Season 7 of Game of Thrones is officially underway! Although the premiere didn’t feature any major plot twists, it did include a surprise appearance by award winning artist Ed Sheeran. Sheeran’s involvement in Season 6 was not a big secret, and he gifted Westeros with a brand new song from the books. But was there another reason behind Sheeran’s cameo?
According to Vanity Fair, Sheeran played a soldier in the Lannister army who sings the “Hands of Gold” song from George R.R. Martin’s series. In the books, the song is actually performed by a character called Symon Silver Tongue and appears much earlier in the series. Symon’s lyrics are a reference to Tyrion Lannister’s (Peter Dinklage) secret lover. Sheeran’s character on the show isn’t talking about Tyrion’s paramour, whom he killed a few seasons back. Even still, it’s a great nod back to the books and gifts fans with another GOT song to enjoy.
In the premiere, Sheeran’s singing grabbed Arya Stark’s (Maisie Williams) attention while she was traveling north. Although Arya was clearly planning on killing the soldiers in the small Lannister camp, she ultimately decided to spare their lives. She even joined their campfire and enjoyed some roasted rabbit while listening to Sheeran sing away.
Although Sheeran isn’t the first musician to appear on the show, there’s a little more behind his cameo in Season 7 of Game of Thrones. According to Entertainment Weekly, executive producer David Benioff has been trying to get Sheeran on the show because Williams is a huge fan of his music. Benioff discussed casting Sheeran for the part during a panel at the South by Southwest Festival earlier this year.
“We knew that Maisie was a big fan of Ed Sheeran and for years we’ve been trying to get him on the show so we can surprise Maisie. This year we finally did it,” he explained.
Other musicians to appear on Game of Thrones include Will Champion from Coldplay, Mastodon, Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol, and Sigur Ros. Unlike Sheeran’s scene, most of these guest stars had no lines of dialogue, and their cameos were easy to miss. With Game of Thrones wrapping next season, it’s unlikely we’ll see any more of Sheeran. Unless, of course, Benioff decides Arya needs another light-hearted scene.
Season 7 of Game of Thrones continues Sunday nights on HBO.
[Featured Image by HBO]