Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen in the Game of Thrones television series, revealed she suffered two brain aneurysms while filming the show back in 2011 and 2013.


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In 2011, while Clarke was working out with her trainer, she started to feel a bad headache coming on and felt fatigued.

“Then my trainer had me get into the plank position, and I immediately felt as though an elastic band were squeezing my brain,” said Clarke in a statement. “I tried to ignore the pain and push through it, but I just couldn’t. I told my trainer I had to take a break. Somehow, almost crawling, I made it to the locker room. I reached the toilet, sank to my knees, and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill. Meanwhile, the pain – shooting, stabbing, constricting pain – was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged.”

Clarke was rushed a hospital where it was discovered that she suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage caused by a brain aneurysm.

An aneurysm is when part of a blood vessel begins to bulge or balloon. And if the aneurysm were to rupture in the brain, it can cause a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a type of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain. A third of the people who’ve suffered this die immediately or live with debilitating issues and loss of brain function.

Clarke’s surgery was “minimally invasive,” lasting about three hours. However, her recovery was far from easy. Clarke suffered an aphasia, and lost control of the language center of her brain. Fortunately for Clarke, the aphasia was temporary and she quickly recovered.


“On the set, I didn’t miss a beat, but I struggled,” Clarke said in a statement. “Season 2 would be my worst.I didn’t know what Daenerys was doing. If I am truly being honest, every minute of every day I thought I was going to die.”

In 2013, during a routine brain scan, the doctors found another aneurysm twice the size. This rupture required emergency surgery, and the recovery was much more difficult, parts of her skull was even replaced with titanium.

Clarke says that surviving two brain aneurysm led her to start the charity Same You, which focuses on providing resources to millions of people suffering brain injuries and strokes.

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