Warning: this article contains spoilers from Sunday’s Game of Thrones series finale, titled “The Iron Throne.”
The 32-year-old actress revealed in a new interview with Variety that she looked to history itself to prepare for Sunday’s series finale. Clarke tells the outlet that real-life dictators like Adolf Hitler were the inspiration behind Dany’s powerful last speech, given to her army on the steps of the Red Keep before she was killed by Jon Snow (Kit Harington).
“I’ve had a lot of Dothraki, Valyrian, fake languages to learn and I’ve had a lot of speeches to give, but I put so much pressure on myself with this one. It almost killed me,” she admits. “I normally pick up these things quite quickly, but this speech meant so much to me. I was so worried that I was going to f**k it up. I stayed up so late every night for like two months. I said it to my cooker, I said it to my fridge. I said it to all of Belfast out my window! Well, the window was closed because I didn’t want people to think I was actually barking mad.”
“In giving all these speeches in fake languages, I watched a lot of videos of — now it seems funny — dictators and powerful leaders speaking a different language to see if I could understand what they were saying without knowing the language,” she adds. “And you can! You absolutely can understand what Hitler’s f**king saying, these single-focus orators speaking a foreign language. So I thought, ‘If I can believe every single word I’m saying, the audience won’t need to be looking at the subtitles too much.'”
Clarke continues on, revealing that she was stressing about the speech for months, but absolutely nailed it when it was time for her to deliver it on camera.
“The morning of, I had gotten no sleep whatsoever because I’d been up all night tearfully thinking, ‘I can’t do this. I can’t get through it without messing up my lines,'” she confesses. “I knew that this was one of the most solidifying, integral moments for Daenerys as a character. I gave the speech just to a green screen. There was no one there, just a camera and green screen and an empty room.”
“I was convinced I was going to mess it up,” adds Clarke. “Then the weirdest thing happened — I walked on set, didn’t need a rehearsal, and I got through the whole thing perfect on the first go. The rest of the day, it was like Daenerys was just with me. That’s the only time I got through that speech without getting anything wrong, when it was on camera. If you had asked me to do it the next day, I’d already forgotten it.”
While speaking with ET in 2018, Clarke appeared to hint at Dany’s violent twist. The interview went viral after the show’s penultimate episode, which showed Daenerys and her last-standing dragon, Drogon, burning Kings Landing (and its people) to the ground.
Hear more in the video below.
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