Games Of Thrones Khaleesi

Exclusive: Behind die scenes des the final episode des "Game von Thrones" with Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, peter Dinklage and more.


She it again und again. 7 times, she says, she read ns words that revealed ns devastating fate des Daenerys Targaryen, a personality she's portrayed on ns HBO global phenomenon for nearly a decade.

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"What, what, what, WHAT!?" die actress recalls thinking. "Because it comes out of f—king nowhere. I'm flabbergasted. Absolutely never ever saw the coming."

It was October 2017. Ns actress had recently completed filming Solo: A star Wars Story and had nur returned to london following a buchstabe vacation. She electronically received the scripts the momente she landed punkt Heathrow and recalls the she "completely flipped out," turn to herstellung traveling companion und said, "'Oh my god! ich gotta go! i gotta go!' and they're like, 'You gotta get your bags!'"

Once punkt home, ns actress ready herself. "I gott myself situated," she says. "I got my cup von tea. I had zu physically prepare the space and then start reading them."

Clarke swiped through pages: Daenerys arrives punkt Winterfell and Sansa doesn't favor her. She discovers Jon Snow zu sein the true heritage to die Iron Throne und isn't thrilled. She fights in the battle against ns Night King und survives, but loses longtime friend und protector Ser Jorah Mormont. Then produziert other near friend und advisor Missandei dies too. Varys betrays her. Jon snow pulls away. Having lost hilfreich her army, two dragons, und nearly anyone she cares about, Daenerys goes full Tagaryen to win: She attacks King's Landing und kills … thousands des civilians? Daenerys' longtime occupation achieved, she meets through Jon Snow in the Red keep throne room and … und then … then he …

"I cried," Clarke says. "And i went zum a walk. Ich walked out des the house und took my keys and phone und walked zurück with blisters on my feet. Ich didn't come rückseitig for five hours. I'm like, 'How am I going kommen sie do this?'"



Sitting next kommen sie Clarke on ns flight, as it deswegen happens, was Kit Harington, that plays Jon Snow. Harington intentionally hadn't yet read the scripts so he might experience the story zum the zuerst time with all his castmates. Clarke, positively bursting with wanting kommen sie talk about her storyline, found the flight maddening. "This literally sums up Kit und I's friendship," she says, und sputtered: "Boy! would you? Seriously? You're just not?…"

At ns table read, Clarke sat across from Harington deshalb she might "watch er compute all von this." when they gott to their final scene together, recalls Harington, "I looked punkt Emilia und there was a augenblicke of me realizing, 'No, no…'"

The hauptsächlich story treiber of Game of Thrones' last season ist the entstehen of Daenerys Targaryen from one des the show's most-loved heroes into a destroyer von cities und would-be dictator. Author george R.R. Martin calls his saga "A Song of Ice and Fire." Jon Snow ist the stable, immovable ice of Winterfell; Daenerys the conquering, unpredictable fire des Dragonstone. After years apart, they came together bei season 7. The duo fell in love, assist saved the realm from a world-annihilating superordinary threat and, bei the collection finale, their coupling ist destroyed — Daenerys perishes, when a ruined Jon Snow is banished kommen sie rejoin die Night's Watch.

Was this ending Martin's original plan? the author called showrunners david Benioff and Dan Weiss the intended conclusion zu his unfinished novels years earlier but, since then, the HBO ausführung has made number of narrative detours. Die showrunners are not giving intervigeorgewoodcock.coms about episode 6 (and called lock plan to spend ns finale angeboten — "drunk und far away from ns Internet" as Benioff placed it).

Regardless des the last season's narrative's origin, ns Thrones writers schutz planned Dany's fate for years und have foreshadowed die dark turn in the storyline. An previous seasons, producer would periodically ask Clarke zu play a step a bit different than what she expected zum a watch heroic character. "There's a number des times I've to be like: 'Why are you giving me the note?'" Clarke says. "So yes, this has actually made me look back at all ns notes I've ever had."

After episode 5, "The Bells," ns reaction to Dany's "Mad Queen" turn has actually been explosive und frequently negative. Some critics insist Daenerys doesn't have the capacity weil das such significant evil und the twisted is in example of female personalities being mishandled on the series. Rather say Dany's rough sociopathic tendencies were without doubt established, but the final season moved too fast and flubbed its execution.

For Clarke, the final season arc forced mapping out a series von turning points. Dany's assault on King's Landing might oase seemed abrupt, however from the beginning von the season Daenerys has reacted with boosting anger, desperation und coldness to one setback after ~ another, shifting die Mother von Dragons into emotional territory the would ultimately lead to produziert destruction.

Sitting in her dressing room on die set von Thrones belastung spring, Clarke broke down Daenerys' whole season 8 internal journey leading hoch to die apocalyptic King's Landing firebombing in a single breathless monologue.

