As Game of Thrones comes to an end after eight seasons, fans must prepare themselves to say goodbye to Daenerys Targaryen. Actress Emilia Clarke rose to fame after playing the character back in 2011. Surprisingly, the role became her first major part in a television series. Since then, she has gone on to start in Terminator Genisys, Solo: A Star Wars Story and a theatrical production of Breakfast at Tiffany's.
However, before she rose to fame on GOT, her earlier career included many stage plays and very few TV roles. Here are nine roles that Emilia Clarke played before GOT.
9 Anita In West Side Story
Growing up, Clarke had always been fascinated by theatrical plays and actors. She would company her father, a theatrical sound designer, to his job and experience the thrill of the dramatic arts. After a failed attempt at auditions for a role with no experience or credentials at the age of 10, she learned she needed formal training in order to work in theater. She began formal training on her craft at St Edward's School in Oxford. Her first of two theatrical roles started with the 2004 production of West Side Story. She played the role of Anita in the production.
8 Viola In Twelfth Night
Since expressing an interest in acting at three years old after seeing a production of Show Boat, she worked tirelessly to hone her acting skills for her future success. Her time at the boarding school helped to introduce her to acting and enabled her to explore the craft. In her next venture into the acting work, she starred in her second play while attending St Edward’s. She was cast in the William Shakespeare classic, Twelfth Night.
She was cast in the role the lead role of Viola, who disguised herself as “Cesario” and became the crush of the Countess Olivia.
7 A Female Version Of Rosencrantz In Hamlet
After graduation from St Edward's School in 2005, attended the prestigious St Martins Drama Centre in London. Past graduates have included Paul Bettany, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Fassbender and Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie. She starred in Hamlet as a female version of the character Rosencrantz. Clarke shared her experience at trying to make the role of Rosie as funny as possible. She stated: "It failed miserably," she says with a laugh. "There just isn't space for that in Hamlet, apparently. That might've been one of the worst days. But every horrible day just made me want it even more."
6 Nine Additional Plays At The Drama Centre
During her three years at the school, she took part in ten plays total. Some of her past roles have included Anna in The Government Inspector and Raymonde in A Flea in Her Ear. In addition, she starred as Besse in Awake and Sing, Orsina in Emilia Galotti, Isabelle in The Changeling and even Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion. Faculty and students took notice of the talented young actress early on. Her former BA Acting Course Leader, Seb Harcombe, recalled that, “Emilia had this quality, as a student, which was very special and attractive – a kind of bright, spirited, devil-may-care gutsiness.”
5 Beate In Sense
In 2009, The Company of Angels Theatre partnered with the Drama Centre for a production of the play Sense. Written by Anja Hilling, the production featured the ten final year drama students from the Drama Centre. Luckily, Clarke was one of the students selected for the play, taking on the role of Beate. The play itself is divided into five smaller plays that focus on representations of the five senses: Eyes, Nose, Skin, Ears, and Tongue.
As a part of the final mini play, Clarke’s story involves the exploration of a new relationship along with the discovery of African cuisine.
4 Julie In Drop The Dog
During her time at the Drama Centre, Clarke expanded her acting experience to include her first ventures into film. Her first film role took place in a student film titled Drop the Dog. The three-minute short film covers the story of a woman, Julie, struggling in a relationship with a married man. The film followed the phone conversation of Clarke trying to reach her lover.
She demonstrated an array of emotions from regret to anger to desperation as she tried to contact him repeatedly. In the end, she never reached him and angrily declared that their relationship was officially over.
3 Lisa In Samaritans Commercials
After completing numerous plays during her studies at Central St. Martins Drama Centre in London, she graduated in 2009. That same year, Clarke finally made her debut in commercials. She starred in two commercials for Samaritans, a charitable organization based in the UK offering support services and awareness for those in need. Clarke starred in several commercials titled “Lisa’s Story” which focused on the abusive past of the title character and her struggles to recover from her experience. Although Clarke did not deliver any lines, she did give an emotionally charged performance portraying her pain as a victim of abuse.
2 Saskia Mayer In Doctors
Clarke’s first official television role came on the medical soap opera Doctors in 2009. The series, which debuted back in 2000, followed the lives of the medical professionals at the fictional Riverside Health Centre and The Best Practice. The show has been very popular in the UK and garnered over 200+ award nominations its debut, she starred in the series 11 episode “Empty Nest” which aired in August of that year. Clarke played Saskia Mayer, a university student that was being stalked on the campus. In the end, the stalker was revealed to be her own overprotective father, Paul Mayer.
1 Savannah Roundtree in Triassic Attack
The sci-fi television film Triassic Attack brought Clarke her first professional film role. The movie debuted on the SyFy tv channel on November 27, 2010. The film followed the fallout after three dinosaur skeletons are reincarnated to attack the town of Mill City. Her role in the movie garnered major attention for her and resulted in critical praise. She was named as one of the “UK Stars of Tomorrow” in Screen International Magazine in 2010.
Interestingly, a fellow nominee, actor Iwan Rheon, would go on to become one of her Game of Throne costars playing Ramsay Bolton on the series.