As Game of Thrones' controversial final season came to an end, a petition to remake the eight season with "competent writers" hit the Internet. Since then, the petition has earned over 1.5 million signatures.
In response, another Game of Thrones fan created an online fundraiser for SameYou, a charity which focuses on those recovering from brain injuries and strokes. Emilia Clarke, who played fan-favorite Daenerys Targaryen on the show, helped form the charity, having been a survivor of multiple brain aneurysms. In just two days, the fundraiser has raised more than $25,o00.
Entertainment Weekly contacted Sarah, the Reddit user who created the fundraiser. She said the original petition was clearly a "tongue-in-cheek" joke that had "flown over a lot of peoples' heads," and wanted to make something more positive instead.
Sarah found inspiration for the fundraiser through Emilia Clarke's interview with the New Yorker, during which the actress opened up about her brain aneurysms. "I have a great deal of love and respect for Emilia Clarke" Sarah said. "In interviews after the finale she spoke about how much of herself she put into her character, and how upset she was at the prospect of people hating Daenerys…. She wasn’t informed about Dany’s evil turn until shortly before filming season 8, and it seemed like she really struggled to come to terms with it.”
Daenerys' dark turn was a point of contention for many fans who saw the plot as contrived and out of character. It's one of the biggest plot threads that has many Game of Thrones fans split on the finale. However, with this fundraiser fans are channeling that displeasure into something positive. Clarke once told EW, "I stand by Daenerys. I stand by her! I can't not." According to Sarah, this quote inspired the fundraiser. "The fundraiser [was] kind of to let her know hey, don't worry. We stand by Daenerys, too," she said. The hashtag #WeStandByDaenerys is currently being used to promote the cause online.
Game of Thrones stars Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark and Kit Harington as Jon Snow.