Another in the series of interviews conducted at the Television Critic Association meeting earlier this year has been published in its long form (it might be Obama started a trend the other day). This time around Maureen Ryan of AoL TV talks to Emilia Clarke about her role as Daenerys. The timing is very fitting, as the main topic of the interview is Dany’s character arc and the transformation she undergoes from a frightened child to a more assertive khaleesi – which is something we were able to observe in the latest episode as well. Those scenes were also the first ones Emilia shot. Make sure you read the entire interview, it has been redacted for spoilers, and they do not discuss anything beyond the first season to begin with.
I was thinking about how much you, as a person, must have undergone what your character did, because she’s a young woman, untested, coming into this intimidating situation where she doesn’t know anyone and much is expected of her. It’s really similar to what you went through when you joined this huge production. Did you ever ponder that while you were taking on the role?
Definitely, definitely. I mean, there were so many scenes that, on a fundamental level, I could completely relate with. I mean, the fear of the unknown and kind of dealing with that, and dealing with the pressure of it, I suppose, but then overcoming it. Daenerys always did, so I kind of took strength from that.
Describe what your first day on set was like.
Crazy! It was on a horse! It was with a whole caravan of the Dothraki people, and we’re in these amazing willow fields. It was petrifying. It was so scary. I can ride, I’ve done some riding before because I grew up in the countryside. But riding on camera is just something totally different. And riding on camera with 60 other horses is crazy.
Was there ever a scene or a moment where you felt like you really locked in to the central key to the character?
Yeah, completely … What I will say is my connection with [Khal Drogo] — I think for me, that was one of the biggest things that opened a door for Daenerys as a character, to working out what was really, truly possible for her in life. And how far away that was from the world she grew up knowing and the destiny that she assumed [she would have]. There were just so many [things that occurred] that I emotionally as a person, connected with — kind of around … the love stuff.
Was that your take on the character, that there was always this core of strength, this will, in her?
I think so, yeah. I really do. But I think it’s within everyone. Who we are, are kind of is always there and it’s just your experiences that let you realize that as a person. [Things occur] that let you bring it to your consciousness. For her, it was definitely always there. And if you know, as the actor, if it’s always there, then each scene and each new experience that she has, you can let it out more and more until she turns into the warrior queen that she is.
There were also a couple of fan questions that made way into the interview, but Mo didn’t ask for Emilia’s number, sorry guys.