Warning: This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke says she stands by Daenerys in light of the character's evil turn and tragic fate in the show's series finale. As one of the main leads of the HBO juggernaut project, fans had been rooting for her since season one. Through the years, she remained focused on her goal - to take back the Iron Throne from the people who stole it from her family causing her to be exiled. The series did a great job selling Dany to the fans, no wonder she'd become one of the favorites. But things drastically changed in the last three episodes of Game of Thrones' final season, as she's revealed to be the ultimate villain of the narrative after she fully transformed into the Mad Queen.
Picking up after last week's tragic burning of King's Landing and almost everyone that stood in Dany and Drogon's way, the final 80 minutes of Game of Thrones saw her winning the battle. But her success didn't last very long with Jon Snow (Kit Harington) heartbreakingly killing her in front of the Iron Throne knowing that she is not the ruler that Westeros deserves. Clarke admits that she was conflicted when she first learned of what lies ahead for her character, but at the end of the day, she stands by her.
Speaking with EW on the set of the show almost two years ago, Clarke, who was still in the middle of working in the Game of Thrones final season got candid about her feelings regarding Dany's final fate. She shared that after reading the script, she got so emotional, she had to walk for five hours to calm herself down. After that, she sought her mom and brother about the possibility of them viewing her character as a villain. Despite all that, she confesses that this was the only way her story was supposed to go.
“You’re about to ask if me - as Emilia - disagreed with her at any point. It was a f—king struggle reading the scripts. What I was taught at drama school - and if you print this there will be drama school teachers going ‘that’s bulls—t,’ but here we go: I was told that your character is right. Your character makes a choice and you need to be right with that. An actor should never be afraid to look ugly. We have uglier sides to ourselves. And after 10 years of working on this show, it’s logical. 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.”
“I thought she was going to die. I feel very taken care of as a character in that sense. It’s a very beautiful and touching ending. Hopefully, what you’ll see in that last moment as she’s dying is: There’s the vulnerability - there’s the little girl you met in season 1. See? She’s right there. And now, she’s not there anymore…”
“But having said all of the things I’ve just said… I stand by Daenerys. I stand by her! I can’t not.”
It's no secret that the final season of Game of Thrones has fans split in the middle. Some understands the creative choices that creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss made throughout the six episodes. However, there's also a significant chunk of the fandom that does not like how the narrative shaped up leading to its end as evidenced by the online petition that campaigning for season 8 to be rewritten now already garnering more than 1 million signs. Dany's turn last week is particularly controversial since it supposedly betrays everything that she stood for this whole time.
All that being said, one cannot argue that the show was not building up to this. The last seven seasons of Game of Thrones are peppered with clues that her journey will lead up to her following his father's suit and becoming the Mad Queen. The problem was that, it's rushed in execution. After she practically lost her mind, it's not long since then that she's killed off. Regardless of how the show handled Dany's story leading to her demise, there's no question that Clarke played her brilliantly. During her confrontation with Jon in front of the Iron Throne, she looked every bit of the noble-intentioned character that fans loved her for. Sadly, considering her mass murder, there was no way to redeem her given the series' remaining time.