Cupro dress with embellished-PVC overlay, suede sandals, all, Calvin Klein. Gold, vermeil, and diamond earring, Lara Melchior. White gold, pink tourmaline, and aquamarine rings; aquamarine, diamond, and beryllium ring; rose gold, green tourmaline, and beryllium ring; all, Delfina Delettrez. Leather belt, What Goes Around Comes Around, $128. Heart safety pin, Ky & Co, $30. Tulle socks, Pan & The Dream.

In Game of Thrones‘s Daenerys Targaryen, Emilia Clarke has created one of the strongest, most enduring female characters in our pop-culture consciousness. So where does all that fire come from? Joseph Hooper explores this, as well as Clarke’s stance on motherhood, sex scenes, and life after GoT in ELLE’s exclusive interview in the August issue, on newsstands July 18.

Here, a sneak peek at our cover story:

Beaded fringe top, feather skirt, both, Prada. Gold earrings, pendant, bangle, all, Elizabeth Locke. Cuff, Paloma Picasso for Tiffany & Co. Cuff, Gurhan. Bangle, Ippolita. Ring, Lalaounis. Ring, Ariel Gordon. Ring, Anthony Lent. Ring, Mahnaz Collection. Ring, Pomellato. Ring, L.A. Cano. Belt, What Goes Around Comes Around. Heart safety pin, Ky & Co.

On her anxiety over shooting the final season of Game of Thrones: “Oh God, I get sleepless nights over it. ‘Oh, you’re gonna mess it up. It’s the last season, and it’s going to go wrong.’ My mates are like, ‘It’s you—you [and Daenerys] are one and the same now. You need to trust your instincts!’ And I’m like, ‘ No, I’ve got to do more research!’ The higher everyone places the mantle, the bigger the fall. That sounds really awful, but it’s true! I don’t want to disappoint anyone.”

Printed cotton-and-silk-blend dress, Dolce & Gabbana. Diamond and gold earrings, Van Cleef & Arpels. Studded-leather belt, What Goes Around Comes Around.

On shooting her commanding sex scene with Dario (Michiel Huisman) in the fourth season of GOTIt’s brilliant. I actually went up to [GOT cocreators David Benioff and Dan Weiss] and thanked them. I was like, ‘That’s a scene I’ve been waiting for!’ Because I get a lot of crap for having done nudes scenes and sex scenes. That, in itself, is so antifeminist. Women hating on other women is just the problem. That’s upsetting, so it’s kind of wonderful to have a scene where I was like, ‘There you go!’

Styled by David Vandewal.

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