Game Of Thrones: The Real Meaning Of Podrick's Song

Game of Thrones Season 8 - Podrick's Song

Warning! SPOILERS ahead for Game of Thrones season 8, episode 2.

Game of Thrones season 8, episode 2 "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" focuses on all those gathered at Winterfell on the eve of battle. As they wait out the night before battle, Podrick Payne sings a beautifully sad ballad - but what song is it and what might it mean for the rest of season 8?

The final season of Game of Thrones is now in full swing, and though there are many theories which try to predict it, no one actually knows how the epic story will end. There a few things expected to happen, like next week's Battle of Winterfell and the final reveal of who will sit upon the Iron Throne (if anyone). But other than those few details, what's to come in Game of Thrones season 8 remains largely a mystery. However, the song Podrick is singing may be a clue.

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Related: Every Character Reunion in The Game of Thrones Season 8 Premiere

As they await the coming battle against the Night King and his army of the dead, several characters gather around a fire in one of Winterfell's halls: Tyrion, Jaime, Davos, Tormund, Brienne, and Podrick. Wanting to keep the evening going, Tyrion asks for a song. After most refuse, Podrick begins singing a slow and sorrowful song. The song then plays over scenes of how the many characters in Winterfell are spending what may be their final night, ending just before Jon reveals who he truly is to Daenerys. It's a beautiful song that perfectly fits the mood of the moment, but could there be a deeper meaning to why Podrick is singing this particular song?

What Song is Podrick Singing?

Tragedy at Summerhall Birth of Rhaegar Targaryen
The Tragedy at Summerhall and the Birth of Rhaegar Targaryen by Marc Simonetti

The song Podrick sings on the eve of battle in Game of Thrones season 8, episode 2 is known in the books as Jenny's song but the show has titled it, "Jenny of Oldstones". The song refers to Jenny of Oldstones, a peasant woman who marries Prince Duncan Targaryen. The eldest son of Aegon V, Duncan was heir to the Iron Throne and already betrothed to a Baratheon daughter, but he forfeited his claim to the throne by going against his father's wishes and marrying Jenny, the woman he loved. The full lyrics to Jenny's song never appear in the A Song of Ice of Fire novels, but for Game of Thrones, Podrick sings the full lyrics to "Jenny of Oldstones":

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 lyrics of the song likely refer to the Tragedy at Summerhall, a summer retreat for the Targaryens which was destroyed by a terrible fire. At the time of the fire, King Aegon V, Prince Duncan, and Ser Duncan the Tall, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, were all present as well as much of the court. They had gathered at Summerhall to celebrate the impending birth of Aegon V's great-grandchild - Rhaegar, who was born to Rhaella and Aerys (later crowned Aerys II and better known as the Mad King) on the very same day as the Tragedy. What exactly caused the fire isn't known, but it's suspected Aegon V had enlisted sorcerers and pyromancers in an attempt at resurrecting dragons and the ceremony went awry. Almost everyone present at Summerhall died in the fire - the King, Prince Duncan, the Lord Commander - with one of the few exceptions being Rhaella and her newborn son, Rhaegar.

Wilf Scolding as Rhaegar on Game of Thrones

With this in mind, it's possible that the lyrics of "Jenny of Oldstones" are in reference to Jenny's grief and pain over the death of her beloved husband. What happened to Jenny after Summerhall isn't known, so it's equally possibly she died in the fire as well and is then also one of the many ghosts in the song. In the novels, Jenny's song is first mentioned in A Storm of Swords when the Brotherhood Without Banners visit a woods witch known as the Ghost of High Hart (a tall hill near the ruins of Summerhall and once considered sacred by The Children of the Forest). They come to her to ask her about what she's seen in her dreams, believing them to contain prophecies. As payment, the Ghost asks that they sing for her Jenny's song.

This woods witch is thought to be the same woods witch who was a friend of Jenny's and joined her at court after she married Prince Duncan. While at court, the woods witch makes a prediction that the Prince That Was Promised will be born of Aerys and Rhaella's line, beginning in earnest the belief that this promised prince is their soon-to-be-born son, Rhaegar. As he grew older, Rhaegar would often visit the Summerhall ruins, bringing along his harp and composing sad songs - one which may, in fact, be Jenny's song, "Jenny of Oldstones". Though it's impossible to know for sure, it's entirely plausible that it was Rhaegar who first played the song for the Ghost at High Hart in memory of her long lost friend and all those who lost their lives in the tragedy.

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