"Jenny's Song" Is an Omen for the Battle of Winterfell in 'Game of Thrones'

Podrick's beautiful rendition of "Jenny of Oldstones" may signal doom and gloom for the Battle of Winterfell.

She never wanted to leave. In the second episode of Game of Thrones Season 8, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” Ser Brienne of Tarth’s squire, Podrick (Daniel Portman), regales his inebriated companions with a touching rendition of “Jenny of Oldstones,” a song with poetic lyrics loaded with Westeros history. (English singer Florence Welch, of the band Florence and the Machine, performs a cover that’s played during the episode’s closing credits.)

While the song guesses at the fate of Jenny of Oldstones, an influential yet unseen figure in Game of Thrones, the lyrics might also serve as an omen to a dark twist in the coming Battle of Winterfell.

Only minor, potential spoilers for Game of Thrones ahead.

“Jenny of Oldstones,” also known as “Jenny’s Song,” tells the story of its titular character. A little over 50 years before the events of Game of Thrones, Jenny was a no-name commoner who captured the heart of Prince Duncan Targaryen. The two married against the wishes of Duncan’s father, King Aegon V Targaryen, in a calamitous union that would lead to all the tension and bloodshed that’s played throughout George R. R. Martin’s saga.

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“Jenny’s Song,” introduced as a “soft and sad” song in the book A Storm of Swords, honors its subject, who was beloved by the common folk as a figure who came from nothing and ascended into royalty. While Duncan died in the Tragedy at Summerhall, Jenny’s fate is unknown. This song, with mysterious origins in Martin’s novels, is just a guess at what became of Jenny of Oldstones.

In the books, the song is initially heard by Arya Stark when she’s taken to meet the ghost of High Heart. Only the first line is revealed: “High in the halls of the kings who are gone, Jenny would dance with her ghosts.”

The HBO series, with Podrick’s singing, reveals the full lyrics for the first time.

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

(The outro of the song repeats the opening verse acapella.)

Now, as Game of Thrones comes to a close, “Jenny of Oldstones” gives fans, and the characters who inhabit this universe, a moment to reflect on the events that got them to this point. “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” is pretty much fan service of the highest order, as the episode closes out many (though not all) dangling character arcs and story threads.

But looking at the lyrics of “Jenny of Oldstones,” its imagery strongly alludes to the coming Battle of Winterfell. A popular theory speculates that the Night King will raise the dead inside the tombs of Winterfell as his trojan horse to destroy Winterfell where it hurts.

A close look at the lyrics of “Jenny of Oldstones” says as much: “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 into the night through the snow that swept through the hall … Til the walls did crumble and fall.”

Let’s take a closer look at Jenny and break down how “Jenny of Oldstones” reveals the potentially tragic end of Jon Snow’s battle with the Night King’s army.

Game of Thrones Winterfell Jennys Song
Winter has come to Winterfell, from Season 8, Episode 2 of 'Game of Thrones'.

Who Was Jenny of Oldstones?

Little is known about Jenny of Oldstones herself. Rumor has it that Jenny descended from the ancient kings of the First Men, but because they were wiped out 6,000 years ago during the Andal Invasion, there is no way of knowing if Jenny was, in fact, of the Oldstones ruins.

In the novel A Dance With Dragons, Jenny was informed of her alleged heritage by the same woods witch who prophesied the Prince That Was Promised, in which a savior will be born of a song of ice and fire.

Oldstones or not, Jenny was a nobody whom Prince Duncan, heir to the Iron Throne, fell in love with. This was unacceptable to King Aegon V, who had promised Duncan to a daughter of Lord Lyonel Baratheon. Marrying plain Jenny, who spoke nonsense about her ancient bloodline, put the kibosh on those plans, and so the Baratheons rebelled.

While the Baratheons were defeated (this time), the rebellion allowed the sickly Jaehaerys II Targaryen to assume the throne. Dying shortly afterward, Jaehaerys’ son, Aerys II, took over as the new king. You might know King Aerys II by his more infamous moniker: the Mad King, whom Jaime Lannister betrayed in the Sack of King’s Landing.

In essence, all the problems that Westeros faces — deeply divided houses, exiled Targaryens who now command dragons, and an equally mad Cersei sitting atop the Iron Throne — go back to a case of forbidden love.

How “Jenny of Oldstones” Reveals a Battle of Winterfell Twist

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Game of Thrones is also facing its own case of a problematic union. It isn’t a mistake that Podrick stops singing right when Daenerys meets her lover-slash-nephew, Jon Snow, right in the tombs of Winterfell, or, “in the halls of the kings who are gone.”

Should the Night King raise the dead inside Winterfell (“Jenny would dance with her ghosts,” and “into the night through the snow that swept through the hall”), the surviving Starks will be forced to face the ones they had lost, the ones they’ve loved, and the ones who loved them the most until perhaps the walls crumble and fall.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.