Game of Thrones became known for many things over its eight seasons. Creative murders, bloody massacres, dangerous double-crosses, dragons burning everything to the ground and, of course, lots and lots of sex and nudity. Emilia Clarke, Mother of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen, helped add to GOT’s reputation as a show where one would be able to, shall we say, enjoy themselves by watching a lot of lovely people disrobe on a regular basis. During the first season of the show, there was no hint that Clarke had issues with doing nudity, but now she says that that was the case.
While appearing on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, Emilia Clarke was asked about doing so much nudity on Game of Thrones, especially in that first season back in 2011, and she was quite honest about what went through her head as she worked on the soon-to-be megahit show.
I’d come fresh from drama school and I approached it as a job; if it’s in the script then it’s clearly needed, this is what this is, and I’m going to make sense of it. Everything’s going to be cool… I’d been on a film set twice before then, and now I’m on a film set completely naked with all of these people, and I don’t know what I’m meant to do, and I don’t know what’s expected of me, and I don’t know what you want, and I don’t know what I want. Regardless of whether there had been nudity or not, I just spent that first season thinking, ‘I’m not worthy of requiring anything. I’m not worthy of needing anything at all.’
Awww. This makes me a bit sad, but it’s also totally understandable. Luckily, even though Emilia Clarke wasn’t 100% comfortable back then, she didn’t say that anyone involved with the production of Game of Thrones directly pressured her into doing any of her early nu*de scenes. This was more a case of Clarke being right out of school, not having any idea how things like this work and simply feeling like she was lucky just to have a job and not knowing that she could set conditions on the scenes she would do, or just decline to do them at all.
And, as you listen to what she had to say, in full, about that first season on Game of Thrones, it’s very clear that she wasn’t totally comfortable filming her nu*de scenes. Clarke also noted that after getting the job, receiving the first full scripts and noting all the nudity she thought, “Oh, there’s the catch,” meaning that, right up front, she felt like performing in those scenes was going to be the drawback to getting such an awesome gig.
During the interview, Emilia Clarke also spoke about how wonderful it was to work with Jason Momoa, who played her ill-fated on screen husband Khal Drogo during Season 1, especially when it came time for her nu*de scenes, because “he took care of me, too, in an environment where I didn’t know I needed to be taken care of,” and would do very kind things like make sure she got a robe to cover up in between filming. Here’s more of what she had to say:
It was definitely hard, which is why the scenes, when I got to do them with Jason, were wonderful because he was like, ‘No, sweetie, this isn’t OK.’
At least Emilia Clarke’s time on the first season of Game of Thrones did lead to a solid learning experience for her about what she needed when it came to filming nu*de scenes, and she did feel much more able to express her wishes as the show went on.
You can, of course, revisit the (mostly) masterpiece that was Game of Thrones and Emilia Clarke’s time as Dany (not that alternate ending, though) via HBO, HBO Go or HBO Now.