Interview with ‘Elle Ellaria,’ Creator of the Fundraiser for Emilia Clarke’s Charity: ‘It’s a Message of Love & Support’

HBO

The petition to remake Season 8 of Game of Thrones got viral attention thanks to a spoiler-friendly subreddit called Freefolk that supported the tongue-in-cheek petition’s concerns. Now the subreddit wants the actors to know that they still support them, even if they’re unhappy with certain writing decisions for the final season. They’ve shown their support in the clearest way possible: by raising more than $62,000 for Emilia Clarke’s charity, SameYou. (Update: Now nearly $140,000 has been raised!) The creator of the Justice for Daenerys fundraiser talked with Heavy about why she started the JustGiving page. “Elle Ellaria” said that she and others at the Freefolk subreddit wanted to find a tangible way to show Clarke and the other actors just how much they love and support them.

The creator of the fundraiser, who goes by Elle Ellaria on JustGiving.com, asked that she just be referred to as “Sarah” in this story. She said she helped create the fundraiser with the help of everyone at r/freefolk. You can see the original post on Reddit here. So far, the fundraiser has raised more than $62,000 for Clarke’s charity, and Clarke is thrilled.

Sarah told Heavy that she started the fundraiser because she and other fans on Freefolk were inspired by Clarke’s strength after recovering from two brain hemorrhages.

“We were inspired by Emilia’s story of survival through two brain hemorrhages while filming the show, which she kept to herself for a number of years before eventually opening up about her struggles and launching her charity SameYou,” she said. “[SameYou] aims to help young people recovering from brain injury.”

She said they also wanted to show their collective support for the cast and crew, especially after the petition was taken the wrong way by some.

“We also collectively wanted it to be a message of love and support to the cast and crew of Game of Thrones, who have all done a phenomenal job bringing Westeros to life for almost the past decade,” Sarah said. “Since there has been a misunderstanding of the intent the petition (which we at r/freefolk started as a harmless joke to poke fun at Dan Weiss & David Benioff – not anyone else, though it snowballed unexpectedly), it seemed important to make that message clear. We’re hoping this show of positivity and solidarity will have as much impact and publicity as the now-infamous petition.”

The creator of the original petition told Heavy the same thing: it was intended to show their disappointment with certain plotlines and poke fun at Weiss and Benioff, but it wasn’t supposed to be taken as a statement against the cast or crew. In fact, Dylan D. told Heavy that he was shocked when the petition grew so fast. Dylan wasn’t involved in the fundraiser’s creation, but did link to it on the petition’s page.

In just four days, the fundraiser raised more than $30,000 for Clarke’s charity, and now it’s raised double that amount, with donations still coming in.

“Donations have ranged from hundreds of dollars to a couple of bucks – some people even leaving messages apologizing that they couldn’t contribute more, others promising they would do so when they had more to give,” Sarah shared. “It’s been deeply touching, and I’m so grateful to every single person who has donated. Even those who couldn’t donate have done their best to spread the word by sharing the fundraiser. It’s been really heartwarming to see.”

Even those who couldn’t donate have done their best to spread the word by sharing the fundraiser. It’s been really heartwarming to see.”

Sarah said that she was personally disappointed in Season 8, but it does not reflect her feelings about the cast and crew. Specifically about the final season she said: “As far as my thoughts on Season 8, it was far too rushed, and all that hurry affected the story in a bad way. Seeing characters you’ve watched grow for eight years suddenly become unrecognizable and act wildly out of character, for the sole sake of plot progression, is unnerving. It disconnects you from the story. Zipping through huge plots like the long night, the battle for kings landing, evil Daenerys and the aftermath of her murder.. The whole thing gave me whiplash. But it’s over now. HBO offered more time, more money, but I guess people wanted to move onto shiny new projects. It is what it is.” 

She shared a few things she liked about the season too.

“Of the things I did enjoy, Episode 2 ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’ is pretty high on the list. It felt like a love-letter to all the characters we were about to say goodbye to in the long night and having Daniel Portman sing Jenny of Oldstones was perfectly haunting. The SFX throughout the series was completely breathtaking, and there are some stunning cinematic frames between moonlight and flame in episode 3, the Long Night.”

Sarah wanted to emphasize that the fundraiser isn’t an apology from r/freefolk and it’s not a counter-petition – it’s a message of love and support to the cast and crew.

She shared: “The fundraiser is not an apology for disliking the show or for making our dissatisfaction known, but it is a gesture of love and support for the people who have devoted nearly a decade to bringing Westeros to life for us.” 

Here’s her message of support and love for the cast and crew, especially Clarke, Kit Harington, and Sophie Turner:

Even though it’s for Emilia’s charity, it really is in honour of them all. I hope in particular it reaches Sophie Turner who unfortunately has been trolled for her knee-jerk reaction to the petition, and Kit Harington who recently checked into rehab for stress. Sophie has spoken about reactions to the show affecting her mental health in the past, and Kit likewise spoke of getting panic attacks imagining of how the ending would be received. It’s really sad. I stand by all the critiques I’ve made of the show, but none of the fans’ disappointment is aimed at them. I hope they understand that.”

The fundraiser also lists other charities supported by the cast. We’re sharing that same list below in case you want to make even more donations.

You can donate to the fundraiser for Emilia Clarke’s charity here.


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