Emilia Clarke Press

Mo Ryan interviews Emilia

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.


  • Wow… after reading this i cant help but feel its a great shame we havent seen more of her in the first three episodes.

    I had a great feeling about her from the first moment i saw her as a new choice for Daenerys and she completely vindicates that belief.
    There is not a single wrong thing she said in this interview and quite a few that surprise me still, even if i expected and believed she totally gets it.

    I love it that she used the book as her “dragon egg” during the filming, whenever she needed strength. Thats just so… perfect.

    And her answer about the highest point in her arc as Daenerys – killing Drogo is beyond awesome.
    Its so true. Perfect.

    She is all i could have ever asked as Daenerys.

  • Warrior queen? Well I’m glad she didn’t say she studied Xena episodes for guidance, at least.

  • Nigel Tufnel,

    She used that term, but she did not mean it in a sense of a woman or a queen that fights directly.
    Daenerys is a warrior queen,after all, only better :D
    George Martin style, you :censored: :censored: piece of :censored: …. :censored:

  • The Smiling Knight:
    Wow… after reading this i cant help but feel its a great shame we havent seen more of her in the first three episodes.

    To be fair, I went back and looked at the book to see how well the series was following the book and to get an idea of how much ground we have covered in 3 series.

    The good news–in 3 hours we have covered events up to page 280-300, maybe a little more, of an 850 page book. That gives us a 7 hours to cover the remaining 500 pages or so.

    One thing I noted is that the last chapter covered IS Daenarys..and it’s the ONLY chapter since her wedding night. So they actually drew out that chapter and elements were covered last week and this week.

  • Does anyone know who plays Doreah? I would have been the most loyal patron at that Pleasure House.

  • greenie88,

    Im not sure what you mean exactly but as far as Daenerys story goes we got her first three chapters in these three episodes.
    All of it was way, way too short. With a few minutes allotted and spread here and there it would have been much more natural, better paced and fuller experience.

  • I love Mo’s interviews. Next time I interview someone I’m asking: Can you point to something that was just, for you as an actress, was really enjoyable? Or a case of just nailing a scene that had really scared you?

    Yeahhh. Interviewer theft.

  • And we are in!! Wohoo!!

    Very off topic but GoT now has over 5000 votes and are in the Best TV Series ranking on IMDB, placing on a nice nr.5!

    Ofc, interview was also awesomesauce :D

  • Aha, so the discomfort that shows in the riding scene is no acting at all, it’s how she actually felt at the time :-)

  • theGodfarmer: Very off topic but GoT now has over 5000 votes and are in the Best TV Series ranking on IMDB, placing on a nice nr.5!

    Niiice! Well, let’s see how this evolves. Right now, the ratio of fans-of-the-books is highest probably, so if anything, I’d expect ratings to drop a bit when non-fans numbers increase. And the ‘final’ score after the last ever episode airs might also depends on how far HBO takes this. For instance, I suppose Rome was higher ranked after the first season, but fell back to the 31st place after the second season…

  • As much as these interviews are nice and all, the actors actually get asked the same questions over and over, or they answer different questions with things they have said previously.

  • I love Emilia. I love her. It’s like I want to be friends with her: She’s so insightful and seems so sweet…I want to go to a coffee shop with her and just talks about Dany and the books and life. I’m so, so glad we have her in this production, because she completely represents the positive antithesis of the typical Hollywood actress, and that is really refreshing. Recasting Daenerys may have been the best thing HBO ever did for Game of Thrones. :D

  • I completely agree. I hope she stays that way for a long time.

    I would also love to go to a coffee shop with her and talk about the books, … one in Amsterdam would be just great. :)

    I wonder will she read the whole second book or stretch it over the second season, but anyway… she will have a great time.

    Dracarys! :D

    (couldnt help myself)

  • Lina,

    Speaking of recasting… Does anybody know why exactly they recast Daenerys and Catelyn? Just curious. Is it known? :)

  • Sam,

    I would have loved to see Jennifer Ehle, although I think Fairley is amazing! I also thought Merchant was a great choice, but when I saw Clarke I was swept off my feet!

