there were a lot of references in the new video, did you catch them all? let’s take a look.
1. nils sjoberg
remember that time she wrote a song with calvin harris but used a different name? this is that name, on one of the gravestones. after releasing that she had actually written the summer hit “this is what you came for,” calvin harris, among others, threw a fit on twitter - even though it had been agreed that if calvin and taylor broke up, she could express that she had written the song.
2. the out of the woods dress
this blue dress probably looks familiar! it’s the same one she wore in the out of the woods music video, the last music video of the 1989 era. this poses the same frantic question, are we out of the woods yet? as this grave-digging taylor suggests, not yet.
3. here lies 2014 met gala taylor
at first glance, it just looks like the taylor from before laying there, but after pausing it and going back, one realizes that isn’t zombie taylor, rather 2014 met gala taylor. 2014 would have been the start of the 1989 era, and the out of the woods video was the end of it, thus: by the end of 1989 era, she was ready to “bury” it.
4. the dollar bill
if you look just next to taylor’s shoulder, you can see a good ole george washington. one single dollar bill. is this a reference to taylor’s sexual assault trial recently, and the one dollar she won then? most likely, because if you go to other shots of her in the tub that aren’t directly above her, the dollar bill isn’t there, meaning it was edited in later, which would explain how it got there so late in the game. it stands for the simple victories everyone else gets to celebrate, while she does the same things and gets flack for it.
5. et tu brute
a famous line from shakespeare’s julius caeser, “et tu, brute” means “and you, brute?” right as marcus brutus lands the fatal blow in julius caeser’s, his once-friend’s back. this is a metaphor for all the people that taylor thought she could trust, before they turned around and trashed her name.
6. the tea
probably pretty simple to grasp - the tea is hot. alternatively, she, the snake in the video, gets to serve the tea this time around, or, she gets to lay down her side of the story.
7. car crash + paparazzi
did you see what happened here, at face value? taylor was in an expensive vehicle that got in a head-on crash, but everyone just stood back and took pictures, instead of rushing over to help. is this a reference to all the times that everyone stood back, took pictures, and laughed at her when she was beaten down? yes.
8. the grammy
the grammy blends in with the gold of the car and her outfit, so it’s pretty easy to miss, but there it is, in her hand, even though the car crashed. perhaps the future is being predicted?
9. the birdcage + leg tattoo
look closely at taylor’s leg, and you can see what looks to be a snake tattooed there. not to mention, here she is entertaining in a birdcage, which is guarded. she’s trying to have fun in this prison, biting her tongue, being the girl everyone wants, but she longs to be let free.
10. robbing a bank/stream co., blind for love
besides getting major harley quinn vibes, what else do we notice here? taylor swift robbing a vault, which says “stream company.” remember that time that taylor wrote an open letter to apple music and called her money hungry, even though she was taking her music off to benefit poorer artists? yes, we do. this is what she’s referencing here. also, her shirt says “blind for love” which makes sense, because she frequently refers to herself as a hopeless romantic, someone who opens theirselves up for love, even if it means getting hurt.
11. the squad
without explaining anything else, this scene can be described as a crowd of blank faced people, staring at taylor swift, who stands upon a stage looking menacing, and impressing one message upon the crowd: u, squad. it’s reminiscent of all the times people said taylor swift was over, because her friends, fans, or sales were fake or temporary. this is like a visual representation of the comments people made about taylor forcing people to do things for her to create the image she desired.
12. fake friends
and here we have the mannequins of the girls from the prior scene, chopped up. this one is pretty straight forward, these “friends” that taylor thought she had sometimes turned out to be more fickle and “fake” than she thought. also, can we talk about how taylor’s red boots are reminiscent of kinky boots? because yes.
13. the dancers, i heart ts
before taylor enters the room, the dancers are goofing around, but the second she comes in, the jump to attention, and rip off their jackets to reveal shirts that say “i heart ts.” it’s a throwback to when tom hiddleston wore a shirt with the same message on the fourth of july in 2016, and everyone said that she had forced him to wear it. it’s the same thing as before with the squad - the world decided that she had forced all these people to love her, not that they actually did.
14. the fight for glory
every time you pause this video, you come across a different taylor. squirrel pajamas wanegbt taylor, 2015 bbma’s taylor, 2014 acm’s taylor, wanegbt red tour taylor, 2016 new years rockin’ eve taylor, sparkly guitar fearless tour taylor, bleachella taylor, ballerina shake it off taylor, 2016 vma’s taylor… the list goes on and on. here, you can see them all fighting and clawing, trying to stand on top. it reminds me of “i don’t like your kingdom keys, they once belonged to me,” and the parallels between long live and new romantics in that line alone. all those times, she thought she’d made it to a point in her career where she could be respected as much as other artists in her tier, only to harshly realize she was going to get her name ran through the mud for doing the same thing as everyone else. the fight for glory is steep, and unfair.
