“Game of Thrones” alum Emilia Clarke has been very open with her struggle with aphasia.
Shortly after the Mother of Dragons finished filming the first season of the HBO success show, Clarke had an aneurysm that caused a stroke and a subarachnoid hemorrhage in 2011. Two weeks after brain surgery, the actress, who also starred in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” said that she could not remember her own name.
‘Game of Thrones’ Alum Emilia Clarke Said She ‘Asked The Medical Staff To Let Me Die’
In a 2019 essay she penned for The New Yorker, she said that she “was suffering from a condition called aphasia, a consequence of the trauma my brain had suffered.”
“In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug,” she continued. “I asked the medical staff to let me die. My job — my entire dream of what my life would be — centered on language, on communication. Without that, I was lost.”
Fortunately, her aphasia didn’t last for long. She revealed that her aphasia passed after she spent a week in the I.C.U.
In 2013, she had yet another surgery to address another aneurysm that was about to “pop.” Although she described the surgery as “traumatic” and suffered complications, Clarke has recovered and has continued to make the most of her acting career.
On Sunday, Variety published a new article, where Clarke revealed that there is an “amount of [her] brain that is no longer usable.”
‘The Seagull’ Star Says She Lost ‘Quite A Bit’ Of Her Brain
Emilia Clarke recently appeared in an interview with BBC’s Sunday Morning to promote her production of Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull” at the Harold Pinter Theater. The performance marks the actress’ West End debut after starring in Westeros for so long.
During the interview, she was also asked about her health scares and how they impacted her acting. Clarke said that it was “the most excruciating pain” and went on to say that “It was incredibly helpful to have ‘Game of Thrones’ sweep me up and give me that purpose.”
Her first stroke happened in 2011. Her second stroke happened two years later, in 2013. Although they happened close to a decade ago, Clarke admitted that she needed to take a lot of time away from her career to recover. Even though she is able to return to acting, she revealed that a part of her brain “is no longer usable.”
“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,” Clarke said. “I am in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that.”
The 35-year-old actress said that she actually saw scans of her brain after the incidents, revealing that there is “quite a bit missing.”
Clarke actually then laughed, adding, “Which always makes me laugh… Strokes, basically, as soon as any part of your brain doesn’t get blood for a second, it’s gone. So the blood finds a different route to get around, but then whatever bit is missing is therefore gone.”
Emilia Clarke Set Up A Charity For Brain Injury & Stroke Victims
In order to help other people who might be struggling with the same thing she encountered, Clarke created a charity for brain injury and stroke victims called SameYou. The website states:
“SameYou’s vision is to transform the way brain injury survivors and their loved ones are supported through emotional, mental health and cognitive recovery services.”
However, Clarke has more or less tried to accept her own health condition and move on from it.
“I thought, ‘Well, this is who you are. This is the brain that you have.’ So there’s no point in continually wracking your brains about what might not be there,” Clarke said.
She also made sure to highlight that her acting career is still flourishing, despite the loss of brain matter. She made her debut in “The Seagull” earlier this month on July 6 and had nothing but positive things to say about the role.
“The opportunity to play Nina in ‘The Seagull’ on the West End stage with a lauded, applauded incredible director like Jamie Lloyd — it’s been a kind of profound experience… It’s daring taking such a beloved and well-known play like this and putting it in such a modern, stripped-back, bare [format],” Clarke shared. “It’s why you do theater. It’s so exciting.”
Earlier this month, Emilia Clarke also revealed that she had spoken to costar Kit Harrington personally about rumors that he was going to return for a live-action Jon Snow “Game of Thrones” spin-off. Those comments can be found here.