"It's remarkable that I am able to speak"
Emilia Clarke has been counting her blessings since fully recovering after two brain aneurysms.
During an interview with the BBC’s “Sunday Morning,” the “Game of Thrones” star said she lost “quite a bit” of brain matter.
“It was the most excruciating pain,” Clarke recalled. “It was incredibly helpful to have ‘Game of Thrones’ sweep me up and give me that purpose.”
While working on the award-winning HBO series, the actress had suffered from two aneurysms that almost took her life.
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The 35-year-old experienced her first in 2011 and the second in 2013, both medical emergencies requiring long recovery periods. Back in 2019, the actress first opened up about the difficult recovery in a personal essay published in the New Yorker and assured fans that she had made it back on her feet.
“The amount of my brain that is no longer usable — it’s remarkable that I am able to speak, sometimes articulately, and live my life completely normally with absolutely no repercussions,” Clarke said. “I am in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that.”
The “Me Before You” star recounted the first time she saw a scan of her brain after the aneurysms.
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“There’s quite a bit missing,” Clarke chuckled. “Which always makes me laugh… Strokes, basically, as soon as any part of your brain doesn’t get blood for a second, it’s gone. So the blood finds a different route to get around, but then whatever bit is missing is therefore gone.”
She continued, “I thought, ‘Well, this is who you are. This is the brain that you have.’ So there’s no point in continually wracking your brains about what might not be there.”
Since her injuries, Clarke has created a charity for individuals who have suffered from strokes and other brain injuries called SameYou. The actress also marked her West End debut with her performance in Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull” which opened on July 6.
“The opportunity to play Nina in ‘The Seagull’ on the West End stage with a lauded, applauded incredible director like Jamie Lloyd — it’s been a kind of profound experience… It’s daring taking such a beloved and well-known play like this and putting it in such a modern, stripped-back, bare [format],” Clarke shared. “It’s why you do theater. It’s so exciting.”
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