Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Game of Thrones season 8.
Game of Thrones fans from the Reddit community, r/freefolk donated over $25,000 to actress Emilia Clarke's SameYou charity. Clarke rose to popularity in the series as Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen. She was a leader determined to take back the Iron Throne no matter the cost, but many fans were unaware of the brain aneurysms Clarke suffered while filming the series. She created the charity, SameYou, after opening up about her near-fatal aneurysms which occurred after the first season of the HBO series in a piece written in The New Yorker.
The is only the latest story involving a Game of Thrones fandom still recovering from the shocking season 8 finale. Earlier, fans upset with the final season began a petition to remake Game of Thrones season 8. The petition wound up receiving over 1.5 million signatures. Many actors on the show took to responding to the petition, with Sophie Turner even describing it as a disrespectful act towards the crew, writers, and filmmakers. HBO later responded to the controversy over Game of Thrones' divisive final season as well, stating that they stand by the vision intended by the series' creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
Now, after a wave of criticism from the internet, the Thrones community is trying to bring things around into more of a positive light. Reddit user elle_ellaria started the fundraiser for Emilia Clarke in honor of her work on the show portraying Daenerys. She opened up by asking the community, "can we collectively do something nice for Emilia?" adding in that, "It's clear she loved Dany so much, I want her to know we loved her too." She goes on to state that, "since there's been so much negativity flying around [...] maybe we could do something really decent that can make a difference in peoples' lives." After multiple updates, the donations have reached over $25,000 and continues to climb.
Daenerys Targaryen has been a fan favorite on the show since day one, and her evil turn in season 8 was one that many were upset to see. Regardless of her character's shift into the Mad Queen and, ultimately, her tragic fate at the hands of Jon Snow, Emilia opened up that she stands by Daenerys. She confessed that she knew this was the only way for her story to go, and that she was grateful for the decade that she spent growing and learning alongside the Dragon Queen.
Seeing a community come together to accomplish something like this is a breath of fresh air. The online world is dark and full of terrors... and criticisms. This show, like many before it, was one that was never going to please everyone in the end. Though many people had disagreements with the series' finale, there are so many other aspects of the show that still deserve praise. It's refreshing to see people come together to give back to a community, and to an actor, that they know worked tirelessly to breathe life into such an unforgettable and incredible character. Fans can donate to the charity here.