Game of Thrones: the best behind-the-scenes photos, as taken by Emilia Clarke

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Kayleigh Dray
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Jon Snow with Daenerys Targaryen with a frozen waterfall behind them

Over the past eight seasons of Game of Thrones, the real-life Mother of Dragons has snapped some brilliant behind-the-scenes snaps with her GOT colleagues…

“I spent my life in foreign lands. So many men have tried to kill me, I don’t remember all their names. I have been sold like a broodmare. I’ve been chained and betrayed, raped and defiled. Do you know what kept me standing through all those years in exile? Faith. Not in any gods. Not in myths and legends. In myself. In Daenerys Targaryen. The world hadn’t seen a dragon in centuries until my children were born. The Dothraki hadn’t crossed the sea. Any sea. They did for me. I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms, and I will.”

As Daenerys Targaryen, Emilia Clarke is one of the most powerful women in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Over the past eight seasons, her character has been abused by many of the men in her life. She has lost loved ones, including her husband Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), her best friend Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), her loyal knight Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), and two of her beloved dragons. Her first baby was stillborn when a witch placed a curse upon her, rendering her (apparently) infertile. 

Her journey to power has seen her rise from the absolute bottom: she had nothing to begin with, no armies, no followers, no wealth, no dragons. Now, as we move into the show’s endgame, she has all of that and more, but her personality seems somewhat changed. Indeed, some have even suggested that she has been touched by the ‘Targaryen madness’ that has afflicted countless others in her family, yet her perceived confidence and ruthlessness are belayed by the vulnerability she shows away from her people. It remains to be seen as to whether or not she will prove herself to be the good-hearted queen that everyone hopes and believes her to be, or whether Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and co will be forced to assassinate her in a bid to save thousands of innocents.

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Away from the cameras, though, Emilia Clarke is very different to her character. Sure, they’re both independent women filled determined to excel, but Clarke is far more likely to burst into giggles than her Targaryen persona, and far more likely to make fun of herself, too. That much is clear from her many, many behind-the-scenes photos from the Game of Thrones set.

Here, we’ve trawled Instagram to bring you just some of our favourites…

What it took to film ‘The Bells’

Teasing the events of season eight’s ‘The Bells’, in which Daenerys Targaryen goes head to head with Cersei Lannister, Emilia Clarke joked that she downed a bottle of champagne in order to get through watching the series.

Sharing a throwback snap from her dressing room, in which she wore a wig cap as she posed alongside a bottle of Dom Perignon, Clarke wrote: “This is what it took not only to shoot ep5…but to watch it too! #@gameofthrones @hbo #soshockingitblewmywigoff”

For the throne? More like for the caffeine…

Following THAT awkward coffee cup in season eight’s Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke played off HBO’s statement claiming Danaerys Targaryen would drink tea over coffee (HBO said in a press release to Variety that “the latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea”).

“Did I just stumble upon the truth here?!” she captioned a shot of herself, Jason Momoa (who was visiting set), and Tyrion Lannister’s Peter Dinklage. “The cup bearer does not drinketh the Starbucks tea… oh and this ain’t a spoiler just a lost wanderer coming home for a mid filming cuppa…. @prideofgypsies you so fire you make my hair turn blue.”

Goodbye to Iain Glen

In ‘The Battle of Winterfell’, Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) fell protecting the love of his life from an undead foe, going on to die in her arms as she and Drogon sobbed over his body. 

And it proved a moving moment for Emilia Clarke, too, who shared a photo of herself and Glen in costume shortly after the episode aired.

“YOU’RE SIMPLY THE BEST, BETTER THAN ALL THE REST, BETTER THAN ANYONE, ANYONE I’VE EVER MET…” she captioned it. And, in a series of hashtags, she added: “#serjorahforlyfe #thronesthrowsapunchandahalf #heartbreakhotel #bestthingiveverseenonscreenEVER”

“Moon of my life”

Are Jason Momoa and Emilia Clarke dating in real life? Absolutely not: he’s happily married to Lisa Bonet, and Clark is loving life as a single lady.

“People keep asking me who I’m dating right now and the truth is…wait for [it]…no one,” she recently said. “And that’s OK. I’m figuring out a lot of stuff right now. I think as a woman it’s in our nature to nurture someone else. Sometimes at the expense of ourselves.”

That doesn’t mean, though, that the Daenerys actor isn’t best friends with the real-life Khal Drogo. Both his and her Instagram feeds are filled with cute snapshots of them having fun together, and the above one is no different.

“FYI, this is the closest you’ll ever get to me attempting ‘that lift’ from Dirty Dancing,” Clarke captioned the shot.

