- Emilia Clarke spoke about her brain aneurysms on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday.
- It comes nearly a month after she wrote a personal essay in The New Yorker revealing her experience.
- The “Game of Thrones” actor told Colbert that she tried to remember her character’s lines in the Dothraki language to keep her brain active during the first hemorrhage.
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She’s the latest in a string of “Game of Thrones” stars who are currently doing the talk show rounds in the build-up to the HBO show’s eighth and final season.
Despite the enormous hype surrounding the impending “Game of Thrones” finale, Colbert’s first questions to the star were about her health.
In March, Clarke published a personal essay in The New Yorker titled “A Battle for My Life,” revealing her survival of two brain aneurysms.
Clarke wrote that in 2011 and again in 2013, between filming seasons of “Game of Thrones,” she underwent brain surgery and intense recoveries in hospital intensive-care units.
“The easy way of describing it is that it’s the worst headache that a human could possibly manage to experience,” she told Colbert.
“I genuinely knew I was being brain damaged,” she continued. “I don’t know how.”
The actor then went on to describe how she attempted to keep her brain active during the aneurysm.
“[I] moved my fingers, toes, my hands, asked myself questions, Dothraki lines,” she said, referring to her character Daenerys Targaryen’s lines from the show.
“[I was] really trying to force my memory to stay conscious,” she added.
Colbert went on to ask how she knew to perform these exercises during the life or death experience.
“The mind is an extraordinary thing,” Clarke explained. “I just knew that I was … not today.”
“What do we say to death?” Colbert replied, paraphrasing George R. R. Martin’s line from the original books: “What do we say to the Lord of Death? ‘Not today.'”
Watch the full exchange below:
The near-death experience didn’t result in an immediate epiphany for Clarke, though: “It made me petrified most of the time,” she said.
“I wish I could sit here and say I was just like, ‘Yeah, let’s go jump out of a plane!’ I really wasn’t.
“But then at some point, you start to realise how lucky you are and the perspective that gives you is enormous, and then that is for the rest of your life,” she added.
It’s the first time since her piece in The New Yorker that Clarke has spoken about the aneurysms, which also prompted her to found a charity called Same You.
According to its website, Same You will aim to boost “primary research with the Stroke Association UK to understand the recovery needs” of people who experience brain injuries and strokes, particularly young people.
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