Emilia Clarke is known to most as Daenerys Targaryen – or Mother of Dragons – from the smash-hit show Game of Thrones. But while the actress’ character was fighting wars on-screen, she, too, was fighting a battle of her own off screen. Clarke faced a terrible, painful health problem, in fact – one that very easily could have killed her. But she survived, and now she’s telling the world the remarkable story.
Clarke was almost unheard of before she landed her career-making role in Game of Thrones. Previously, the actress’ biggest parts had been in the U.K. soap opera Doctors and a 2010 Syfy television movie called Triassic Attack. And yet Clarke was clearly doing something right – so much so that Screen International named her a “U.K. Star of Tomorrow” in 2011. But no one could have predicted just how fitting said accolade would turn out to be.
In an article written for The New Yorker, Clarke recalled her early drive to make a success of herself. “I grew up in Oxford and rarely gave a thought to my health. Nearly all I thought about was acting,” she explained. And her mom and dad threw themselves behind her education, too. “We weren’t wealthy, but my brother and I went to private schools. Our parents, who wanted everything for us, struggled to keep up with the fees.”