Taylor Swift's new song is about Arya Stark: All the evidence.
While we’re all speculating who Taylor Swift is singing about in her new single, “Look What You Made Me Do” (listen here), let’s add another theory: The song is secretly an ode to Arya Stark on Game of Thrones.
Here’s the lyrical evidence:
Taylor Swift: “I don’t like your little games / Don’t like your tilted stage / The role you made me play / Of the fool, no, I don’t like you…”
Hmm. This reminds us of season 6 when Arya was watching the theater troupe in Braavos who enacted dramatic recent events from King’s Landing and made her family look foolish…
TS: “But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time…”
Well, that’s certainly true of Arya!
TS: “Honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time…”
Arya has narrowly avoided death many times, including last season’s near-fatal wounding from The Waif …
TS: “I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red underlined. I check it once, then I check it twice, oh!”
Of course, Arya famously has a list of names she wants to stick with the pointy end, so that fits…
TS: “I don’t like your kingdom keys / They once belonged to me…”
The Starks did indeed have plenty of power in the Seven Kingdoms. But after Ned Stark was executed as a traitor, a girl was on the run for six seasons….
TS: “You ask me for a place to sleep / Locked me out and threw a feast…”
A feast? Why that must refer to season 3’s Red Wedding at the Twins! Arya was kept out and was unable to come inside — fortunately for her…
TS: “I’ll be the actress, starring in your bad dreams / I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me…”
But then Arya got revenge for The Red Wedding by, yes, being an actress — pretending to be a Twins servant girl, and then later Walder Frey himself …
TS: “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now / Why? / Oh ’cause she’s dead!”
As we’ve seen in season 7 after Arya returned to Winterfell, her old self is largely gone. This was metaphorically foreshadowed before she returned home when she stumbled across her former direwolf Nymeria…
TS: “Ooh, look what you made me do / Look what you made me do…”
Swift’s chorus could be seen as a summation of Arya’s entire storyline — Arya didn’t want this violent life, but murderous forces beyond her control turned her into a lethal assassin to survive. Now she’s killing her foes left and right — just look at what you made her do!
Soon we’ll have more hints about the single’s meaning when Taylor Swift releases her video for the song. And when does that drop? Why, this Sunday night — which is also when the Game of Thrones season finale airs.
So there you have it: Definitive proof Taylor Swift’s new single is about a Game of Thrones character. And if it’s not, well, okay, fine — then it’s about dissing Katy Perry, Kanye West, or Kim Kardashian or something. But is that really more fun?
Here’s my other pet theory given all of Swift’s rebranding going on. Maybe her song isn’t about Arya Stark, or an ex-lover, or a pop rival, or even “no one.” Perhaps the “you” she’s addressing is herself — her former self that the song is now declaring dead. But that’s a whole other analysis piece.
Coming soon: The lack of “At” in Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” song title and chorus, a grammatical analysis by Stannis Baratheon.
UPDATE: Two years after this post was written, Swift confirmed to EW the song is indeed about Arya Stark. Read that interview here.
Game of Thrones finale coverage: EW has your covered Sunday night and Monday with a deep-dive recap, interviews and podcast. Follow @jameshibberd for the latest and bookmark our GoT hub to check out new posts.
Game of Thrones
HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series 'A Song of Ice and Fire.'