilia Clarke, a.k.a. Game Of ThronesDaenerys Targaryen, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons, doesn’t seem to be having that problem. Earlier this year, Clarke revealed in an emotional New Yorker essay that she suffered multiple brain aneurysms between shooting, a secret that not even the most die-hard GoT fans had uncovered. Earlier today, Clarke shared intimate details of her recovery in a CBS interview, including a series of photos — and wow, do they pack a punch.

In the CBS interview, Emilia goes into further detail about how frightening this time was for her. During operation on the second aneurysm, she reveals that there was “a bit of [her] brain that actually died.” “It’s like you’ll short-circuit,” she says, describing what happens if blood stops going to a part of your brain, then adds cavalierly: “So I had that.” In addition to being physically decimating, Clarke admits that the second aneurysm was emotionally more difficult to recover from as well. “I found it much harder to stay optimistic…I definitely went through a period of being down — putting it mildly,” she shares. The photos certainly paint a picture of that, featuring a despondent Clarke hooked up to various machines and looking grimly toward the camera from her hospital bed.

If there’s one take-away from this story — other than the fact that Clarke is a legend in her own right, and possibly the only person on the planet who could have played Daenerys with as much power as she did — it’s the remarkable loyalty of her fellow cast and crew. Given the publicity surrounding Game of Thrones, there would certainly have been incentive to share her story, but they chose instead to give her the time to reveal it as she saw fit. If you’re looking to show your support for this lovely group of people, I have two suggestions at the ready. First, you can donate to Clarke’s charity for brain-injury survivors, Same You. And second, you can tune in to the final season of Game of Thrones, airing this Sunday (!) at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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