As the Game of Thrones episode "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" came to a close on April 21, 2019 viewers heard the voice of Florence Welch sing this haunting Celtic melody over the closing credits.
High in the halls of the kings who are gone
Jenny would dance with her ghost
The ones she had lost and the ones she had found
And the ones who had loved her the most
The folk ballad is about the "strange, lovely, and mysterious" commoner "Jenny of Oldstones" who was a character created by George R. R. Martin for his A Song of Ice and Fire book series. The song tells of her doomed affair with Prince Duncan Targaryen, who gave up his throne for the woman he loved.
The song was written by Martin along with Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi and the show's creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
The entire "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" episode is dedicated to the buildup before the battle at Winterfell between the living and the dead. Another version of "Jenny of Oldstones" was sung a cappella by the character Podrick Payne, portrayed by Scottish actor Daniel Portman Podrick, earlier on, as he and many of his friends drink by the fire before the upcoming battle. His rendition is known as "Jenny's Song."
Florence + the Machine frontwoman Florence Welch was personally approached by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, for the song and is the only artist to officially soundtrack part of the Game of Throne
's final season. Other artists that have had songs played over the closing credits include the National ("The Rains of Castamere") and the Hold Steady ("The Bear With The Maiden Fair
When David Benioff and D.B. Weiss approached Florence Welch to record "Jenny of Oldstones", she had little idea what the tune was about or how it was going to be used on the series. "When I first heard the song it sounded like a Celtic lullaby to me," she said. "Celtic music has always been in my blood, so I felt like I could do something with it. The magic and ritual in Game of Thrones, not to mention the costumes, have always appealed to me."
Had she known the true story behind the song, Welch might have made the tune more dramatic. "I would have been like, '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."
Welch worked on the song with Thomas "Doveman" Bartlett, who also collaborated with her on the fourth Florence and the Machine album, High as Hope. "He's a piano genius," she 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."
The song set a record as the most Shazamed track ever in its first 24 hours after release. Approximately 300,000 hits were recorded on the music recognition app worldwide in the 24 hours following its appearance on Game of Thrones
. The previous record was held by Adele's "Hello
" single in October 2015 which was Shazamed over 200,000 times in its first 24 hours.