“Yes, my man is sitting. Yes, there’s no lake. And yes, I have no idea I’m NOT being raised above his head.[But] I’d like to take a moment to thank alcohol for giving me courage to attempt this. Ever.”

The real Drogon

Drogon may look like a magnificent scaly beast in HBO’s Game of Thrones, but in real life… well, things are a little different, as Emilia Clarke’s Instagram makes clear.

“Me and my baby dragon (Drogon),” she said, sharing a photo of herself sprawled out over the mechanical dragon.  “I’m just very excited for you all to see #season8gameofthrones which if I’m not mistaken begins….now.”

While Clarke looks pleased as punch to be sat on her steed, Kit Harington recently revealed that he had a little bit of trouble with the mechanical “buck” —and nearly damaged one of his testicles in the process.

“There was a bit where Jon almost falls off the dragon—swings round really violent like this—and my right ball got trapped, and I didn’t have time to say stop,” Harington said in Game Revealed, a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the dramatic first episode of the HBO series’ eighth and final season. “In my head, I thought, ‘This is how it ends—on this buck swinging me around by my testicles. Literally.”

Mucking about with Kit Harington

“Wait… did I NOT tell you guys?!” teased Emilia Clarke, sharing a photo of herself and Kit Harington shortly after Daenerys and Jon Snow’s first scenes together aired on HBO. 

“Um yeah. Now if he’d only bend the bloody knee there’ll be no problems…”

She later shared a video of Harington flapping his cape on a cliffside, doing his best to impersonate one of her character’s dragons.

“I mean, JEEZ, one pet of a dragon and he thinks he’s one of them,” Clarke joked of Harington’s excitement.

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Hanging with Rose Leslie

Are Emilia Clarke and Rose Leslie friends in real life? You bet your bottom dollar they are.

Earlier this year, Clarke share a photo of herself and the Ygritte actor in New York, captioning it: “Dear New York, I am about to leave this very special human bean in your fair city.

“Please take care of her for me as I’m coming back to get her… and the rest of that champagne we left to boot!”

Please keep off

Daenerys Targaryen has always been a rule-breaker, and Emilia Clarke is no different, sharing a photo of herself perched upon a piece of the Game of Thrones set with the prop’s “Please do not touch” sign in hand.

“Shall we begin TO MIC DROP THE SHIT OUTTA SEASON 7??!!!” she asked fans, using the snapshot to hype them up for a new series of the HBO show.

Somewhere between Dany and Emilia

The great thing about working on Game of Thrones (other than the fame and fortune) is the fact that it’s filmed in some seriously beautiful locations. Taking advantage of that fact, Emilia Clarke snapped a shot of herself standing in front of a sapphire-blue ocean, with a headscarf hastily thrown on to protect her wig.

“Somewhere between Emilia and Dany. Somewhere between Spain and Belfast,” she noted.

“Somewhere between daydream and work.”

The Mother of Dragons

“I do believe I qualify for Mother’s Day,” Emilia Clarke noted, referring to Dany’s role as surrogate mother to Game of Thrones’ trio of dragons.

“However, being without my babies takes me to the place where I feel closest to them. ‘Highly flammable ’ places…”

Hanging out with Arya and Sansa Stark

Arya and Sansa Stark may not be Daenerys targaryen’s biggest fans in HBO’s Game of Thrones, but Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner and Emilia Clarke get on like a house on (dragon)fire.

“Sisters from other misters,” Clarke lovingly captioned a shot of her co-stars.


HBO’s Game of Thrones has a bevy of gongs and accolades under its belt, including more than a few Emmy awards. Emilia Clarke, in costume as Daenerys Targaryen, once shared a photo of herself with one from the set… although something was decidedly off about the picture.

“I managed to get my iddy bitty hands onto one of our Emmys,” she wrote. “Phew.”

Spending Christmas with Alfie Allen

“He may Reek,” joked Emilia Clarke, referring to Alfie Allen’s Theon/Reek character in Game of Thrones, “but he sure takes a pretty picture.”

Explaining why she’d shared the snap in the first place, the Dany actor added: “Because Christmas is about finding your good side!”

He’s alive!

Kit Harington was thrust firmly into the spotlight in 2015, when Jon Snow was brutally killed off in the season five finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones. As fans of will know, though, Jon was brought back to life in the show’s sixth season… something which Emilia Clarke celebrated on Instagram at the time.

“WAIT WHAT???!!!!!” she captioned a photo of herself clasping a ‘Jon Snow is alive’ magazine cover. 

“The truth is out but the six pack is in…. phew, what a relief!”