"She genuinely start with ns best intentions und truly wishes there isn't going kommen sie be miscellaneous scuttling her greatest plans," she says. "The belästigung is don't like her und she sees it. She goes, 'Okay, one chance.' She provides them the chance and it doesn't work and she's too far to turn around. She's made herstellung bed, she's laying bei it. It's done. Und that's ns thing. I don't think she realizes till it happens — the ja wirklich effect des their reactions on herstellung is: 'I don't offer a s—t.' This ist my whole existence. Because birth! She literally was brought into this world going, 'Run!' these f—kers oase f—ked everything up, and now it's, 'You're our just hope.' There's so much she's bring away on bei her duty in life to rectify, dafür much she's seen und witnessed and been through and lost and suffered und hurt. All of sudden these world are turning around and saying, 'We don't accept you.' however she's too far down ns line. She's killed deswegen many civilization already. I can't turn this ship around. It's too much. One by one, you seen all this strings being cut. Und there's nur this tonnage thread she's holding onto: There's this boy. And she thinks, 'He loves me, and I think that's enough.' But ist it enough? is it? und it's nur that hope and wishing that lastly there ist someone that accepts her zum everything she is und … the f—king doesn't."

And losing Missandei? "There's a number von turning points you see weil das Daenerys in the season, but that's the biggest break. There's nothing ich will notfall do after losing Missandei und seeing ns sacrifice she was prepared kommen sie make weil das her. That breaks her completely. There's naught left to making a hard choice."

Executing Varys for treason? "She f—king warned er last season. We love Varys. I love . But he alters his colors together many zeit as that wants. She needs kommen sie know the people who space supporting her regardless. That was my only option, essentially, ist what ich mean."

Burying Cersei Lannister under ns collapse von the Red Keep? "With Cersei, it's a finish no-brainer. Lady's a stunner motherf—ker. She's walk down."

Yet Clarke also had another, more angestellter reaction kommen sie Dany's meltdown. "I have my very own feelings und it's peppered through my feelings about myself," she admits. "It's gotten zu that point jetzt where freundin read ns character freundin , 'They're not talking about you, Emilia, they're talking about the character."

Like countless actors who oase played die same role zum a lang time, Clarke identify with herstellung character and has put viel of it s her into ns role. She believes in Daenerys' confidence, idealism und past acts von compassion. As ns actress wrote bei a Yorker essay bei March, she played die Breaker des Chains v some life-threatening angestellter hardships, covertly enduring two mind aneurysms during her early years on ns show. "You go on set and play a badass und you walk with fire and that became the thing that saved me native considering my very own mortality," she wrote. Clarke has drawn strength indigenous Daenerys und infused Daenerys with herstellung strength.

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"I genuinely go this, and it's embarrassing and I'm going to admit it to you," Clarke says. "I dubbed my mommy and—" Clarke shifts right into a tearful voice kommen sie perform the conversation together she reenacts die call: "I read the scripts und I don't want to tell sie what happens but kann you nur talk me off this ledge? It yes, really messed me up.' and then i asked my mom and brother really weird questions. They to be like: 'What are freundin asking united state this for? What do you mean do i think Daenerys ist a an excellent person? Why are freundin asking united state that question? Why do freundin care what human being think des Daenerys? Are you okay?'"

"And I'm all: 'I'm fine! … But is there noþeles Daenerys can do that would make sie hate her?'"


During's visit kommen sie Northern ireland last March, ich took a walk through co-executive producer Bryan Cogman into die dark woods near ns production camp. It was around midnight and bitterly cold. Our boots scrunched on ns muddy gravel und the bustling sounds von task from the set slowly receded into ns distance.

"Emilia has been threading that needle beautiful this season," Cogman says. "It's the hardest job anybody has actually on this show."

As we pass members our voices cautiously go silent. While Dany's foolish Queen arc was known von all, herstellung death in the letzte was a an enig even amongst many who arbeiten on ns show. Death Daenerys was a massive und difficult move. ~ above a show that's presented dozens des distinctive breakout characters, Daenerys ist arguably ns most quickly identifiable and iconic. She zu sein T-shirts and coffee mugs und posters and bobbleheads and memes und the name of hundreds of kids around the world through GoT fans parents; a do not be afraid figure of female empowerment.

"I blieb don't understand how ich feel about a ggeorgewoodcock.comächs of what happens this season and I helped write it," Cogman says. "It's emotionally an extremely challenging. It's draft to not feel good. The said, i don't think that's a badgeorgewoodcock.comanne thing. Ns best dramatisch is the type you oase to think about. There's a dangerous propensity right jetzt to do art und popular culture to feel safe for everybody and make everybody feel okay wie watching und I don't believe bei that. Die show zu sein messy and grey und that's wherein it's always lived — native Jaime pushing a wenig boy out die window zu Ned Stark's fatality to ns Red Wedding. This zu sein the kind of story that's meant kommen sie unsettle you and challenge you and make you think and question. Ich think that was George's intent und what David und Dan wanted to do. However freundin feel about ns final episodes of this show i don't think anybody will ever accuse us von taking die easy means out."

I suggest out Daenerys' final season arc shifts die entire series, or punkt least her role an it. ~ above rgeorgewoodcock.comatch, every Daenerys scene will jetzt be vigeorgewoodcock.comed differently; ns story des the rise von a villain an ext than a hero.

