Nothing can break the bond between one of Game of Thrones' most memorable couples.
Jason Momoa, who played Khal Drogo on the first season of the HBO fantasy drama, got emotional when discussing his on-screen wife Emilia Clarke's health battle that almost took her life… twice. The Daenerys Targaryen actress revealed earlier this year that she had previously suffered two brain aneurysms, the first of which came in 2011, just as Game of Thrones was taking off.
Speaking with ET at the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere in April, Momoa praised Clarke's courage and tenacity during the hardest time in her life.
In March of 2019, Clarke penned a moving essay for the New Yorker in which she detailed that she had experienced a brain aneurysm at the age of 24, and then was stuck with a brain bleed two years later while doctors attempted to reduce the size of the original aneurysm.
The actress opened up about the emergency surgery she underwent to seal off the aneurysm. Clarke then detailed the second operation required to "take care of" the expanding growth in her brain plus the subsequent surgery needed when that operation failed and left her with a "massive bleed." She wrote,
"The operation lasted three hours. When I woke, the pain was unbearable. I had no idea where I was. My field of vision was constricted… I couldn't remember [my name]. Instead, nonsense words tumbled out of my mouth, and I went into a blind panic. I'd never experienced fear like that, a sense of doom closing in."
Of her second and third surgeries, she wrote,
"The recovery was even more painful than it had been after the first surgery. I looked as though I had been through a war more gruesome than any that Daenerys experienced… And there was, above all, the constant worry about cognitive or sensory losses. Would it be concentration? Memory? Peripheral vision? Now I tell people that what it robbed me of is good taste in men."
In the midst of all this hardship and a double-brush with death, Clarke was actively filming Game of Thrones, as well as rehearsing for the 2013 Broadway rendition of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Though she kept her composure, told virtually no one about what she had been through, and even denied the genuinely accurate reports that she had experienced life-threatening trauma, Clarke was overwhelmed with exhaustion and anxiety. She wrote,
"On the first day of shooting for [Game of Thrones] Season 2… I kept telling myself, 'I am fine, I'm in my twenties, I'm fine.' I threw myself into the work. But, after that first day of filming, I barely made it back to the hotel before I collapsed of exhaustion… If I am truly being honest, every minute of every day I thought I was going to die."
But, like the fireproof Mother of Dragons she plays, Clarke was resilient and determined, and came out on the other side with a renewed sense of hope and purpose. After bravely sharing her story with the public, Clarke announced that she had partnered with executives in the United States and the United Kingdom to develop a charity called SameYou, which works to provide additional and more immediate rehabilitation options for young people who have suffered brain injuries, as well as to fund research, advocate for policy change, and "facilitate innovations in specialist nurse training."
Six seasons later, Clarke says she couldn't be more grateful to have "cheated death twice" and lived to help bring Game of Thrones to its epic conclusion. She wrote,
"There is something gratifying, and beyond lucky, about coming to the end of Thrones. I'm so happy to be here to see the end of this story and the beginning of whatever comes next."