This contains spoilers for the final episode of Game of Thrones
Now that Game of Thrones has finally come to an end, fans worldwide are coming to terms with the conclusion to the story they’ve been invested in for eight seasons – including Emilia Clarke.
The actress, who played Daenerys Targaryen for all eight series, spoke to The New Yorker about saying goodbye to the Mother of Dragons – and how she felt when she first read the ending, almost two years ago.
“I took a very long walk around London in a daze, not quite knowing how to digest the news,” she recalled. “Now, finally, people are going, ‘Oh, now we understand why this season hit you hard.’ I had no idea what to expect for this last season. I hoped for some juicy things to get into, as I always do for each season, but I didn’t see this coming…”
She added: “I always knew that the show was never going to satisfy everyone. I’ve watched and loved too many television series to ever think that would be possible. The stories are too vast, the characters too complex. The show is, in a certain way, divisive: ‘Whose side are you on?’ Also, if you’re pleasing everyone, then it’s probably quite tepid. But to me it seemed like the only way it could end.”
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The final series of the hit fantasy show has had a mixed reception from fans, with hundreds of thousands signing a petition to have season eight remade. When asked what she’d change about the final season, Clarke had several thoughts.
“Well, I can only speak to my own character, and the people that I interact with on the show,” she said. “But I would’ve loved some more scenes with me and Missandei. I would’ve loved some more scenes with me and Cersei.”
“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 10 minutes of two people talking, because it’s beautiful. I just wanted to see a bit more of that. But I’m in no position to critique the geniuses that have written eight seasons’ worth of wonderful stuff.”
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Having played a beloved character for so many years, Clarke touched on how difficult it was to act out Dany’s descent into dictatorship and, ultimately, mass murder.
“I really just had to sit there and wrestle with how I could make good on what they had written,” she explained. “Because that’s her. They are the writers. They have made this woman, and I’m going to take on what it is and try and interpret that to my best ability.”
She concluded: “I’m hoping to see… Daenerys’s last images being that of kind of a hopeful, childlike love. I just really want that to be the last image of her. And it absolutely breaks my heart that anyone would think anything bad of her. But I’m sure they will, and I can’t control that.”