Emilia Clarke has opened up about the heart-wrenching end to Game of Thrones, admitting that she watched footage of Adolf Hitler speeches to prepare for her role.
Warning! Spoilers for the Game of Thrones series finale lie ahead!
Game of Thrones ended on Sunday once and for all, and as so many cast and crew members promised, it was bittersweet. The ending saw Daenerys Targaryen (Clarke) commit fully to her role as a conqueror and a tyrant, taking hold of King's Landing with fire and blood. Afterward, she gave a fearsome speech to her army of Unsullied and Dothraki, promising to bring the same "liberation" to the rest of the world. Clarke told Variety that there was a dark inspiration for that scene.
"I’ve had a lot of Dothraki, Valyrian, fake languages to learn and I’ve had a lot of speeches to give, but I put so much pressure on myself with this one," she said. Daenerys' last victory speech was given in Valyrian, a made-up language for the show that is spoken in Essos. It reinforced the idea that she and her army were foreign invaders, but it also made the process that much more difficult for Clarke.
"I normally pick up these things quite quickly, but this speech meant so much to me. I was so worried that I was going to f— it up. I stayed up so late every night for like two months. I said it to my cooker, I said it to my fridge. I said it to all of Belfast out my window! Well, the window was closed because I didn’t want people to think I was actually barking mad," she said.
As part of her preparation, Clarke said she watched footage of other orators speaking in languages that were foreign to her. Given the context of the scene, it should come as no surprise that she looked to fascist leaders and dictators for inspiration.
In giving all these speeches in fake languages, I watched a lot of videos of — now it seems funny — dictators and powerful leaders speaking a different language to see if I could understand what they were saying without knowing the language," she said. "And you can! You absolutely can understand what Hitler’s f—ing saying, these single-focus orators speaking a foreign language."
"So I thought, 'If I can believe every single word I’m saying, the audience won’t need to be looking at the subtitles too much,'" she added.
Daenerys' ending was perhaps the most controversial part of the final season, and Clarke addressed that too. For her, it came down to a philosophical question of "what power is" and "how we can live together in a world that is ruled by the politics of individuals."
"That question is asked in the final episode and I don’t think it’s answered because it shouldn’t be answered," she said. "We can’t. There is no answer. We’re just trying to do it all the time. Where I think we got with the show is as good an answer as there could be."
Next weekend, HBO will air a feature-length documentary on the making of Season 8 titled Game of Thrones: The Last Watch in the place of the series. It airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. The next novel in the series is expected soon, although no release date has been announced yet.