Ed Sheeran’s appearance in the first episode of Game of Thrones' seventh season was a rare moment of self-aware humor by a show that has wrapped itself in its dark and grim reputation, feels Todd VanDerWerff of Vox. The cameo stood out in its uniqueness as the show obsesses with bringing its viewers into a new world, with little to remind them of the real one. His appearance within this universe broke that illusion. Fan outrage is overblown as his scene was fleetingly short and hardly out of place. Sheeran's ballad fit his scene perfectly to break the tension that had been built up with a typical amount of Game of Thrones bloodshed.
Casting Ed Sheeran in Game of Thrones latest episode felt like a personal ad for the musician, undoing the enjoyable immersion that the show works so hard on to create, argues Megan Garber of The Atlantic. Appearances by other musicians and celebrities have been seen before, but they remained subtle and didn’t stand out from their environment. Sheeran’s inclusion didn’t add anything to the narrative and his scene seemed overly forced. Him even getting to sing a ballad felt too much of an homage to his singing qualities. To add injury to insult, Arya comments that she hasn’t heard it before only for him to grinningly state that “it’s a new one.”