In this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”, we got an emotionally resonant episode that saw most of our main and secondary characters gathered at Winterfell on the eve of a huge battle with the Night King and his army of wights. The deep connections and history running through this episode were mostly tied to the history of the characters in the show, but one thing drew from a much deeper history; Pod singing “Jenny’s Song” while he and other warriors were gathered around the fire in Winterfell’s great hall.
Jenny of Oldstones is a nod to some deep Targaryen lore directly in the lineage of both Daenerys and Jon. Jenny herself was not a Targaryen, she was rumored to be descended from the First Men, but she married Duncan Targaryen against the wishes of his father King Aegon. Duncan was so taken with Jenny that he renounced his claim on the Iron Throne to be with her, which means that the crown fell to his younger brother Jaehaerys. Jaehaerys was the father of Aerys, Daenerys’s father and Jon’s grandfather.
Even though they weren’t directly related, the marriage that produced Rhaegar and Daenerys can be traced to Jenny. She brought a woods witch with her to court and that witch prophesied that The Prince That Was Promised would be born from the union of Aerys and his sister Princess Rhaella. Jaehaerys arranged the marriage of his children after he heard this prophecy, leading directly to the births of Daenerys and Jon. Jenny and Duncan died in the disaster at Summerhall, which took place the same day that Rhaegar was born. Some readers even believe that Rhaegar wrote the song “Jenny’s Song” and that it’s the song that won over Lyanna’s heart at the Tourney at Harrenhal.
There are other deeper connections in the books. Jenny’s woods witch is believed to be The Ghost of High Heart, who met Arya when she was traveling the Riverlands with the Brotherhood Without Banners. She told them a prophecy that seemed to foretell the deaths of Balon Greyjoy, Catelyn Stark, Robb Stark, and Joffrey Baratheon. She also said specifically to Arya that she smelled of death, before Arya left Westeros to train at the House of Black and White. Even further back, Duncan Targaryen, who was Jenny’s husband, was named for Ser Duncan the Tall from the comic series A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. That was also the title of this week’s episode when Brienne, a distant relation of Ser Duncan the Tall, was knighted. Duncan Targaryen was also the nephew of Aemon Targaryen, Maester Aemon of the Night’s Watch.
Given how few episodes are left, these nods to the deeper mythology of Westeros are likely just easter eggs for book readers. But this isn’t the first time some connections to deep Targaryen history have popped up this season, the presence of The Golden Company is also tied to the history of the Targaryens and conflicts within the family. It remains to be seen how the tension between Jon and Dany will play out after the battle of Winterfell, but the story of the Targaryens is not a happy one.
Header Image Source: HBO