There’s no denying that medieval series Game of Thrones has captured the hearts of fantasy-loving Dubaians. In the run-up to the launch of season two earlier this month, Facebook was abuzz with local status updates eagerly anticipating its arrival.
Now the game is on, we caught up with one of the show’s more popular characters. Having lost her imposing warrior Drogo and given life to three dragons in season one, 25-year-old English actress Emilia Clarke reveals what the dice might hold next.
Set the scene for your character, Daenerys Targaryen, in season two.
When we last saw Dany she was in this borderline spiritual place. Season two sees her crashing back down to a very practical earth and trying to deal with the realities she’s been given. She’s dealing with the fact that she’s a woman in a man’s world – that’s quite shocking when you think about all the things she has to deal with, because there’s no Drogo now, there’s no man to hide behind. I think she’s feeling a huge amount of pressure – heavy is the head that wears the crown.
You must be the only actress in the world whose co-stars include three dragons…
For the camera rehearsals we worked with life-size models. I got really weirdly maternal over them – really protective. And then when we were actually filming they weren’t there at all! That was good in a way, because it tested my imagination.
Maternal over dragons?
Hugely. I mean I’ve had a season to build up to it. Dany has this weird pull towards them and then in the final scene, when the dragons appear, it was just like I’d given birth. So they’re very much like my children. It’s all that Dany’s got, there’s no one else she can truly, 100 percent, rely on and trust. They are kind of an extension of her.
Introduce us to the dragons…
They’re Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal. Rhaegal is named after my eldest brother Rhaegar, who died at sea before I was born, and also who I named my unborn child after. Viserion is after my brother Viserys and Drogon is after my husband, Drogo. Drogon is the black one and the biggest, baddest one. If I need to bring out the big guns, I bring him out. Viserion is green, a little bit sneakier and craftier. And then Rhaegal is the one I see as the baby: he’s the golden boy.
How has being part of a huge hit like Game of Thrones changed your life?
Absolutely everything in my life has completely transformed. All I’m trying to do is stay true to myself and realise that any hype is all froth and bubble at the end of the day. I never look at the internet – I can barely even look at myself on screen – so I keep a big distance from it.
Have you read the books to find out what happens to your character later?
I do read the books, but I only read up to where I can manage with what we’re about to start filming, so I can’t get too ahead of myself. I’m up to number four.
Where do you film your scenes?
All of my scenes were filmed in Dubrovnik, apart from the CGI stuff in Belfast. Croatia is staggeringly beautiful, absolutely wonderful. I had a great, great time – although I could have done with a few more days off to enjoy it.
You spent a lot of season one daubed in mud. Do you get to wash this time?
Yes, that’s the nice thing about season two: I’m clean for a lot of it. Although the mud is good for the complexion.
You’re a brunette in real life. How do you transform your hair to that platinum-blonde shade?
It’s actually a wig. It takes two and a half hours each morning to conceal my real hair. It gets braided, kind of like cornrows.
Finally, if this is a game, who’s going to win?
I don’t know. I was thinking about this last night: it’s almost like you watch a character, you see them play their cards and it’s about who, strategically, has the best hand. I think that’s another reason why people love Game of Thrones – it sets your mind racing and you can relate to it in so many ways.
Game of Thrones airs every Monday at 10pm on OSN First.