The Secret Meaning Behind Ed Sheeran's GoT Cameo
Now that everyone's sufficiently overreacted about Ed Sheeran's cameo in the Season 7 premier of Game of Thrones, we can get into the real meat of the role.
Criticisms of the part predominantly focused on the idea that it was unnecessary and a way to throw in a little celebrity glam. But readers of the A Song of Ice and Fire books have spotted the importance of this role - and it goes way beyond surprising über-fan Maisie Williams.
When it was first announced that Sheeran would make a cameo appearance in Game of Thrones Season 7, he mentioned in an interview that "Nothing exciting happens in this scene; we just have a conversation and that's sort of it." Obviously Sheeran hasn't read the books.
The song that Sheeran's character, a singing Lannister soldier, shares with Arya in this scene is called "Hands of Gold," and is in fact taken directly from the books:
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.
While the details of this song may not be immediately recognizable to show-watchers, in the novels the song was written by Symon Silver Tongue, a bard who uses the song to blackmail Tyrion.
This occurs much earlier in the books than in the show, but nonetheless it is nice to see Benioff and Weiss following even the more minor plot points of A Song of Ice and Fire.
The song is one of Sheeran's darker ballads, written about Tyrion and his whore-girlfriend, Shae.
We all remember the the scene in which Tyrion strangles Shae with a necklace after catching her with Tywin; in the show, the chain is a regular necklace the imp gave to his girlfriend, but in the books Shae is wearing Tywin's "hand of the king" necklace, with two clasped hands made of gold.
In A Song of Ice and Fire, Tyrion has heard the song even before killing Shae, and whispers the last line to himself as he strangles her.
While it's possible that by singing this song Sheeran is playing the part of Symon Silver Tongue, it is unlikely as the plot has since gone in a different direction.
There is some speculation, however, that this song may prophecy some event with another Lannister brother, who also has a golden hand...
Winter is Coming