• Uncategorised

Game of Thrones: What Is the Significance of THAT Song?

Podrick is really onto something here.

Warning: this article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2!

The second episode of Game of Thrones’ final season ended on a fittingly somber note. As the inhabitants of Winterfell settled down for what very well might be their final night together, Podrick Payne serenaded his friends with a rendition of “Jenny of Oldstones,” a popular folk tune among the people of Westeros. The episode also featured a reprise of the song over the ending credits, this time performed by Florence + The Machine.

As is pretty much always the case whenever we hear a new bit of music in the series, this tune has deep thematic implications. It’s more than just a sweet, sad song about a bygone age. It speaks to the heart of the conflict between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen as the series finale looms.

Read on to learn more about the origin of this sad song and why it’s so relevant to the battles to come.

Drawing From the Books

Even though the TV series has long since passed the point where George R.R. Martin’s novels left off, “Jenny of Oldstones” is an example of the writers finding ways to work in unused elements from the source material. The song appears in A Storm of Swords, the third book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Arya hears the song while travelling with the Brotherhood Without Banners. Tom of Sevenstreams sings the song to an elderly woman known as the Ghost of High Heart in repayment for her revealing her prophetic dreams to the group.

This episode is actually the first time the song has been sung in its entirety. In the book, Arya has a hard time concentrating on Tom’s lyrics because the music is so sad, and she only catches the occasional lines. Here’s the full transcript of the song:

High in the halls of the kings who are gone

Jenny would dance with her ghosts

The ones she had lost and the ones she had found

And the ones who had loved her the most

The ones who’d been gone for so very long

She couldn’t remember their names

They spun her around on the damp old stones

Spun away all her sorrow and pain

And she never wanted to leave

Never wanted to leave

Never wanted to leave

Never wanted to leave

They danced through the day and into the night

Through the snow that swept through the hall

From winter to summer then winter again

Til the walls did crumble and fall

And she never wanted to leave

Never wanted to leave

Never wanted to leave

Never wanted to leave

And she never wanted to leave

Never wanted to leave

Never wanted to leave

Never wanted to leave

High in the halls of the kings who are gone

Jenny would dance with her ghosts

The ones she had lost and the ones she had found

And the ones who had loved her the most

Showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss discussed the inclusion of this song during the post-show “Inside the Episode” segment. Benioff said, “We knew we wanted a song in this episode. We’ve had a song in several seasons. We haven’t had an original in a while, so this felt like the place for it, and Daniel [Portman] felt like the singer.”

Benioff revealed that the writers used the snippets shown in A Storm of Swords as a starting point, then added the remaining lyrics and charged composer Ramin Djawadi with creating the music.

The Origin of the Song

“Jenny of Oldstones” is more than a nostalgic ode to days gone by and loved ones lost. It actually has a very compelling origin story. The song, unsurprisingly, is about a woman named Jenny of Oldstones, who fell in love with Prince Duncan Targaryen (Daenerys’ great-uncle). Duncan loved Jenny so deeply that he married her against the express order of his father, Aegon V. Aegon had intended Duncan to wed the daughter of Lord Lionel Baratheon, thus cementing an alliance between two of Westeros’ most powerful families.

Exit Theatre Mode

In the end, Duncan elected to forfeit his claim to the Iron Throne in favor of marrying Jenny. And as it turns out, Jenny’s closest friend and companion was the woman who eventually came to be known as the Ghost of High Heart. That’s why the song is so important to her, even as an old woman.

The Importance of Jenny’s Story

While “Jenny of Oldstones” makes for perfect accompaniment as this episode closes out and we see the last defenders of Westeros preparing for their greatest battle, it has some deeper implications for two characters in particular. It’s surely no coincidence that a song connected to a Targaryen forced to choose between love and duty makes its debut even as Jon and Dany face the ultimate test of their relationship.

That clash between love and duty encapsulates Jon’s struggle this season. Now that he knows the truth about his parentage and his own claim to the iron Throne, he has a difficult choice to make. Does he keep quiet and remain faithful to Dany, or does he reveal his Targaryen blood and rally the armies of Westeros behind the Stark banner? As we’ve seen over the past two episodes, many in the North are reluctant to embrace Daenerys and her army. They would be far more willing to accept a Targaryen king who actually hails from the North.

“Jenny of Oldstones” highlights the importance of this dilemma even as the White Walkers draw near. Had Duncan done his royal duty, the downfall of the Targaryen family and the events of Robert’s Rebellion may never have happened. Jon already chose duty over love once before when he sided with the Night’s Watch over Ygritte and the Wildlings – can he bring himself to do so a second time?

Exit Theatre Mode

At the same time, it’s also worth remembering that the Ghost of High Heart is also the woman who made the prophecy about Azor Ahai, “the prince that was promised.” Had Duncan not fallen in love with Jenny and brought both her and her companion to court, Duncan’s brother Jaehaerys II might never have heard the witch’s prophecy and arranged for his children to marry and attempt to produce Azor Ahai. So perhaps the true lesson to take from this song is that only a ruler who follows their heart can truly become the savior of Westeros. If Dany is the one destined to defeat the White Walkers and usher in a new spring, the best thing Jon can do is love and convince others to do the same.

Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

       
Apps & Games Clothing Electronics & Photo Large Appliances
Baby Womens Apparel Garden Lighting
Beauty Mens Apparel Outdoors Luggage
Books Girls Apparel Health & Personal Care Pet Supplies
Car Boys Apparel Home Shoes & Bags
Motorbike Computers & Accessories Kitchen Equipment Sports & Outdoors
Fashion DIY & Tools Jewellery Toys & Games