Emilia Clarke is just about the only person on Earth who is still willing to defend Daenerys Targaryen. In a post-finale interview with Entertainment Weekly, Clarke said that she "can't not" stand by the decisions of the short-lived Mad Queen.
Clarke had a justification for all of Dany's moves in the unhinged final season, and rationalized her actions during the sack of King's Landing and her immediate lust for further conquests.
"After 10 years of working on this show, it’s logical. Where else can she go?" she said. "I tried to think what the ending will be. It’s not like she’s suddenly going to go, ‘Okay, I’m gonna put a kettle on and put cookies in the oven and we’ll just sit down and have a lovely time and pop a few kids out.’ That was never going to happen. She’s a Targaryen.”
While Dany's quick turn from liberator to tyrant has been criticized by fans of the show, Clarke seemed to think that her moves all made sense when laid end to end, noting that Jon Snow's turn was the last straw.
"She’s too far down the line. She’s killed so many people already. I can’t turn this ship around. It’s too much," she said. "One by one, you see all these strings being cut. And there’s just this last thread she’s holding onto: There’s this boy. And she thinks, ‘He loves me, and I think that’s enough.'... it’s just that hope and wishing that finally there is someone who accepts her for everything she is and … he f—king doesn’t.”
Kit Harington, whose character Jon Snow ended the Mad Queen's reign, echoed Clarke's sentiments, claiming that those who criticize Dany's pivot from kind leader to merciless tyrant are simply "in denial."
"I think it’s going to divide," Harington said of the series finale. "But if you track her story all the way back, she does some terrible things. She crucifies people. She burns people alive. This has been building. So, we have to say to the audience: 'You’re in denial about this woman as well. You knew something was wrong. You’re culpable, you cheered her on.'"
Clarke said that when she read Dany's surprise death for the first time, she went a bit mad herself.
"I cried. 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," she said. "I didn’t come back for five hours. I’m like, ‘How am I going to do this?’”
Even though it ultimately got her killed, Clarke sticks up for Dany's actions, noting that she occasionally has trouble separating criticism of Dany from criticism of herself.
“I stand by Daenerys. I stand by her!" she said. "I can’t not.”