Over the past five seasons of Game of Thrones, we’ve come to know Emilia Clarke by her ferocious ambition, her flame-breathing dragon babies, and her many colorful names: Daenerys Targaryen, Khaleesi of the Dothraki, Mother of Dragons. A portrait of unstoppable womanly power, Khaleesi can pivot from deep maternal sweetness to enemy-obliterating fieriness in seconds. “I love that so many women watch the show,” Clarke tells Glamour in her May cover interview. “If you look at Game of Thrones on face value—blood, tits, dragons, swearwords—you’re like, Oh, this must be for guys. But if you take that away, the story lines are fascinating depictions of the struggle for power. And women are in on that conversation!”
So what’s it like to encounter those many female—and male—fans? “This gorgeous girl once said to me, ‘Watching Khaleesi makes me feel like I can be a strong woman,” Clarke shares. “I remember being like, ‘That’s proper.’ That is a wonderful thing. Then there are times with certain dudes where I’m like, ‘You’ve seen my tits. OK, sure, you can have a selfie.’ Awkward!”
We all know that Game of Thrones certainly is not shy of showing nudity. But we had to ask: In a show that’s filled with women’s breasts, butts, even the occasional vagina, why did we never see Khaleesi’s husband Khal Drogo’s dong?
“Oh, I did,” Clarke shared. “I saw his member, but it was covered in a pink fluffy sock. Showing it would make people feel bad. It’s too fabulous. No, I don’t know why. But I’d like to bring your memory back to Mr. Michiel Huisman [Khaleesi’s love interest in seasons four and five] and I copulating for the first time, which began with me saying, ‘Take off your clothes,’ and then you got to see his perfect bottom.”
But what about another criticism that’s been pointed at the show. Khaleesi was raped in season one by her husband, but a lot of people came away from that arc with the unsettling impression that almost immediately after the rape she falls in love with and dedicates herself to her rapist.
“Well, Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s arranged marriage, and the customary rape that followed—ask George R.R. Martin why he did that, ’cause that’s on him,” Clarke answered. “But I thought the consensual sex she has thereafter was genius. She is physically saying, ‘You can’t rape me again. I’m going to be in control and show you something you’ve never seen before.’ At the heart of it, we’re telling a story; you need that part of the story to feel empathy for Daenerys. You see her attacked by her brother, raped by her husband, and then going, ‘F–k all of you, I’m gonna rule the world.’ That’s where we are now.”
Photos: Steven Pan