NOTE: This article contains spoilers about Game of Thrones. Please read at your own discretion.
After an insanely long hiatus, Game of Thrones returns to HBO this week with a six-episode eighth season that promises to condense all 5,000 separate plotlines into just two: Jon and Daenerys vs. Cersei and Euron and the White Walkers vs. humanity.
Still, there are so many questions. Will Jon realize that Dany is actually his aunt? What will become of Arya after she killed Littlefinger? Where will Jamie go now that he’s left Cersei? Who will finally end up on the Iron Throne? And where and when will the final battle with the White Walkers take place? Remember that they now have their own zombie dragon.
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David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are GoT co-creators and keepers of the show’s greatest secrets. Last week, they trolled fans with a specially-curated 50-song Spotify playlist they say is loaded with clues about what will happen during the final season, including how the GoT will ultimately end.
In the Spotify press release, they say, “The answer to the ending is one hundred percent hidden in the playlist choices. No one will believe us, but it’s true.”
So what can we divine from Game of Thrones: The End is Coming? Let’s try to deconstruct a few things, keeping in mind we need to examine everything from song titles and lyrics to the names of the artists and members of the bands. And there’s no guarantee that these songs give away any secrets based on the order in which they appear.
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I take no responsibility for the accuracy (or lack thereof) of any of the following analysis. But if you do, please let me know.
- Sleep Now in the Fire – Rage Against Machine: The lyrics refer to “the end of history.” Probably a nod to the coming battle with the White Walkers.
- Her Black Wings – Danzig: Gotta be about Cersei. “Blackest of the black/Darker than night/Come to me my bleeding light/See she comes/She comes now/Enter oblivion.”
- Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin: With lyrics like “We come from the land of ice and snow,” this could be the White Walkers’ anthem. But wait! The WWs don’t have the “the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.” Could this be a reference to Jon Snow’s Winterfell army as they “fight the horde, singing and crying?”
- The End – The Doors: Too many father-mother-son dynamics for me to unpack here.
- Girl from the North Country – Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash: My money is that this is supposed to tell us something about Arya and her place at Winterfell, the ancestral home of House Stark. It’s her home, after all.
- Mama Kin – Guns N’ Roses: Why the GnR version and not the original Aerosmith recording? Interesting…
- Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes: Aha! The Seven Kingdoms unite to fight the White Walkers! Or is that too obvious? And is there any significance to the fact that this is the seventh song on the playlist?
- Howlin’ for You – Black Keys: “Da da, da da, da.” Of course! Or maybe we’re talking about howling wolves.
- War- Grandson: “And it’s war in the east/War in the west/War up north/War down south/Everywhere is war.” Pretty self-explanatory.
- Let Me Live/Let Me Die – Des Rocs: “Back from the dead/See your eyes, got nothing left/Kiss me, I am the colder/It’s killing time.”
- Flugufresarinn/Sigur Ros: No clue what they’re singing here because it’s all in Icelandic. A nod to the Dothraki? Or maybe it has to do with the fact that Sigur Ros is from Iceland (“the land of ice).
- Fire – Barns Courtney: Fire bad, especially if it’s coming from the mouth of a dragon.
- Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea – MISSIO: Somebody’s boat is gonna sink.
- Wave of Mutilation – Pixies: That someone will die a horrible gory death is guaranteed. But who?
- Wolf Like Me – TV on the Radio: Dire wolves to the rescue?
- Power – Kanye West: “They can’t stop us, the prophets, biatches!”
- Let’s Have a War – Fear: Yes. Let’s.
- Powa – Tune-Yards: Plenty of talk about sex from a woman’s point of view. I’m lost.
- Listen to the Lion – Van Morrison: Lots of references to sailing “All around the world, looking for a brand new start.”
- Cold Cold Cold – Cage the Lion: Yeah, we get it. Winter is here.
- No One Knows – Queens of the Stone Age: “Dead lifeboats in the sun.” Hmm. Or could this be a clue to the fate of some queen? If so, which one?
- Wolves of Winter – Biffy Clyro: More dire wolves. Gotta be.
- Go to War – Nothing More: Well, we knew there was going to be a fight.
- Little Monster – Royal Blood: I really want this to be about Tyrion. Note the name of the band, too.
- Burn the Fleet – Thrice: Someone’s definitely gonna sink.
- Sister – Prince: “My sister never made love to anyone else but me.” Clearly about Cersei and Jamie. The whole song is about incest.
- Dire Wolf – Grateful Dead: OK, we get it. Dire wolves are going to play a big part this season.
- Devil’s Spoke – Laura Marling: Sounds like a couple will be marooned somewhere hoping for rescue. Maybe.
- Queen – Perfume Genius: “No family is safe/When I sashay.” Uh-oh.
- Cruel – St. Vincent: Flugufresarinn”How could they be so casually cruel?” Who?
- Crown on the Ground – Sleigh Bells: Someone is gonna lose their head.
- Mother – The Amazons: “Friends wanna kill me/But I give them all my loving anyway.” Betrayal!
- Hot Blood – Kaleo: A song that encourages seeking revenge.
- War Pigs – Black Sabbath: The whole song deals with the eve of an apocalyptic battle.
- Dead Skin Mask – SLAYER: I don’t even want to contemplate what this means.
- Killer Wolf – Danzig: A second Danzig song. And more dire wolves. An examination of the lyrics might lead us to believe that we’ll be seeing more of Arya’s dire wolf, Nymeria.
- The Time is Now – Atreyu: A song about making a comeback.
- Rise Above – Black Flag: Another rousing go-punch-them-in-the-face anthem.
- Be My Fire – The Blue Stones: A love song to a couple of friendly dragons.
- Alternative Ulster – Stiff Little Fingers: Much of Game of Thrones is filmed in Northern Ireland, home of Stiff Little Fingers. Is that the connection?
- This Sentence Will Ruin/Save Your Life – Born Ruffians: “I need to eat I’m hungry/I’ll grab a bite of a BLT/That’s all I want right now/With some juice, no coffee.” Discuss.
- The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn – The Pogues: Cuchulainn is Irish for “Culann’s Hound,” a fierce hero in Irish mythology also known as the Hound of Ulster. He dies, but not without a fight.
- Winterlong – Neil Young: A longer winter than usual?
- Furr – Blitzen Trapper: Another reference to howling wolves.
- Power – AJ Ghent (J-ent): I got nothin’.
- Toxicity – System of a Down: Disorder, disorder, disorder.
- Born for Greatness – Papa Roach: “I am a man at war/And I am fighting for/All the broken people/All of the people thrown overboard.” Jon Snow lives?
- Gold Lion – Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Again, I got nothin’.
- Here’s Your Future – The Thermals: “We’re gonna create the new master race/’Cause we’re so pure.” Alrighty, then.
- Love is Blindness – U2: Someone isn’t thinking straight because they’re blinded by love. Why do I think we’re headed for an unhappy ending?
If you want to listen to the whole thing, be my guest.
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with 102.1 the Edge and Q107, and a commentator for Global News.
Subscribe to Alan’s Ongoing History of New Music Podcast now on Apple Podcast or Google Play