Emilia Clarke Says “Quite a Bit” of Her Brain Is Missing After She Survived Multiple Aneurysms

Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke recently opened up about the two brain aneurysms she survived while filming the mega-hit show and how she feels about her health in the years since. While speaking with BBC’s Sunday Morning to promote her production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, the actor shared that she survived both aneurysms, which occurred in 2011 and 2013, but “it was the most excruciating pain.”

“It was incredibly helpful to have Game of Thrones sweep me up and give me that purpose,” she added. (Emilia played the titular role of Daenerys Targaryen in the series from 2011 to 2019.)


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“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,” the English-born actor confessed. When talking about her brain scans, she said that there are, in fact, a few pieces missing.

“Because strokes, basically, as soon as any part of your brain doesn’t get blood for a second, it’s gone. And so the blood finds a different route to get around but then whatever bit it’s missing is therefore gone.” She has done her best to take it all in stride, admitting that looking at her scans “always makes me laugh.” After the aneurysms, Emilia also suffered from aphasia, which is the loss of ability to understand or be able to express speech. At one point she was even unable to recall her own name.

“I thought, ‘Well, this is who you are. This is the brain that you have.’ So there’s no point in continually wracking your brains about what might not be there,” she declared. That’s why, in the years following, she decided to channel her experiences into philanthropy and founded a charity in 2019 called SameYou.


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To help get the word out at the time, the actor penned a personal essay for The New Yorker, which recounted the details surrounding her own road to recovery as well as the goal of the organization, which is to provide accessible rehabilitation treatment to those who have suffered from brain injuries and strokes. Emilia also opened up about the mission of SameYou on its website, writing: “People used to think—and many still do—that brain injuries are either one-off events that heal-up over time like broken limbs, or a catastrophe from which you’ll never recover. The truth is like your brain—much more complex than that. Most leading neuroscientists agree we haven’t discovered the most effective therapies for the long term physical, mental and behavioral problems that make brain injury recovery so difficult. They also agree that with research, we could achieve levels of recovery previously thought to be impossible. SameYou is working to turn that hope into reality.”

To learn more about Emilia’s lifelong work and SameYou, check out the SameYou site here:

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