Game of Thrones 5: Emilia Clarke, reluctant badass

EMILIA Clarke can measure how much bigger Game of Thrones - and her role in it - has become, with a couple of markers.

For one thing, her blond wigs have got steadily bigger and they've taken on a life of their own. Clarke refers to the transformative hairpieces in the third-person.

"She's progressed, the wig. We name her every season because she is slightly different ... she just gets bigger, the wig. She gets bigger every single season."

Then there's Daenerys Targaryen's dragon offspring. My how they've grown. Once upon a time, Clarke (28) had to interact with the CGI-created creatures represented by tennis balls hanging from sticks. These days they are larger items of hosiery.

"Yeah it's a big green sock," laughs the Mother of Socks, ah, Dragons, "with a really big pole at the end. With a man holding said pole. You have to invest a lot of imagination into that green sock.

It started off as a tennis ball. And now it's grown."

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in season five of Game of Thrones.
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in season five of Game of Thrones.

Clarke says the new season is a big one for the fire-breathers and their long-suffering single mum.

"They are huge this season. They are absolutely massive. It is a big dragon season for Daenerys. She is really getting her parenting skills tested."

Game of Thrones' fifth season isn't the English actress' only encounter with the imaginary in recent times. She's also playing Sarah Connor - a role depicted earlier on television by another GoT star, Lena Headey - in the robot reboot, Terminator Genisys.

Yes, imaginary dragons one day, killer androids from the future the next. It appears Clarke is putting her GoT-honed acting skills to good use.

"The dragons are a bit more temperamental than the robots," she laughs. "The robots are a bit more predictable."

She's amused by her casting as two combative, commanding characters. She's not much like that away from the set.

"I am definitely not as badass as the characters I decide to play ... there is only so much badass-ness you can bring to your day-to-day life. To be perfectly honest, the most badass thing you can do as a woman is to just accept who you are and be happy with it."

Her contender for the Iron Throne, Daenerys Targaryen, has become the character the show's defenders point to when GoT has faced accusations of misogyny.

In this season she's one of many strong-willed female characters holding their own in the man's world of Westeros and beyond.

But in season four, it seemed that the brakes were being put on Daenerys in her quest for the throne and - in between freeing cities of slaves - she was in a holding pattern as other plotlines got up to speed. Clarke is keen on to get on with it.

"Every time the script comes in it's 'how much ground am I covering? How quickly can I get to the Iron Throne?'

"But the thing that Daenerys is dealing with in this season, is she is realising more haste, less speed. She can't go there straight away because she inevitably is going to fail," Clarke says.

"She can have grand, innocent ideas of what it is to be a leader but unless she actually tackles the day-to-day problems with it, simply wanting to free all the slaves isn't enough.

"You have to be able to rule a kingdom that includes every social class and maintaining that peace is what is going to make her the best ruler to sit on the Iron Throne. She's got to figure that out outside Westeros first."

And no, her character isn't becoming tamer as she becomes more politically savvy.

"[With the Targaryens] you flip a coin... on whether you get madness or greatness. I think this season she is walking that tightrope closer than you have seen ever before. She's resolute in what she wants and I think she has the least selfish want of any character in the show. I think she really is destined for the greater good.

"I think it's that lack of selfish want that allows her to be continually clear-headed and clear-sighted and not too wrapped up in her own vanity."

For Clarke herself, having gone from complete unknown to being GoT's biggest break-out star has taken some adjustment. "Finally, in season five, I feel more relaxed and more aware of what it is that I am part of. It has taken me a couple of years to see it for what it is. But now I am really seeing it from where I am. It's a wonderful feeling."

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