Surprised by Daenerys' ending in Game of Thrones? So is Emilia Clarke, who "absolutely never saw that coming"

Credit: HBO

Game of Thrones season 8 may be over, but we've only just started the discussion about what it all means, how it could affect the Game of Thrones prequel TV show, and whether all of the build up had even been worth it by the end. If you can't tell by now, this final season of the fantasy show hasn't been to everyone's taste, especially when comes to the character arcs of its two central stars, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. 

Spoilers for season 8 follow, but the long and short of it is that the Mother of Dragons dies at the hands of the Bastard of Winterfell, after burning King's Landing to smithereens and threatening to subdue or eliminate anyone else who stands in her way. It isn't the wheel that breaks by the Game of Thrones ending, it's Dany, and that naturally came at the consternation of many who had been rooting for the character since season 1. It turns out that Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys, also had trouble accepting the transition from hero to villain, revealing her thoughts afterwards about the finale in a new interview.

Talking to Entertainment Weekly, Clarke admits that her first response to learning about Dany's ending was “What, what, what, WHAT!? Because it comes out of f*cking nowhere. I’m flabbergasted. Absolutely never saw that coming. I cried, and I went for a walk. I walked out of the house and took my keys and phone and walked back with blisters on my feet. I didn’t come back for five hours. I’m like, ‘How am I going to do this?’” 

Clarke eventually came around to Daenerys' turn to the dark side, however, but not before meditating over how the character could ever resort to such drastic measures in the first place, explaining that "she genuinely starts with the best intentions and truly hopes there isn’t going to be something scuttling her greatest plans.” 

"It’s a very beautiful and touching ending", the actress continues. "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.”

Kit Harington, who plays Jon, also told EW that he knew the ending was "going to divide [fans]. But if you track her story all the way back, she does some terrible things. She crucifies people. She burns people alive. This has been building. So, we have to say to the audience: ‘You’re in denial about this woman as well. You knew something was wrong. You’re culpable, you cheered her on.’” 

Check out our Game of Thrones season 8 recap to catch up on every episode, or watch the video below to find out what happened in the finale. 

Alex Avard

I'm GamesRadar's Features Writer, which makes me responsible for gracing the internet with as many of my words as possible, including reviews, previews, interviews, and more. Lucky internet!