    So, will you share the knowledge, Sam? It is not known to me :(

  • StarkyZG,

    I thought Ehle and Merchant “left” the production? Not exactly sure what that means, but I don’t remember hearing about any one specific reason for either to be recast. Maybe someone else can elaborate (or correct me if I’m wrong).

    I’m really glad both were recast though. I’ve expressed my thoughts on Emilia, and she is just much more Dany than Tamzin in my mind. I love Jennifer Ehle (BBC P&P Elizabeth Bennett forever!!!), but I also REALLY like Michelle Fairley. I’m blown away by her performance and she has made me like Cat so much more. I think Ehle would have done a great job as well, but I’m glad Michelle gets her time to shine!

  • Off-Topic:
    There is a long video interview with GRRM. He talks about the show, fans and much more. Unfortunately it’s splitted into two parts (part 1, part 2).

  • I know this has nothing to do with the interview but can someone tell me as to why Robert sent Ned to King’s Landing after the Battle of the Trident? I have been thinking about the whole Rebellion thing lately and I can’t get this question out of my head.

  • Oh yeah and how does Ned lift the seige of Storm’s End after he goes to King’s Landing? I mean weren’t Redwyne Paxter and Mace Tyrell holding down Robert’s home for at least a year? Why would they suddenly yield to Ned?

  • Julian Walker,

    Robert himself was injured due a wound he took in the last battle and sent Ned because he needed to go to KL asap before the Lannisters controlled the city. As to your second question: when the besiegers knew the Targaryens were beaten they opened the gates (not totally sure about this).

  • The Winter Rose:
    OT, but new review of the series on the feminist blog, Tiger beatdown: http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/05/05/game-of-thrones-its-grim-oop-norf/

    Not a particularly strong review. It commits the usual fallacy of thinking a presented world is representative or telling of the opinions of the author. What GRRM does is look at what we know of history, and use that in creating a fantasy world. So the world he depicts is going to be harsh, like medieval times were for most people. It is only in our current times some of us find the luxury to complain about “bleakness”.

    Additionally, it mentions that this series is all about the individual, and that the characters shows no regard for the common. This is evidently not true. Just think of the different houses and families, and the bonds between the people within them and how they fight for each other. ‘The individual’ holds a relatively small role in these works, (not to mention ‘the capitalist individual’, which does not exist here as these are feudal lands), and something tells me that this is in fact what the author of this review regrets. I am sure if everyone were free to express themselves in what ways they wanted and the means were there to do so, the series would be more to their liking. But it would be culturally inconsistent with the world at large, and it would make this a very uninteresting portrayal of what is not meant to be a simple metaphor for the current ‘Western civilization’.

  • I’m a little worried: if they can’t handle training dogs or cgi wolves, how in the bloody heck are they going to show her interacting with three 3′ dragons?!?!?

  • Not Tim,

    Silly question. They never tried to do CGI wolves. Since they… y’know… had dogs for that.

    And training dogs to act on a TV show doesn’t have anything at all to do with animating dragons.

  • GaR,

    We’ve heard that the dogs are playing a lesser role because they couldn’t pull off what they needed – something I find odd. Perhaps its not true.

    What we know is that have thus far hardly been seen, even as companions much less playing important roles like scaring off the other trainees at the wall, or growling at Tyrion to show that Jon doesn’t initially trust him, or for GRRM’s sake at least guarding Bran.

    So if by hook (training) or crook (cgi) they’ve lessened the wolves role, what should we expect for the dragons role?

  • Not Tim,

    Dogs being difficult to train has absolutely nothing to do with CGI dragons. It may have an impact on how much the wolves are seen in subsequent seasons, but there’s no reason to assume the same would be true of the dragons.

  • GaR,

    We will agree to disagree – if you haven’t discerned thus far, my biggest if only gripe with the show is the conspicuous absence of the wolves. The relationship of the Stark children to the wolves is so very central to the story yet compared to the books is non-existent. The only parallel relationship in the books is the dragons to the Targaryeans, and many have surmised parallel for a very good reason in the end. If the wolves are no longer prominent, it therefore leads to admittedly paranoid doubts that the dragons will be mere window dressing as well. If you still don’t understand why I would be concerned that absence of wolves means absence of dragons then as I started, we agree to disagree.