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10th Jun 2024

Emilia Clarke missing ‘quite a bit’ of her brain after two aneurysms and is ‘surprised’ she can speak

Charlie Herbert

The aneurysms occurred in 2011 and 2013

Emilia Clarke has admitted that it is “remarkable” she is still able to speak and live her life normally after suffering two brain aneurysms that have left “quite a bit” of her brain missing.

The actress and Game of Thrones star had to undergo surgery after the aneurysms, which occur when a weakened blood vessel begins to bulge in the brain. If the blood vessel bursts it can cause a fatal internal bleed, known as a brain hemorrhage.

The first of Clarke’s hemorrhages happened when she was just 22.

She told the BBC’s Sophie Raworth that she felt “excruciating pain,” was vomiting, and lost consciousness, adding that she kept repeating her Game of Thrones lines to herself to keep herself conscious.

When asked by Raworth about the physical impact the brain injuries had had on her, Clarke said: “The amount of my brain that is no longer usable – it’s remarkable that I am able to speak, sometimes articulately, and live my life completely normally with absolutely no repercussions.

“I am in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that.”

She added that scans of her brain show that there is “quite a bit missing.”

She explained: “Because as soon as any part of your brain doesn’t get blood for a second, it’s gone. And so the blood finds a different route to get around but then whatever bit it’s missing is therefore gone.”

The 37-year-old pointed out how remarkable it is that she is able to remember all her lines for her roles despite the aneurysms.

She also said how starring as Daenerys Targaryen when she had the brain injuries managed to help her deal with the ordeal, saying: “It was incredibly useful to have the show to sweep me up and give me that purpose.”

It’s not the first time she has spoken about how important her Game of Thrones role was in helping her deal with the trauma.

Back in 2019, Clarke shared never-before-seen pictures with CBS Sunday Morning from her time in hospital recovering from one of the aneurysms.

Emilia Clarke suffered her first aneurysm in 2011 shortly after finishing filming on the first season of Game of Thrones (CBS Sunday Morning)

She told the US broadcaster that it was “much harder to stay optimistic” after the second one.

But she added: “You go on the set and you play a badass character, and you walk through fire, and you speak to hundreds of people, and you’re being asked to be – to work as hard as you possibly can.

“And that became the thing that just saved me from considering my own mortality.”