The Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere on Sunday was jam-packed with material furthering the quest of the Iron Throne and family intrigue, but it also included a nod to one of the show's more maligned moments. We finally learned what happened to Ed Sheeran's character.
Sheeran made a cameo in the Season 7 episode "Dragonstone," in which he played a Lannister soldier singing a campfire tune. His character was originally unnamed, but the Season 8 premiere revealed that his name was "Eddie" in the fictional world as well, and he was wounded in a typically grizzly Game of Thrones fashion.
During a scene with Bronn (Jerome Flynn), the three women with him start talking about men who were at the battle against Dany and Drogon. One of the women makes an offhand reference to Sheeran's character.
"That boy Eddie came back with his face burned right off," the woman said. "He's got no eyelids now."
Sheeran's casting in Game of Thrones was controversial among fans from the moment it was announced. In 2017, co-showrunner David Benioff said the decision was a gift for Maisie Williams, since she is a big fan of the "Photograph" singer.
“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,” Benioff told the Evening Standard. “This year we finally did it.”
Last year, Sheeran told BuzzFeed he heard from Game of Thrones fans that they wanted his character to die. He theorized that his soldier character is still alive.
"I know what Game of Thrones fans hoped happened to my character," Sheeran said at the time. "I'm sure they think my character got brutally, brutally murdered, but I think my character is still out there. I think he's chillin'. It was fun being in Game of Thrones, but I definitely think they should've killed me off in the episode. I reckon that probably would've been the redemption for people that didn't like it."
Sheeran was only partly right. His character is still alive but certainly not "chilled." He is more like "charred."
The first episode of Game of Thrones' final season drew an astonishing 17.4 million viewers for HBO, which included viewers from multiple airings and streaming views. It beat the 16.9 million-viewer record set by the Season 7 finale. It was also the most-watched scripted show of 2019, beating out a February Big Bang Theory episode by 2.7 million viewers.
New episodes of Game of Thrones air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.