For eight seasons, Emilia Clarke enthralled the fans of HBO's Game of Thrones with her portrayal of Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, would-be savior, and eventual villain. In James Hibberd's behind-the-scenes Game of Thrones book, Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, Clarke reveals that her portrayal of Daenerys often clashed with the direction the show's creators wanted her to take.

There was a number of times I was like, "Why are you giving me that note?" While I am quite consistently a "How can I help?" kind of person, there were a few moments where I was like, "Don't tell me what to do with my girl. I know what to do!" It's like Daenerys' calling card became cold expressionlessness. I always wanted to infuse that with some humanity because no one's consistently like that. I would sometimes fight back a little: "I get that she has to be steely and unforgiving and a powerful force. But in this moment she's also a goddam human being. So I'm going to give you that and I really pray that you take that in the edit."

Daenerys started out as one of the most prominent victims on Game of Thrones. Despite being of royal lineage, she was sold in marriage to the dreaded Dothraki tribe so her brother could assemble an army to reclaim his throne. But after many days of suffering, Daenerys decides to strike out on her own, first using her influence over her husband, and then her three dragons, to establish an empire the likes of which had never been seen before.


Despite her often brutal methods, Clarke's portrayal of Daenerys infused the character with some much-needed humanity, to the extent that she became as popular a character as the conventional hero of the series, Jon Snow. That was why fans were upset when the final episode of the series turned Daenerys into a villain who tries to burn down all of King's Landing until her reign is stopped by Jon stabbing her to death.

Following the huge fan outcry that greeted Daenerys' heel-turn, the creators of the show defended the ending by revealing that is the end for the character that is being planned by George R. R. Martin, the novelist whose books formed the basis for the show.


Fans were left unsatisfied by the explanation, and there were demands to have the eighth season of Game of Thrones redone to do justice to the characters, particularly Daenerys. For her part, Clarke's comments at the time of the finale acknowledged that the end for her character could have been handled better.

"Yeah, I felt for [Daenerys]. I really felt for her. And yeah, was I annoyed that Jon Snow didn't have to deal with something? He got away with murder - literally. I knew how I felt [about the ending] when I first read it, and I tried, at every turn, not to consider too much what other people might say. But I did always consider what the fans might think - because we did it for them, and they were the ones who made us successful, so it's just polite, isn't it?"

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