A queenly throne

Emilia Clarke made sure to celebrate her 2016 Emmy nomination in style, with a photo of her gearing up to use the small toilet on the Game of Thrones set, lifting her Daenerys Targaryen gown and grimacing.

“NOMMY EMINATIONS! Oh no wait… I mean EMMY NOMINATIONS!!! Now THIS is what I call the definition of GIRL POWER!,” she wrote, paying tribute to co-stars Lena Headey and Maisie Williams in the same post.

“So honoured to be with my QWEENS! (And yes that’s me in costume standing by a teeny tiny porta potty in a field somewhere in Spain questioning if it could withstand allll.dis.dragon mamma).”

Queen of the North?

What do Conleth Hill, John Bradley, Joe Dempsie and Emilia Clarke all have in common? Other than the fact they’re all Game of Thrones actors, they’re all Oasis fans, too.

“The human embodiment of a wonderwall,” Clarke noted, sharing a snap of herself alongside them all. “Thank you #liamghallager for the reminder.”

Jon Snow knows how to rock out to Chemical Brothers

Nathalie Emmanuel, Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke once all went out together to rock out to the Chemical Brothers, much to the delight of GOT fans on Instagram.

“Couldn’t resist a mutual appreciation society photo,” shared Clarke. “EPIC NIGHT!”

The real-life Missandei, Grey Worm and Daenerys Targaryen

Nathalie Emmanuel, Jacob Anderson and Emilia Clarke have a lot of fun when they’re not filming Game of Thrones, as the above photo makes all too clear.

“Season 7??!!! Oh yeah. We be ready. Grrrr….. (’1,2,3 dragon teeth’),” reads Clarke’s caption.

The trouble with filming in a popular tourist spot…

“Please note: THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS. And show runners. And a brand new 30 year old. And Jon Snow’s mum,” joked Emilia Clarke.

Emilia Clarke and Gwendoline Christie 

Emilia Clarke and Gwendoline Christie, as Daenerys Targaryen and Brienne of Tarth, are two of Game of Thrones’ most badass female characters. It makes sense, then, that Clarke is a huge fan of Christie IRL, too.

“THIS ONE?!? Let’s all shut our eyes and take a minute [to celebrate] the most badass gal @geechrist in our show AND on the dance floor,” she wrote alongside a photo of the pair shimmying at the Emmys after-party. "@emmys2016 thank you for letting us reunite in a disco dazzle.”

Clarke later shared a second selfie of herself and Christie, which can be seen below.

“This is a good old tbt with one of the finest young ladies around,” wrote Clarke, noting that Christie is “the definition of partytime”. 

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Daenerys and Missandei, together again

Any Game of Thrones fan worth their salt will tell you that Dany and Missandei first met in Aztapor.

At the time, Missandei was still a slave – but, due to her superior language skills, she served as an interpreter to slave-trader Kraznys mo Nakloz of Astapor, and so was present for much of his conversations with Daenerys.

The pair struck up a friendship, and Dany eventually secured Missandei’s freedom by ordering the enslaved Unsullied to turn on the slave-traders of Astapor. During the uprising, Dany turned to Kraznys, smiled calmly, and uttered “dracarys” at him.

Upon hearing the instruction, her dragon Drogon breathed a ball of fire onto the slave-trader and reduced him to a pile of smoking ash. 

No wonder, then, that Nathalie Emmanuel’s character’s final word (before she had her head sliced off, at Cersei’s command, by The Mountain) was directed at her BFF: “Dracarys“. Aka "burn them all“.

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Away from the cameras, Emmanuel and Clarke’s relationship is far less bloody. In fact, the above snapshots of the duo having fun together away from the cameras absolutely sums things up. And we doubt that will change now that the HBO show is coming to an end, either.

“I’ve loved playing your BFF for the past 7 years,” Emmanuel informed Clarke via a recent Instagram post. “Thank you for being such a wonderful person in my life and a source of light and laughter. The Bad Ass Boss Lady Warrior Goddess club will live on forever.”

Does Emilia Clarke know Ryan Gosling?

Hmm, it seems not.


Multi-tasking to the max

Getting into costume as Daenerys Targaryen takes time, as Emilia Clarke’s Instagram makes very clear.

“Who’s more alarmed?” she captioned this shot from the costume department. “Me? Dany’s wig? Le pooch? Um… I think the water bottle takes it.”

Rainy days

The one problem with filming in Northern Ireland? It rains. A lot.

“Rain?!” wrote Emilia Clarke, used to filming Daenerys Targaryen’s scenes in the sunnier climes of Croatia and southern Spain. “One is not amused.”

Playing up to her character, she added: “Now, where are one’s waterproof dragons when one needs them?”


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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