‘My Brain Was Damaged’: 'Game of Thrones' Star Emilia Clarke Recalls Painful Aneurysms During Filming


(1010 WINS) -- Actress Emilia Clarke says she suffered two aneurysms while filming Game of Thrones.

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Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen -- the one with the dragons, for those who don't follow too closely -- said the first one came in 2011, after filming the first season.

"I was getting dressed in the locker room of a gym in Crouch End, North London, when I started to feel a bad headache coming on," she wrote in a New Yorker essay. "I was so fatigued that I could barely put on my sneakers. When I started my workout, I had to force myself through the first few exercises."

She had been working out with a trainer at the time and says her initial symptoms were followed by extreme pain.

"My trainer had me get into the plank position, and I immediately felt as though an elastic band were squeezing my brain," she wrote. "I tried to ignore the pain and push through it, but I just couldn't."

"I told my trainer I had to take a break. Somehow, almost crawling, I made it to the locker room. I reached the toilet, sank to my knees, and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill," she added. "Meanwhile, the pain -- shooting, stabbing, constricting pain -- was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged."

A brain scan revealed that Clarke had suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). This type of life threatening stroke is caused by bleeding in the space around the brain.

"I remember being told that I should sign a release form for surgery. Brain surgery? I was in the middle of my very busy life -- I had no time for brain surgery," she recalled.

Clarke was just 24 at the time and said she suffered pain and trauma following the surgery. She was also experiencing a condition known as aphasia which impacts the ability to communicate.

"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."

A second aneurysm on her brain popped in 2013 after filming the third season of Game of Thrones. A brain scan led to another surgery, followed by more pain, and yet another operation.

"I lost all hope. I couldn't look anyone in the eye. There was terrible anxiety, panic attacks. I was raised never to say, 'It's not fair'; I was taught to remember that there is always someone who is worse off than you," she wrote. "But, going through this experience for the second time, all hope receded. I felt like a shell of myself. So much so that I now have a hard time remembering those dark days in much detail."

Clarke said she's grateful for those who supported her during the ordeal, and has completely recovered beyond her 'most unreasonable hopes.'