It’s finally over, folks. The Game of Thrones series finale has now come and gone. With over 70 episodes under its belt, HBO’s (arguably) most critically acclaimed and beloved show – adapted from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice novels – has run its course and left us with a ton to talk about.
As with prior episodes, though, it was certainly divisive. Indeed, season 8 – the shortest one yet, at just six episodes – hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing. While a few battles, not to mention one shocking sex scene, received praise, fans have been heavily criticizing the very rushed pacing, specific character decisions/motivations and poor writing.
Those who’ve worked on the series for all these years are certainly emotional about it coming to a close though and now, Emilia Clarke (who plays Daenerys Targaryen), has opened up to Entertainment Weekly about her character’s fate and how she feels about it.
“What, what, what, WHAT!?” Clarke told EW of that shocking twist. “Because it comes out of f—king nowhere. I’m flabbergasted. Absolutely never saw that coming.”
When asked what her initial reaction was upon first reading the script, the actress shared:
“I cried,” Clarke says. “And I went for a walk. I walked out of the house and took my keys and phone and walked back with blisters on my feet. I didn’t come back for five hours. I’m like, ‘How am I going to do this?’”
When it came time for the table read with the cast, Clarke recalls Kit Harington’s (who plays Jon Snow) reaction, explaining:
“He was crying,” she said. “And then it was kind of great him not having read it.”
Looking back on things, the actress says she expected Dany to die, but that didn’t make things any easier.
“You’re about to ask if me — as Emilia — disagreed with her at any point,” Clarke intuits. “It was a f—king struggle reading the scripts. What I was taught at drama school — and if you print this there will be drama school teachers going ‘that’s bulls—t,’ but here we go: I was told that your character is right. Your character makes a choice and you need to be right with that. An actor should never be afraid to look ugly. We have uglier sides to ourselves.
And after 10 years of working on this show, it’s logical. Where else can she go? I tried to think what the ending will be. It’s not like she’s suddenly going to go, ‘Okay, I’m gonna put a kettle on and put cookies in the oven and we’ll just sit down and have a lovely time and pop a few kids out.’ That was never going to happen. She’s a Targaryen.
I thought she was going to die. I feel very taken care of as a character in that sense. It’s a very beautiful and touching ending. Hopefully, what you’ll see in that last moment as she’s dying is: There’s the vulnerability — there’s the little girl you met in season 1. See? She’s right there. And now, she’s not there anymore…”
There’s a lot to digest there, and if you’re interested in hearing more from the actress, we recommend checking out the full interview over at EW via the link below. For now, though, it’s safe to say that everyone’s still busy collecting their thoughts on that wild finale and everything it brought us. And while Game of Thrones‘ final season may ultimately go down as a bit of a disappointment, it’s important to remember what an incredible and unforgettable ride it’s been up to this point.