The sixth and final episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones airs tonight, which means that one of the most popular television shows in a generation is about to come to an end. Many are doing everything they can to avoid leaked spoilers from the series finale, while many others are likely going to skip work (or, at least, show up late) on Monday. As for Emilia Clarke, the actress who plays the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, Sunday’s episode offers a bittersweet opportunity to say goodbye.
In a moving Instagram post, Clarke admitted that “finding the words to write this post has left me overwhelmed with how much I want to say.” Even so, she continued, the words feel small “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.
Aside from Clarke’s words, which were especially moving, her post also included a series of behind-the-scenes photos and other images from her time on Thrones. Thankfully, she chose not to comment on the smaller, louder bastion of fandom that decided to petition HBO for a season eight redux.