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Why did Emilia Clarke say parts of her brain are missing?

Emilia Clarke speaking with the BBC opened up about how suffering two brain aneurysms has left her with a “remarkable” amount of brain no longer usable.

‘Mother of Dragons’ says “quite a bit” of her brain missing

Emilia Clarke, who became a world-famous star when she played Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, miraculously survived two brain aneurysm, the first of which happened at the end of filming season one. The subsequent stroke, internal hemorrhaging and surgery to stop the bleeding left her without the ability to remember her own name for a time.

Speaking to BBC’s ‘Sunday Morning’ the ‘Mother of Dragons’ said that “it was incredibly helpful to have ‘Game of Thrones’ sweep me up and give me that purpose,” to recover. However, Clarke shared that the two life-threatening episodes have left her with a “remarkable” amount of her brain that is no longer usable.

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“It’s remarkable that I am able to speak,” Clarke says

Watching Clarke talk you would never know that she suffered such a traumatic medical condition which claims the life of half its victims and leaves two thirds of survivors with some permanent neurological defect. “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,” she told Sophie Raworth. “I am in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that.”

Clarke first shared that she had experienced two brain aneurysms in 2011 and 2013 in a 2019 essay for The New Yorker. She had brain surgery to seal off the hemorrhaging after which as a consequence of the trauma her brain had gone through, she suffered from a condition called aphasia. This the same condition that has recently forced Bruce Willis to retire.

She had difficulty speaking and could not remember her name. “In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug,” Clarke wrote in her essay. “My job, my entire dream of what my life would be, centered on language, on communication. Without that, I was lost.” But fortunately for her the aphasia was passing.

Why is Emilia Clarke missing parts of her brain?

“Because strokes, basically, as soon as any part of your brain doesn’t get blood for a second, it’s gone,” she explained to Raworth. “And so, the blood finds a different route to get around but then whatever bit it’s missing is therefore gone. It shows how little of our brains we need.”

Clarke is taking her condition in stride, “There’s quite a bit missing! Which always makes me laugh,” she said in the interview. When asked how one keeps going with that knowledge she said, “It’s the brain you have, so there’s no point in racking your brain as to what might not be there, because what you have is great and let’s work with that.”

She is currently starring in a stage production of Anton Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’ at London’s Harold Pinter Theatre West End playing the role of Nina.


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