Despite a rocky season full of extreme highs (“Hardhome”) and dramatic lows (the content of all of those thinkpieces), Game of Thrones swept up at the Emmys this year with an incredible 24 nominations. The LA Times caught up with The Mother of Dragons herself, Emilia Clarke, to get her thoughts on the awards nominations (including her own), as well as what’s in store for the next season, what Dany has learned in her time as a ruler, and what it’s liking acting next to a green puppet. You can read some of the choicest bits below:
Looking back on this last season and its success at the Emmys, Clarke said,
I think that we’ve really come into a quite satisfying place, just on a plot level. You’re starting to see characters overlapping again; you’re really getting into the meat of it. And I think that five seasons on people are really invested in these characters. So I think it’s the combination of that, and with that, every season of “Game of Thrones” has become a little bit bigger. The sets have become a little bit more elaborate. The green screen has become a little bit more frequent. Just simply the growth of it is impressive. That mixed with the best writing you’ll find, anywhere. I think it’s probably a winning combination.
She also talked about working with more and more green-screened scenes, and explained what it was like filming her riding Drogon out of the arena (a triumphant “finally!” moment in what was otherwise a disturbing episode):
It’s funny because the reality of filming that scene, as with any brilliant special physical effect scene, is the reality is incredibly unglamorous. It’s 2:30 and everyone is thinking about lunch. And we’ve got like a vacuum cleaner blowing wind in your face and a man going [makes noise] “eh-he eh-ie” to try and get the right kind of movement. And then people running around and screaming. Through all of that, me as the actor, it was still one of those incredibly fun TV moments to film. Because [it’s something] I’ve been hoping for, something that David and Dan and I have been talking about for so long. And because it was such a private moment. It’s not like I’m there freeing thousands of slaves and giving a speech in Valyrian. It’s like, “No, come on girl.” It’s such a beautiful, private moment, on such an epic scale. Really magical.
She also mentioned about working with a puppet on a pole (more or less) as a stand-in for Drogon:
Yeah, there’s moments where you think, “I’m going mad. I’m being filmed talking to myself (basically) or talking to a big green polystyrene at the end of a wooden pole. What the hell?” Those days when you’re like, “Ummm … just me.” We’ve got a day of it. Me and the crew get on really well because it’s just me guys. If it goes wrong, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be my fault. It’s either the green sock or me, it’s probably going to be me. Thank goodness [Drogon] speaks the common tongue, that’s all I’m saying. Because if I had to speak to him in Valyrian all the time, that would just be a bit too much.
Although speaking of Valerian and Dothraki, she noted that,
It’s weird. I don’t know whether it’s a psychological thing because I’m a weird actor. But I found it so much easier doing Valyrian than I did learning Dothraki, which is weird because Daenerys’ mother tongue is Valyrian. So I don’t know if that’s my psycho head or not. But yeah Dothraki is not my forte. Weirdest sentence ever.
Season 5, of course, left Dany back in the hands of the Dothraki, essentially taking her back to Season 1. But has she learned anything from her time as a ruler since then?
I think that she’s definitely on the upwards trajectory of truly learning from the mistakes that she’s made as a ruler. It’s not so much a matter of learning from the mistakes that have gone before her, but it’s a matter of her trusting herself and being confident in the decisions that she’s about to make. And being confident enough to stand next to those decisions and take full responsibility for them.
As for the humans she works with, she compliments fellow nominee Peter Dinklage as a stand-out, saying,
He’s just like the cool kid. Everyone wants to hang out with Peter. He is the popular kid at school. They’re like, “Oh, my God, Peter cracked a joke at me today.” And then you get to hear from the other departments how much fun it is to film with him, and then you do film with him and you’re like, “It’s true! It’s so much fun.” He’s so funny and charming and gorgeous and talented. Every now and again, you meet actors who just literally make days brighter, and Peter is exactly that person.
The Khaleesi also gave us a few vague hints about what to expect next season, where showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff will not have any book source material to go on, as they chart their own course:
It’s really exciting. Next season, I’ve said this before, but there’s a lot of season where you need to (rightly so) kind of need to set the scene. And you have a couple of episodes where you’re like, “OK, feeding information, I get it. We’re finding out about this person. And we know about that person. And oh, there’s that person.” But this season coming up, that we’re about to film, there’s none of that. It’s just go, go, go, go. Shocking moment to shocking moment. Epic moment to epic moment. It’s mental; it’s epic. And definitely Dany’s a part of it.