Download New Music: Florence + The Machine – Jenny of Oldstones (Game of Thrones)
Florence + The Machine comes through with a brand new smashing hot and dope single track entitled “Jenny of Oldstones (Game of Thrones)“. At the end of “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”—Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2—a contemporary band performed end-credits music, apparently for the last time. This Thrones micro-tradition—previously upheld by the National and the Hold Steady—came to a close with Florence and the Machine, who performed the haunting ballad “Jenny of Oldstones”—a fabled song about a doomed woman who had an affair with Prince Duncan Targaryen. In an interview with The New York Times, Machine lead singer Florence Welch revealed that when David Benioff and D.B. Weiss approached her for the gig, she had basically no idea what the song was about or how it was going to be used on the series.
“To be honest, they keep such a tight ship on Game of Thrones, they didn’t tell us what the visual would be,” Welch said. “We weren’t told what’s going to happen in the episode. We weren’t even told what the episode is called. It was all so top secret, so cloak-and-dagger!”
The song is also performed in the episode itself by Podrick (Daniel Portman), after Tyrion asks someone to sing ahead of the imminent Battle of Winterfell. Lyrically, it’s about a woman who wants to dance her life away with ghosts, but as Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson explains, the song has much deeper meaning in the George R.R. Martin books; its use in the show, then, seems to foreshadow a lot of doom and gloom for some of our favorite characters. (Although this is Thrones we’re talking about—doom and gloom for beloved characters is the gig!)
Had she known the true story behind the song, Welch said, she might have made the tune more dramatic. “I would have been like, ‘[Expletive], we need fanfares, and you’re going to have to get a dragon on here somehow,’” she said. “I might have—as I can do sometimes—overblown it. So I’m glad I didn’t know then, but I’m glad to know now.”
When Welch began working on the song, Benioff and Weiss sent her a simple melody to work with. “The notes of it sounded like a Celtic folk song to me,” Welch said. “I thought it was really beautiful.” The chords were partly written by Thomas Bartlett, who also worked with Welch on the fourth Florence and the Machine album, High as Hope.
“He’s a piano genius,” Welch said. “He helped formulate the chords, and then I kind of added my choir, my hellish soprano. We just tried to keep within the Game of Thrones world, to retain the ghostliness of it.”
Funnily enough, had Benioff and Weiss had their way, Florence and the Machine would have performed a much different song for the show: “The Rains of Castamere,” in Season 2. The group declined their offer at the time, though in the Times interview, Welch revealed she didn’t even remember turning down that opportunity.
“I think that was during my quote-unquote wild years,” she said. “If I’m being super honest, there are a lot of things that are a bit blurry. I wasn’t as . . . involved, or, shall we say, as focused as I am now. . . . I’m glad that they came back to me. I feel really touched to be on the last season, to be the last singer. And I’m grateful that I get to be a bit more present for it, to celebrate the ending of Game of Thrones in a clear place. Game of Thrones may have just dropped a major hint about whether Jon Snow or Daenerys Tagaryen might have to choose between each other and the Iron Throne after the war.
It all starts with that miserable-sounding tune Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) sang during “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” the second episode of season 8. The song, as imagined by Florence and the Machine, also plays over the episode’s closing credits.
It’s called “Jenny’s Song,” and fans of the books were quick to recognize it from A Storm of Swords, installment number three of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books. It pops up a number of times, the most prominent of which is when Arya hears it during her time with the Brotherhood Without Banners. During the episode, Tyrion, Jaime, Brienne, Podrick, Davos, and Tormund are drinking by the fire as they mentally prepare for the coming battle. After all, the group is sure they’ll die fighting the next day. Always happy to try to lighten the mood over a drink with friends, Tyrion asks if anyone knows a song.
That’s when Podrick starts singing “Jenny’s Song.”
Game of Thrones has used music as a storytelling device throughout the entire series. Look no further than “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” for a song that tipped a hat to Jaime and Brienne. And remember “The Rains of Castamere” from the Red Wedding. This is the kind of song(s) you wouldn’t want to miss on your playlist.
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