15. junior jewels
looks familiar right? not quite! it is the same theme of the shirt, but look closely at the signatures - they’re signatures of actual people this time around. names like ed, selena, este, lena, blake, and ryan, among others, can be seen on her shirt, representing the true friends that stuck with her through her reputation being bashed.
16. “SHUT UP!”
here, all the different versions of taylor are repeating things that the media or other celebrities had said about her, until finally 2009 vma’s taylor repeated the same thing that 2017 taylor said in an instagram post - “i’d very much like to be excluded from this narrative.” the entire time, you can hear camera shutters going off and people chatting, presumably the rest of the world watching as she got torn apart. when vma’s taylor makes this final statement, all the other taylor’s, as well as what sounds to be an entire off-screen crowd, yell “SHUT UP” before the screen goes black. this is a powerful image, and it’s supposed to be. all the times she suffered, and people told her that she was overreacting, faking it, or doing it for publicity. if you feel remorse for seeing young taylor getting yelled at, or sorrow for the taylors falling when she said “because she’s dead,” you’re doing it right.
nothing in this video was an accident.
if you’re angry at taylor for this video exposing things you said about her, or you’re repeating any of the words the versions of herself said at the end, you’re proving her point. her reputation was destroyed because people made a sport of making fun of her. and now, as taylor said, there will be no explanation, just reputation.
so maleficent is the good fairy here, right, and the three
fairies are the bad ones, so like fae do they each appear to be what they’re
not. and aurora, given fae gifts and raised by fae, is nearly fae herself.
maleficent knows that only an elf could hope to sway a fae heart, because elves
are impervious to their glamour. maleficent kidnaps the young prince philip,
and brings him to the elven realm. she tries to bargain a prince for a prince,
but the king is unswayed. a human prince, he declared, is only worth an elvish
servant, so that’s what she gets.
maleficent takes the servant and puts him in philip’s place,
gives him that name, and watches as the servant elf is made a prince among
mortals, watches as he eventually captures aurora’s heart, and saves her from
her living death. watches as the elf servant turned prince becomes a king, as
the almost-fae princess aurora becomes queen, and their two kingdoms become one
and they rule the land of men together.
this, of course, begs the question – what happens to our
dear human philip?
he is not the first child that has been bargained away to
the elves, and elf queen thalia settles the young boy on her hip and raises an
eyebrow at her husband, waiting. the child awakens by degrees, until he’s
clutching her neck and blinking at the gathered elves. thalia is only grateful
that he hasn’t started screaming, like so many of his kind do.
normally the children that are bargained to them are put to
work in the castle, where they’re safe, where their clumsiness and their
ignorance and their mistakes will be glossed over, where she and the king will
ensure they will be politely ignored rather than harassed. they’ve lost a
servant boy, and so she’s sure a servant boy is what this young human is meant
except a woman of the court steps forward, and she’s old,
old enough that it shows, that her curly hair has gone silver and wrinkles are
etched deep in her face. lady ember is older than the forests they reside in,
is older than her grandmother, than her great grandmother. everyone’s lost track
of her exact age, but she’s the oldest elf in village. thalia likes her – she and
lady ember have skin of the same dark shade. thalia hopes that if she is to
live long enough, she and lady ember would look alike.
“i would like the child,” she says, eyes like amber, and for
the moment she appears younger than she ever has. there’s something eager in
her, and it brings a life to her that thalia hasn’t seen in a long time.
thalia looks to her husband, and king celedor gives a
minuscule twitch to his lip which is an equivalent to a shrug. she sets the
young human on the ground, and ember holds out a single hand. the child looks
behind him, then in front him, and takes cautious steps forward. he steps until
he can take her hand, his own looking small and pale in hers. “it’s been a long
time since i was able raise a child,” ember says, “i would like to do so again.
will you come home with me?”
and thalia understands. elf children take many hundreds of
year to mature, and ember would not risk dying on a child before it could take
care of itself. but humans are candles that burn at both ends – hot, and fast.
within a decade or two the child in front of them will be able to survive on
his own, will not need lady ember to coddle him for centuries.
he nods, and finally opens his mouth to say, “i am philip.”
“hello philip,” lady ember smiles, “i am lady ember of the mother
tree. now you are lord philip of the ember tree.”
they are elves. they don’t do something as gauche as gasp,
but the sentiment comes out just the same. celedor’s mouth drops open a millimeter
and thalia’s right index finger twitches. raise a human child like a beloved
pet they could all understand – but to adopt one, to truly adopt one that she’d
just met and didn’t know and bequeath to him the estate and title the noble name
of the mother tree?
lady ember leads her new son away, and the gathered elves
can do nothing but stare.
prince elion – eli, to everyone who doesn’t want the prince
of the elves nursing a personal grudge against them – comes home in the dead of
night, when he can slip past the guards and the fawning people on the street
and sneak into the royal quarters.
