Just weeks after the “Game of Thrones” star revealed in a deeply personal New Yorker essay that she survived two brain aneurysm ruptures — one in 2011, right after she had finished filming the first season of the hit HBO fantasy series, and again in 2013, after filing Season 3 — Clarke admitted to CBS Sunday Morning over the weekend that a part of her brain died as a result.
“So, with the second one, there was a bit of my brain that actually died,” Clarke said. “If a part of your brain doesn’t get blood to it for a minute, it will just no longer work. It’s like you short-circuit. So, I had that.”
Clarke went on to explain that doctors didn’t know what part of her brain she lost, and speculated that it could be her concentration or peripheral vision.
“I always say it’s my taste in men … That’s the part of my brain [I lost], my decent taste in men,” Clarke quipped.
But, jokes aside, Clarke feared at the time that she may have lost something very important to her.
“For a very long time, I thought it was my ability to act … That was a deep paranoia,” Clarke said. “I was like, ‘What if something has short-circuited in my brain and I can’t act anymore?’ I mean, literally it’s been my reason for living for a very long time.”
The 32-year-old actress said that during this difficult period in her life, it was cathartic to play a strong female character like Daenerys Targaryen, whom she portrays on “Game of Thrones.”
“You go on set and you play a badass and you walk through fire, and that became the thing that just saved me from considering my own mortality.”
Clarke told CBS that she is now medically “in the clear” and has a very optimistic view of the future — despite having to say goodbye to “Game of Thrones,” which will premiere its final season this Sunday. Clarke likens leaving the show to “saying goodbye to my 20s!” but is excited for her next journey in life.
“I can’t wait for the next thing, the next decade. Literally can’t wait for it,” she said.