Daenerys Targaryen Is Emilia Clarke's Feminist Inspiration

Photo: Courtesy HBO.
Emilia Clarke has spent many an interview dissecting and defending the depiction of women on Game of Thrones. Now that she's looking forward to the last season of the show, however, she gets to take a second to reflect on how playing Daenerys Targaryen has affected her own views. The verdict, as she recently told Glamour, is that playing the Mother of Dragons has given her feminism quite the boost.
"It's given me a real insight into what it feels like to be a woman who stands up to inequality and hate," Clarke told the magazine.
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Just to clarify, Clarke was a feminist before she played this character written by a man. She told Glamour that seeing her mother as the family's primary breadwinner formed her view of equality first.
"That's the lens through which I've been fortunate enough to view the world," she said. "It's only when you go to school that you're like, 'Oh, that's different, that's weird.' "
As GoT fans start speculating about seeing their Khaleesi take the Iron Throne, it's easy to forget that just over a year ago, the HBO series was thought of as an oppressor of women. The frequent rape and victimization of its female characters, not to mention all that gratuitous nudity, was all anyone wanted to talk about. But even then, Clarke was there to assure viewers that wasn't the whole story.
"There are women depicted as sexual tools, women who have zero rights, women who are queens but only to a man, and then there are women who are literally unstoppable and as powerful as you can possibly imagine," she told Entertainment Weekly in 2016. "So it pains me to hear people taking Thrones out of context with anti-feminist spin — because you can’t do that about this show. It shows the range that happens to women, and ultimately shows women are not only equal, but have a lot of strength."
That strength, it seems, has been carrying Clarke through the ups and downs of her 20s, too. "As a woman — no, as a young adult you spend your twenties figuring out who you are and what you want to do; it's a scary time," she told Glamour in another interview last year. "There are days when I feel like the less strong version of myself."
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But when she knew she would get to play Daenarys again, she'd regain a little of that power. "I know I'm gonna put the f--king wig on and go out there and let her refulfill me," she said.
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