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How Podrick's Song Reveals Jon Snow's Fate

In the midst of the final season of HBO's massive hit series Game of Thrones is well underway, there's no more time for insignificant details. From the reappearance of Ghost to Cersei's returning wine habit and everyone on the show insisting that the crypts are "the safest place" in Winterfell, even the smallest moments featured in the early episodes of season eight have the utmost importance as audiences move into the final act of Thrones — and the show's musical cues are no exception.

Songs have long been an important parts of the Thrones universe — many characters have a theme of their own, and who can forget the importance of tunes like "The Rains of Castamere" — and "Jenny's Song," which was featured prominently in the second episode of season eight, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," can now join the ranks. From how it might affect some of our heroes to how it relates to the mythology of Westeros, here's why "Jenny's Song" could be vitally important as Game of Thrones arrives at its epic conclusion.

What's the song, and why was it in the show?

The second episode of the eighth season dispensed with gut-wrenching action and enormous battle set pieces in favor of a quieter, more thoughtful hour spent with some fan favorite characters, many of whom may not make it much past dawn once the White Walkers arrive at Winterfell — including Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), his brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), and squire Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman). On the eve of the largest battle of any of their lives, our protagonists, set to face off against the Army of the Dead, drink around the fire. Eventually, Tyrion asks if anybody knows any songs; Podrick, always eager to please, delivers.

Podrick's song, which he sings without music to a silent and contemplative audience, then plays over footage of several other characters, including Arya, Gilly and Sam, as everybody prepares for the dawn. Reminiscent of Lord of the Rings' similar musical sequence, it makes it clear that this solemn song will set the stage for the battle to come.

Covered by a Machine

Though the song appears in the episode, it makes one more appearance: a cover plays over the episode's end credits, performed by Florence & The Machine, fronted by Florence Welch and her famously haunting singing voice. Welch and her band have been in demand for Thrones since the very beginning — during the second season of the show, creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss reached out to Welch and her band and asked them to perform "The Rains of Castamere" at the Red Wedding, but she turned down the opportunity. (One of her own songs, "Seven Devils," was used in a season two trailer for Thrones as well.)

A self-professed fan of the show, Welch was excited to be a part of Thrones' final season, recording a sultry, mysterious cover of "Jenny's Song," that provides a stark (pun intended) contrast to Podrick's performance. Thanks to a full recording, fans have even more to pore over after the second episode.

A deep dive into the lyrics

So what's the deal with this song? Why does it matter so much, and what do the lyrics even really mean? Well, the song obviously centers around a woman named Jenny, who leads a seemingly lonely life; she spends her time "dancing with her ghosts" while she's "high in the halls of the kings who were gone," and according to the song, even though she's found those who love her, she's also lost plenty of people she's loved. These ghosts are still keeping her company, but she's still lost and alone, and is no longer even able to remember some of the names of those she's loved and lost.

Even though the ghosts "[spin] her around on the damp, cold stone" and "[spin] away her sorrow and pain," Jenny still can't be with any of these loved ones who have moved on to an entirely different realm, giving the entire song a distinctly melancholy feel — which really isn't unusual or out of the question for a frequently dark show like Game of Thrones.

Who's Jenny? She said, and smiled in her special way

At this point, you might be wondering why you should even care about this mysterious Jenny, but she has a lot more bearing on the series as a whole than anyone might have imagined. The song itself can be traced back to the books, and was the favorite tune of one specific performer known as the Ghost of High Heart, a witch who happened to have plenty of very prophetic dreams. Jenny was a friend of hers, and at one point, she found herself in a bit of a romantic predicament when she fell in love with Duncan Targaryen, whose name might be a bit unfamiliar to those who haven't read the books. (The show streamlines the Targaryen family tree, presumably to make things slightly less confusing; Duncan is Aerys II Targaryen's uncle in the books, but his brother in the show's lore.)

Duncan eventually gave up his throne to marry Jenny, who was a descendant of the First Men (basically an old-timey version of a Northerner), which ended up putting Aerys II on the throne, and since everyone knows what happened once the Mad King took control, Duncan's decision to choose love over title clearly had some serious implications.

A precursor to another star-crossed couple

Duncan and Jenny's story brings to mind another famously star-crossed couple who married despite the odds and influenced Westerosi history. In the past couple of seasons, viewers have become familiar with the story of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, a couple that set off much of the conflict that exists in Westeros today. Many, including the Stark and Targaryen families, believed for years that Rhaegar raped Lyanna and stole her away from her fiancé, Robert Targaryen, who ended up waging a war on her behalf known as Robert's Rebellion — but in truth, Lyanna and Rhaegar were deeply in love and legally married. (In fact, Rhaegar broke off his own relationship with Elia Martell of Dorne, whose name viewers might remember thanks to her brother Oberyn.)

Considering that Duncan broke off his own engagement to marry Jenny, which also led to him losing his crown, there's no denying the significant similarities between Duncan and his nephew Rhaegar, considering that their actions had huge implications long after their deaths. Rhaegar might have even been inspired by his own life, since lore suggests that he wrote the song (and performing it made Lyanna fall in love with him), adding yet another layer to the tune as well as the Targaryen bloodline.

