It's the end of an era.
After eight seasons, Game of Thrones is leaving behind an undeniable legacy as one of the most influential shows on television. It was a game-changer for HBO, which had dabbled in genre television before 2011 but had never reached the kind of mainstream success that George R.R. Martin's seminal fantasy series has. The show touched every corner of the pop cultural zeitgeist and turned its mostly British cast into household names.
As the series came to a close with Sunday night's episode, many of those stars reflected on their time with the show, which has been such a major part of their lives over the past eight years. Here's how the stars said goodbye on social media.
Clarke shared an emotional tribute to the Mother of Dragons, the character who "has taken up the whole of my adult life," she wrote. "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."
Earlier this year, the actress revealed she had suffered two life-threatening aneurysms just after filming Season 1. Clarke, who previously had three dragons tattooed on her forearm to commemorate her time playing Daenerys, has said she was in tears after filming her last scene as the mother of dragons. "That was the moment I realized that alcohol can also be a depressant," she told Press Association. "I was kind of nursing a glass of wine going, 'I don't know why I'm not getting any happier from this!'"
Turner also paid tribute to her character on Instagram, writing, "Sansa, thank you for teaching me resilience, bravery and what true strength really is. Thank you for teaching me to be kind and patient and to lead with love. I grew up with you. I fell in love with you at 13, and now 10 years on.. at 23 I leave you behind, but I will never leave behind what you've taught me."
Like Clarke, Turner and fellow Stark sister Maisie Williams got tattoos in honor of the series. Their matching ink reads "07.08.09" -- the date they were cast as sisters in Game of Thrones. Turner also got a tattoo with the Stark direwolf sigil and the words "The pack survives." The words are part of a longer Game of Thrones quote, first uttered by Ned Stark in Season 1, then repeated by Sansa at the end of Season 7: "When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives."
Bradley wrote a tribute to Game of Thrones on Instagram, sharing a photo of his Season 1 rehearsal schedule. first schedule for Season 1, and writing, "I met so many people that week who have come to mean so much to me. Back then we couldn't have known the journey we'd go on together. I wouldn't swap that experience, or those people, for the world."
Williams posted a photo of her (fake) blood-soaked sneakers after she wrapped filming in the summer of 2018. "Goodbye Arya. Goodbye Game of Thrones. What a joy I've had. Here's to the adventures to come," she wrote on Instagram.
Along with her matching date tattoo with Sophie Turner, Williams also got the words "No One" tattooed below her neck -- a reference to Arya's training to be an assassin in the House of Black and White.
Harington previously admitted that taking off his Jon Snow garb after filming wrapped felt like removing a part of himself. "I took off the costume, and it felt like my skin was being peeled away. I was very emotional. It felt like someone was shedding me of something," he told the Chicago Tribune.
In a series of videos for HBO, the cast opened up about their early days on set as well as what filming the series has meant to them. "I was like a little puppy when I arrived and coming to Belfast [where the series films], I learned how to walk with pride and joy," Nikolaj Coster-Waldau reminisced. "I'm moving from this experience as a better person. I'm gonna miss it."
Hempstead-Wright also reflected on his time on the show in the HBO video series. "The fact that this is really a full stop is sad because I think everyone's been so invested in this story that we never want to see this come to a close, but it must. And it's going to be good," he said.
Before the series finale, Emmanuel tweeted that she couldn't believe the show was nearly over, writing, "What a ride it's been." But the actress' longer goodbye to the series and her character came earlier in May, when she wrote on Instagram that it was one of her "greatest joys" to portray such a "brilliant woman who overcame so much suffering and found herself, her voice... and her one and only love. She represented so much for me, personally, that I have no choice but to carry the things she has taught me into my life going forward."
HBO posted its own goodbye message to fans, sharing an image of the shadow of the Iron Throne and the words, "To the cast, crew, and fans around the world, we bend the knee to you."