Remember that time you were watching Game of Thrones and the all of a sudden Ed freaking Sheeran was on the TV screen sitting by a campfire? If you’re as much of a fan of the Westeros-set series as we are, we’ll bet it was a total mindf–k for you too.
In fact, the pop star’s cameo in the season seven premiere was so weird and unexpected that for a brief period of time last summer Sheeran silently quit Twitter, and everyone thought the backlash from the cameo was to blame (he later denied it, saying he just wanted a social media break).
The series’ showrunners have since responded to the hatred, revealing the cameo was something they’d been trying to plan for ages, since Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, is a huge fan and they wanted to surprise her. The problem was that it surprised viewers too, to the extent that the fantasy element was ruined. And one actor is finally calling out the weird casting move.
“I’m not a fan of the cameos in Game of Thrones. I don’t like them,” Kristian Nairn, a.k.a. the late, great Hodor on the HBO series, admitted recently. “I think it’s stupid. I don’t mind going on the record on that. I just think it takes you right out of the world.”
Well hold the door, because that’s not exactly throwing Sheeran under the bus. Or is it?
“Especially Ed Sheeran,” he continued. “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?”
And just like that, the guy who was only ever given one word in the series said what we were all thinking. Great cameos only work if they fit within the context of the show or movie. So we can get behind Sheeran exercising his acting chops in a series like The Bastard Executioner or playing a heightened version of himself in Bridget Jones’ Baby, but when it comes to a beloved series like Game of Thrones, you just don’t mess with a good thing.
“I’m not saying I’m not a fan of Ed Sheeran,” Nairn continued. “I’m being tactful here, but I just wasn’t a fan of the cameo. I think most people would agree with me there. It was a big snap to reality. It’s like, ‘What? What?’ It’s a fantasy show. We’re all caught in this amazing world and spend so much time and money and talent to create, and all of a sudden there’s a pop star? What?”
To be fair, we can see why the producers thought bringing Sheeran on might be a good idea, especially since one of the biggest things lost in translation from George R.R. Martin’s books is the epic songs he wrote. We get very little of those ditties in the show because non-singing actors traditionally hate to take on that kind of responsibility, which makes sense when you’re doing sweeping dramatic scenes over and over again. So D.B. Weiss and David Benioff probably thought it would just be a fun, little thing to do that honoured the original saga, while making one of their actors ridiculously happy.
Sadly, it just didn’t pan out that way for fans, or Hodor as it turns out.
As if the fans ever get what they really want with this show anyhow. We’ll admit it though: that’s why we love it.