Emilia Clarke Speaks on Surviving Brain Aneurysms While Filming 'Game of Thrones'

Emilia Clarke discussed her "remarkable" survival of two brain aneurysms in a new interview on the BBC this weekend. The actress said that it was shocking that she was not only able to hold her role on Game of Thrones, but also that she retained the ability to speak and so much cognitive function. However, she said that there are some lasting effects.

Clarke appeared on the BBC's Sunday Morning this weekend where she got on the subject of her brain aneurysms. She was hospitalized for the first aneurysm in 2011 and the second in 2013 -- both life-threatening emergencies. She believes that her work actually helped her get through those experiences and gave her something exciting to look forward to during the lengthy recovery process. She said: "It was the most excruciating pain. It was incredibly helpful to have Game of Thrones sweep me up and give me that purpose."

Clarke did not discuss her aneurysms publicly until 2019, at which point she had been assured that she had made a full recovery. She now reveals the extent of the lasting damage to her brain and the medical quirks that somehow allow her to keep acting. She 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."

Clarke confirmed that she has seen images of her brain after the aneurysm, saying with a morbid chuckle: "There's quite a bit missing. 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."

"I thought, 'Well, this is who you are. This is the brain that you have.' So there's no point continually wracking your brains about what might not be there," she concluded.


Clarke created a charity organization called SameYou, which works to help people recovering from brain aneurysms, strokes and other brain injuries. The group's goals are to increase awareness about brain injuries and the lengthy recovery processes needed, to increase access to rehabilitative care and to connect survivors, their families and healthcare workers in a global support chain.