UPDATE: April 15, 6:00 p.m. ET — Following the “Game of Thrones” Season 8 premiere seemingly referencing Ed Sheeran’s Season 7 cameo, the musician responded on Instagram, thanking the show for keeping him alive:
Well, his legs still work like they used to before, but Ed Sheeran’s “Game of Thrones” character apparently didn’t get away unscathed after his Season 7 cameo.
During a scene featuring Bronn (Jerome Flynn) visiting a brothel in the “Game of Thrones” Season 8 premiere, the various women he’s with discuss the Lannister soldiers who were attacked by Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Drogon in Season 7.
“I hear the dragon burnt up a thousand Lannister men,” says one of the women.
Among the ones discussed is a redheaded soldier named “Eddie.”
Woman 1: That boy Eddie...
Woman 2: The ginger?
Woman 1: That’s him. Came back with his face burnt right off. He’s got no eyelids now.
Woman 2: How does he sleep with no eyelids?
Yep. Apparently, his face crumbled like pastries after all.
[Cue: Sheeran singing “I See Fire.”]
We didn’t learn the name of Sheeran’s character or his companions when the English musician made a cameo as a Lannister soldier in the Season 7 premiere. However, the brothel workers also mention a “tall” and “handsome” soldier named “William.” One of the actors who appeared in the scene with Sheeran was William Postlethwaite, so it seems like the banter is an inside joke about Sheeran’s divisive appearance, which — years later — still has disgruntled fans thinking out loud.
In the Season 7 scene, Arya (Maisie Williams) happens upon some random Lannister soldiers on the road, including Sheeran, who is singing a song.
“It’s a new one,” he tells her.
“Game of Thrones” has featured cameos from musicians before, but perhaps no one has been as blatantly noticeable as Sheeran putting on a concert for Arya. (The singer was included in the HBO series as a surprise for Williams, who’s a fan.) Many, including former “Game of Thrones” star Kristian Nairn, complained that it took you right out of the show.
“I was like, ‘Why is Ed Sheeran here?’ I mean, Ed Sheeran’s great. He’s a great guy, great musician, but why is he in ‘Game of Thrones’?” Nairn told HuffPost in 2018.
The appearance inspired a relentless stream of jokes about the character, and Sheeran was rumored to have left Twitter because of the backlash, though he denied this in an Instagram post:
I came off Twitter Coz I was always intending to come off Twitter, had nothing to do with what people said about my game of thrones cameo, because I am in game of thrones, why the hell would I worry what people thought about that. It’s clearly fuckin’ awesome.
Following Dany’s dragon attack on the Lannisters in the Season 7 episode “Spoils of War,” there were a lot of questions about whether Sheeran’s character survived. At the time, the director of that episode, Matt Shakman, told Mashable, “I don’t think literally those soldiers were there.”
Sheeran never seemed to have plans to reprise the role. He told MTV he was happy with the cameo, but he added: “No one wants to see me come back.” He thought his character probably wasn’t long for the world of Westeros:
I doubt I’m going to survive for that long, to be honest, when there are dragons in the world.
If the “Eddie” mentioned in the show is indeed Sheeran, it looks like he made it after all. HBO may have just given the cameo a cheeky burn of its own.