Just when you think the shared love of Game of Thrones is bringing the online community together, angry fan boys go off and remind you that the Internet is dark and full of terrors. That’s what happened after Ed Sheeran‘s cameo in the show’s season seven premiere, “Dragonstone,” Sunday night. Fans mocked Sheeran’s appearance as a singing Lannister soldier so relentlessly that the artist may have deleted his Twitter account as a result (it has since been reactivated).
Sheeran showed off his impressive vocals by singing a song taken straight from author George R.R. Martin‘s books. He spoke just a few lines of dialogue and then the show moved on to its other storylines. Some have complained that his appearance took them out of the story, but if that were the case than no famous people would ever be cast in anything, ever again.
“He came into this with only lovely intentions to come and do a good job and sing well, so I think that’s the only drag,” episode director Jeremy Podeswa told Newsweek. “If people didn’t know who Ed was, they wouldn’t have thought about it twice. The hoo-ha seems to be from things that are outside of the world of the show. In the world of the show, he did a lovely job, and he looks like he belongs in that world.”
We get that Sheeran is a world famous musician, but nobody complained about Lady Gaga’s American Horror Story roles or Jared Leto’s film career. Sheeran isn’t even the first musical artist to appear on GoT. Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, Will Champion from Coldplay, Sigur Rós and almost the entire roster of heavy metal band Mastodon have all popped up. Plus, Sheeran’s cameo was announced way back in March, so what’s the big deal?
“I was quite surprised about the raction actually because I know he’s very well known and a successful singer but you’re in the bubble of the show – the cast are well known too, everybody is really well known…none of them can walk down the street without being followed,” Podeswa continued. “I think people interrogated it too much, they’re bringing so much of his [superstar] presence into the thing which is far beyond what anybody was thinking going into it. He is known to the producers of the show and some of the cast, and he’s a gigantic fan of the show.”
Game of Thrones is HBO’s flagship series, so it’s not like SheeranGate is going to cripple the network. But this whole ordeal is indicative of how fans can and do interact and engage with shows in the digital age. It’s no wonder networks are pushing stars to live tweet episodes and talk with fans online to build goodwill.