I read this article out loud to my husband on our 17 hour drive home from Florida. Readup is a great addition to NPR, music, magazines and a book about useless information, which was quite good. Emilia Clarke is our favorite character on Game of Thrones, so we were riveted by her compelling account of her horrific brush with death, or worse, a vegetative state. What a nightmare for one so young and at the beginning of such a promising career. Life transforming. Very inspirational. And what a beauty! She has a face that is mesmerizing - captivating.
Having recently survived a stroke myself, I avidly read this actress’s story. I suffered no permanent damage and it was a relief to discover she healed beyond her expectations. She vividly captures the terror of such an expected brain failure. I had no pain, so her drive, courage and perseverance are all the more remarkable to me especially as she went through it all in the public eye. I’ve never seen one episode of Game of Thrones but that didn’t prevent my being riveted to her account.
Thank you so much for sharing. "Terror" is definitely the right word. I can't imagine what it must have been like to return to normal life again, if it's even possible.
Heart-lifting, tear-jerking, inspiring. What a powerhouse. I've only seen one or two episodes of the show, but I can see how she must have brought her personal demons and drive to this character. Also, the brain is an incredible, precious, unpredictable thing. Every breathe is a miracle. I'm never thankful enough about my health, but stories like this remind me to take a minute to reflect.
And now a tangent. (And I'll try to circle it back!) I recently listened to an excellent exploration of the role of the author in literature as told by Elif Batuman. On one side, French literary critic Roland Barthes in "The Death of an Author" argues that writing and creator are unrelated, or should be, and that we, as readers/viewers shouldn't consider the biography of the human behind the text because the text is all that matters. Foucault, in response, wrote "What is an author?" and asserts that it's actually the relationship between author, text, and reader that matters. And so it's impossible (and meaningless) to try ignore the author when thinking about a text. An obvious example that comes to mind is Oscar Wilde; The Picture of Dorian Gray is a totally different story when you know about the life of Wilde. Similarly, everything by Hemingway has enhanced meaning because Hemingway himself was larger than life.
In today's media/art landscape (good god, have I really become a person who uses that term?) that question is settled. Foucault wins. The small gap that used to exist between art and artist no longer exists. The life of the artist is the art itself. (Lady Gaga anyone?)
So, yeah, it's safe to assume that given the timing of this whole thing, publicity for the final season was more than a small consideration. Towards the end of this essay, Emilia's "Please believe me," at first, put me in knots. (Do we live in a world where lying and fakery is the default mode?!) But then I realized that Emilia is actually just pulling an epic Daenerys here. That line is bait. Of course the story is true. But it targets the same type of people who used Emilia's nudity as a way to shame her (and so ironic: for some reason they're allowed to tell her what to do with her body?) and gives them a little footing to try to undermine this story. In reality, Emilia isn't the one being used by the Hollywood bigwigs, it's the other way around. And these kind of rumors will just build her up even more. She's got everyone in checkmate. And good lord, even The New Yorker is a pawn in her game!? This is fucking legendary.
This also made me cry. I can't believe she was 24 the first time she had an aneurysm. I can't even imagine how terrifying this would be: "If I am truly being honest, every minute of every day I thought I was going to die."
I wonder what causes aneurysms and if her stressful life as an actress contributed. If so, I wonder if she still thinks it was all worth it to have achieved her childhood dream.