Podrick's song 'Jenny of Oldstones' in Game of Thrones: here's what the lyrics mean
22 April 2019, 15:15
In season 8, episode 2 of Game of Thrones, Podrick sings a song called 'Jenny of Oldstones', which potentially foreshadows the fate of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. Florence + The Machine also sang her rendition in the end credits.
Zealous Game of Thrones fans will know that, unlike in the show, music and songs play a very important role in the books by author George R. R. Martin.
Similarly to William Shakespeare's choruses, the ditties in Game of Thrones act as prophecies, foreshadowing events that are to come - and also explaining things that have already happened.
In this week's Game of Thrones episode, our favourite characters were gearing up for war with the White Walkers, contemplating times past and basking in each other's company in what could be their final hour. Toward the end of the episode, Podrick Payne began singing a song called 'Jenny of Oldstones'.
But what were the lyrics to the song he sang - and hold on, was that actually Florence Welch sing a rendition of it in the end credits? Here's the lowdown...
**WARNING: Spoilers are coming**
In the moving scene, we saw Tyrion and Jaime Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Tormund, Ser Davos and Podrick share stories around the fire, over a few glasses of wine. It was a refreshing moment, in an episode which felt more like the early series in terms of pace - far from the crazy speed in which we hurtled through season 7.
Instead of glossing over key moments and moving onto the next big thing, we relished reunions, savoured time-old friendships and remembered why we seriously don't want the White Walkers to win this battle.
After many one-liners from Tormund and Ser Jaime knighting Brienne of Tarth, a drunk Tyrion urges someone to sing. It is then that Brienne's foot soldier, Podrick, unexpectedly bursts into song, revealing his beautiful voice.
What are the lyrics to the song Podrick was singing?
The song that Podrick sings in the episode entitled 'A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms' is called 'Jenny of Oldstones'.
It refers to a peasant girl who married Prince Duncan Targaryen. Duncan was the eldest son of Aegon V and heir to the Iron Throne. He was also betrothed to a Baratheon daughter, but he forfeited his claim to the throne in order to marry for love. The story isn't touched upon in the show itself, but it is addressed in the novel, A Song of Ice and Fire.
Even in the novel, the full lyrics are never stated, but the ones which feature in season 8, episode 2 are as follows:
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 (x5)
The song's chilling lyrics likely refer to the Tragedy at Summerhall, which saw the Targaryens' summer retreat burn to the ground in flames.
King Aegon V, Duncan, his brother Aerys and others were present at Summerhall at the time, celebrating the imminent birth of Rhaegar Targaryen (son of the Mad King, Aerys II, and Rhaella).
It's suspected that the cause of the fire was Aegon's attempt to resurrect dragons through the help of pyromancers and sorcerers. Nearly everyone present at Summerhall died, which presumably included Jenny - hence the reference to her "ghost" - except for Rhaella, the Mad King and baby Rhaegar (AKA, Jon Snow's real father).
What do the lyrics mean?
In short, the song is about love and death - which is probably why David Benioff and D. B. Weiss thought it appropriate to include now. It also comes right before the scene where Jon Snow reveals to Daenerys that they are related. She naturally questions the truth behind it - ultimately, Jon's going by a vision Bran had and what Samwell read in an old book - but Jon appears to be more disturbed by the revelation, having kept his distance from Dany for most of the episode.
The lyrics and the story behind them, however, could also be a clue as to what Jon is going to do next, regarding his right to the Iron Throne and his love for Dany; like Duncan, he could very well give up his claim to rule the Seven Kingdoms for love, giving way to Queen Daenerys instead.
The reference to Jenny's "ghost" and how she "never wanted to leave" also seems to strike a chord with the looming threat of death.
It seems quite poignant that the original story about Duncan's demise took place at Summerhall, while in present day, we are likely to lose some of our heroes at Winterfell.
The song could well foreshadow what's to come in the battle against the White Walkers, also; if Summerhall went up in flames because of dragons, and killed all but a few Targaryens, Winterfell could well go up in ice flames because of the Wight dragon, leaving just a handful of survivors.
Did Florence Welch sing the end credits?
Over the years, Game of Thrones showrunners Benioff and Weiss have included the odd celebrity cameo - let's not forget THAT cringy Ed Sheeran appearance.
But the latest celebrity involvement was, thankfully, much more tasteful. Lead singer of Florence + The Machine, Florence Welch, sang her own rendition of 'Jenny of Oldstone' during the end credits of episode 2, season 8.