That was pop star Ed Sheeran popping up in the Game of Thrones season 7 premiere as a Lannister soldier.
Sheeran’s campfire singing caught the attention of a passing Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), who then cautiously joined their party for dinner.
At the South by Southwest Festival in March, co-showrunner David Benioff explained the Sheeran cameo during a panel with Williams and Thrones costar Sophie Turner: “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.”
To which Turner quipped: “I’m still waiting on Bieber.”
The song sung by Sheeran (“a new one,” he told Arya) was actually from lyrics in George R.R. Martin’s novel A Dance with Dragons, where they were sung by a drunk Tyrion:
“He rode through the streets of the city / Down from his hill on high / O’er the winds and the steps and the cobbles / He rode to a woman’s sigh / For she was his secret treasure / She was his shame and his bliss / And a chain and a keep are nothing / Compared to a woman’s kiss / For hands of gold are always cold / But a woman’s hands are warm.”
GoT actually has a history of famous musicians making subtle cameos (such as Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, Will Champion from Coldplay, Sigur Rós, and Mastodon), but Sheeran’s spot as a soldier singing for his fellow troops at a campfire was arguably the most noticeable.
And Sheeran, actually, has a history of appearing in medieval cable TV dramas, having also recurred in the short-lived FX series The Bastard Executioner.
On Twitter, fans joked about the artist’s cameo, some suggesting Arya kill off the “Shape of You” singer, while others riffing on which artists they expect on the show next.
If Arya kills Ed Sheeran this will be the best Game of Thrones ever
— Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams) July 17, 2017
What if one of the #GameofThrones spinoffs is just Ed Sheeran and his boy band wandering around having adventures
— Patti Murin (@PattiMurin) July 17, 2017
Ed Sheeran only got the Game of Thrones gig because they already made the Lord of the Rings movies.
— Comedy Central (@ComedyCentral) July 17, 2017
Plot twist, Ed Sheeran takes the iron throne #GameOfThones
— Chidera Anugwom (@ilikedera) July 17, 2017
Sheeran, meanwhile, posted a pic of himself on Thronesto Instagram on Sunday night.