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'Game of Thrones' casts Ed Sheeran 'cause everyone loves Arya

Ed Sheeran will make an appearance in season 7, and season 8 will be the shortest season yet at just six episodes, the "Game of Thrones" showrunners say.

Ed Sheeran will guest star in the upcoming season 7 of "Game of Thrones" because the show's creators wanted to treat Maisie Williams, a fan of his.
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Ed Sheeran is coming to "Game of Thrones" because even the show's creators love Arya best.

"Game of Thrones" showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said they had been trying trying to book the English singer-songwriter as a guest star for years to surprise Maisie Williams, the actress who plays Arya Stark -- and who is a big fan of Sheeran.

"This year we finally did it," Benioff said. He and Weiss were speaking on a panel at the SXSW Conference and Festivals, moderated by Williams and her costar Sophie Turner, who plays her sister, Sansa Stark.

The HBO show begins season 7 on July 16.

Turner joked that she's "still waiting on Bieber" to make a cameo, but Weiss assured her that Justin Bieber would make it on (never-going-to-happen) season nine.

Speaking more seriously, the pair of showrunners said they have a 140-page outline for final season, season eight. Typically, they divvy up the writing assignments between them without much disagreement, they said, but for the final season they have fought over who will write which four of its six episodes.

"We fight over who's going to kill Sansa," Weiss said sarcastically.

The panel, which put Williams and Turner in charge of asking Weiss and Benioff questions, was light on spoilers but heavy on jokes. When Williams asked the two which character they wished they could bring back to life, they said Hodor would get his own spinoff sequel, a multicam sitcom.

Weiss and Benioff also recounted some of the favorite practical jokes they've pulled on cast members, like freaking out Kit Harrington by fabricating a storyline for Jon Snow that would disfigure his pretty face and burn off all his hair for the rest of the series run.

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