A fundraising campaign for Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke's charity SameYou has surpassed its goal of £100,000 (approximately $130,000) in two weeks, with donations pouring in around the world from more than 5,000 fans eager to thank the show's actors for their hard work.
Clarke, who played Daenerys Targaryen, founded the brain injury rehabilitation charity after having two life-threatening aneurysms while filming Game of Thrones.
The idea for the fundraiser — as well as a companion campaign in honor of Kit Harington, who played Jon Snow — was born on Reddit, specifically /r/freefolk, an active, irreverent community (with an incredibly strong meme game) devoted to the show and the Song of Ice and Fire books.
After learning of the fundraiser on May 30, Clarke made an Instagram post thanking fans for raising — at the time — £38,000 for her charity.
"I’m so incredibly moved and blown away and grateful," she said. "[The fundraising campaign] has made my day, week, month, year, decade, and I couldn’t think of a more beautiful way to wave goodbye to the Mother of Dragons than with this step towards making brain injury sufferers feel less alone."
But on Thursday, SameYou announced that the campaign had reached its goal of £100,000.
The charity uploaded a video of a beaming Clarke lip-synching the song "Simply the Best" with a caption thanking /r/freefolk and campaign founder, redditor elle_ellaria.
In an email to BuzzFeed News on Thursday, elle_ellaria, who asked to only be identified by her first name, Sarah, said that she never expected the fundraiser to raise so much money.
"I truly thought this fundraiser peaked around 35k, so seeing it hit 100k and keep climbing just fills my heart with joy," she wrote.
Sarah told BuzzFeed News that the success of these two campaigns is a testament to Game of Thrones fans and their enduring support for the show's cast, regardless of the mixed reactions to the final season.
"Every fandom," she said, "[has people] who love to kill a good thing or veer the passion over into vitriol, but, by and large, the outpouring of love and support has been unmistakable."
The SayYou fundraiser's success — and the recent news that Kit Harington, who played Jon Snow, had checked into a wellness retreat in the wake of the series finale — inspired another member of /r/freefolk to create a companion campaign so fans could donate to charity in honor of him.
This second campaign is raising money for Mencap, a UK-based charity for which Harington is an ambassador that "works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities." Harington has spoken previously about his cousin, who has a learning disability, and how their relationship inspired him to work with Mencap.
In the week since its creation, the campaign in honor of Harington has received donations totaling more than £42,000 (approximately $53,000) from nearly 2,700 fans.
Earlier this week, the fundraiser organizers and moderators of /r/freefolk, which has more than 1 million subscribers, started a social media campaign to raise awareness among non-Reddit fans and to ask the corporations behind Game of Thrones to match fan donations to the charities.
"The general message is, we as fans of GoT ask them to participate in our deed since it's got such a big traction already," moderator Gweenbleidd explained to the community Sunday.
In an email to BuzzFeed News Thursday, Sarah described the initiative as "a great opportunity to show goodwill and solidarity between fans and creators" and a way to celebrate the show's ending "in a positive way."
Representatives from HBO, which aired Game of Thrones, did not respond to a request for comment on the fundraising efforts and if they intended to donate or match funds raised by fans.
Still, comments left from donors on the two JustGiving fundraising pages show the profound impact that Clarke's and Harington's characters have had on fans of the show.