WARNING! The following contains major plot spoilers for the Game of Thrones series finale!
After burning King's Landing to a crisp on last week's episode of Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) finally showed her true colors: She'd gone insane just like her poppa. On tonight's series finale, Dany delivered quite an alarming speech to the Unsullied and Dothraki about conquering the rest of the world. This (coupled with the death of hundreds in the capital), caused Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) to resign as her Hand and convince Jon Snow (Kit Harington) to kill her, which Jon actually did.
"I thought she was going to die,” Clarke told Entertainment Weekly. "I feel very taken care of as a character in that sense. It’s a very beautiful and touching ending. Hopefully, what you’ll see in that last moment as she’s dying is: There’s the vulnerability — there’s the little girl you met in Season 1. See? She’s right there. And now she’s not there anymore …"
Even with the Dragon Queen's descent into utter madness and bloodthirstiness this entire season, Emilia Clarke is still very much in support of the character she's played since 2011, adding that the climax of her arc was not pulled out of thin air, but very much in line with who Dany is deep down.
"I stand by Daenerys. I stand by her! I can’t not," she added. "I tried to think what the ending will be. It’s not like she’s suddenly going to go, ‘Okay, I’m gonna put a kettle on and put cookies in the oven and we’ll just sit down and have a lovely time and pop a few kids out.’ That was never going to happen. She’s a Targaryen."
With just six episodes to reach the finish line, some fans were a little let down at the semi-rushed pace of Season 8. While Clarke isn't going to be signing that remake petition anytime soon, she does wish that there was a smidgen more time spent on smaller character-driven moments that rely more on dialogue than they do on flashy special effects.
"I would’ve loved some more scenes with me and Missandei. I would’ve loved some more scenes with me and Cersei," she said during an interview with The New Yorker. "I would’ve loved some more scenes between Grey Worm and Missandei ... The genocide was there. That was always going to happen. And I just think more dissection and those beautifully written scenes that the boys have between characters—that we are more than happy to contently sit there and watch ten minutes of two people talking, because it’s beautiful. I just wanted to see a bit more of that. But I’m in no position to critique the geniuses that have written eight seasons’ worth of wonderful stuff."
Interestingly, Harington tied his murder of Dany—the woman he loved who also turned out to be his aunt—to the death of Ygritte (played by the actor's real-world wife, Rose Leslie) in Season 4.
"This is the second woman he’s fallen in love with who dies in his arms, and he cradles her in the same way,” he also told EW. “That’s an awful thing. In some ways, Jon did the same thing to [his Wildling lover] Ygritte by training the boy who kills her. This destroys Jon to do this."
This is usually the part where we tell you when the next episode will air, but since that's not a thing anymore, we'll just go sob in the corner for a little while. As we do that, enjoy some of the best social media reactions to the final episode here, or if you're feeling a tad more wistful, check out the cast members' goodbyes here.