Taylor Swift’s Folklore has been playing on a loop in my apartment since she unleashed it into the world on July 24. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a lyrical masterpiece of storytelling, and my mind continues to be blown by the way she can craft a song and paint such a vivid picture with it.
That’s why this new fan theory, originally posted by a Reddit user named tswiftconspiracist13 and then shared on Twitter by @swiftcamzz, is so intriguing. Basically, it posits that the entirety of Folklore is telling one long story. “I interpreted this album as a folk story about the history behind the last owner of her Rhode Island house (as told in three parts),” tswiftconspiracist13 wrote, and then laid out the theory in detail.
Essentially, it assumes that each of the songs is told from one of three characters’ points of view: James, Betty, and the other person James has an affair with. Per this theory, the Betty in question is actually Rebekah Harkness, the woman who previously owned Swift’s Rhode Island house and did, in fact, go by Betty.
The songs that detail the affair include:
“August”: The beginning of the relationship with lines like, “You weren’t mine to lose.”
“Mirrorball”: The time spent together, which the Reddit user says can be described in lines like, “I’ll show you every version of myself.”
“Betty”: The return to the school year when James tries to apologize to Betty about the affair, which is pretty explicit in lines like, “If I told you it was just a summer thing,” and, “The worst thing I ever did was what I did to you.” There is also a reference to a cardigan in the song, which leads us to…
“Cardigan”: The Reddit user thinks this song is about Betty’s reaction with lines like, “Chase two girls, lose the one.”
“Illicit Affairs”: This song could be from the third person’s POV. The title alone gives a lot of clues here but also lyrics like, “Make sure nobody sees you leave.”
“Exile”: According to the theory, the Swift–Bon Iver duet is Betty and James singing to each other as they break up.
“The 1”: “Betty has told herself she is over James and is trying to move on,” the theory states.
Then there’s the “James” section, which includes “This Is Me Trying,” “Peace,” “Epiphany,” “My Tears Ricochet,” and “Hoax.” The theory states that James is trying to make things right but then decides to leave town and eventually dies in war. “My Tears Ricochet” is about his funeral, and “Hoax” details Betty’s reaction to his death.
Finally, there’s the “aftermath,” as the theory puts it. “Mad Woman” could be Betty leaving town for Rhode Island, and that’s when the theory imagines that Taylor Swift herself enters the story, detailing her own childhood in “Seven” and her own relationship with Joe Alwyn in “Invisible String.” With “The Last Great American Dynasty,” the stories truly merge as Swift buys Harkness/Betty’s old house.
You can read all the additional details below:
Okay, that’s admittedly a lot. But it makes sense, right? Now it’s time to see Cameron Crowe adapt Folklore as a feature film.
Originally Appeared on Glamour