Constantin Stanislavski once said, "there are no small roles, only small actors." This holds true in the mega fantasy hit series Game of Thrones. The popular show has made it to its 7th season and is expected to wrap up in season 8, which will only have around six episodes, half of a normal series.
While fans and cast members will find it hard to say goodbye, there were great moments in the series and fun cameos from famous musicians and actors. Well-known celebrities and figures have tried to fill in the spots for small extra roles as the Game of Thrones craze has grown.
It’s unsurprising that so many celebrities have made appearances on the set for the show. Whether they popped in quickly or had noticeable roles linked to an overarching narrative, musicians, writers, and figureheads were eager to bring their acting talents to the show.
After all, if this meant getting axed by the Hound, or walking together with the wight masses, it's by all means a worthwhile experience for the guest stars. With season 7 out shortly, producers have assembled a few additional onscreen cameos for fans.
Here are the 15 Famous Celebrities Who Cameoed On Game Of Thrones.
15 Ed Sheeran (Season 7)
There’s no doubt that Game of Thrones fans haven’t heard about Ed Sheeran’s guest appearance in season 7. There’s been plenty of speculation about whether he will play a major role, like Ian McShane’s character, or whether his character will be a simple short-term cameo.
The story behind Sheeran’s guest appearance is a fascinating tale. Creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff tried to fit the U.K. pop star in the series when they learned that Maisie Williams was a huge Ed Sheeran fan.
Sheeran will play a wandering bard who encounters Arya Stark on the road. According to an interview with The Hits Radio, Sheeran says “I just do a scene with Maisie. I sing a song and then she goes, oh, that’s a nice song.”
One fan theory is that he will sing the "Battle of the Bastards", and Arya will learn that her brother Jon Snow is King of the North. It appears to be a tradition in the series that music is a method of foreshadowing what is to come.
14 Neil Marshall ( “The Watchers on the Wall”, Season 4)
If viewers look closely in episode "The Watcher on the Wall", they can see Neil Marshall and a few other Crowmen firing arrows at the wildlings on top of the Wall.
Fans may remember the epic battle in the episode, where Ygritte dies. This battle couldn’t have been possible without episode director Neil Marshall, who also made a cameo in the battle. Marshall also directed another major battle scene, in “Blackwater” back in season 2.
Martin is a fan of Marshall’s work on The Descent, and was delighted to hear he would direct Battle of the Blackwater. Marshall's limited schedule forced him to quickly marathon the first season in order to get a feel of the episode. He added additional scenes to the battle, such as the Hound hacking a foot soldier in the final cut.
13 Gary Lightbody (“The Walk of Punishment”, Season 3)
Snow Patrol’s guitarist Gary Lightbody is a huge fan of the series and is acquainted with the cast members of the show. He announced on Facebook that he would make an appearance in season 3.
It is later revealed he's one of Bolton’s foot soldiers delivering Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth to Harrenhal. On the way, Lightbody and the men sing “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”, a popular song among the nobles and common folk in Westeros that appeared in other episodes.
While Lightbody's character doesn't contribute to the plot, he is the first singer who sang the song. A rendition cover song, performed by indie band Hold Steady, was played during the post-credits.
“The Bear and the Maiden Fair” tells a story about a hairy bear who captures a maiden who had hoped that a knight was there to rescue her. Ironically, a knight (Jaime) did come for the maiden fair.
12 Of Monsters and Men (“The Door”, “The Blood of My Blood” and “No One”, Season 6)
The Icelandic indie band Of Monsters and Men made a brief appearance as the Braavosi band in episodes “The Door”, “The Blood of My Blood”, and “No One” of season 6.
The band members are huge fans of the show and were aware that the show invited musicians for small minor roles. After multiple requests and meetings with the producers, the band's manager secured a role for the band, much to their delight.
The band members were the stage musicians for the play, The Bloody Hand. The play is a rendition of the show and series’ events, but adapted as a "play within a play." It has been confirmed that the play will be in the upcoming sixth book The Winds of the Winter.
11 Noah Syndergaard (Season 7)
Game of Thrones fandom fever has even spread to MLB players. The Mets’ “Thor” pitcher, Noah Syndergaard, is a huge fan of the series, so when he was asked to cameo in season 7, he immediately hopped on a plane and headed for Spain.
