In this summer’s Spike Island, five lads from Manchester take on the journey of their lives as they try and make their way to Spike Island to see the Stone Roses play one of the greatest concerts in the history of England, one that would define a generation. First, though, they have to deal with a few minor issues, like getting tickets, getting a ride, and fighting for the attention of one girl. That girl, the one that’s worth risking the greatest concert of their lives for, is Sally, or as we know her in the real world, Emilia Clarke. Over and over, Clarke seems to be proving that she’s worth more than a concert.
Back in 2010 there was a little known HBO project that was just gearing up. For one of the leading roles, the casting directors had cast Tamzin Merchant, which was great, until it wasn’t. Merchant was replaced for unknown reasons by, you guessed it, Emilia Clarke. That TV show was Game of Thrones. Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen, The Mother of Dragons, which is a pretty big deal. If you’re not sure, ask the internet. As Daenerys, Clarke travels across the lands of Essos, first as the blushing young bride of the powerful horse-lord Kahl Drogo, and later a Khaleesi in her own right. If you have watched the show, then you know, not only what these word mean, but also that Clarke is one of the most important people in the world, sought after in all corners of the globe. If you haven’t watched the show, at one point Clarke walks unprotected into a bonfire, only to walk back out completely unscathed with three baby dragons.
Clarke may be the most desired woman in a fictional world, but that’s not where she stops. Recently, she took a turn as Holly Golightly in a stage adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, becoming one of the most desired women in New York. Holly Golightly is, as Truman Capote put it, “an American geisha.” She doesn’t have to work; she doesn’t have to do anything at home. Man after man after man takes her out on the town to fancy restaurants, incredible shows, and at the end of the night, they give her a gift. Whether anything else happens is entirely up to her. Not to mention, she lives in one of the most expensive and fashionable parts of town. Sure she is a queen in Game of Thrones, but here Clarke demonstrates a power unlike any other.
There are a lot of famous love stories, Tristan and Isolde, Pyramus and Thisbe, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, but one is more famous than them all: Romeo and Juliet. Yes, Clarke will have an entirely different kind of fire in her blood as she takes on the role of Juliet in the film Rosaline. If you really know your Shakespeare, or if you read the novel When You Were Mine, which the film is based on, you will know that Rosaline is the woman that Romeo loved before he met Juliet. The reason you might not remember her is because it takes about one scene and a few minutes of dancing for Romeo to completely forget about Rosaline and become infatuated with Juliet.
Obviously, Clarke is not actually any of these people; she is only pretending to be. That said, time and time again she is called on to play some of the most desired and sought after women in fiction. That can hardly be a coincidence. To understand why she is adored from Qarth to Verona (only one of those isn’t real), catch up with her in Manchester this summer and get to know her without all those dragons.
Spike Island is out in cinemas Friday, 21 June.