Last week, backlash after Ed Sheeran’s cameo in Game of Thrones reportedly caused the pop star to briefly delete his Twitter account (although, he’s since denied that was the reason). Whether or not Sheeran was really bullied off Twitter by Thrones fans for being too real, a babyfaced soldier briefly singing a campfire song was apparently a Long Bridge of Volantis too far for some fans of HBO’s blood-and-dragons epic fantasy series, who wasted no time in excoriating Sheeran and the show’s producers for the cameo, which they commonly complained, took them out of the show.
If a real-world famous musician cropping up in Westeros is a problem for viewers, though, they should have been getting angry long before now. Game of Thrones has already hosted a multitude of artists throughout its seven-season run, and that’s not even getting into the multiple Game of Thrones actors who maintain musical projects on the side of their main acting gig: Natalie Tena, who played Osha, fronts gypsy-punk outfit Molotov Jukebox, while Jerome Flynn (Bronn) sold a million copies of his “Unchained Melody” rendition with Robson Green as Robson and Jerome. The show has also seen solely music contributions from The National, The Hold Steady, The Decemberists, but for this list, we’re sticking with artists who actually appeared on-camera.
Artist: Sigur Rós
Episode: S4 E02 “The Lion And The Rose”
Everyone’s favourite plaintive Icelandic post-rockers appeared in an early season 4 episode as a band of minstrels hired to play the biggest disaster of a wedding of all time. Oh, right, forgot which show we’re talking about…make that second worst. Kristian Nairn, aka Hodor, ask DJ Revlonn, is a fan, and basically turned into his character when he met Jonsi and co: “I met them on the red carpet a few years ago,” Nairn said. “I had so much to say … and it translated into nothing. You know how that happens sometimes? I made a fool out of myself. I just basically turned into Hodor — I couldn’t say a word.”
Artist: Of Monsters And Men
Episode: S6 E05 “The Door”
Sigur Rós weren’t even the only Icelandic group to put in an appearance in Westeros – folk-pop five-piece Of Monsters and Men briefly portrayed a group of travelling musicians, part of the theatre troupe that Arya Stark bands together with in the sixth season’s revelatory Hodor-centric episode.
Episode: S05E08 “Hardhome”
It must be an unwritten rule somewhere that any hyper-violent dark fantasy show with blood magic and giant wolves MUST feature at least one cameo from a metal band, so it’s no surprise Mastodon briefly showed up as bearded, crusty wildlings in “Hardhome”. “I watched my best friends Brent and Bill, murdered right in front of me as I myself was stabbed in the stomach and had my throat slit multiple times, and I didn’t mind at all!” Mastodon’s Brann Dailor said of the experience. Dailor also briefly appeared in the seventh season premiere along with Sheeran, albeit in a more low-profile role:
Episode: S03E09 “The Rains of Castamere”
OK, so only Coldplay drummer Will Champion cameos in the quite literally gut-wrenching “The Rains of Castamere” episode in the third season, as part of a band playing the titular song/betrayal anthem. Sorry, spoilers, I mean… normal, pleasant wedding march.
Artist: Snow Patrol
Episode: S3 E03, “Walk of Punishment”
Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody leads a group of Bolton loyalists in a rendition of “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”, the in-universe song which becomes extremely aptly-named later in the same episode.
Will the rest of Season 7 feature any more musician cameos? I don’t know about you guys, but I’m betting on Bieber. Come on, tell me the reactions (and thinkpieces) wouldn’t be worth it.