This story includes spoilers for 'Game of Thrones' Season 8.
For Game of Thrones fans all over the world, last night's finale was an emotional experience. The HBO epic saga is now finished and, no matter what you thought of the last episode, you've now had to say goodbye to the series. The global reaction to Daenerys Targaryen, both her character shift in Season 8 and her death in the finale, has been heated, and not in a good way.
While an actor is obviously not their character, it's hard to separate Emilia Clarke from the Mother of Dragons, the character she portrayed so compellingly in the epic series. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Clarke shared that she experienced a sameness with Daenerys. “You go on set and play a badass and you walk through fire and that became the thing that saved me from considering my own mortality,” she said, explaining she drew strength from Daenerys and infused the character with her own.
But when separating the actor from the character, what did Clarke herself think of Daenerys? What did she have to say about Season 8 portraying her as the Mad Queen? She weighed in: "Where else can she go? I tried to think what the ending will be. It’s not like she’s suddenly going to go, ‘Okay, I’m gonna put a kettle on and put cookies in the oven and we’ll just sit down and have a lovely time and pop a few kids out.’ That was never going to happen. She’s a Targaryen.”
Clarke speaks to what every viewer intuitively knew: Daenerys Targaryen was never going to face a boring ending, even if she lived. And as for her character's violent choices, especially in the episode "The Bells," the actress concluded, "But having said all of the things I’ve just said… I stand by Daenerys. I stand by her! I can’t not."
While Season 8 may have seemed too rushed for viewers to fully understand Dany's demise, in hindsight we can see how her lifelong pursuit of the throne proved to be too much, and Clarke's allegiance with her character shows that she as an actor understands the toll it would have taken on Dany. So Clarke solidifies her ending with the series by supporting Daenerys and standing behind the character she brought to life for fans everywhere.