He will be playing an unnamed Lannister General, and will perhaps be involved in the Targaryen and Lannister battle. He did slip a spoiler nugget, mentioning that his character “either dies or gets to kill someone” in the episode.
George R.R. Martin is a huge Mets fans and was pleased to hear Syndergaard that was guest starring in season 7.
The cameo wasn’t purely random. According to Deadline, HBO and MLB will also be hosting a Game of Thrones-themed baseball event with TV giveaways and collectibles from the show. Nineteen major teams will be participating in the giveaway.
10 George W. Bush’s head ("Fire and Blood", Season 1)
Game of Thrones doesn't mind killing off your favorite characters, but they do recognize when they go too far– that is, putting a spike of a US President.
Former President George W. Bush's prosthetic head made a brief cameo in season 1, as one of head spikes next to Septa Mordane at Traitors' Walk. The creators and fans only took note of the prop after the episode aired.
While it makes for a good Easter egg, HBO’s PR team tried to attempt some damage control, fearing that their first season might be their last. HBO executives immediately issued an apology to the former president about the cameo, calling it “unacceptable, disrespectful, and in very bad taste”.
Weiss and Benioff apologized for the mistake as well, and explained that the show had bought their head props in bulk. Given the number of fake bodies they need-- several for each episode, not counting battles-- it's understandable that they wouldn't have noticed the prosthetic head of the former leader.
9 Liam Neeson (Voiceover for Red Nose Day)
This is cheating a bit, but we couldn’t leave out Liam Neeson’s epic collaboration with the TV cast, even if the segment was part of Red Nose Day. Coldplay are long time fans of the show; in fact, their bass drummer, Will Champion took time off to perform at the Red Wedding.
The satirical behind-the-scenes musical segment supplied plenty of inside jokes– the Theon Greyjoy and Ramsey Bolton reunion and the Rastafarian Targaryen – but Neeson narrating the entire event was pure gold. Too bad, Neeson didn’t say his epic lines. Chris Martin, Coldplay’s lead vocalist, had other series mashups in mind, including Taken on Ice.
Combining two amazing forces-- thanks to Coldplay and Red Nose charity-- the skit raised over $21 million in charity donations.
8 Roy Dotrice (“Ghosts of Harrenhal” and “Blackwater”, Season 2)
Wisdom Hallyne may look like a doddering old alchemist scurrying in the halls of King’s Landing, but don’t underestimate the old timer. He is the head of the Alchemist guild and is responsible for Cersei Lannister’s supply of Wildfire.
The showrunners wanted Roy Dotrice to play Grand Maester Pycelle in the series, but he turned the role down due to illness. However, Dotrice lends his voice for the A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks and holds the Guinness World Record for the Highest Number of Character Voices in a single book (224 characters in total).
He also makes two short cameos in season 2 of the show, appearing as the royal pyromancer Wisdom Hallyne in both "Ghosts of the Harrenhal" and "Blackwater".
7 Wilko Johnson (“The Kingsroad”, “Baelor”, and “Fire and Blood” in Season 1, and “Blackwater” for Season 2)
Westeros’ royal executioner Ser Ilyn Payne takes pleasure in tormenting his victims, and his famous killing stare is enough to frighten even the Hound.
Wilko Johnson guest-starred as the knight who beheaded Ned Stark in “Baelor”. Ser Ilyne Payne’s stern but silent demeanor strikes fear among the knights.
Johnson is famous for his famous cold, death glare that he depicts during performances. The producers hired Johnson because they believed that his thousand yard stare matched Ser Ilyn’s description.
Though Ser Ilyn can’t talk, the actor is quite the rocker. Wilko Johnson was part of the band Dr. Feelgood, an indie pub/rock group in the 1970s that made waves in the music genre. As a contributor of punk rock, Johnson has also offered commentaries for British rock documentaries.
6 D.B Weiss and David Benioff (“Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”, Season 5)
The creators of Game of Thrones, D.B Weiss and David Benioff, didn’t pass up the chance to guest star in the show. When they were shooting the Hall of Faces scene, Weiss and Benioff both offered their faces to the Many-Faced God.
The show prosthetics team constructed over 600 faces, each distinct from each other. To make use of the space, SFX constructed the hall and CG effects to make it look like the hall was twice as big.
