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Taylor Swift’s ‘TTPD’ Songs as Fictional Characters: Daisy Jones, Lucas Scott, Katniss Everdeen, More

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Taylor Swift has cultivated an impassioned fanbase with catchy lyrics that incorporate themes of heartbreak, loss and coming of age — and her most recent release, The Tortured Poets Department, is no exception.

In dissecting the double album’s 31 tracks, many fans have come to relate their favorite fictional characters to themes in particular songs and lyrics. In “Clara Bow” for example, Swift dissects the transient nature of being a “starlet” in the entertainment industry, a sentiment fans instantly related to Daisy Jones (Riley Keough) of the Prime Video series (and Taylor Jenkins Reid’s book of the same name) Daisy Jones & the Six.

Taking the comparisons to TikTok, Swifties have set TTPD songs to fan edits of their favorite characters, like Daisy or Connell (Paul Mescal) from Normal People. The connection between these characters’ stories and Swift’s lyrics demonstrate the powerful ability of poetry to address broad, universal themes while also speaking to individuals’ very specific experiences. Swift’s music’s relatability has helped to grow her fanbase exponentially.

“The writer is of the firm belief that our tears become holy in the form of ink on a page,” Swift wrote in the album release announcement via Instagram on April 19. “Once we have spoken our saddest story, we can be free of it. And then all that’s left behind is the tortured poetry.”

All the Famous Names Taylor Swift Drops on The Tortured Poets Department 945

Related: All the Famous Names Taylor Swift Drops on ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

Keep scrolling for a complete breakdown of every song on The Tortured Poets Department that reminds Us of a fictional character.

1. Fortnight (Ft. Post Malone)

Character: Theodore ‘Laurie’ Laurence from Little Women

Notable Lyric: “I love you, it’s ruining my life / I touched you for only a fortnight”

Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel — memorably adapted for the screen by Greta Gerwig in 2019 — features a love triangle between sisters Jo and Amy and their family friend Laurie. While Laurie expresses his love for Jo, she turns down his marriage proposal and doesn’t fully realize her love for him until it is too late and he has already married her sister Amy.

Laurie’s endless pining for Jo and his reflection on their love (even if Jo hadn’t realized that’s what it was at the time) is nothing short of tortured.

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“I have loved you ever since I have known you, Jo, I couldn’t help it,” Laurie (played by Timothée Chalamet) says to Saoirse Ronan’s Jo in the film. “And I tried to show and you wouldn’t let me, which is fine, but I must make you hear now and give me an answer because I cannot go on like this any longer.”

2. The Tortured Poets Department

Character: Lucas Scott from One Tree Hill

Notable Lyric: “You left your typewriter at my apartment / Straight from the tortured poets department”

While he might not actually use a typewriter, Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) is an endlessly brooding tortured artist. He revels in his own misery and pours it into his writing. Throughout his run on One Tree Hill, Lucas writes two books about his life, including a scientific allegory called The Comet that he “accidentally” wrote about his love for Peyton (Hilarie Burton Morgan), who drives a Mercury Comet. A little on the nose, Lucas.

The “tattooed golden retriever” lyric can also be applied to Lucas, who is earnest and blond like the dog breed and famously gets an egregious tattoo on his arm during the first season.

3. My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys

Character: Violet Harmon from American Horror Story: Murder House

Notable Lyric: “He was my best friend / Down at the sandlot / I felt more when we played pretend / Than with all the Kens / ‘Cause he took me out of my box / Stole my tortured heart / Left all these broken parts / Told me I’m better off / But I’m not”

Plagued by mental illness, trauma and the sinister influence of the murder house, Tate Langdon (Evan Peters) engages in self-destructive behavior despite finding true love in the house’s newest resident, Violet Harmon (Taissa Farmiga). Violet’s discovery of Tate’s haunting history and his admission of love for her leads her to attempt suicide (spoiler alert: we later find out she’s successful). Tate’s self-destructive nature leads him to metaphorically break his favorite toys (the people he loves the most).

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4. Down Bad

Character: Conrad Fisher from The Summer I Turned Pretty

Notable Lyric: “For a moment, I knew cosmic love / Now I’m down bad, cryin’ at the gym / Everything comes out teenage petulance / ‘F—k it if I can’t have him’”

Season 2 of the Prime Video adaptation of Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty kicks off with a heartbroken Belly (Lola Tung) whose romance with Conrad (Christopher Briney) came to a devastating end. The build-up to their season 1 romance, culminating in a romantic dance at the debutante ball and a kiss on the beach, leads viewers to believe Conrad and Belly have “cosmic love.” Yet in season 2, we see Conrad acting out (hello, “teenage petulance”), sulking over his heartbreak and Belly’s budding romance with his brother, Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno).

