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Emilia Clarke cried when she first learned of Daenerys' fate on 'Game of Thrones'

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in the season

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in the season finale of HBO's "Game of Thrones." Credit: HBO

This article contains spoilers about the "Game of Thrones" series finale.

Emilia Clarke says reading the script for the finale of HBO's epic fantasy "Game of Thrones" and learning the circumstances of her character Daenerys Targaryen's doom left her reeling emotionally.

"I cried," the British actress, 32, said in an interview conducted in March and published Sunday in Entertainment Weekly. "And I went for a walk. I walked out of the house and took my keys and phone and walked back with blisters on my feet. I didn't come back for five hours. I'm like, 'How am I going to do this?' "

"What, what, whatWHAT!?” Clarke says she recalls thinking. “Because it comes out of [expletive] nowhere. I’m flabbergasted. Absolutely never saw that coming.”

Two days later on a flight to Belfast for production, she coincidentally was seated next to Kit Harington, who played Daenerys' love and ultimately her assassin, Jon Snow. He had not yet read the finale script, he told her, preferring to experience it fresh at the upcoming table read, and would not discuss it with her. That frustrated her, but soon afterward she sat across from him at that read in order to "watch him compute all of this. … He was crying," Clarke said. "And then it was kind of great him not having read it."

Clarke on Sunday wrote on Instagram, "Finding the words to write this post has left me overwhelmed with how much I want to say but how small words feel in comparison to what this show and Dany have meant to me. The mother of dragons chapter has taken up the whole of my adult life. This woman has taken up the whole of my heart. … Game of Thrones has shaped me as a woman, as an actor and as a human being."

Addressing the series' "dear kind magical fans," she wrote that, "I owe you so much thanks, for your steady gaze at what we've made and what I've done with a character that was already in the hearts of many before I slipped on the platinum wig of dreams. Without you there is no us. And now our watch has ended."

HBO’s highly anticipated finale of "Game of Thrones" on Sunday was the most watched program in the premium cable network’s history, with 19.3 million viewers, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Citing Nielsen data, HBO said 13.6 million viewers watched the final TV chapter of the Stark family saga on television, surpassing the 13.4 million viewers who tuned in for the fourth season premiere of "The Sopranos" in the pre-streaming days of September 2002. Another 5.7 million viewers watched online through HBO Now and HBO Go.

The previous audience high for a "Game of Thrones" episode was 18.4 million on May 12. Viewing for the "Game of Thrones" finale was higher than the 18 million people who tuned in for the final episode of television’s most watched comedy, "The Big Bang Theory," which aired Thursday on CBS. But that number is expected to go up significantly when delayed viewing is added in.

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