The final season of Game of Thrones just aired over the weekend, wrapping up HBO's long-running fantasy series with a bittersweet ending that saw some major deaths, new leaders, and one of the most controversial heel turns on television. But while some may argue Daenerys Targaryen's turn toward evil was rushed, the seeds had been planted for quite some time. Season 8 was just actress Emilia Clarke's time to let her inner demons out.
The actress recently spoke with Variety about the final episode and Daenerys' journey, revealing that she conducted some controversial research to prepare for her chilling victory speech in the finale.
Clarke spoke about the difficulty of filming in front of a green screen, of speaking in a fictional language and worrying about subtitles being distracting, and how she found inspiration from speeches from dictators — including Adolf Hitler.
"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," Clarke said. "And you can! You absolutely can understand what Hitler’s f—ing 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.'
It's a surprising admission, but not particularly uninspired given the context. Daenerys started with good intentions but eventually believed it was her birthright to not only rule Westeros but to also destroy oppression across the world by any means necessary.
Addressing the divisive finale and Game of Thrones' overall legacy, Clarke said she thought the last episode remained true to the show's central themes as it related to her character.0comments
"I think it is what it always has been, which is a discussion of power and what it does to a single human being, a group of human beings, and the people they are meant to be serving," Clarke explained. "I think that is as true on the first episode of the first season as it is on the final episode of the series. It’s like catching sunlight. How can you possibly understand what power is and how it universally affects individuals? And then there’s each individual’s attempts to grapple with it and use it for the good of a group of people, whatever that is."
She continued, "I think that is essentially a discussion on humans and how we can live together in a world that is ruled by the politics of individuals. That question is asked in the final episode and I don’t think it’s answered because it shouldn’t be answered. We can’t. There is no answer. We’re just trying to do it all the time. Where I think we got with the show is as good an answer as there could be."