Emilia Clarke is a graceful, enigmatic actor who exudes confidence and vivacity. And sometimes it’s hard to remember she was once a nervous 22-year-old just trying not to mess up in her first big job.
Of course, unlike the majority of us, Emilia’s first step into the world of work didn’t just involve getting to grips with temperamental computer systems and complicated brew rounds.
Barely out of her teens, Emilia was thrust into the phenomenon that is Game of Thrones, playing one of the most powerful, determined and beloved characters of the epic fantasy series, Daenerys Targaryen. Truly a thespian baptism of fire if ever there was one.
Now Emilia has spoken about her very first day on set in a clip entitled The Cast Remembers: Emilia Clarke on Playing Daenerys Targaryen, recalling a tricky horseback scene which reduced her to tears.
Reflecting upon the deeply journey she has shared with Daenerys, Emilia said:
Yeah I remember my first day on set. Oh my god, I fell off a f*cking horse! Jesus, this is my first job. This is like the first thing I ever did and they put me on a horse! In a bamboo field in Belfast, and it’s raining, and I was falling off the horse trying to act still.
[…] And I’m hanging on for dear life, and I just remember shouting, ‘please stop filming!’. And I’m like, ‘okay everything’s going to be fine’, turn around and I’m like, ‘oh my god, it’s like the whole crew’ and I just cried.
So that was my first day on Game of Thrones.
You can watch Emilia’s touchingly down-to-earth interview for yourself below:
Fortunately, Emilia went from strength to strength over the course of the following seasons, bringing her very own inner fire to what has been one of the most memorable roles of the decade.
Speaking emotionally about how her own personal development has influenced her portrayal of Daenerys, Emilia said:
I started this job when I was 22. And I am not 22 anymore! The journey that I’ve been on with Daenerys, it’s sharpened me as an actor. And because of the heights that she goes to, it’s forced me to find them within myself.
And so anytime anything good or bad happens, you put it into her. So Daenerys is a tapestry of my entire adult life. Within each major scene of Daenerys, is every major scene of my life.
I honestly couldn’t imagine a more iconic depiction of the Mother of Dragons. Just goes to show that you should always try and get back on the horse when you fall off, metaphorically or otherwise.
Season 8 of Game of Thrones will air in the US on HBO on April 14, and Sky Atlantic early morning April 15 in the UK.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.