Chart-topper Ed Sheeran finally made his Game of Thrones cameo in the show's season seven premiere on Sunday night after months of hints about what the singer might do in the American fantasy series.
Not unsurprisingly, he was singing. Sheeran joins lesser-known artists such as Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody, Sigur Rós and Mastodon in appearing – and performing – in Westeros.
Some die-hard fans, such as those on the Game of Thrones Reddit forum, didn't even recognise Sheeran.
Others delighted in the Shape of You's presence in the show, especially in such proximity to Arya actress Maisie Williams, who inspired the show's creators, DB Weiss and Daniel Benioff, to cast him as a surprise for her some years ago.
But whatever viewers made of Sheeran's new role, it's worth looking beyond the novelty of his appearance and taking note of the song he was singing.
Hands of Gold is a song that appeared in the books that inspired the Game of Thrones television adaptation. Author George RR Martin wrote down the lyrics in A Storm of Swords, the third novel in his A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Hands of Gold | Lyrics
The song was written by Symon Silver Tongue, a performer and songwriter who knew about Tyrion Lannister's illicit tryst with prostitute Shae.
Symon used Hands of Gold to blackmail Tyrion – there are lyrics that can make his secret relationship public, and potentially get him killed by his sister Cersei – although the plan backfires, and the youngest Lannister sibling has him killed.
As viewers of the show will know, things didn't end well for Shae, either: Tyrion kills her at the end of season three after finding her in bed with his father. He even contemplates Symon's refrain after strangling her with a gold chain. But the audience never met Symon on screen, and Sunday's episode was the first time they heard Hands of Gold.
Seven seasons on, it seems unlikely that Sheeran's rendition as a talented Lannister soldier would have much to do with Tyrion. But, as Vanity Fair has pointed out, along with pop culture site Romper and fans online, the song could refer to another Lannister brother: Jaime.
Jaime's incestuous relationship with Cersei remains one of the worst-kept secrets in Game of Thrones; even though other characters have suggested they know that Cersei's three offspring were the product of it, neither sibling has been kicked off the throne yet. So he, like Tyrion, has a "secret treasure" and a hand that is literally made of gold, after he lost his first one thanks to Roose Bolton.
That a group of Lannister soldiers are singing Hands of Gold (and Sheeran's character, perhaps knowingly, points out that "it's a new one") either suggests that they don't know its context or that there is dissent among the ranks towards the House they nominally support – or towards their Queen, at least.
Others predict that Hands of Gold hints at a future where Jaime kills Cersei, most likely by strangulation with his golden hand.
I love that Symon Silver Tongue's song is going to parallel Tyrion AND Jaime when he strangles Cersei.— queenofhype&b����ty (@liesandarbor) June 28, 2017
For hands of gold are always cold...
It's going to be Jaime. Pay attention to the song Sheeran sings. (have you read the books?)— David Atkins (@DavidOAtkins) July 17, 2017
Best a scene: hands of gold. Shows how much impact Jaime has had and who in the regime the soldiers trust. Laugh at murdering Cersei.— Joe Magician (@Joemagician42) July 17, 2017
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