His appearance had been hinted at for several months, but on Sunday fans saw Glastonbury crooner Ed Sheeran as a soldier in the fantasy epic Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones series 7

After a year of waiting, fans were finally rewarded last weekend when the behemoth that is 'game of thrones' returned to our screens for episode one of series seven. We were reacquainted with the lead characters, Jon Snow, Cersei Lannister, Tyrion and Jamie Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen as they prepared for the onset of the long winter and the assault from the Night Walkers.

What may have been more of a surprise for viewers halfway through the episode was to see a shot of a forest glade by a river and to hear someone singing. As the camera drew closer thousands of fans must have stopped in their tracks and asked, " Is that Ed Sheeran? In 'Game of Thrones?". Well, the answer was yes. It was. Sheeran had met some months previously with director Jeremy Podeswa to discuss a cameo role for the singer. Podeswa duly obliged and Sheeran joined the ranks of other musicians like Coldplay drummer Will Champion and Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody who have had, albeit much smaller, roles in the epic.

Social media backlash

Sheeran's appearance as a singing soldier was meat and drink to furious social media fans who took to the internet to voice their dismay.

"Hopefully Arya will skewer Ed Sheeran," said one, while another added, "I love this show, and it could only have been made better by Ed Sheeran not being there."

However, the 'A Team' singer has garnered praise from the director of the show who has praised his short role saying that he is a "lovely performer" who "deserved to be there".

Sheeran reacts

Sheeran has previously complained about the abuse he receives on social media and in 2016 took a year long break from it saying that he was tired of seeing the world through a screen. After being pilloried for his cameo in Sunday's episode, Sheeran deleted his Twitter account entirely, only to reactivate it on Tuesday 18th July but with Tweets before April 2017 removed.

It is not clear whether Sheeran's character in the show will appear again. Certainly, the path is open for his role to be reprised at a later date. Given the show's history for dispatching characters at the most unexpected of moments, regardless of their stature, it may be better for the soldier/singer to keep away from the action unless he wants to meet a grisly end.