George R.R. Martin reveals why he turned down the opportunity to follow in Ed Sheeran's footsteps and make a cameo appearance in Game of Thrones season 8. HBO's acclaimed fantasy drama, which is based on Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novel series, is set to return in April after over a year on hiatus. Martin meanwhile is supposed to be hard at work writing The Winds of Winter, the next chapter in his very long-running cycle of books.
Since its debut back in 2011, Game of Thrones has soared to worldwide popularity, while also reaching new heights in terms of production value and budget for a television series. At the end of season 7, fans were left with loads of tantalizing questions about events to come in season 8, including the invasion of the White Walkers, the fates of characters like Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister and the Stark Family, and of course the big one: Who will ultimately sit on the Iron Throne? Very little has been leaked about the events of season 8, though a few of the show's actors have warned that some fans may be disappointed or even angered by how the story ultimately ends.
Whatever happens in Game of Thrones season 8, it's now been confirmed that Martin himself will not make an on-screen appearance. Speaking to EW, Martin said showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss offered him the chance to shoot a cameo in the wrap-up season but the author turned them down. As Martin explained it, he simply didn't want to make the trip necessary to appear on-camera. He said:
“David and Dan invited me to a cameo in one of the final episodes, which I was tempted to do. But I didn’t think just for the sake of a cameo I could take the time to return to Belfast.”
Martin also pointed out that he did do a cameo in the original Game of Thrones pilot that was later reshot, but the footage of him was never used. Clearly, Martin doesn't believe that it's worth rearranging his busy schedule, which includes finishing the The Winds of Winter as well as working on a planned Game of Thrones prequel series that may or may not be called The Long Night, in order to fly to Belfast to shoot another brief appearance.
As fun as it might be for fans to see Martin himself suit up and go to war against the White Walkers, it's probably just as well that he didn't interrupt his more important business just for the sake of a token season 8 appearance. Cameos have not always gone well for Game of Thrones anyway, as evidenced by the backlash against Sheeran when he put in an appearance back in season 7. Of course, Martin deserves a cameo much more than some random pop star who happens to be a fan of the show. Even without the Martin appearance, there's plenty for fans to get excited about as Game of Thrones gets ready to return, and finally wrap up.
Game of Thrones season 8 premieres Sunday, April 14 on HBO.