Just when I thought I was done with Game of Thrones, Taylor Swift dragged me right back into George R. R. Martin's fantasy world. She released her new album folklore last week, and one song in particular has me convinced it's a reference to Westeros. I'm here to lay out my proof that the song "Mad Woman" is actually about Daenerys Targaryen, a.k.a. the Mad Queen. I will swear this on the Old Gods and the New if I have to.
Let me give you all the receipts, starting with some important background info.
The album tease
In an Instagram leading up to the surprise album drop, Swift teased some of the characters (opens in new tab) that her new songs are about, adding at the end "a misfit widow getting gleeful revenge on the town that cast her out." Sound like any Khaleesis you know? Because, um, it sounds pretty familiar to me!
A photo posted by on
Taylor loves a Thrones reference
Back in May of 2019, a simpler time before the Game of Thrones series finale had aired, Swift outed herself as a super fan to Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab). A lot of the songs and lyrics in reputation are inspired by the ladies of Westeros. "I got a list of names, and yours is in red underlined" is a pretty direct reference to Arya Stark, for example. Taylor said that herself.
Let's get into the nitty-gritty here. The lyrics to this song are obviously the biggest receipt we have. First and foremost, the line "Does she smile, or does she mouth, ’f*ck you forever?’" is giving me flashbacks to this Emilia Clarke facial expression:
And let's look at the most convincing lyrics from there. Next up:
Does a scorpion sting when fighting back?
The weapons used against Dany's dragons were called scorpions. This isn't a direct reference to the Targaryen yet, but she's laying the Game of Thrones imagery in already. Moving on to the next set:
Every time you call me crazy, I get more crazy
What about that?
And when you say I seem angry, I get more angry
And there's nothing like a mad woman
What a shame she went mad
No one likes a mad woman
You made her like that
Over the course of the final two seasons of Game of Thrones, characters like Tyrion Lannister, Varys, and Jon Snow (read: men) hemmed and hawed over whether or not Daenerys would succumb to "the Targaryen madness," and they kept commenting on how angry she was in any given scenario. Whaddaya know, when you tell someone they seem angry they get more angry! "What a shame she went mad," feels like something Tyrion would have totally said. Onto the next:
Now I breathe flames each time I talk
My cannons all firin' at your yacht
There's that super clear dragon imagery to seal the deal—and the "yacht" she fired canons on has got to be Euron Greyjoy's Iron Fleet.
In the second verse she also says, "women like hunting witches too," which is apt because Daenerys' most obvious foe is Queen Cersei, and another T. Swift Thrones-inspired song, "Look What You Made Me Do," also talks about burning witches. And there's more!
It's obvious that wanting me dead
Has really brought you two together
OK, y'all can debate over what real life people this lyric is about all you want. But Scooter Braun? Sorry to this man. I choose to believe this is about Dany's "enemies everywhere" mindset and paranoia; first about Cersei and Euron, then Jon and Tyrion.
Watching you climb, watching you climb
Over people like me
The master of spin has a couple side flings
This feels like a direct reference to Jon Snow. When Daenerys arrived in Westeros, she wasn't exactly anticipating a lot of local competition—especially Jon, who quickly rose as a threat to her claim to the Iron Throne. (And has a significant episode in season 3 called "The Climb," but even a dork like me can admit that might be a stretch.)
Finally, in Game of Thrones, a monarch's small council members are called the "master of" something, like "coin" and "ships" or whatever. So who is the Master of Spin referring to? Probably Varys, the Master of Whispers, who was also called the Spider and was burned by Daenerys' dragons.
This song is definitely about Dany, and is making me rethink a lot of my opinions about the generally-hated finale. Let the healing process begin.
Leah Marilla Thomas is an entertainment writer, UNC alum, and former Hasbro Toy Tester (yes, that's a real thing) who loves The Good Place and Love Island equally. In her alleged spare time, she's probably either at the theater, in a park, or watching basketball.
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