The crew was able to include Benioff and Weiss to their list, as well as Barry Gower’s Mother, which was the face Arya touched in the final cut of the show.
Although the scene was pure coincidence, Gower's mom was happy that her face appeared in the show. Benioff’s parents also joined in the fun, and posed as travelers walking on the main road to King’s Landing, in the season 3 episode "Two Swords".
5 Steve Love (“No One”, Season 6)
On a very rare occasion would a Youtube personality land on a brief cameo, let alone, a speaking role in a huge series such as Game of Thrones. YouTube comedian Steve Love is one in a million. His Game of Thrones character impersonations managed to catch the producers' attention, which prompted them to ask if he would like a guest role on the show.
It was an automatic yes and Love flew a continent over to join the set for season 6. He plays a character named Steve who is a Brotherhood without Banners mercenary soldier. In the scene, he learns how to kiss a girl from a fellow soldier.
Unfortunately, he never gets a chance to use this new knowledge; the Hound murders him and the rest of the soldiers seconds later. Although Steve played no major role, he and his crew brought the Hound back to his mercenary ways.
4 Sigur Ros (“The Lion and the Rose”, Season 4)
At the Red Wedding, Will Champion played the "Rains of Castamere" foreshadowing the Stark’s downfall. Who could top that song an the Purple Wedding? How about Sigur Ros’ apocalyptic rendition of “The Rains of Castamere”? In “The Lion and the Rose”, the Icelandic band sang a slow, depressing tune-- the equivalent of a funeral dirge to the royal court.
While King Joffrey may have found it depressing, Marjaery at least appeared to be interested. The song was an ill omen to Joffrey’s exit, though, as we know by now, most weddings in Westeros never end well.
As huge followers of the show, Sigur Ros gladly took the cameo role. Their bassist player Georg Hólm spoke about their take on the Lannister’s anthem: “we probably managed to create the gloomiest version so far. It is maybe not the happiest wedding song, but we think that it fit the scene very well.”
3 Richard E. Grant (“The Door”, “The Blood of My Blood” and “No One”, Season 6)
The Bloody Hand is part satire and part homage to Medieval theater pieces. Brian Cogman, the staff writer of the episode, wanted to create a meta version of the events in the TV series but replaced the deaths with slapstick humor.
What better way to represent traditional theater shows with UK theatre veterans? Izembaro, The Bloody Hand's playwright, is played by British theatre veteran Richard E. Grant. Many viewers might also recognize Grant as Dr. Zander Rice in Logan.
In the theater world, Grant is a respected performer, and was invited by the show to play the master playright Izembaro. The character has a grand presence on stage and a rather nasty personality among his the other performers, especially to Lady Crane, who questions his writings.
2 Kevin Eldon (“The Door”, “The Blood of My Blood” and “No One”, Season 6)
In addition to Richard E. Grant's cameo, British Comedian Kevin Eldon joined the Braavosi Troupe playing Ned Stark in The Bloody Hand.
Eldon joined around the same time that Richard E. Grant was announced. He played the character of Camello-- the actor who portrayed the over-the-top Ned Stark. The character's depiction of the Ned was played for laughs, though Arya Stark, who was watching the play in the crowds, didn't find it funny in the least. In fact, she was mortified as she watched the actors badly imitate her close family.
Off stage, Camello is busy behind the scenes, overhearing Izembaro chiding his fellow actor with "there are no small roles, only small actors." It is unclear whether or not Camello will ever appear in the books.
1 Ian McShane (“The Broken Man”, Season 6)
Before Ian McShane became American Gods’ Odin, the actor played as a former soldier-turned-Septon in the Game of Thrones season 6 episode “The Broken Man”. McShane announced that he would guest-star in the show as Brother Ray.
The creators offered him the script and McShane agreed to the role once he read the two-page soliloquy that his character gives to the country folk. “It’s like he’s holding an improvised meeting — not Alcoholics Anonymous, but Murderer’s Anonymous,” McShane said in an interview.
McShane is no foreigner for long character takes. In Deadwood, he plays Al Sweargan, a saloon owner and schemer, who cares about Deadwood’s well-being for self-interests.
From the casting news to the day that the episode aired, he remained tight-lipped about the role for obvious reasons. Not only because the Hound returns, but Ray is the one who saved him from the dead.
Are there other famous Game of Thrones cameos we’ve forgotten? Let us know in the comment section!