Game of Thrones season 8: Does 'Jenny's Song' reinforce Daenerys' visions about destruction of King's Landing?
What if Jenny's Song, as sung by Podrick in Game of Thrones’ season 8 episode 2, refers to Daenerys’ visions of a destroyed King's Landing?
Ever since Daniel Portman's beautiful baritone soared through the cavernous Great Hall of Winterfell, singing the haunting 'Jenny's Song', there has been speculation aplenty about what the lyrics portend with regards to the fates of the major characters.
Podrick sings the song at Tyrion's request, in the hours before Winterfell faces off against the Army of the Dead. Along with Pod and Tyrion are seated Brienne, Jaime, Ser Davos and Tormund — battle-weary, battle-hardened all. And yet, they are touched by Pod's song, which continues as we see Sam in bed with Gilly and Little Sam, Sansa with Theon, Arya resting by Gendry, Misandei saying goodbye to Grey Worm, before the melody runs out just as Daenerys approaches Jon in the crypts, standing before Lyanna Stark's tomb.
In the days since 'A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’ — Game of Thrones’ season 8 episode 2 — has aired, much has been said about the provenance of the song itself, and the “Jenny” it refers to.
To quickly recap: Jenny of Oldstones was a lovely commoner who Prince Duncan Targaryen — oldest son of King Aegon V, and heir to the Iron Throne — met as he made his way through the Riverlands. Duncan and Jenny fell in love, and he married her even though he was already betrothed to the daughter of Lord Lyonel Baratheon. Aegon V was not happy with the match, not least because it meant Duncan abdicated his claim to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Jenny was eventually accepted into the family, and the crown passed to Duncan's brother Jaehaerys II (father to Aerys II and grandfather to Daenerys Stormborn).
Jenny's tragedy is two-fold: She claimed descent from House Mudd, who counted themselves kings of the First Men, ruling for a thousand years until the onslaught of the Andals (who came to Westeros seeking refuge from the Valyrians in Essos). Oldstones was the Mudd kings’ family home. But the Mudds faded away, as did their once splendid castle, until all that was left, was ruins.
Jenny's future held a similar sorrow: along with Prince Duncan, she attended Aegon V's birthday celebrations at the Targaryen castle of Summerhall. This was the same celebration where Aegon V seemingly tried to hatch seven dragon eggs (the last dragons had died out during the reign of Aegon III) with the help of his pyromancers. The wildfire they used to attempt to hatch the eggs consumed the entire castle and nearly everyone in it. Except perhaps Jenny, whose fate remained unclear.
Fans naturally drew several implications from her story to draw conclusions about what 'Jenny's Song' would mean.
It might mean death for Jon, as the Duncan in this tale, who gave up his rightful claim to the Iron Throne for the sake of the woman he loved (Daenerys).
It might mean doom for everyone at Winterfell, with “hall of the kings who are gone” interpreted to mean the crypts where the Stark tombs lie — and where some momentous development is certain to take place over Game of Thrones' season 8 episode 3, as per the many clues the show has given us (for instance, the three-eyed raven repeatedly flying into the crypts in Bran's early dreams).
It also might say something of either Daenerys or Jon's status as the Princess/Prince Who Was Promised, since Jenny's friend and constant companion was a woods witch who prophesied that a child born of Aerys II and his sister Rhaella's line would be this prince (or princess). It was what prompted Jaehaerys II to wed his children — Aerys II and Rhaella — to each other, even though there was no love lost between the two siblings, and against his own father Aegon V's wishes.
But what if 'Jenny's Song' harks back to something Game of Thrones has already shown us?
What if it speaks specifically of the destruction of King's Landing, as foretold in Daenerys’ visions in the House of the Undying in Qarth?
For a full analysis of what Daenerys’ visions in the House of the Undying mean, and the Targaryen propensity for seeing dreams/visions of the future, read this piece.
The words of 'Jenny's Song' fit almost perfectly with the details of Daenerys’ vision. For instance:
“High in the halls of the kings who are gone” cannot, as some have opined, refer to the Winterfell crypts, for the simple reason that the crypts are subterranean. What does have a high hall of kings long gone? The Red Keep at King's Landing. Built atop Aegon's High Hill in the capital city, the Red Keep towers over the surrounding region. Seventeen male Targaryen kings — right up to Daenerys’ father, Aerys II — have sat in its Throne Room (the sole female Targaryen ruler — Queen Rhaenyra — is not included in this number). All the Targaryens, except for Daenerys and her nephew Aegon/Jon Snow, are now dead. All Daenerys has, are their ghosts:
The ones she had lost
Her parents and her brothers Rhaegar and Viserys
and the ones she had found
Jon — the nephew she didn't know she had
And the ones who had loved her the most
Her mother, Jon, perhaps even Viserys in his self-centered, twisted way
The ones who’d been gone for so very long
She couldn’t remember their names
All of her ancestors. And the clincher, like Jenny, Daenerys too is among the last descendants of a once great House that has since (nearly) been wiped out.
They danced through the day
And into the night through the snow that swept through the hall
From winter to summer then winter again
Till the walls did crumble and fall
The imagery of the second and fourth lines reflects what Daenerys saw in the House of the Undying: her walking through a ruined hall — the Throne Room of the Red Keep — as a soft snow (or ashes from dragonfire?) fell into it. The roof is gone, the walls are half broken, and the Iron Throne is covered lightly with snow. Daenerys reaches out to touch it, but turns away at the last minute, when she hears the cries of her dragons.
(Later, Bran has the exact same vision about the Throne Room, when he touches a weir tree beyond the Wall, not very far from Craster's Keep. So there is very little doubt that the end for King's Landing — with the Iron Throne as the symbol of ultimate power — is the endgame.)
Game of Thrones delights in taking from its characters that which they prize most:
It took from Ned Stark, at the very end of his life, his honour. He was forced to “confess” to treason he did not commit, to lie that Joffrey was Robert Baratheon's rightful heir — to protect Sansa.
It took from Catelyn her family; from Theon his manhood; from Sansa all of her romantic dreams and ideals; from Arya, the chance for vengeance on Joffrey; from Bran, his mobility; from Jaime, his sword hand; from Cersei, all of her children; from Stannis, any idea he had of himself as a just and righteous man.
Daenerys, who has made the conquest of the Iron Throne her ultimate aim, will find that it has slipped from her grasp.
And if 'Jenny's Song' — as sung by Podrick on the eve of a big battle — has foretold this, it would be a fitting statement. A statement about the pointlessness of war and the loss of many thousands of human lives in the pursuit of something as empty, ephemeral and fleeting as power.
While you're here, do tune in to the second episode of our Game of Thrones season 8 podcast — GoTcast. From Brienne's knighting to that Arya-Gendry hook-up, we discuss all the biggest moments.
Updated Date: Apr 25, 2019 19:53:05 IST
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