Jason Momoa speaks out on 'brave' Emilia Clarke after she revealed her brain aneurysms
Last month, Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke revealed that she had suffered two life-threatening brain aneurysms during the filming of the first few seasons of the hit fantasy series. Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO show, recently penned a piece for The New Yorker in which she revealed she "hardly felt like a conquering spirit," much at odds with the character she was playing on screen.
"Just when all my childhood dreams seemed to have come true, I nearly lost my mind and then my life," the 32-year-old wrote. At the beginning of 2011, she was "terrified" from the sudden upsurge in fame and the stress and pressures of playing the character on screen.
She started to work with a personal trainer to help relieve the stress, but one terrible headache soon became too much.
"I told my trainer I had to take a break," she continued. "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."
She was rushed to the emergency room soon after, where she was treated and diagnosed with a subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH), a particularly dangerous type of stroke.
"I'd had an aneurysm, an arterial rupture," she explained. "As I later learned, about a third of SAH patients die immediately or soon thereafter."
"For the patients who do survive, urgent treatment is required to seal off the aneurysm, as there is a very high risk of a second, often fatal bleed. If I was to live and avoid terrible deficits, I would have to have urgent surgery. And, even then, there were no guarantees."
She underwent brain surgery, staying in hospital for a month afterward to recuperate. Then, after filming season 3 in 2013, she underwent a second surgery - one that caused her a lot of pain. During this process, she still managed to turn up on set without fans being any the wiser - but there were some castmembers who knew about what happened.
At the season eight premiere of Game of Thrones in New York this week, her former co-star Jason Momoa spoke to Entertainment Tonight about how "brave" she had been in the aftermath of her first aneurysm.
"I've kind of been a part of that whole situation for a very long time, so we've had so many scares and trying to find the right way to come out and help.
"I'm very sad, because we almost lost her the first time. So, I love her to bits and she's here and she's going to do great things with it and teach the world. I just think it's beautiful that... She's so brave in helping the world and trying to raise awareness."
Momoa and Clarke have remained close friends since his departure from the show at the end of season one - and had an amazing reunion earlier this year.