Mother of Dragons set to get a little crazy in new Game Of Thrones season

Without the immense blonde wig that defines her Game Of Thrones character Daenerys Targaryen, actress Emilia Clarke enjoys a certain amount of anonymity.

Such is the show's popularity, however, that her inconspicuousness is not quite complete.

"With the first few seasons, people's reactions to me were almost nothing at all," says the 28-year-old English actress when Life! meets her in London ahead of Season 5.

"People would be talking to me for 20 minutes and then go, 'Oh, my, are you...' Or people would be like, 'Are you my cousin's girlfriend who I met at that wedding?' That genuinely happened.

"But now, because there is more press and because I am doing different things, people do recognise me a little bit more. It still definitely takes people a minute or two though."

Her character is one of the most distinctive on the show, courtesy not only of her enormous hair, but also her enormous army of bemuscled eunuch warriors and her triumvirate of enormous monsters.

Daenerys, a would-be ruler of Westeros, is known as Mother of Dragons.

Followers of the show have seen her dragons hatch from eggs and grow into feisty, fire-breathing adolescents. In Season 5, they will come into their own as huge, flame-spewing creatures of destruction.

Clarke says of them: "It is bizarre, but I have always invested heavily in the dragon characters, even as eggs, imagining them with a lot of personality.

"They really are Daenerys' children and it is the strongest bond she has throughout the entire show. This is a big dragon season. And they are huge."

With her dragons and her loyal army - known as the Unsullied - behind her, Daenerys is a genuine contender to take the Iron Throne, especially as Season 5 will see House Lannister reeling in the aftermath of its head Tywin's death.

In the meantime, Daenerys will press her claim to the throne and, should she prove successful, Clarke believes her character will be a good ruler.

"I think she'll be a good ruler," she says. "There's a quote within the show with the Targaryens. You toss a coin, you either get crazy or you get good.

"Within the new season, you start to see a bit of both with Daenerys, which is the healthiest way to lead.

"You can't just be continually good. You need to play the game slightly and we see her shaking off that naivete at the beginning of this season.

"She is messing up a bit in the middle, but coming to a much more rounded conclusion, which is going to make her a much more effective leader overall."

For Clarke, it is a big year too. She has a clutch of upcoming films that span a number of genres, the biggest of which has to be Terminator: Genisys, where she plays the iconic character of Sarah Connor.

Interestingly, previous incarnations of the Sarah Connor character have included her Game Of Thrones co-star Lena Headey, who played the role in the TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which ran from 2008 to 2009.

Game Of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss were so delighted with Clarke's casting in the Terminator franchise that they joked about having Clarke and Headey go head-to-head in a scrap.

"I think I'd definitely lose that fight," Clarke says with a smile. "It was great playing Sarah and getting my hands dirty. She is definitely a lot less of a stoic character than Daenerys."

Her other projects include an Italian movie called Voice From The Stone, which is set in 1950s Tuscany and sees Clarke portraying a nurse aiding a boy through the trauma of his mother's sudden death; and Me Before You, which is based on the popular novel by Jojo Moyes ("My character in that is a complete plonker, like Bridget Jones. She messes up all the time and is kind of funny").

Still, with Terminator and Thrones being such prominent entries on her resume, one wonders whether Clarke grew up with any interest in fantasy and science fiction?

She says: "I read The Lord Of The Rings as a kid. My brother was into that sort of thing and I grew up admiring him so, yes, there's a connection.

"More than anything, I just love the idea of stories and of acting and this kind of entertainment being escapism for people. I think it's great."

Her brother must be delighted with his sister's career path then?

"Oh, for sure," she says. "He can now call himself Uncle of Dragons."

Will Lawrence

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