In the words of Taylor Swift, 'tis the damn season. And by season, we don't mean holiday season; it's folklore season which has spanned summer, fall, and now winter, with the release of evermore. Swift's surprise ninth album and soul sister to her Grammy-nominated folklore, is tonally and thematically intertwined with folklore. And lyrically, there are a few invisible strings tying them together, if you will.
While the album deserves a full lyrical breakdown, there is one song in particular that fans are starting to obsess over for its duality in the Swiftverse. "dorothea," the eighth track on evermore, runs for three minute and forty-five seconds and Swift wastes no time in dropping clues, hints, and easter eggs throughout.
Let's start with who Dorothea is. During a Q&A before the music video premiere for "willow," Swift told fans that in her mind, Dorothea is yet another classmate of Betty (yes, that Betty), Inez, and James. (Vulture is already adding her to their queer Taylor Swift canon.) Of course, Dorothea is not just one fictional person, and there is not one fool-proof theory about her — we know how to play Swift's game. It would be so simple if Dorothea was just another character inspired by "betty" and Joe Alwyn's lyricism, but there's another layer to her. Not only is she connected to "betty," but her story is also hinted at earlier on evermore in the aforementioned "'tis the season," with a lyric mentioning Los Angeles and fake new friends.
In "'tis the season," she sings, So I'll go back to L.A. and the so-called friends and in "dorothea," she responds from the other person's perspective replying, You got shiny new friends since you left town. Fans have decided the songs are from different points of view of a young couple from the same hometown reminiscing on their love torn apart by each other's dreams and lives.
But what if Dorothea and the unnamed narrator of the song are not lovers, but friends reminiscing on earlier, pre-mega fame days? That's another theory gaining traction.
A few Twitter threads are going viral connecting Selena Gomez to the track, deeming her the subject of "dorothea," because of the similarities between the child star-turned-singer-turned-makeup-mogul and the woman at the centre of the song. Ooh, you'rе a queen sellin' dreams, sellin' makeup and magazines, Swift sings, before adding, Hey, Dorothea, do you ever stop and think about me? When it was calmer, skipping the prom just to piss off your mom and her pageant schemes. Gomez once shared a throwback photo to her beauty pageant days, and has famously had her ups and downs with her mum, who was once her manager before Gomez fired her.
Other fans of the two pop stars pointed out that Gomez's favourite movie is The Wizard of Oz, which stars Dorothy and could have inspired the track's title, albeit spelled differently. Swift did mention that her movie watch list in quarantine inspired most of her lyrics on her new albums.