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Emilia Clarke, who played the Mother of Dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen, on HBO’s recently ended fantasy smash Game of Thrones, had a role during the show (and the final season especially) that was so intimidating that any humor directed her way was kept squarely in the realm of Twitter memes.
But apparently, those creating the scripts for Season 8 didn’t shy away from peppering those pages with in-jokes and burns directed toward some of genre TV’s most famous characters.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Clarke explained that showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, along with the rest of the writing crew, had gotten so familiar with everyone that they’d write in a specific way for each actor... which sometimes led to hilarious results. Clarke said that “they very quickly started to write for each individual actor, and you start to see it in the stage directions. They're complete goofballs, so most of the stage directions are very funny...”
These directions — non-dialogue cues for the actors — were often tongue-in-cheek and always willing to drag a pretty boy like Kit Harington. When pressed for an example of the jokes residing inside scripts so secretive that some digitally erased themselves, Clarke brought one up written for the Jon Snow actor.
“It's a lot of in-jokes about like, ‘And then Jon Snow's hair glistens in the sun like we know it will,’ ” Clarke said. “So they started writing for us, and I think they knew that whatever kind of stoic, cold sensibilities they might be writing down, I was going to try to bring a bit more warmth and humanity to [Daenerys] where I possibly could.” That actorly decision may have gone against some of their plans for the character as the series reached its end, which may be why they pushed back on her softening moments.
“And every season I'd do something else on hiatus, and I'd come back and be like, ‘What's up, yeah, she's going to sit like this,’ ” Clarke said, slouching in her chair, “And every time, they're like, ‘That's really cute, but sit up straight and don't smile, you're not funny.’ ” If Jon was getting mocked — almost in the same voice as Ygritte, who departed the show seasons ago — it’s easy to imagine the ironic jabs levied upon Dany.
But for Clarke, the character was special until the very end. The actress, who survived multiple brain hemorrhages during her time with the show, credited Dany with saving her life. “It literally forced me awake again and to look someone in the eye because I had to,” she said during the same interview, referring to the debilitating fatigue the trauma inflicted. Even if the idea seems “corny as hell” to her, maintaining health and high spirits were obviously a component of Game of Thrones down to the very scripts — filling even the most brutal moments with jokes about Jon Snow’s hair.