Daenerys Stormborn. Mother of Dragons. Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea. Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men. Protector of the Realm. Queen of Meereen. Princess of Dragonstone. Breaker of Chains. The Unburnt . . . We're sure no one (including Jon Snow) needs reminding that she's one of the most badass female characters on television. And regardless of where you sit on the Dany respect scale, one thing's certain: Emilia Clarke is just as much, if not more of, a badass for bringing her to life so well.
While the 30-year-old actress was vastly different to what HBO executives were envisioning for her Game of Thrones counterpart — she's mentioned they wanted someone "tall, blonde and willowy" — it was her level-headed, realness and humour that won her the role. And as the show has progressed, Clarke's become somewhat of a flag-bearer for feminism, in a take-no-sh*t kind of way, just like Daenerys. Below, her best quotes that will make anyone bend the knee.
- "Women have been great rulers. And then for that to be a character that I'm known to play? That's so f*cking lucky. Anyone who seems to think that it's not needed need only look at the political environment we're all living in to be like, 'Oh, no, it's needed. It is needed.'"
- "Yes, I've got mascara on, and I also have a high IQ, so those two things can be one and the same."
- "If I had kids and they asked, 'Do you want [me] to be an actor?' I would say, if there's anything else that you can imagine doing, do that — 'cause there's so much heartache and failure and sh*ttiness that doesn't get on the front of the magazine."
- "In terms of feminist issues, my mum never told me, like, 'It's gonna be tough. You've got boobs.' But I saw that there was no difference between my mum and my dad in terms of what they were capable of because of their genders."
- "I think the reason why strong women have such a powerful impact is that you've got the strength of a man with the heart and sensitivity of a woman."
- "My father always said, 'Never trust anyone whose TV is bigger than their bookshelf' — so I make sure I read."
- "I know that relying on just being an actress is never going to be fulfilling enough for me. When I think about running a company, I have that kind of calm and certainty that I go to when I play Daenerys. But it's not like I'm going to be burning down slave masters or anything."
- "I believe that one woman's success, is every woman's gain. I believe that it is every woman's choice to be able to live her life how she sees fit . . . that all of us are girl-bosses and the power of the girl-boss is that we care a bit more about those around us."
- "[Playing Daenerys has] given me a real insight into what it feels like to be a woman who stands up to inequality and hate. And as [Daenerys] has become more empowered as a woman, you can't hide any more. You are adding to the voices that are going to make people realise an equal society is what we're aiming for."