Spoilers ahead for the series finale episode.

It’s over. No, really.

Following a mostly glorious eight-season run, HBO’s fantasy epic Game of Thrones came to an end on Sunday (Monday for Indian viewers). Leaks about the fate of the key surviving characters and the occupant of the Iron Throne had fortified hard-core fans in advance, but they seemed unprepared for the bittersweet tone of the sixth and final episode, written and directed by creators DB Weiss and David Benioff.

There were only two important casualties, including the Iron Throne. It was built out of a mere 200-odd swords rather than a thousand, Petyr Baelish noted in an early episode (he had counted). And yet, the Iron Throne exerted the same power as did the Ring in JRR Tolkein’s novels. It drove men and women to wars and madness, claimed countless lives, and proved to be a bigger threat than the White Walkers in the HBO series.

Occupied by different characters over eight seasons, the Iron Throne meant different things to different people. For the Starks, it represented the muck of politics and the reason Ned Stark (Sean Bean) was beheaded. For Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), it was the only thing that kept her going. For Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), it was hers to guard and occupy. For Varys (Conleth Hill), it was the thing that prevented the emergence of “a land where the powerful don’t prey on the powerless”.

Legend has it that the swords were melted by the fiery breath of the dragon Balerion and reshaped into the hot seat of power. It took another dragon, Drogon, to destroy the symbol of human folly for good.

The final episode did not impress everybody, especially those who have been dismayed by the weaknesses and flaws that have marked the final season overall. And yet, fans were saddened by the end of a truly remarkable series, one that expanded the world of magic and power play suggested by George RR Martin in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels.

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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. 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. 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. @gameofthrones @hbo #love #motherofdragonsoverandout

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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. 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.

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BEING TOLD THE ENDING TO @gameofthrones 🖤⚔️

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The downfall of Daenerys Targaryen created one of the best images in the series.

Among the actors singled out for praise was Peter Dinklage, who played Tyrion Lannister.

Of course, there was snarkiness.

But Pedro Pascal, who played Oberyn Martell in the show, had the “perfect” retort to shut down trolls.

Among the most-appreciated moments was the reunion of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and his beloved direwof Ghost. The outrage that followed the fact that Jon didn’t even pet Ghost upon being separated from him in a previous episode seems to been laid to rest.

Also read:

‘I stand by her’: Emilia Clarke on Daenerys Targaryen’s arc in ‘Game of Thrones’

‘Game of Thrones’ final episode recap: All hail the new Westeros

From Mother of Dragons to Mad Queen: Daenerys Targaryen’s journey on ‘Game of Thrones’