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‘Game of Thrones’ ended ‘the only way it could,’ says Emilia Clarke

Emilia Clarke as Danaerys Targaryen.
Emilia Clarke as Danaerys Targaryen.(Courtesy of HBO)

Warning: “Game of Thrones” spoilers follow!

Following the finale of “Game of Thrones” on Sunday night, actress Emilia Clarke, who played Daenerys Targaryen for eight seasons on the HBO show, shared a few thoughts about the 73rd and final episode of the fantasy epic.

In an interview with The New Yorker, Clarke reflected on her character’s arc and the end for Daenerys. Clarke first read the final script for the show more than 18 months before it aired.

“That was the worst thing ever,” she said. “I couldn’t tell anyone.”

Clarke, 32, who previously shared with The New Yorker a first-person piece about her battle with brain aneurysms, reflected in an interview published Sunday night on the strenuous filming that has dominated her early adult life (she was 23 when she was cast as Daenerys).

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So what did Clarke think of the ending, which included a tragic betrayal and her character’s death?

“It seemed like the only way it could end,” she said. “But it was a shocker to read.”

Daenerys’ much-discussed descent into rampant violence has been a point of contention for fans throughout the final season of “Game of Thrones.” And although Clarke admitted her character’s final scenes were “poetic and beautiful,” she did take issue with one part of Daenerys’ conclusion.

“I don’t enjoy fans calling me ‘the Mad Queen,’ ” she said. “I wanted to show her as we saw her in the beginning: young, naive, childlike, open, and full of love and hope. I wanted so much for that to be the last memory of her.”

The actress reported that the show’s writers and producers likened her character’s arc to that of T.E. Lawrence in “Lawrence of Arabia.” And although Lawrence survives that movie and Daenarys does not survive “Game of Thrones,” the pair had a mutual “disintegration” in common, Clarke said.

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Her worries about viewers’ last impressions of Daenerys extended to another celebrity known as a queen to fans: Beyoncé Knowles.

The two crossed paths at an Oscars afterparty in Los Angeles and Clarke, admittedly a few glasses of champagne deep, got excited when she spotted Beyoncé heading toward her at the bar.

“All I wanted to scream was ‘Please, please still like me even though my character turns into a mass-killing dictator! Please still think that I’m representing women in a really fabulous way,’ ” Clarke said of her interaction with Beyoncé.

Clarke did concede that before the series ended, she would have loved to have more scenes with Missandei and Cersei, characters who both perished before the finale. She said that she would have liked just a few more of “those beautifully written scenes that the boys have between characters.”

But, she added, in apparent appreciation of the show-runners, she’s “in no position to critique the geniuses that have written eight seasons’ worth of wonderful stuff.”

She concluded the interview with one plea for those who watched “Game of Thrones” all the way to its hotly debated conclusion.

“It absolutely breaks my heart that anyone would think anything bad of her,” Clarke said of her character. “But I’m sure they will, and I can’t control that.”


Peter Bailey-Wells can be reached at peter.bailey-wells@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @pbaileywells.