As Sunday night’s Game of Thrones finale nears, the show’s cast and crew are closing the book on an important chapter in their lives, and emotions are running high. Actress Emilia Clarke, who played Daenerys Targaryen, posted a sweet thank you to her fans on Instagram, explaining what the show and her character has meant to her over the years:
Clarke, who was 23 when she was cast in the role, writes that playing Daenerys has taken “the whole of my adult life” while the character took up “the whole of my heart.” Her time on the show was not without hardship: Clarke underwent brain surgery in 2011 and 2013 to treat aneurysms, recovering while keeping up a grueling schedule of shooting and promoting Game of Thrones, as she revealed in a New Yorker article this spring. Her heartfelt thank you to her fans as she moves on from this chapter of her life may not be welcomed by the deranged fans currently demanding HBO reshoot the entire season, but for the rest of us, it’s touching.
But that’s not the interesting thing about Clarke’s Instagram post. While the post’s initial photograph, a picture of the cast’s Winterfell contingent celebrating in costume, is charming and funny, it’s the second picture, seemingly taken at some sort of cast viewing party, that’s really interesting. Here it is:
There’s a lot of great stuff in this picture: Sophie Turner leaning forward in apparent disbelief, Iain Glen perched on the couch next to Clarke, Peter Dinklage’s goateed face popping up above the couch.* But one tableau is particularly delightful. Computer, enhance:
Yes, that’s actor Pilou “Euron Greyjoy “ Asbæk noodling around on an acoustic guitar at a party while Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei) looks unimpressed and Conleth Hill (Varys) is unimpressed. Given that Euron Greyjoy, the only character in Game of Thrones who’d be equally at home on Eastbound and Down, is exactly the guy who would pick up that acoustic guitar at the party, we can probably count this photo as Game of Thrones canon.
Here is Emelia Clarke’s full message to her fans:
Finding the words to write this post has left me overwhelmed with how much I want to say but how small words feel in comparison to what this show and Dany have meant to me.
The mother of dragons chapter has taken up the whole of my adult life. This woman has taken up the whole of my heart. I’ve sweated in the blaze of dragon fire, shed many tears at those who left our family early, and wrung my brain dry trying to do Khaleesi and the masterful words, actions (and names) I was given, justice.
Game of Thrones has shaped me as a woman, as an actor and as a human being. I just wish my darling dad was here now to see how far we’ve flown.
But to you, dear kind magical fans, I owe you so much thanks, for your steady gaze at what we’ve made and what I’ve done with a character that was already in the hearts of many before I slipped on the platinum wig of dreams. Without you there is no us.
And now our watch has ended.
@gameofthrones @hbo #love #motherofdragonsoverandout
Correction, May 21, 2019: This post originally misspelled Iain Glen’s first name.