Emilia Clarke says response to health battle revelation has been ‘overwhelming,’ ‘profoundly moving’

'Game of Thrones' star posts emotional farewell to hit show

Emilia Clarke took to Instagram Friday to share a video thanking fans for their “overwhelming” response to her recent New Yorker essay where she revealed she underwent two brain surgeries and had a close call with death.

“I had to put a video up to say thank you,” the actress, who is known for playing “The Mother of Dragons” Daenerys Targaryen on the popular HBO show “Game of Thrones,” began.

“The response from my story has been overwhelming and deeply and profoundly moving, so thank you so much,” she added, encouraging others who have suffered brain injuries or a stroke at a young age to share their story and recovery process via her new charity “Same You.”


“@sameyouorg is ready to hear your stories, how you recovered and what could have made that recovery experience better. By hearing your stories we can build a case for an improved aftercare experience for all in the future…who wouldn’t want that!” she captioned the video, in part.

Fans continued to show their support for Clarke, 32, on the photo-sharing platform.

“You’re not only the cutest, the funniest, the sexiest actress of the world, you’re also the bravest. You deserve to be queen, you deserve your dragons, we [owe] you love and respect for what [you’ve] gone through. Bravo Madame,” one person wrote.

“Thank you for sharing all of this. You are truly remarkable. Truly,” a second added.

“You are adorable. Only wishing you strength and happiness, my queen,” a third said.

In an essay published Thursday by The New Yorker, titled “A Battle for My Life,” Clarke revealed she almost died while filming the popular show.

In February 2011, just as “Thrones” was premiering, Clarke underwent her first of two brain surgeries and an extensive and grueling recovery period.

While working out with her trainer in London, she suffered from a ruptured brain aneurysm. At 24 years old, she says she “started to feel a bad headache coming on” but pushed through only to collapse in the bathroom. After being rushed to the hospital and having an MRI, the results were dire.

“The diagnosis was quick and ominous: a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), a life-threatening type of stroke, caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain,” she detailed in the article. “I’d had an aneurysm, an arterial rupture. As I later learned, about a third of SAH patients die immediately or soon thereafter. For the patients who do survive, urgent treatment is required to seal off the aneurysm, as there is a very high risk of a second, often fatal bleed. If I was to live and avoid terrible deficits, I would have to have urgent surgery. And, even then, there were no guarantees.”

Eventually, she was able to return to the “Game of Thrones” set. But in 2013, the star learned she had another “smaller aneurysm” that she was told could “pop” at any time. She then underwent a second surgery.

“The response from my story has been overwhelming and deeply and profoundly moving, so thank you so much.”

— Emilia Clarke

“The recovery was even more painful than it had been after the first surgery. I looked as though I had been through a war more gruesome than any that Daenerys experienced. I emerged from the operation with a drain coming out of my head. Bits of my skull had been replaced by titanium,” she wrote.


Thankfully, Clarke said she “survived,” adding “in the years since my second surgery I have healed beyond my most unreasonable hopes. I am now at a hundred percent.”

“There is something gratifying, and beyond lucky, about coming to the end of ‘Thrones.’ I’m so happy to be here to see the end of this story and the beginning of whatever comes next,” she concluded.

The star’s story also drew a response from her fellow “Thrones” castmate Lena Headey, who plays the infamous Cersei Lannister in the series. The show is entering its eighth and final season next month.