My thoughts on “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”

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A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

There are lots of sites that recap Game of Thrones the morning after. Rather than follow suit, let’s instead try and unlock one of the more interesting moments of the episode…

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As our heroes spent what for many of them will be their last night among the living, Podrick Payne sang a haunting tune, Jenny’s Song, or Jenny of Old Stones.

Let’s have a look at the full lyrics:

High in the halls of the kings who are gone
Jenny would dance with her ghosts
The ones she had lost and the ones she had found
And the ones who had loved her the most

The ones who’d been gone for so very long
She couldn’t remember their names
They spun her around on the damp old stones
Spun away all her sorrow and pain

And she never wanted to leave, never wanted to leave
Never wanted to leave, never wanted to leave

They danced through the day
And into the night through the snow that swept through the hall
From winter to summer then winter again
Til the walls did crumble and fall

And she never wanted to leave, never wanted to leave
Never wanted to leave, never wanted to leave
And she never wanted to leave, never wanted to leave
Never wanted to leave, never wanted to leave

—  —

George R.R. Martin made many allusions to the song, but only a small snigglet appeared in print. Yet, the song sheds some interesting light on happened before and what might lie ahead.

In Dance of Dragons, Martin wrote, “The Prince of Dragonflies loved Jenny of Oldstones so much he cast aside a crown, and Westeros paid the price in corpses.”

Now the Prince of Dragonflies was Duncan Targaryen, son of “Egg” of the Dunk and Egg stories, and named after Aegon’s best friend, Ser Duncan the Tall.

The quote above, from Ser Barristan Selmy to Daenerys’ ears refers to the Prince and heir to the Iron Throne’s abdication of the crown that he might wed a commoner, Jenny. Which in turn led to the Tragedy of Summerhall and the eventual crowning of Aeyrs II, Dany’s father, the Mad King.

The Tragedy of Summerhall was connected with King Aegon’s desire to restore dragons to the Seven Kingdoms. Aegon had summoned those closest to him to Summerhall to celebrate the impending birth of his first great-grandchild to Aerys II and Rhaella, the children of Aegon’s heir Prince Jaehaerys. That child was Rhaegar, Jon Snow’s father.

In any event, something went horribly wrong. Many died, and fire destroyed the castle, leaving it a ruin. Among the dead were King Aegon V, Prince Duncan and his wife Jenny, and Ser Duncan the Tall. Princess Rhaella survived, along with Prince Rhaegar, thanks to the heroics of Ser Duncan.

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There was another survivor, a woods witch and dear friend of Jenny’s of Oldstones. She is presumably the ghost of High Heart, who speaks of having “gorged on grief at Summerhall” and bereaves “my Jenny”.

The woods witch had predicted that the Prince That Was Promised would come from the line of Aerys II and Rhaella Targaryen— thus King Jaehaerys II commanded they be married.

Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, who was born at Summerhall amongst the flames, often returned there alone. He would sleep under the stars in the ruined hall and compose songs on his harp about “twilights and tears and the death of kings.”

Some believe Jenny’s Song was written by Rhaegar on one of those nights. When he sung it at the Tourney of Harrenhal, it made Lyanna Stark weep and sparked the love affair that launched Robert’s Rebellion.

That’s a lot tied up in one song…

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As for the episode, it was an emotional and poignant glimpse into the events prior to what is sure to be one of the most epic battles in Westeros history. Many of the faces we lingered on will not be with us after the third episode.

Some of my favorite moments were Jaime and Tyrion’s conversations, the meeting between Jorah and Lady Lyanna Mormont, and that which gave the episode its title, the knighting of Ser Brienne of Tarth.

“In the name of the Warrior, I charge you to be brave. In the name of the Father, I charge you to be just. In the name of the Mother, I charge you to defend the innocent. Arise, Brienne of Tarth, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” — Ser Jaime Lannister

So many are going to die next week. I predict our heroes will be defeated and sent fleeing from Winterfell. While I don’t think we’ll see any of the main cast fall, I would not be surprised if we lose Brienne and Pod, Jorah, Gendry, Edd, and more…

Only four episodes remain. Who will live? Who will die? And how will Dany react to the revelation that Jon has a stronger claim to the Iron Throne than she?

I am anxious to find out, but I don’t want this to all end too quickly. I mean, who knows how much longer we’ll need to wait for Martin to conclude the story for us…

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