Game of Thrones Season 8 has been full of familiar faces, both from the Seven Kingdoms and our own world.
Warning! Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8 lie ahead!
The final season of Game of Thrones has seen the show's passionate fandom reach an all-time high. That includes celebrities, who have gone out of their way to be involved in the show however they can. This year, there have been more celebrities lurking in the background of Westeros than ever, and some were actually easy to miss.
The sight of a famous actor or musician would be pretty distracting if it were front-and-center in an episode of the medieval fantasy show. The producers may have learned their lesson in Season 7, when Ed Sheeran's prominent cameo sparked outrage among many fans. Still, Season 8 has seen more cameos than ever, just more subdued ones.
For those that have not been spotting the Easter eggs and guest appearances, HBO has resources for that as well. Season 8 has seen more behind-the-scenes footage than ever before, beyond the usual "Inside the Episode" featurette at the end. Now, every Monday HBO is uploading a much longer featurette called "Game Revealed," taking fans inside the making of the last episode.
So far, the "Game Revealed" features have ranged from 17 to 40 minutes in length, with the longest by far being the one for the Battle of Winterfell. These videos have drawn fans' attention to the celebrity cameos, briefly explaining how and why they happened as well.
Here is a look at the major celebrity cameos we have already seen on Season 8 of Game of Thrones.
Rob McElhenney of It's Alway Sunny in Philadelphia has a longstanding friendship with Game of Thrones showrunners David Beniof and D.B. Weiss. They wrote an episode of his show in 2013 titled "Flowers for Charlie," and then made a cameo in a 2017 episode titled "The Gang Goes to a Water Park. This year it looks like they returned the favor.
McElhenney played a member of the crew on Euron Greyjoy's personal ship. He was shown pretty prominently, staring out into the night on watch duty when an arrow pierced his eye and killed him. Theon Greyjoy and his rogue Ironborn men then seized the ship and rescued Yara Greyjoy.
Silicon Valley star Martin Starr joined McElhenney in his cameo, playing another of the slain Ironborn on Euron's ship.
Starr rose to prominence on Freaks and Geeks and now plays the dour Gilfoyle on HBO's Silicon Valley. He also had a role in Spider-Man: Homecoming as Peter Parker's teacher.
Country music superstar Chris Stapleton is a self-professed "super fan" of Game of Thrones, so it should come as no surprise that he found his way to Winterfell this year. According to a report by TV Guide, he simply had his people call the show's people, as they say, and wound up on set.
Stapleton was even easier to miss than the comedians above if you were not looking for him. He appeared as one of the fallen Wildlings in Episode 3, "The Long Night." When the Night King raised his army back up, Stapleton rose with them and fought for the other side until the end.
Game of Thrones got a monster movie legend for the scene where Arya dodges wights inside the Winterfell library.
Javier Botet, known for his work on It, The Mummy and The Conjuring 2, among other things, played the creepy blue-skinned ice zombie that almost caught Arya underneath a table.
David Beniof & D.B. Weiss
The showrunners themselves joined the celebration at the beginning of this week's episode, playing wildlings along with Tormund Giantsbane. The writers were disguised behind massive fake beards and wigs and were buried under mounds of furs.
Still, looking closely you can see that the two men holding horns of ale by Tormund's side are the same straight-laced guys who narrate the "Inside the Episode" segment every week. This is their second time putting their own faces into the show, and their third attempt overall.
While Ed Sheeran did not reappear this season, his character remains inescapable. In Episode 1, the prostitutes hanging out with Bronn seem to mention Sheeran pretty pointedly when discussing all of the men who died in the loot train massacre at the end of Season 7.
The girls reference a "ginger" named "Eddie," who "came back with his face burnt right off." At the very least, this grizzly description implies that Sheeran won't be showing up in Westeros again for the series ends.
Finally, there was on accidental appearance in the latest episode that may have broken the immersion of the show more than any celebrity could: a Starbucks cup sitting on the feast table.
The paper cup with Starbucks' signature mermaid logo took over social media on Monday as fans howled over the anachronism. HBO issued a tongue-in-cheek response, then digitally removed the cup from the shot in all streaming platforms. Meanwhile, many fans still can't help but wonder if this was a subtle form of product placement in the distant land of Westeros.
Those are a lot of cameos, and far more than we've seen before in any past season of Game of Thrones. Still, there are some major ones worth remembering. First, let's revisit Benioff and Weiss' past appearances on the show. We last saw them in Braavos, hanging on the all in the Hall of Faces, but that was not the first time they tried to appear on screen.
In Season 1, a row of severed heads appeared on spikes above the walls of King's Landing. As he has recalled in various interviews, author George R.R. Martin originally suggested that he, Benioff and Weiss be the heads up there as a subtle Easter egg. The idea was scrapped because it was too expensive, and they ended using an old prop head of President George W. Bush. The head was not recognizable, but it was still removed once fans knew what it was, after the creators revealed it in a DVD commentary track.
Other major cameos include New York Mets player Noah Syndergaard, who played a Lannister soldier in Season 7, Episode 4; and Coldplay drummer Will Champion, who appeared among the band in Season 3, Episode 9. Speaking of bands, the heavy metal group Mastodon made it onto the show twice — once as wildling warriors in Season 5, Episode 8 and then again in Season 7, Episode 7.0comments
Finally, a cameo near and dear to die-hard fans' hearts took place over two episodes in Season 2. Roy Dotrice, the actor who narrated the audiobooks for Martin's novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, played Hallyne the Pyromancer. He provided Tyrion with the means to win the Battle of the Blackwater. Dotrice passed away in 2017 at the age of 94.
There are two episodes left, though at this point Game of Thrones may not have much time for more cameos. The show airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.