Florence Welch croons on Game of Thrones with Jenny of Oldstones
The keen-eared amongst Florence + the Machine, and Game of Thrones fans alike, may have a heard a familiar voice singing at the end of the season 8 episode 2 into the credits.
None other than our very own Florence Welch was approached by David Benioff and Daniel Weiss, who have produced and written the final season of Game of Thrones, to work with the show’s musical composer Ramin Djawadi on a song he had written titled ‘Jenny of Oldstones’. The haunting song first appears within the episode itself, sung by Podrick, and then again by Florence in the credits.
According to the show’s producers, Florence was approached by them to sing ‘The Rains of Castamere’ in previous seasons, but Florence turned down the offer. The band’s music was also used for the season 2 trailer (Seven Devils), and so the producers are clearly big fans. This time, Florence was delighted that she was chosen to sing the track. Speaking about the opportunity, Florence said:
The notes of [the song] sounded like a Celtic folk song to me. I thought it was really beautiful. I love the idea of dancing with ghosts and never wanting to leave. That totally makes sense to me. I feel like I do that every night on stage.
I worked with Thomas Bartlett on “High as Hope,” and he’s a piano genius. 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.
What I wanted to do with this song was keep it as sparse as possible. It does get a bit more rousing at the end, but I really wanted to retain the simplicity of the melody and the lyrics that they sent me, because I found them so moving. If I had known the history of the song, I would have been like, “[Expletive], we need fanfares, and you’re going to have to get a dragon on here somehow.” 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. You want the beauty and the fragility in there as well. I would have made it too big, if I had known just how [expletive] big it is!
The song itself is in direct reference to George R. R. Martin’s fantastical world. In the novels, it is mentioned that Jenny was a peasant girl who won the heart of Prince Duncan Targaryen. Duncan eventually married her, against his father’s wishes. Because of this, Duncan had to abdicate his title as Prince of Dragonstone and release his claim to the Iron Throne. This made his nephew, Aerys II (later known as the “Mad King”) the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. During the tragedy at Summerhall, King Aegon V Targaryen (Duncan’s father) tried to hatch a clutch of dragon eggs. Somehow, a fire started and consumed the pleasure palace, killing him, Prince Duncan, the Lord Commander of the King’s Guard, and many others in his court.
Florence + the Machine also recently debuting the song live on the second leg of their US High As Hope Tour, which you can watch below.