Emilia Clarke Reveals Her Biggest Fear Following Her Brain Aneurysms

Emilia Clarke is opening up about how surviving two brain aneurysms took a toll on both her physical and mental health ― and made her question her ability to work.

The actor experienced her first aneurysm in 2011 after filming the first season of “Game of Thrones,” and later survived a second one in 2013, after filming Season 3.

“When you have a brain injury, because it alters your sense of self on such a dramatic level, all of the insecurities you have going into the workplace quadruple overnight,” Clarke told U.K. magazine the Big Issue in a cover story published on Monday.

“The first fear we all had was: ‘Oh my God, am I going to get fired?’” she said. “‘Am I going to get fired because they think I’m not capable of completing the job?’”

The magazine said that Clarke also feared dying of another brain injury “in front of thousands of people and cameras” because of the stress she was under. She told the outlet she recalled thinking at the time, “Well, if I’m going to die, I better die on live TV.”

Clarke arrives at the premiere of HBO's
Clarke arrives at the premiere of HBO's "Game of Thrones" Season 6 at the TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. David Livingston via Getty Images

Clarke added that enduring a brain injury also made her feel “profoundly alone,” a feeling which she is “trying to overcome.”

“Having a chronic condition that diminishes your confidence in this one thing you feel is your reason to live is so debilitating and so lonely,” she explained.

Clarke first opened up about experiencing the aneurysms in an essay for The New Yorker, titled “A Battle for My Life,” which was published in 2019.

The actor told BBC’s “Sunday Morning” program in 2022 that the aneurysms caused “just the most excruciating pain” and that there is a part of her brain “that is no longer usable.”

She added that given the extent of her brain damage, it is “remarkable that I am able to speak ― sometimes articulately ― and live my life completely normally with absolutely no repercussions.”