Were you frustrated by Daenerys Targaryen’s season 2 progress on Game of Thrones?

Emilia Clarke understands. Sitting in the lounge of a hotel in West Hollywood, her natural dark hair effectively hiding her TV alter ego as the dragon queen to passing guests, Clarke says her character had a “very frustrating season two.” The exiled heir to the Iron Throne spent the season in the wealthy city of Qarth, getting the runaround from its rich patrons, battling a warlock and even losing her precious trio of young dragons for a time (say it with me now, “Where are my dragons!?”).

Season 3 starts much the same way. Dany arrives at another Mediterranean-style city (called Astapor) and still seeks resources to invade Westeros. But expect her story to move very quickly. “She hits the ground running, lets put it that way,” Clarke says. “Season two was so much about trust and she learned she couldn’t trust many people. Season three is her trusting herself and not trusting other people. She has to prove to herself and others that she knows what she’s doing.”

Dany sets her sights on acquiring a slave army called the Unsullied. The fighting men are considered among the best in the world, though are also quite expensive. “She starts the season with nothing — just the dragons,” she says. “It’s a huge test this season to get the army. It’s what she always should have had, basically.” Her dragons, by and by, are firmly bigger and more vicious than last year, as the Thrones producers discussed in our previous post. Not that Dany is afraid of them. “Her material instincts outweighs any trepidation,” she says.

The 25-year-old Clarke has a unique position on the hit show since her character doesn’t interact with any of the show’s main cast members. She’s basically the star of her own separate program and this season her scenes were largely shot in an entirely different country (Morocco) from the rest of the show. “I get to be in The Dany Zone for ages,” she says. “I always get the lovely hot destination.”

Though her characters still longs for her ill-fated Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), she says fans can expect a “light smattering of romance” this season.

Clarke has also been expanding her sights beyond Thrones recently, starring in a new stage adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Broadway. “She’s probably the nicest human on the planet,” says Thrones executive producer David Benioff. “But when she goes full Daenerys Stormborn, you completely believe she’d burn people alive.”

Are you really spending your Saturday waiting for the latest Thrones box set giveaway and keeping an eye on Twitter? Because that’s what it will take to get one of these two sets, and anybody doing that sure deserves this. First two to hit me up on Twitter get them. Code word is (of course): “Dracarys!” Fulfilled! If you don’t win, I’m giving away the last two in Sunday night’s Thrones premiere recap. (One day away!).

17 DAYS OF THRONES

15. ‘Game of Thrones’ producers Q&A: Why season 3 is the most epic yet
14. Peter Dinklage on Tyrion’s season 3 survival
13. John Bradley defends fantasy fans
12. Lena Headey on Cersei’s season 3 fears
11. ‘Game of Thrones’ producers on casting Mance Rayder, Lady Olenna
10. Jack Gleeson on Joffrey’s season 3 romance
9. Maisie Williams talks Arya’s season 3 adventures
8. Richard Madden teases Robb Stark’s season 3
7. Sophie Turner on fans bashing Sansa
6. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau talks Jaime’s season 3 struggle
5. How ‘Game of Thrones’ conquered Kit Harington’s injury to keep Jon Snow fighting
4. ‘Game of Thrones’ producers on season 3 dragons: They’re not cute anymore
3. EW Cover: ‘Game of Thrones’ wildest season yet! Jon + Dany, an ice and fire pairing
2. Rose Leslie: You know nothing about Ygritte’s catchphrase
1: Gwendoline Christie on being ‘too pretty’ to play Brienne

ALSO:
– Buy EW’s Game of Thrones cover story issue
– EW’s exclusive ‘Thrones’ portraits

– ‘Game of Thrones’: 23 amazing season three photos
Latest S3 trailer

THRONES NEWS!: EW is rolling out 17 Game of Thrones stories with exclusive behind-the-scenes content, largely drawn for our Northern Ireland set visit last fall. EW’s Thrones countdown will feature a new Game of Thrones story (#EWThrones hashtag) with original (non-spoiler) interviews in the Inside TV blog leading up to the March 31 season three premiere. After that, we’ll have our popular recaps (catch up on the recaps for the first two seasons here) and interviews after each episode airs. Follow me on Twitter @james_hibberd for Game of Thrones news and bookmark our Thrones hub here.

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