'Game of Thrones': Emilia Clarke Says Playing Daenerys Targaryen Gave Her 'Lady Balls'

Emilia Clarke said that she still feels empowered by her Game of Thrones character, Daenerys Targaryen, in a new interview. Clarke made a name for herself playing the imposing Khaleesi on HBO's fantasy series, which ended earlier this year. In spite of the controversial finale, Clarke still feels that she learned a lot from Daenerys.

Warning! Spoilers for Game of Thrones are ahead!

Clarke revisited the role of a lifetime this week in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. She admitted that she is not overly bothered with the backlash to the final season, which many fans felt was rushed and underdeveloped. For her, it was about a personal connection with Daenerys, who taught her to stand up for herself. She explained this in the most blunt terms possible.

"Oh my goodness, she taught me about lady balls," Clarke said. "She taught me what it feels like to be in a room and be heard. She wielded such power, calmness and such poise."

While many fans were heartbroken to find that Game of Thrones' big climax was Daenerys' death, Clarke still saw plenty to love about her character's eight season arc. The experience of playing a leader was also formative for her, she felt.

"She had a fierce intensity and made some incredibly tough choices," she recalled. "In Season 3, she had to start busting some balls, and as a 25-year-old standing in front of 500 extras, 150 crew members, six cameras, a drone, dragons and fire, I had to bring it. I felt like if I can do that, then the red carpet doesn’t feel so scary to me at all. So there’s a certain kind of self-belief that rubs off on you as a person."

Clarke admitted that she has the luxury of avoiding input she does not want. The actress revealed that she does not Google herself or read reviews, because "it doesn't help me to hear someone say 'You're great,' and it doesn't help me to hear someone say 'Hey, you piece of s—, why are you so fat?' ...So I simply don't."

As for her next project, Clarke is not worried about "following up" her tenure as the Khaleesi. To her, it is self-evident that no role will compare to this one, so in a way she is more free than ever to do anything she wants.

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"I don’t feel pressure to follow up the show because it’s unfollowable," she said. "I'm not going to go off and be like 'Oh well, dragons are my thing…' I can’t be a crazy woman demanding dragons forever! 'These aren’t as good as my last dragons!' Can you imagine? [Laughs.]"

Game of Thrones is available to stream on HBO Go and HBO Now.

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