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Arya Stark: "That's a pretty song. I've never heard it before."
Lannister soldier: "It's a new one."
— The Lannister soldier converses with Arya Stark[src]

Lannister soldier serves in the army sent to the Riverlands to keep the peace after the Assassinations at the Twins. He sings Hands of Gold with his comrades while Arya Stark passes by.

Biography

Background

The soldier was sent to King's Landing, but found it to be a very unpleasant place. He was later sent to the Riverlands along with his comrades to keep the peace following some trouble caused by House Frey.

Season 7

Dragonstone 14

The soldier with Arya Stark

He was sitting by a campfire with his comrades leading them in a rendition of "Hands of Gold" when Arya Stark approached their camp. She complemented the song, which she had never heard before, and he informed her that it was a new song. The soldiers offered to share their food and wine with her and she accepted their invitation. As they shared stories of their unpleasant experiences in King's Landing, he commented that it was the worst place in the world. He laughed along with the others when she told them that she was going to the city with the intention of killing Queen Cersei Lannister, mistaking it for a joke.[1]

Behind the Scenes

Showrunner David Benioff explained that they gave Sheeran the cameo because Arya actress Maisie Williams is a big fan of his, and they'd actually been trying to give him a cameo for several years now (it wasn't just a snap decision this year). Benioff said, "We knew that Maisie was a big fan of Ed Sheeran and for years we've been trying to get him on the show so we can surprise Maisie. This year we finally did it."[2]

Sheeran's presence brings up a production issue: most actors aren't also trained musicians and singers, so the TV show has actually cut out several major songs that appear in the novels. For example, the wildlings have an important song in the books called The Last of the Giants, which sums up a lot of their mental state about how their world is ending. The TV production team originally intended to have Ygritte sing it at some point, but actress Rose Leslie was so terrified of singing on-camera that she politely refused. Similarly, in Season 2, Sophie Turner said that what she was most afraid of filming that year wasn't any of Joffrey's torments, battles, or the riot scene, but the brief moment when she had to sing a hymn (Gentle Mother, Font of Mercy), because she isn't a professional singer. A few actors on the show were also professional singers, specifically Jerome Flynn (Bronn) and Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon), so at various points the TV show had them perform songs that other characters do in the novels. Given how reluctant actors with no singing experience are to sing on-camera, in several respects the only guaranteed way to incorporate these book-songs into the TV show is to have professional singers make cameo appearances to sing them. Indeed, in similar fashion, in Season 2, the lead Bolton soldier singing The Bear and the Maiden Fair was a cameo by professional musician Gary Lightbody.

Ed Sheeran deleted his Twitter account a day after this episode aired, as he was being harassed by viewers who felt it was a needless celebrity cameo. Many professional reviews argued against this, citing that it was only a minor cameo, and a cameo by a professional musician was a way to get much-missed songs from the books into the TV show - moreover, many admonished that irate fans should take up such criticisms with the showrunners and director if they disagreed with it, not by launching personal attacks against a musician who happily responded to a request for a cameo by the producers.[3]

The song that Ed Sheeran's character sings is from the books: Hands of Gold. A minstrel called Symon Silvertongue came up with it to mockingly hint that he knew Tyrion Lannister was continuing his affair with the whore Shae even though his father told him to break it off - apparently hoping to blackmail him. Instead, Tyrion ordered Bronn to kill Symon, and Bronn disposed of the corpse by selling it to a pot-shop that makes bowls of brown out of "all kinds of meat". The song has added irony, as ultimately, Tyrion murdered Shae by strangling her to death with his chain of office as Hand of the King - a necklace made of stylized interlocking gold hands.

Appearances

Season Seven appearances
Dragonstone Stormborn The Queen's Justice The Spoils of War Eastwatch Beyond the Wall The Dragon and the Wolf

References

v  d  e
Lord: Cersei Lannister Heir:
House-Lannister-Main-Shield
Seat: Casterly Rock / Red Keep Lands: The Westerlands / The Crownlands
Title(s): Lord Paramount of the Westerlands · Lord of Casterly Rock · Warden of the West · King of the Rock (pre-War of Conquest)
Ancestors:Lann the Clever · Tommen II Lannister · Loren Lannister · Tyland Lannister · Damon Lannister
Current members:Tyrion Lannister · Jaime Lannister · Dorna Lannister · Cynda Lannister · Lyman Lannister
Deceased members:Tytos Lannister · Joanna Lannister · Stafford Lannister · Alton Lannister · Martyn Lannister · Willem Lannister · Orson Lannister · Tywin Lannister · Lancel Lannister · Kevan Lannister
Household:Bronn · Gregor Clegane · Qyburn · {Amory Lorch} · {Polliver} · {Rorge} · {Biter}