Connections to Jon and Daenerys

With the connections to Rhaegar and Lyanna, it's also only natural that the song would connect to two of the show's longest-running and most beloved characters: Daenerys Targaryen (Rhaegar's sister) and Jon Snow (whose actual name is Aegon Targaryen, as the legitimate son of Rhaegar and Lyanna). Recently, these two crazy kids struck up an intense (and awkwardly carnal) relationship without knowing that they were actually related, but with two episodes of the final season underway, everyone has been informed, with Jon telling Daenerys that he's actually her nephew (as well as the closest heir to the Iron Throne) just before the Battle of Winterfell commences.

Besides the extremely obvious initial connections, Duncan and Jenny are not only connected to Jon and Daenerys by blood, but by history, since these two characters are yet another generation of Targaryens and Northerners who joined forces and fell in love in the unlikeliest of circumstances. Clearly, history is doomed to repeat itself, and judging by their predecessors, Jon and Daenerys aren't looking at an ideal outcome either.

The importance of 'remembering names'

The lyrics to "Jenny's Song" are relatively brief, but considering all of them are repeated several times, it's clear that each line is important. One of the most crucial pieces of information about Jenny is that, even as she dances with her ghosts, craving their company, she has trouble remembering their names.

The importance of names is lost on nobody when it comes to Game of Thrones, a show that is largely focused on titles, but considering that one of the main characters recently learned his real name, Jenny not "remembering names" feels even more significant. Jon has spent seven seasons believing he was nothing more than a Northern bastard, but he finally learned in the eighth season premiere that he's actually half Stark and half Targaryen, which makes him higher-born than most and gives him an extremely legitimate claim to the Iron Throne. It's hard to avoid noticing the parallels between Jenny's anguish and Jon's own agonizing choices, all tied up in the choices of those who came before.

How it all connects to the prophecy

Of course, this all comes back to one of the show's most important prophecies, which refers to Azor Ahai, also known as the "Prince who was Promised" (though, thanks to gender-neutral languages in Thrones, this could potentially refer to a woman as well). Melisandre, the Red Witch, has been one of the biggest champions of this prophecy, which refers to a legendary warrior who must make the ultimate sacrifice in order to summon a sword called Lightbringer, which may be the key in taking down the Night King and completely defeating the oncoming threat of the White Walkers.

At this point, many viewers believe that either Jon or Daenerys is the one who was promised, thanks to their names, histories, manners of their birth, and the circumstances of their respective "rebirths." However, this song may complicate the prophecy, since it also said that the Prince(ss) who was promised would come from the line of Aerys Targaryen — since this applies to both Jon and Daenerys, it muddles the identity of Westeros' ultimate savior.

The importance of ghosts

The loss of loved ones and the imprint they've left upon Westeros has factored into Game of Thrones in a huge way, but the ghosts referenced in the song may also refer to a huge development in the show's third episode, when the Army of the Dead storms Winterfell in one of the biggest battles to date. Dancing with ghosts in old empty halls is all well and good, but imagine what happens when those ghosts have been raised by an evil undead king and used against you.

The biggest theory going into the Battle of Winterfell is that the crypts, which were frequently described as the safest place to be during the second episode of the eighth season, will actually be a hotbed of horror once the Night King arrives, considering that one swoop of his hand can raise entire armies of the dead. If defenseless women and children are stuck underground in the crypts, it's possible that they'll be the first to go once the dead of Winterfell rise to fight again — and considering that the dead there include royalty as well as many members of the Stark family, it could be a horrific version of the seemingly kind and benevolent "ghosts" from Jenny's song.

Jon's loved ones might be in danger

The past two seasons of Game of Thrones have seen several beloved characters returning to their roots and accomplishing goals along the way, including Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), who has grown from a tempestuous tomboy to a killer capable of holding her own against some of the best fighters in the Seven Kingdoms. Her reunion with Jon Snow in the eighth season was one of the series' most emotional moments to date.

However, some fans think that "Jenny's Song" holds an especially bad omen for Arya, who is now back at Winterfell having accomplished many of her goals — she's crossed off a number of names on her death list and bedded Gendry, her childhood crush. Since "Jenny's Song" plays over other characters that fans believe are marked for death in the third episode thanks to their completed arcs, Arya may be on the chopping block as well, and it's possible that the way she goes could be even more horrifying. Some fans believe this is the way the show will introduce Lady Stoneheart — the vengeful resurrected version of her mother, Catelyn Stark. Since Arya has been seen in trailers running through the crypts looking utterly horrified, this upsetting theory might not be far off the mark.

A prediction?

With a battle of undead soldiers at their doorstep, Jon's confession to Daenerys about his true heritage might have been the most startling moment to date for the Mother of Dragons, who realized that the man she loves (and the man she has pledged to help in battle) has a better claim to the Iron Throne and could possibly overthrow her. Since the show's early seasons, Daenerys has been single-minded in her quest to win the Iron Throne, sometimes to her detriment, and anyone who stands in her way should definitely tread carefully.

With theories running rampant about Daenerys turning into the Mad Queen, it seems ill advised for her to take the throne, leaving some viewers hoping that she'll follow in Duncan Targaryen's footsteps and give up her claim. However, as the more direct heir, the throne is Jon's to give away, and it's possible that he'll allow her to take power in his stead while he peacefully returns to the North. If past Game of Thrones storylines are anything to go by, there's a potentially lethal conflict on the horizon — here's hoping Jon doesn't end up going the way of the Tarly family.