Emilia Clarke says 'Game of Thrones' finally coming to an end was 'deeply emotional'

Helen Sloan/HBOEmilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen on ‘Game of Thrones’ season eight.
  • Emilia Clarke said goodbye to her iconic role of Daenerys Targaryen when the final season of “Game of Thrones” aired in May.
  • In Variety’s new actors-on-actors interview, Clarke told Regina Hall about the pain of closing this chapter.
  • “It felt deeply emotional,” Clarke said. “[‘Game of Thrones’] is very much a family. You saw for the first time everyone’s truthful fragility coming through […] when it did finally end, it broke everyone.”
  • Clarke recently revealed that she experienced two brain injuries over the course of filming the HBO series, and credits her role as the Mother of Dragons as a driving force for her recovery.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

“Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke spent the last year coming to terms with HBO’s hit series coming to an end, which meant saying goodbye to her breakout role of Daenerys Targaryen.

“Having it come to its completion feels utterly surreal,” Clarke told actress Regina Hall in a new Variety interview. “So much life has happened in the 10 years that I’ve been on the show. I’ve grown into a woman. I was 23. It’s been almost a year in post, and it’s taken me that long to come to terms with it. Where are my dragons? That famous line. Where the hell are they? It felt deeply emotional.”

Read more:
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Emilia clarkeJohn Nacion/STAR MAX/IPxEmilia Clarke in New York City for the season eight premiere of ‘Game of Thrones.’

The cast and crew first assembled in the fall of 2017 for a final table read of the entire last season. In HBO’s “The Last Watch” documentary, footage of this multi-day event showed Clarke and her costars sharing pained looks and many tears as various characters were killed off.

But then it was time to get to work. The final season of “Game of Thrones” had one of the longest filming schedules in the show’s history (about eight months) for its last six episodes.

Emilia Clarke table read Game of Thrones The Last Watch HBOHBOEmilia Clarke and the ‘Game of Thrones’ cast at a table read for the final season, as seen in HBO’s ‘The Last Watch’ documentary.

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The new ‘Game of Thrones’ documentary shows the exact moment when Kit Harington realised what Jon Snow does to Daenerys on the finale

“[‘Game of Thrones’] is very much a family,” Clarke said in Variety’s actors-on-actors feature. “You saw for the first time everyone’s truthful fragility coming through as it ended. You’re putting on all this thing like it’s fine, it’s fine. When it did finally end, it broke everyone.”

In “The Last Watch,” both Clarke and her costar Kit Harington’s last days on set were shown. Clarke held back tears in her hair and makeup trailer as she donned the Daenerys Targaryen wig for the final time.

Harington made a tear-filled speech to the cast and crew gathered on his final day, and said he felt like his heart was breaking.”

Daenerys jon snow kiss death sceneHBOEmilia Clarke and Kit Harington on the final episode of ‘Game of Thrones.’

Ahead of the final season’s premiere, Clarke wrote a personal essay in The New Yorker revealing her experience with two brain aneurysms. In 2011 and again in 2013, between filming seasons “Game of Thrones,” Clarke underwent brain surgery and intense recoveries in hospital intensive-care units.

Read more:
Emilia Clarke reveals she had brain surgery twice and has now founded a charity for rehab access

She credits the role of Daenerys Targaryen and the focus of her work on “Game of Thrones” as one of the things which helped her stay focused on staying alive during the traumatic years when she lived with the brain injuries.

The eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” came to an end on May 19, 2019. Clarke already has her next big project lined up, with a new Christmas-themed romantic comedy set to premiere this coming November.

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