Lena Headey posts emotional response to Emilia Clarke's story about surviving two brain aneurysms

Lena Headey posts emotional response to Emilia Clarke's story about surviving two brain aneurysms

On Game Of Thrones, scheming matriarch Cersei Lannister and defiant mother-of-dragons Daenerys Targaryen are preparing to face off in a battle for the Iron Throne. In real life, though, the actresses Lena Headey and Emilia Clarke are quite friendly - possibly because they both played Sarah Connor in Terminator projects. After the mother of dragons shared a story about a serious health scare, Lena posted a touching response on Instagram. (Cersei probably would have posted a crying laughing emoji.)

In case you took yesterday off from maniacally news-googling Game of Thrones, Emilia wrote an essay for The New Yorker.about surviving two life-threatening brain aneurysms. After filming the first season of Thrones in 2011, she felt terrified by the massive attention, and irritated by dense journalists who harped on her nude scenes in press junkets. In order to relieve stress, she began working with a personal trainer, and suffered an unusually strong headache during one exercise session.

Emilia Clarke Credit: Getty

"My trainer had me get into the plank position, and I immediately felt as though an elastic band were squeezing my brain. I tried to ignore the pain and push through it, but I just couldn’t," Emilia wrote. "I told my trainer I had to take a break. Somehow, almost crawling, I made it to the locker room. I reached the toilet, sank to my knees, and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill. Meanwhile, the pain -- shooting, stabbing, constricting pain -- was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged."

The actress was rushed to the emergency room, where she she was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), a life-threatening type of stroke. At age 24, Emilia secretly underwent urgent brain surgery, and stayed in the hospital a month to recuperate. When she was released, the doctors warned her that a second, smaller aneurysm could 'pop' at any time.

Dany from Game of Thrones Credit: HBO

Then, after shooting season 3 of Thrones in 2013, Emilia's second brain surgery did not go as planned, causing excruciating pain.

"The recovery was even more painful than it had been after the first surgery. I looked as though I had been through a war more gruesome than any that Daenerys experienced," the 32-year-old recalled. "I emerged from the operation with a drain coming out of my head. Bits of my skull had been replaced by titanium. These days, you can’t see the scar that curves from my scalp to my ear, but I didn’t know at first that it wouldn’t be visible."

Thankfully, Emilia recovered, getting stronger and stronger like her iconic character. On Instagram, Lena Headey shared a photo of the 'warrior,' with an emotional message: "It took me a while to know this woman (there are 64000 of us after all) Not until she spoke to me about her experience did I fully realize the warrior she truly is (MOD [Mother of Dragons] for real x209840000) she does really great things for causes that deserve it. She’s kind and determined and funny and aware. #Thursday’s MVP ... Here’s to @emilia_clarke."
Sarah Connors gotta stick together!