Fans of HBO's Game of Thrones have grown accustomed to death. With characters dying left and right, audiences have almost come to expect it. But it's different when the deaths happen while the cameras aren't rolling. Today, Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin posted a tribute to Ghost, Jon Snow's loyal direwolf, who passed away earlier this week.
"In loving memory of the real life Ghost from the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary," Martin wrote this morning alongside a photo of the beloved white wolf. "He passed this week & he will be missed. R.I.P."
Like all the direwolves on the show, Ghost (a real-life albino arctic wolf) lived at the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico. That's right, when they're not filming in the freezing snow, the wolves are basking in the desert sun. Visitors are encouraged to check out the sanctuary to get an up-close look. Martin supports the sanctuary personally and the four-legged stars all live together on the grounds as a pack. According to the Mirror, northern Inuit dogs played the direwolf puppies — actress Sophie Turner actually adopted the dog that plays Lady — and the wolf that played Ghost, who stood out with his all-white fur and red eyes, has been in the role for several seasons.
Ghost was one of two surviving Stark direwolves. He was a stalwart at the wall alongside his master, though fans fell hard for the fluffy guy from day one. Nymeria, the other wolf, has been missing since the show's debut season, though rumors surrounding her return have been circulating.
Twitter is already filling with tributes to Ghost and many fans are retweeting a particularly moving GIF from Game of Thrones' first season showing his very first appearance.
Fans are paying tribute to the wolf in other ways, too, sharing photos of their own loyal companions.
Fans are mourning in other ways, too, mentioning that his memory lives on in the show.