Emilia Clarke says she was blindsided by the major plot twist involving her character Daenerys Targaryen in the season finale of Game of Thrones on Sunday.
The British actress shared her thoughts on the unexpected fate of her character in episode 6, the final episode of the wildly popular HBO series, which ended on Sunday.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Emilia admitted she was "flabbergasted" upon discovering Daenerys dies at the hands of her lover Jon Snow (played by Kit Harington). Her death meant that Jon's crippled brother Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) was declared King of the Six Kingdoms, with his sister Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) becoming the Queen in the North.
"What, what, what, WHAT!?" Emilia recalled her shocked reaction when she read the script for the first time. "Because it comes out of f**king nowhere. I'm flabbergasted. Absolutely never saw that coming."
In the show's emotional finale, Dany was murdered by Jon after her dragon burned down the city of Westeros killing innocent men, women and children.
"It was a f**king struggle reading the scripts," Emilia admitted during the interview. "What I was taught at drama school - and if you print this there will be drama school teachers going 'that's bulls**t,' but here we go: I was told that your character is right."
"Your character makes a choice and you need to be right with that. An actor should never be afraid to look ugly," the 32-year-old said of the murderous direction Daenerys took. "We have uglier sides to ourselves. And after 10 years of working on this show, it's logical. Where else can she go?"
But Emilia said she wasn't completely surprised or disappointed with the way her character was killed off.
"I thought she was going to die," she added. "I feel very taken care of as a character in that sense. It's a very beautiful and touching ending. 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 one. 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."
Actor Kit Harington, who finished off Daenerys, shared his reaction to her shocking death in the series finale.
Harington, who starred in all eight seasons, predicted her demise would divide fans but he insisted she deserved a fate worse than death. The evidence of her cruelty was always there, he said.
"She crucifies people. She burns people alive. This has been building," the British star told Entertainment Weekly. "But if you track her story all the way back, she does some terrible things. 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.'"
Game of Thrones has been accused of sexism when it comes to its portrayal of its female characters and Harington admitted the decision to murder Daenerys just as she realizes her ambition of taking the Iron Throne will fuel the sexist accusations.
But Harington said why shouldn't they die just because they're women?
"One of my worries with this is we have Cersei (Lannister) and Dany, two leading women, who fall," he continued. "The justification is: Just because they're women, why should they be the goodies? They're the most interesting characters in the show.
"You can't just say the strong women are going to end up the good people. Dany is not a good person. It's going to open up discussion but there's nothing done in this show that isn't truthful to the characters. And when have you ever seen a woman play a dictator?"
Photos by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic | HBO