Actress Emilia Clarke is best known for her role on HBO’s Game of Thrones as Daenerys Targaryen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Princess of Dragonstone, Breaker of Chains, Mhysa, and Mother of Dragons. Now the actress can add Emmy nominee to her titles. EW chatted with the London-born actress on the phone this morning about the big news.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations on the nomination! How did you find out this morning?
Emilia Clarke: It’s genuinely the weirdest thing. 6 a.m. rolls around, and my alarm in the hotel went off, and I definitely didn’t set it — definitely, definitely. So I went into a frenzy, throwing everything I could at all of the electrical appliances in the room trying to make whatever noise was going on stop. Then I saw my phone and I was like, Ah! Oh my goodness, hopefully the show got nominated because I had a sleepless night praying Dan and David would get nominated for writing. Because I just think they deserve it so much. So it took a couple of phone calls for me to actually hear from my publicist that I myself was also nominated. [Laughs] And then I cried. [Laughs] It’s all quite too much to handle.
How are you feeling now?
For me, the nomination is literally the end of the line. It’s amazing. I’m so, so, so happy. I owe absolutely everything to HBO. I’m just happy that the show itself got recognized. It’s just wonderful.
The show, this season especially, features dramatic changes for its characters. Talk about Daenerys’ arc and where she is by the end of season 3.
Throughout the series, she literally started as a mute, terrified princess with a sort of vague idea that she should be on the throne. Three seasons in, and she is the mother of three fast-growing dragons and the queen of an army of over 10,000. I think it shows the power of what women can do. [Laughs] And hopefully by the end of the series, she’ll be stuck atop the Iron Throne. I’m still holding out for that.
What scene this season was most challenging or fun to film? Daenerys has some pretty badass moments.
Episode four, the getting of the army, the taking of the Unsullied army, was just as much fun to film as it was to watch. It took two days to film, and we had so many extras there. To turn around and shout in Valyrian was quite an empowering experience. Even after take 22, I was like, Yup. Still cool. I’m still shouting.
Was learning Valyrian easier than learning Dothraki?
It genuinely was, and I don’t think that’s just my weird actor brain because Valyrian is my mother tongue, so obviously it’d roll off the tongue a little easier. [Laughs] But it genuinely was an easier language to learn.
How did the new additions to the Queensguard affect your experience while filming?
It was actually wonderful. Filming the first scene where Ser Barristan Selmy reveals himself was quite a wonderful experience because for Dany, she’s that much closer to getting where she wants to be. And, of course, it provides a different dynamic with Ser Jorah. But on set, the more the merrier. Come be a part of the Khaleesi clan! [Laughs] Nathalie who plays Missandei is just glorious and wonderful. And Daario, Grey Worm, everyone! It was really fun season for getting to have new people, flesh blood.
Which is always good because people keep dying.
[Laughs] Yeah, gotta keep them coming in.
What’s next for you?
Well, I’m off to Comic-Con tomorrow. And we’ve actually started filming season 4. I’m very, very close to going over back to Europe to start season four.
Is there anything that you can say about season 4 that you’re excited for?
Oh my goodness, the whole thing. Genuinely — and I’m crossing my heart — reading season three scripts, I didn’t think we could get better. I just read season four and my jaw is to the fall. I’m like, How have you guys outdone yourselves even more? It’s quite a phenomenal scene coming up.
Are you already thinking about what you might wear for the big night?
I’m very fortunate to have an incredible stylist and publicist, who take care of me, so I have no doubt that whatever we come up with will be very cool. Any opportunity to get into fashion and find a beautiful dress, I’m very definitely excited about that. It puts a different spin on what dress I would wear this year. [Laughs]
Are there any other nominations that you were excited to see this morning?
It was the writing nominations. The more scripts that I read in my acting, the more I’m reminded of the genius that is David and Dan. I just think they are phenomenal, and I think the writing that they do is incredible. I’m so, so, so proud of them. And I got nominated with them. I’m happier for them more than myself. [Laughs]
In a statement following the interview, Clarke added, “Yer chomoe anhaan. Jin ha Khalaan, shekh ma shieraki anni.” For those not fluent in Dothraki, it translates to: “You do honor to me. This is for the Khal — my sun and stars.”