Emmy episode analysis: Emilia Clarke dances with a dragon on ‘Game of Thrones’

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After taking a year off, Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones“) returns to the Best Drama Supporting Actress race — this time on the back of a dragon. As Daenerys Targaryen, Clarke ends Season 5 with a new beginning as she takes flight in the penultimate episode “The Dance of Dragons.” Among Clarke’s competition is her cast mate Lena Headey who also nabs her second nomination for the series, presenting voters for the first time with two “GoT” actors together in one category.

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Finally answering to the pressure of the people of Meereen, Daenerys opens the fighting pits where the entire city congregates in the coliseum-esque stadium of Daznak’s Pit. When the Sons of the Harpy start a riot everyone’s life becomes threatened, most of all Dany’s, until the previous AWOL dragon Drogon rises above the stadium in a storm of fire and smoke to save the Queen and her escort.

In a triumphant display of courage, keeping Drogon from killing everyone, Dany mounts her dragon and rides off through the skies. Will Clarke’s buzzed-about scenes help her win her first Emmy? Let’s weigh the pros and cons:

Since reaching Meereen, most of Clarke’s scenes in the series have been talk-heavy, but here she’s provided the opportunity to showcase her non-verbal acting skills and stunts/action work.

The episode overall is an exciting one, focused on this action-heavy climax that sees Clarke take Dany on yet another leg of her inevitable journey to Westeros. She anchors the episode in a commanding way.

This is her second nomination for this role, and “Game of Thrones” already has loads of support following their eight wins at Saturday’s Creative Arts Emmy ceremony.

Support may be divided between Clarke and Headey, who is also on her second nomination for the series and for a much more shocking and impactful scene.

As a relative newcomer to the television landscape, Clarke doesn’t come with the “overdue” narrative that can sometimes propel an actor to a win.

Fans of the show and books may understand that the character of Daenerys has much more to do in the series, leaving some voters to think there’s no immediacy to awarding Clarke right now.

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Photo Credit: HBO/Courtesy Everett Collectio/REX

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