Emilia Clarke Reveals She Is 'Missing' Parts Of Her Brain After Suffering Two Aneurysms

A stroke and two aneurysm surgeries left Emilia Clarke with missing parts of her brain


As a result of two aneurysms she suffered while filming "Game of Thrones" between 2011 and 2013, Emilia Clarke revealed she is missing parts of her brain. 

A year ago, Clarke wrote an essay for the New York Times in which she opened up about her traumatic experiences and how the aneurysms affected her brain. On "BBC One's Sunday Morning," Clarke discussed the impact both aneurysms had on her brain. 

Despite how much of her brain is missing or just considered unusable, Clarke shared that she is amazed she is still able to lead a normal life. 


Considering how much of her brain was damaged and is essentially missing, Emilia Clarke is surprised she can still speak and function as normal.

A stroke is basically when the brain does not receive blood for a moment, it dies. "I'm in the really, really, really small minority of people who can survive that... There's a lot missing." Clarke explained. "Because strokes, basically, as soon as the brain does not receive blood for a second, it dies." In that case, the blood will find a different route to reach the brain, but whatever bit of blood is missing will be lost."

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A ruptured aneurysm in Clarke's brain in 2011 caused a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which led to her first stroke. She was rushed into brain surgery thanks to those around her acting fast.

Clarke wrote in her 2019 essay that she woke up in the ICU after her first brain surgery unable to remember who she was and unable to communicate. As a result of the trauma to her brain, she suffered from aphasia.

"My job - my entire dream of what my life would be - centered on language, on communication. Without that I would have been lost." she wrote as she asked the doctors to let her die because she couldn't carry on without communicating and working her dream job as an actress.


After her first brain surgery, Clarke was diagnosed with aphasia, which she feared would prevent her from acting again. It was a great relief to see her bounce back and return to "Game of Thrones" as Daenerys Targaryen. (HBO)

She returned to work on "Game of Thrones" after a week after regaining her aphasia. Two years later, she underwent a second surgery to remove a second aneurysm that had not yet ruptured but was approaching it. A stroke survivor who underwent two traumatic brain surgeries now runs a charity called SameYou that assists stroke survivors in regaining their lives in all areas. 

According to the charity's website, they help "transform the way brain injury survivors and their loved ones are supported through emotional, mental health, and cognitive recovery services," because the recovery process doesn't end once a person leaves the hospital.


Currently, Clarke is playing Nina in "The Seagull" at the Royal Court Theatre in London.

"The Seagull" by Anya Reiss, Clarke's reimagining of Anton Chekhov's play, stars Clarke as Nina, a young woman trying to escape her circumstances by seeking fame.