Australian CEO Calls 'Game Of Thrones' Star Emilia Clarke 'Short, Dumpy Girl' At 'House Of The Dragon' Premiere
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It’s one of the more bizarre stories leading up to the debut of House Of The Dragon this Sunday on HBO. An Australian CEO of the Foxtel Group has made some comments about Emilia Clarke, who played Daenerys Targaryen in Game Of Thrones, that can only be described as wildly controversial.

The new Game Of Thrones prequel series is all about House Targaryen and the civil war and chaos that ensues when no clear line of succession emerges after Viserys I Targaryen’s reign. Rival factions clash in court and on the battlefield. (Read my House of the Dragon viewer guide here and watch the brand new trailer here).

The main characters in the new show are the ancestors of Daenerys Targaryen, one of the chief protagonists in Game Of Thrones. This part was Emilia Clarke’s breakout role, rocketing her to instant stardom and global renown.

At the Sydney premiere of House Of The Dragon, Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany introduced the prequel series in a speech beforehand in which he describes how he was late to the Game Of Thrones party.

“I was like, ‘What’s this show with the short, dumpy girl walking into the fire?’” he told a shocked audience, according to a report at Crikey.

The Australian news site reports that attendees met theses comments with more than a little iciness. “It felt like he was expecting us to laugh along but people in the room were obviously shocked by it,” one attendee told Crikey. “There was a bit of a gasp,” another attendee said.

A Foxtel Group spokesperson has since issued an apology for the comments, saying that they were not meant to give offense.

“The aim was to convey that for him, Games of Thrones was something very different for television in 2011 and that Emilia Clarke went from relatively unknown to one of the most recognised and most-loved actors in television and film,” they said.

“On behalf of Mr Delany, the Foxtel Group apologises if his remarks were misunderstood and caused any offence.”

Perhaps it’s just a cultural thing. Maybe in Australia, ‘dumpy’ has a totally different meaning than it does in the UK or the United States. The definition I’m familiar with means ‘short and stumpy’ and is almost always used unfavorably. Doubling down with ‘short’ only makes the description of Clarke that much worse. She is doubly short, and thus doubly stumpy, truly an odd sight in a TV show (twin to Tyrion, it would seem!)

But Emilia Clarke is not ‘dumpy’ even if she is short and it beggars belief that anyone would describe her as such. Clarke wowed audiences with both her acting chops and her dazzling good looks during her eight-season run on Game Of Thrones. And even when things took a decidedly darker turn for her character, she was still darkly beautiful.

What next, are Australian CEOs going to start coming out of the woodwork describing Cersei Lannister actress Lena Headey as ‘plain and homely’ and other such nonsense? What bizarro world do we live in anyways?

Clarke isn’t in the new House of the Dragon series, though her shadow will nevertheless loom large over the prequel given that the cast of characters is of the same bloodline and many sport the same silver-white Targaryen hair.

House Of The Dragon lands on HBO this Sunday at 9pm ET. Look for my reviews after each episode here on this blog.

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