Tonight is truly the end of an era: Game of Thrones, one of the most talked-about shows of recent years, is ending after almost a decade. It’s been eight seasons of blood, sweat, and tears (speaking for the characters here) as Westeros’ contenders have fought their way to the Iron Thrones. Although we’re not sure who’s going to wind up on it—that answer will play out in Sunday night’s finale—it’s safe to say that the last episode is going to be an emotional one for the show’s fans. But it’s a big night for the cast, too: After all, they’ve been inhabiting their characters for years—some of them for the duration of the show—and for younger members like Emilia Clarke, who plays Mother of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen, and Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, that means their characters have taken up most of their adult years. Leaving them behind after tonight is a big deal. Both actresses took to Instagram on Sunday to pay tribute to their time with Game of Thrones—and the posts will truly tug at your heartstrings.
“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,” Clarke wrote in hers. 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.”
Clarke continued: “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.”
Turner didn’t spare us any tissues with her post, either. She addressed her character directly in a thank-you note to Stark:
“Sansa, Thank you for teaching me resilience, bravery and what true strength really is. Thank you teaching me to be kind and patient and to lead with love,” she wrote. “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. To the show and the incredible people who make it, thank you for giving me the best life and drama lessons I could have ever asked for. Without you I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Thank you for giving me this chance all those years ago. And finally to the fans. Thank you for falling in love with these characters and supporting this show right through till the end. I’ll miss this more than anything.”
It’s truly the end of an era, but we can’t wait to see what these two lend their talents to next.