Florence + The Machine – “Jenny Of Oldstones”

Game Of Thrones is a full-on dominant pop-cultural phenomenon. It is also a TV show set in some desolate medieval alternate reality. As such, it doesn’t have too many opportunities to intersect with popular music. There are tie-in products, of course: A soundtrack album, some guitars, Hodor’s DJing career. But within the world of the show itself, famous musicians have only made a few brief cameos: Ed Sheeran playing a wandering soldier (who actually gets to sing for a minute), Sigur Ròs making a cameo as wedding musicians, members of Mastodon showing up among the army of the dead. Up to this point, the show’s best-remembered musical moment is probably the end-credits moment where the National covered “The Rains Of Castamere,” a ballad from the show itself. We got another moment like that last night.

If you are reading this, you have probably already watched last night’s Game Of Thrones. Without spoiling anything, in case you haven’t, it’s a calm-before-the-storm moment, an hour spent with the show’s now-beloved character before they all head into battle. And there’s one scene in the episode where a bunch of those characters are sitting around a fire together, sharing a bonding moment. Podrick Payne, the inexplicably good-at-sex squire, sings a song called “Jenny Of Oldstones,” and it soundtracks a moving montage that reminded me of the scenes at the end of every season of The Wire. And at the end of the episode, we hear the song again. But this time, it’s Florence Welch singing.

Florence + The Machine, at the request of the Game Of Thrones shorunners, recorded a new version of “Jenny Of Oldstones,” a song adapted from the Game Of Thrones novels. George R.R. Martin wrote those lyrics, so he gets songwriting credit, along with score composer Ramin Djawadi and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (here credited as Dan Weiss). Florence is the only artist featured on this final season of Game Of Thrones. Thomas Bartlett, also known as Doveman, produced the Florence version of the song, and you can hear it below.

Of the song, Benioff and Weiss say:

We’ve always been huge fans of Florence’s music, and the Season 2 trailer with her song “Seven Devils” was possibly the most powerful we’ve ever had. So the opportunity to hear her otherworldly voice on our show was always at the forefront of our minds. We’re still pleasantly shocked that she agreed to sing “Jenny of Oldstones,” and we’re in love with the result.

And Welch says:

When I first heard the song it sounded like a Celtic lullaby to me. 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. I am honoured to be a part of the final season.

Game Of Thrones is back on Sunday, and shit is going down.