the mad queen speaks

Emilia Clarke Weighs In on Daenerys’s Fate in Game of Thrones’ Final Episode

Photo: HBO

The stars of Game of Thrones have been keeping secrets for two years. Emilia Clarke told The New Yorker that meeting Beyoncé was tainted in part by knowing that Bey’s favorite Khaleesi was going to do some pretty awful stuff. “All I wanted to scream was ‘Please, please still like me even though my character turns into a mass-killing dictator!,’” she said. “‘Please still think that I’m representing women in a really fabulous way.’” Despite possibly earning the scorn of Beyoncé, Clarke felt her character’s arc was inevitable in a way. Dany had been through so much trauma, been betrayed by almost everyone she’d ever known, that when Varys and Jon turned on her, she couldn’t recover. Clarke thought her genocidal dragon-riding moment was deeply human: “We all have that thing, whether it’s binging on chocolate or drinking seventeen bottles of wine or having an affair.” In this case, Dany’s “thing” was destroying a city, but go off, sis. Her only regret is that we didn’t see more tenderness before she broke. “I would’ve loved some more scenes with me and Missandei. I would’ve loved some more scenes with me and Cersei,” she said. “I would’ve loved some more scenes between Grey Worm and Missandei. I would’ve loved to see a bit more between Cersei … I feel like there was … The genocide was there. That was always going to happen. And I just think more dissection and those beautifully written scenes that the boys have between characters — that we are more than happy to contently sit there and watch ten minutes of two people talking, because it’s beautiful. I just wanted to see a bit more of that.”

Clarke read the script for the finale as soon as it appeared magically on her electronic devices after filming Solo. “Even for a part that I’ve given so much to and I’ve felt so much for, and for a character that’s seen and lived through so much, I don’t know that there was any other way. But it was a shocker to read.” But Kit Harington waited until the table read, so that his reactions would be genuine. Clarke told Entertainment Weekly that she sat across from Harington so she could watch his reaction as he read. “I looked at Emilia,” he told EW, “and there was a moment of me realizing, ‘No, no …’”

Harington cried when he found out how Dany was going out, as many viewers undoubtedly were. It was important to Clarke to give a parting moment of humanity to the allegedly Mad Queen. “If you see abuse in someone young, they often are able to mentally leave the room,” she told The New Yorker. “I wanted Daenerys to be there. I wanted to show her as we saw her in the beginning: young, naïve, childlike, open, and full of love and hope. I wanted so much for that to be the last memory of her.”

As for the successor shows, Clarke is in no hurry for more GOT content: “I just think that it would be lovely to just let this lie for a minute before doing anything else. But then it’ll be something completely different, and it won’t be Game of Thrones. It won’t be called Game of Thrones. It will be inspired by Game of Thrones characters, a fantastical series, set in a similar time … I can’t speak because I don’t know the script. But I would just like a bit more time between Game of Thrones being cold in the ground before something else comes along. Because isn’t everyone already up to their eyeballs with Game of Thrones?”

Emilia Clarke Weighs In on Daenerys’ Fate in Game of Thrones