The Big Reason Ed Sheeran Cameoed on the 'Game of Thrones' Premiere
The Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere started with Arya slaughtering the remaining members of House Frey, an act of gleeful revenge against the perpetrators of the infamous Red Wedding. As far as Game of Thrones deaths ago, it was among the most fun, done up with Mission: Impossible-like mask removal and a one-liner that would make Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone golf clap ("Tell them Winter came for House Frey"). Clearly, Arya is ready for a post-Faceless life full of in-your-faceness.
The next time we see her is just as glorious -- but for completely different reasons. Riding back towards King's Landing, where she intends to assassinate Cersei, Arya encounters a group of Lannister soldiers on their way to assist the Freys. She comes upon the group drinking Blackberry wine, basking by a fire, and one lad singing a tune:
He rode through the streets of the city
down from his hill on high, O’er the wynds 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. . .
As Vanity Fair keenly notes, these lyrics are derived from George R.R. Martin's third Song of Fire and Ice novel, A Storm of Swords. But more importantly, they're the perfect, airy introduction to popular music star, Carpool Karaoker, Justin Bieber party cohort, Ed Sheeran. Yes, that was really him, sitting on a log in medieval armor, smiling like a goofball as Arya settled in for a swig and a declaration of maximum violence. Why?
Because why the hell not, really.
Sheeran is not the first musician to grace Game of Thrones' small screen. Animal Circus's Joel Fry, Coldplay's Will Champion, Dr. Feelgood's Wilko Johnson, Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody, and the members of Mastodon, Of Monsters and Men, and Sigur Rós have all appeared in various seasons, hidden in the background and even granted the sacred close-up. Sheeran was a get for the Thrones team because Maisie Williams, the actress who plays Arya, is his biggest fan. Proof:
And proof he reciprocates the feelings:
“For years, we tried to get Ed Sheeran on the show to surprise Maisie, and this year we finally did it,” creator David Benioff said at 2017 SXSW panel. From then on, the cat was out of the bag.
The question was always when -- and if he'd last. With the show's penchant for death, Benioff could have easily written a one-and-done part for Sheeran that saw the cool kid killed off while wailing bloody murder. Instead, the show takes advantage of his vocals, and even the meta-love Williams has for the pop star. The scene returns Arya to a place she hasn't been in ages: a state of normalcy. She's a teen girl again, swooning at boys and drinking a little to loosen the edge. She's flirting and having a ball, with Ed frickin' Sheeran staring at her with dreamboat eyes. This is the Arya dream… of another life. She still has to kill Cersei, and maybe even these boys. But first... selfies!