"Yes, although ich don't understand if she's a villain," Cogman says. "This zu sein a tragedy. She's a catastrophic figure an a really Shakespearean und Greek sense. Wie Jon asks Tyrion if they to be wrong und Tyrion says, 'Ask me again in 10 years,' ich think that's valid."

Tyrion actor peter Dinklage says ns showrunners on set compared Dany's dragon-bombing des King's Landing to ns U.S. Dropping nuclear bombs on ns Japanese urban Hiroshima and Nagasaki zu decisively ende World war II bei 1945. "That's what war is," Dinklage says. "Did we make the right choices bei war? How viel longer would oase gone top top if us didn't make terrible decisions? We love Daenerys. Every the fans love Daenerys, und she's doing these things for the better good. 'The better good' has been in the headlines lately… wie freeing everyone zum the greater an excellent you're going to hurt part innocents along die way, unfortunately."

Gwendoline Christie, that plays Brienne of Tarth, adds there's one more political lesson kommen sie be learned in the final season as well. "The signs schutz actually constantly been there," Christie says of Daenerys. "And they've been there an ways us felt at the time were nur mistakes or controversial. Weist this time, it's important kommen sie question true motives. This zeigen has constantly been about stärke and, more than ever, it's in interesting illustration that people in pursuit of power can come an many various forms and we need kommen sie question everything." 

Killing Daenerys so forever changes Jon Snow, leading zu his one fate: returning zu serve the rest des his life at die Wall. Harington speak about ns show's finale in a manufacturing tent on the season 8 set, his voice deswegen cautiously short a recorder might barely pick er up. Harington described he prevents talking about ns death scene on die set, and he and Clarke came hoch with a secret hand signal zu refer kommen sie it — emotional a fist to their heart.

"I think it's going to divide," Harington says of the finale's fans reaction. "But if you track produziert story all ns way back, she walk some damaging things. She crucifies people. She burns people alive. This has been building. So, we schutz to to speak to die audience: 'You're in denial about this woman as well. Freundin something was wrong. You're culpable, freundin cheered her on.'"

Harington adds he worries die final 2 episodes wollen be accused des being sexist, in ongoing criticism of gott that has actually recently resurfaced perhaps an ext pointedly than ever before. "One des my concerns with this ist we schutz Cersei und Dany, 2 leading women, who fall," he says. "The justification is: nur because they're women, why should they be the goodies? They're ns most interesting characters bei the show. And that's what Thrones has always done. Sie can't nur say die strong frauen are walking to ende up ns good people. Dany is not a good person. It's going to offen up discussion yet there's nothing done an this nur that isn't truthful to die characters. Und when oase you ever seen a frau play a dictator?"

There's plenty of tragedy for Jon together well, the points out. "This ist the second woman he's fallen an love through who dies in his arms und he cradles her in the very same way," Harington notes. "That's an awful thing. In some ways, Jon did die same thing kommen sie Ygritte by training die boy that kills her. This destroys Jon to do this."

Back in Clarke's dressing room, the actress ist preparing to film one of produziert final scenes on ns series. Understandably, she can't quite lug herself kommen sie feel sorry for Jon Snow.

"Um, he just doesn't like frau does he?" Clarke quips. "He keeps f—king death them. No. If ich were to put myself in his pair of shoes I'm not sure what else he could have done as well as … oh, i dunno, maybe having a discussion with me around it? Ask my opinion? warning me? It's favor being an the middle von a phone contact with her boyfriend und they nur hang up and never call freundin again. 'Oh, this great thing happened to me at work heute — hello?' and that was 9 year ago…"

Clarke's phone call metaphor ist characteristically witty, and the actress has offered some fascinating understanding about die season together a whole. However nothing yet fairly feels like the bottom, the blunt truth von how she feels around Daenerys' fate.

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"You're about kommen sie ask if me — together Emilia — do not agree with produziert at any type of point," Clarke intuits. "It was a f—king battle reading the scripts. What i was taught at dramatisch school — and if freundin print this there will be drama school teachers going 'that's bulls—t,' however here we go: i was told that your character is right. Her character renders a choice und you need kommen sie be ideal with that. In actor have to never be afraid kommen sie look ugly. We have uglier sides zu ourselves. Und after 10 years von working top top this show, it's logical. Wherein else kann sein she go? ich tried kommen sie think what ns ending will be. It's not like she's unexpectedly going to go, 'Okay, I'm gonna placed a kettle on und put cookies in the oven and we'll nur sit down und have a beloved time und pop a couple of kids out.' That was never going zu happen. She's a Targaryen."

"I believed she was going kommen sie die," she continues. "I feel very taken care of as a character in that sense. It's a very beautiful und touching ending. Hopefully, what you'll see bei that last moment as she's dice is: There's ns vulnerability — there's the little girl you met bei season 1. See? She's ideal there. Und now, she's notfall there anymore…"

A member comes zum Clarke und she stand up. It's time for her to go. Clarke begins to walk away, turns around, breaks away from ns staffer, und comes back.

"But having actually said all of the things I've just said…" Clarke says. "I stand von Daenerys. Ich stand von her! i can't not."