SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched the Season 7 premiere of “Game of Thrones”
While “Game of Thrones” fans may have had a mixed reaction to Ed Sheeran’s cameo in the Season 7 premiere, the episode’s director Jeremy Podeswa had nothing but praise for the English musician.
“It was lovely working with Ed,” Podeswa told Variety. “He is one of the nicest guys in the world, and he really is one of the guys. He’s lovely, he’s a team player, he wants to do a good job, he takes direction, he’s very open. He’s a big fan of the show and he was really excited to be a part of it. I think his lovely voice was used to great effect and he just has a really nice presence. He blends into the world of the show in a nice way where if you didn’t have all these associations with him and his musical career, nobody would even blink about his presence on the show.
Sheeran’s appearance as a Lannister soldier drew a mix of criticism and praise from fans of the HBO series, including some saying his appearance was distracting. The scene depicted Sheeran and other soldiers singing around a campfire and sharing their food with Maisie Williams’ character, Arya Stark. Following online backlash, Sheeran temporarily deleted his Twitter account.
The episode also featured a memorable sequence in which Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) arrives at Dragonstone, a fortress on an island just off the coast of Westeros that was once the seat of House Targaryen. Daenerys and her entourage say nothing as they walk the halls of the massive structure, until Daenerys and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) look over a massive map of Westeros and Daenerys says, “Shall we begin?” just as the episode ends. According to Podeswa, series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss crafted the scene to be impactful.
“They really wanted to do something very lovely and poetic and also really moving,” he said. “Everybody who knows the show well, they understand what this means for her to come home from an emotional point of view and a narrative point of view. They really wanted that moment to have the time and the pacing to let it all land. Emilia does such a wonderful job of conveying everything that character needs to convey. It was really about getting the most out of that sequence that we could possibly get.”
Of course some fans were not content to wait for the episode to air.
“We were shooting on the beach where Dany arrives with her entourage, we shot all day, and then as we are driving home in the van, our newsfeeds start to show pictures that were shot by drones of all the characters on the beach,” Podeswa said. “We had just wrapped and it was already viral. It wasn’t even the next day, we were minutes from leaving the set. And none of us saw the drones because I guess they were up too high with telephoto lenses, but they had all this detail with every character that was there.”