Winter is here! The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones still has fans talking years after its controversial ending aired in May 2019.
Believe it or not, many of the leading characters who starred on the HBO series from the beginning made it to the end. Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister — despite the fate of most of their family members (R.I.P. Ned Stark, Khal Drogo, Tywin Lannister, etc.) — shined bright on the small screen for the show’s last six episodes.
“The last season of Thrones seemed to be designed to break us,” Kit Harington, who portrayed Jon Snow since the show’s inception in 2011, told GQ Australia in January 2019. “Everyone was broken at the end. I don’t know if we were crying because we were sad it was ending or if we were crying because it was so f–king tiring. We were sleep deprived.”
Emilia Clarke, who played Harington’s love interest, Daenerys, also opened up about the show’s conclusion while speaking to Us Weekly and other reporters at HBO’s Emmys afterparty in September 2018. “Everybody has done a lot of crying filming the last season, so we’re all feeling very bittersweet and existential crisis-y, the usual,” she said.
Peter Dinklage, who played Tyrion Lannister, shared a similar sentiment after his acceptance speech for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series at the 70th annual Emmy Awards. “I had my last day on set back in July … and it was very sad,” he told reporters in September 2018. “This is not only a great TV show to be a part of, but it was an enormous family to be a part of.”
Season 8 of Game of Thrones premiered on HBO in April 2019 before saying farewell six episodes later in May.
The show’s iconic characters hooked fans in with their extravagant costumes — and some viewers still don’t recognize the cast outside of Winterfell. Some actors donned wigs for years to better play their role, while other stars simply packed on the long coats and war garb.
Scroll down to take a look at what your favorites from the drama series look like both on and off screen.