Ed Sheeran faced backlash from some Game of Thrones fans for a brief cameo during the Season Seven premiere, "Dragonstone." The episode's director, Jeremy Podeswa, told Newsweek that the pop star "was appropriate for the part because he needed to sing."
"If people didn't know who Ed was, they wouldn't have thought about it twice," Podeswa said. "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."
In the episode, Sheeran appeared as a member of the Lannister army, eating rabbit and crooning the unofficially-titled song "Hands of Gold" around a campfire. He celebrated the appearance on social media, posting a selfie with Thrones actress (and self-proclaimed Sheeran super-fan) Maisie Williams. Soon after the episode aired, however, Sheeran deleted his Twitter account and wrote on Instagram: "Had to get off it completely, wasn't doing anything good for anyone's sanity. I'm gonna be more present on here and work out things we can all do as a fan base. Love you all, you all rule x." (His Twitter handle now links to a new profile.)
Podeswa told Newsweek that irate fans were bringing too much of Sheeran's "[superstar] presence" into their viewing experience, adding that Game of Thrones "really eschews stunt casting – it's never, ever done that."
The director said he was surprised by the cameo's hostile response. "I know he's very well known and a successful singer, but you're in the bubble of the show ... The only thing I don't feel great about is that Ed is such a lovely guy and really genuine and down to Earth. 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."
Sheeran briefly deleted his Twitter account following the episode, leading to speculation that the Game of Thrones episode was a catalyst for the move. But on Wednesday, Sheeran shot down those rumors, writing on Instagram, "Last i'll say on this. 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. Timing was just a coincidence, but believe what you want."