Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss spilled the beans about Sheeran’s appearance on stage with stars Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) during a panel at this year’s SXSW Festival. “For years, we tried to get Ed Sheeran on the show to surprise Maisie, and this year we finally did it,” said Benioff, pointing out that Williams is a big fan of Sheeran’s. Looks like the stars finally aligned, but if the history of Game of Thrones cameos is any indication, it’s unlikely that Sheeran will have a notable role. In fact, we might not even notice him at all.
Notable past guests have included Coldplay drummer Will Champion as a band member performing “The Rains of Castamere” before season 3’s The Red Wedding, Atlanta metal band Mastodon as Wildlings during “Hardhome” in season 5 (pictured below), Icelandic pop-folk group Of Monsters and Men as a troupe of traveling musicians that Arya encounters in Braavos in season 6, and another Iceland-based band, Sigur Rós, performing “The Rains of Castamere” at Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding back in season 4.
As a huge fan of the show, I appreciate the way Game of Thrones handles its cameos. The showrunners realize that it’s one of the most popular series on the planet and famous people want to be involved, but instead of lingering on anyone for too long or winking at the audience as if to say, “See who stopped by this week?”, the camera just sort of grazes over these famous faces and the show goes about its business. It’s a smart approach that allows hardcore fans to scan the crowds looking for their favorite musicians while still giving the show a timeless quality that rises above the nebulous popularity of pop stars. If the show’s pattern holds true, when Sheeran pops up next season, he’ll have one or two lines at most before the show quickly moves on to its next dragon flame or White Walker battle.
Back on the panel, after the showrunners finished revealing Sheeran’s imminent appearance, Sophie Turner joked that she was still waiting on Justin Bieber to cameo on the show. Weiss jokingly replied, “You’re waiting on Biebs? Season 9.” Of course, there won’t be a season 9; we found out earlier today that . But I think I speak for most people when I say that if the showrunners wanted to cast Bieber in a small role where he’d only be on-screen for five seconds and spent that entire time being eaten by Drogon, that might actually be weirdly satisfying to see.
Game of Thrones season 7 will debut June 16 on HBO in the US and June 17 on Sky Atlantic in the UK.
Image: Atlantic Records