Emilia Clarke Opens Up About The Lasting Effects Of Her Serious Health Scare

The world got a startling shock when "Game of Thrones" alum Emilia Clarke revealed, in a 2019 New Yorker essay, that she had suffered two life-threatening brain hemorrhages within one decade. After wrapping Season 1 of "GoT" in 2011, Clarke experienced her first injury in the form of a subarachnoid hemorrhage — "bleeding in the space between your brain and the surrounding membrane," per Mayo Clinic — caused by a bursting aneurysm. 

"As I later learned, about a third of SAH patients die immediately or soon thereafter," Clarke detailed in her essay. "For the patients who do survive, urgent treatment is required to seal off the aneurysm, as there is a very high risk of a second, often fatal bleed." After four days in the I.C.U., Clarke initially "couldn't recall [her] name." 

After finishing Season 3 of her hit HBO fantasy drama in 2013, Clarke underwent a routine brain scan — and found that a growth on the other side of her brain had doubled. With it requiring another immediate and invasive procedure, "they needed to access my brain in the old-fashioned way—through my skull," Clarke candidly shared, adding, "I emerged from the operation with a drain coming out of my head. Bits of my skull had been replaced by titanium." 

After a long and arduous process, Clarke recovered again — "beyond my most reasonable hopes," as she described in her essay. However, the actor recently shared some of the gnarlier souvenirs her procedures left her with. 

Parts of Emilia Clarke's brain are now unusable

In an appearance on BBC1's "Sunday Morning" show, Emilia Clarke revealed some shocking truths about her brain post-aneurysms. "The amount of my brain that is no longer usable... There's quite a bit missing which always makes me laugh," the "Game of Thrones" alum mused (via the Daily Mail). "You gain a lot of perspective," Clarke also admitted, considering herself lucky in the face of her potentially fatal condition. 

Suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage in 2011, Clarke was well under the 40 to 60-year-old age group of those most at risk, per Heathline. Complications after recovery can often include a lasting bleed (increasing one's chances of death), comas, seizures, and strokes. Fortunately, Clarke evaded the scarier aftereffects, sharing, "I can do a two and a half hour play every single night and not forget a line... your memory is obviously incredibly important [as an actor] and I consistently tested that." Additionally, Clarke shared that it helps to stop stressing over endless possibilities. "There's no point in kind of continually racking your brains as to what might not be there because what you have now is great," she noted.

Clarke is paying back her comparative good fortune with SameYou, a charity she founded in 2019 to find treatment for those recovering from brain injuries. As she described in her 2019 New Yorker essay, "countless people have suffered far worse, and with nothing like the care I was so lucky to receive."