Game of Throne‘s star Emilia Clarke has revealed she’s lost “quite a bit” of her brain tissue after suffering two aneurysms in two years.
Clarke suffered her first aneurysm in 2011, not long after she finished the first season of Game of Thrones — in which she starred as Daenarys Targaryen.
“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,” she told BBC One’s Sunday Morning.
“Because strokes, basically, 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.”
She had to get brain surgery after the first aneurysm, and two weeks later she lost part of her memory and couldn’t even recall her name.
“I was suffering from a condition called aphasia, a consequence of the trauma my brain had suffered,” she said in a 2019 essay for The New Yorker. FYI, that’s the same brain condition Bruce Willis revealed he had earlier this year.
“In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug,” she wrote.
“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.”
Clarke was lucky in that her aphasia turned out to be temporary, and eventually she was able to speak.
Two years later, Clarke had to undergo a second surgery in 2013 because she was suffering another aneurysm that was about to “pop”.
The surgery had its complications and she lost some brain tissue, but in the end she was able to live as normal.
“I am in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that,” she told Sunday Morning.
“There’s quite a bit missing!
“Which always makes me laugh.”
Emilia Clarke is still acting despite the brain trauma — she’s actually starring in The Seagull, a Russian play, at London’s Harold Pinter Theatre.