THE stunning star of swords and sorcery smash Game of Thrones has revealed her secrets for coping with hitting the screen in the buff. Emilia Clarke, 24, was just out of drama school when she landed the role of a lifetime as the silverhaired princess Daenerys Targaryen in the award winning series.
But she quickly realised that her wardrobe assistant might have an easy shift - because her role demanded frequent nudity. The actress, from Berkshire, admits that, while she was apprehensive about stripping off, she also realised it was a necessary part of the role. Emilia, who was previously seen in TV soap Doctors and sci-fi adventure Triassic Attack, said: "It was daunting, really scary. This was the first major job I had to do but the nudity was integral to the character.
"Her journey sees her going from a girl into a woman, which is also a sexual awakening.
"As soon as you put yourself there, it's not about you, the actress, it's about the character, so that took the fear away. Hopefully, that's what you see on the screen and not just a naked actress." Despite her relative inexperience, Emilia's portrayal of the teenage royal who becomes a warrior queen has won her global acclaim. She has been listed as one of the most desirable women of 2012 and, along with the rest of the Game of Thrones cast including Sean Bean, Lena Headey and Mark Addy, was nominated in last month's prestigious Screen Actors' Guild Awards in Hollywood.
After the new series of the hit fantasy saga, Emilia has two bigscreen dramas on the way, Overdrive and rock movie Spike Island. Not bad for an actress who was a virtual unknown when Game of Thrones - set to be released on DVD as a taster for the launch in April of the keenly anticipated second TV season - first hit the screen. Emilia admits she had to plunge in at the deep end when she filmed the series about plotting, treacherous medieval - style dynasties.
She is one of the central figures in the epic fantasy a young princess forced to wed fearsome Dothraki warlord Kahl Drogo, who is played by Conan star Jason Momoa. It was quite a task for Emilia to get to grips with the complex plots of Game of Thrones, which is based on A Song of Ice and Fire, a series of novels by George RR Martin. She said: "I found it intimidating to start off with. It was very complex and an epic story with so many characters and different plots that just keep on growing and growing."
Emilia had the added weight of learning the Dothraki language, which was created for the series. She said: "It won an award for being the best new made - up language. It's amazing. I would rehearse the scene in English then do it in Dothraki." Although she grew up around horses, Emilia found it can still be tricky to film riding scenes. She said: "I fell off my horse when it got spooked. I just cried."
Since the Dothraki are people who worship horses, Emilia had to endure a sequence when her character goes through an ancient ritual of devouring a horse's heart. She says even though it was a sort of congealed jam substance that she ate, it was still a revolting experience that put her off her lunch. In the new season of Game of Thrones, Emilia has to cope with sharing the screen with a trio of fantastical creatures - the dragons that hatched at the conclusion of the first series. She has to imagine the dragons are on screen with her as hi-tech computerised wizardry is used to create them afterwards.
The series has been a hit all over the world and Emilia believes part of the reason for its success is the fantasy helps people to forget about hardships they have experienced in the economic recession. She said: "You are able to lose yourself in something that is so magical and fantastical, it helps you to remove yourself from whatever difficult situation you are in." Mark Addy, who plays King Robert and faces a sticky end in the first series, also reckons a strength of Game of Thrones is that, while they might be complicated, the plots are gripping.
He said: "It is set in a fantasy world but it is grounded in a form of reality that makes it believable." Game of Thrones Season One is released on DVD on March 5. Season Two is on Sky Atlantic from April 2. Sean Bean, who starred in Oscar winning Lord impressed of the Rings, is very Thrones. The actor, who plays with Game of the heroic and ill-fated Ned Stark in the series, said: "It's like making a feature film. There is so much detail in it. I don't know if we realised how epic it was. People used to frown on the idea of TV but now actors want to be part of these fantastic stories."
Praise R'hllor. I wonder if she's going to wear that dress.