“mother,” he greets as he enters the library. his father
sleeps early, but his mother doesn’t go to bed until nearly dawn. he kneels by
her side, and she runs a hand through his hair, tugging the leather tie off
when it gets in her way. his mass of dark curly hair tumbles around his head,
and as he shakes it out leaves other debris fall out. thalia sighs, but doesn’t
remark on it.
“your hunt went well?” she asks, although she knows the
answer. eli is one of the best hunters in the kingdom, and his hunting parties –
comprised of the strongest and best among the noble families – are notoriously
he grins, teeth extra white against his skin, “of course,
mother. did anything interesting happen while i was away?”
“the faerie maleficent came and bargained away a human
prince,” she says, “she wanted you in return. your father gave her a servant
eli laughs, too loud and boisterous, in a way he would never
allow himself to laugh around his father or his subjects.
philip thinks perhaps he should be screaming, or crying, or
causing some sort of fuss about this new life and this old woman who insists
she’s his mother now. but he’s never had a mother before, and this new place is
beautiful. they live in palace carved out of an enormous tree – the mother tree
that their name comes from – and philip is given a lot more freedom as an elf
lordling than he was as a prince.
he hopes the boy who took his place is nice to his father,
and doesn’t mind long evenings with only the servants for company. being a
prince can be very lonely. he knows from experience.
ember gives him rooms and toys, but warns him that he has a
lot of work ahead of him. as a human, he’s at a severe disadvantage here at the
elf court. elves are faster than humans, stronger and smarter and wiser. “it
sounds to me,” philip says, “that maybe they’re just older. if i had hundreds
of years, I could be all those things too.”
ember’s eyes crinkle at the corners when she smiles, and he returns it.
philip knows hard work. he was set to rule a whole nation,
was set to lead whole armies. he knows training and learning and patience.
learning to become an elf lord seems like it will be a lot easier than being a
lady ember and her servants are harsh, but fair. in their
home, in the mother tree, he is a pampered lord. out of it, however – he acquires
many scars from training, from falling and failing. ember and her staff run him
ragged into the ground, because he must be able to keep up with elves.
they have hundreds and hundreds of years to practice, to
become strong and smart and fast. philip doesn’t have that long, so his mother
forces him to do more, train harder, learn faster than would be expected of any
so he learns. the first time he beats his trainer at an
archery competition, he feels a swell of pride like nothing he’s felt before.
as he inches his way to the level of his teachers, and then surpasses them, the
they’ve always been kind to him. but as his skill grows,
they come to respect him, and that’s far more valuable.
eli hears of the human that lady ember of the mother tree
took as her own – of course he does, it’s all anyone can talk about. but he
doesn’t actually get a chance to see the boy, because lady ember keeps him safe
on her lands, in her tree that none of them dare trespass on. so he assumes,
like many, that she keeps him coddled and safe, away from those who would seek
him harm, away from a world that would seek him harm.
then, two decades from when she gave young philip her name,
lady ember finds him at court. she tilts her head, and he bows. he may be
higher in rank, but he was raised to respect his elders, and lady ember is
certainly that. “prince eli,” she says, “your next hunt is coming up, isn’t it?”
“yes, my lady,” he answers, wondering if she has a request.
he doesn’t mind tracking down a certain type of meat or pelt for her – he likes
the challenge, and likes lady ember.
she smiles at him, and for some reason he feels as if he’s staring
into the jaws of a dragon. “excellent. might my son join you? he grows bored of
hunting on his own.”
the last thing in the world eli wants to do is keep an eye
on a bumbling, spoiled human. but this human is also the lord of the mother
tree, and he can think of no response that wouldn’t bring his mother’s wrath
down on his head. “of course, lady ember.”
with all the islamophobia and xenophobia in the world at the moment (such as geert wilders, whose twitter banner literally is ‘stop islam’, being one of the leading candidates of the dutch election yesterday) a season with sana in the lead couldn’t have come at a better time tbh
to people who think sana as s4 main is “rushed”: sana had a major subplot in s2, and she was involved in s3 (even if that was to a large extent to help isak’s development, sana and her religion was still important) so she’s not more rushed than any other character on the show imo
a season with sana would probably break some of the norms of the show which would be very interesting to see (for example, her backstory in s2 had to do with her family relations – how will the show solve that, when sana still lives at home?)
apart from the boys, sana is probably the character who would give isak (and by extension, even) the most screen-time
on that note: the last season’s main is always ‘followed up’ in the next season (eva and jonas post-breakup in s2, noora coming back from london in s3)
RETURN OF THE GIRL SQUAD!!!
sana is so wise and clever and perceptive and can you imagine how cool it would be to see a whole season from her point of view?
also sana has such a tough exterior, so seeing what goes on when she lets her guard down? probably amazing and emotionally touching
i know many of you want even for s4, and i get that, i really do… but whichever character julie has chosen, it’s probably with good reason, and we probably have an awesome season in store no matter what
have faith in julie andem!! lord knows she’s earned it