5. So Long, London

Character: Tom Hansen from 500 Days of Summer

Notable Lyric: “How much sad did you think I had / Did you think I had in me? / Oh, the tragedy / So long, London / You’ll find someone”

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In 500 Days of Summer, Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is so sad over his breakup with Summer (Zooey Deschanel) that he gets transferred to the consolations department of the greeting card company where he works. He falls into a deep depression over their ill-fated romance (“tragedy”), exemplifying the sadness Swift sings about in “So Long, London.” Tom eventually runs into Summer at the end of the movie, finding out she got married to someone else (“You’ll find someone”), but Tom eventually finds his own “someone” as well in Autumn (Minka Kelly).

6. But Daddy I Love Him

Character: Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls

Notable Lyric: “Dutiful daughter, all my plans were laid / Tendrils tucked into a woven braid / Growing up precocious sometimes means not growing up at all / He was chaos, he was revelry / Bedroom eyes like a remedy / Soon enough the elders had convened / Down at the city hall / ‘Stay away from her’”

Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) is the classic precocious, dutiful daughter who falls for the “bad boy” in Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia). His chaos proved to be the perfect remedy for her wanderlust, and her precociousness did inhibit her decision-making and emotional maturity as she grew up. The tight-knit community of Stars Hollow, led by Rory’s mom, Lorelai (Lauren Graham), literally convened at the town hall in the show, warning Jess to stay away from their beloved Rory.

By the end of the song, Swift’s friends and family come around to her love: “Now I’m dancing in my dress in the sun and / Even my daddy just loves him … I know he’s crazy but he’s the one I want.” Similarly, Jess experiences major character growth by the end of the series. Although he and Rory do not end up together, Jess has become a fan-favorite character over time.

7. Fresh Out The Slammer

Character: Derek Shepard from Grey’s Anatomy

Notable Lyric: “Now pretty baby, I’m running back home to you / Fresh out the slammer, I know who my first call will be to … As I said in my letters, now that I know better / I will never lose my baby again”

Despite her iconic “pick me, choose me, love me” speech, Derek (Patrick Dempsey) decides to break up with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) to give his marriage to Addison (Kate Walsh) one more try. However, he finds the marriage to be passionless and entrapping, like the prison Swift sings about in “Fresh Out The Slammer.” When he finally breaks it off with Addison, he knows he belongs with Meredith and runs straight to her.

8. Florida!!! (Ft. Florence + the Machine)

Character: Faith from Spring Breakers

Notable Lyric: “Florida is one hell of a drug / Florida, can I use you up?”

Swift has some metaphorical meanings in mind with her song “Florida!!!,” but a literal interpretation of the lyrics brings us to Harmony Korine’s controversial 2013 movie, Spring Breakers. Faith (Selena Gomez) and her four friends head to Florida for spring break for a wild adventure involving drugs, theft, violence and sex.

9. Guilty as Sin?

Character: Fleabag from Fleabag

Notable Lyric: “What if he’s written ‘mine’ on my upper thigh / Only in my mind? / One slip and falling back into the hedge maze / Oh what a way to die / I keep recalling things we never did / Messy top lip kiss / How I long for our trysts / Without ever touching his skin / How can I be guilty as sin?”

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Prime Video

In “Guilty as Sin?” Swift sings about how she feels shamed by society and religion for her sensual desires. This is one of Fleabag’s (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) principal concerns in season 2 of the eponymous show, as she falls in love with a “hot priest” (Andrew Scott) who is celibate. After Fleabag and the priest eventually consummate their desire for one another and the priest breaks his celibacy vow, he ultimately chooses God over her. “I love you,” Fleabag desperately admits to him, while the priest devastatingly responds, “It’ll pass.”

10. Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?

Character: Lucy Gray Baird from The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

Notable Lyric: “That I’m fearsome and I’m wretched and I’m wrong / Putting narcotics into all of my songs / And that’s why you’re still singing along”

In the Hunger Games prequel, Lucy Gray (Rachel Zegler) is the tribute assigned to a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth). Coriolanus and the members of the capitol fear Lucy Gray, as she is an outsider from District 12. In reality, while she is cunning and charming, she is just a petite teenage girl (“little old me”). One of her strengths that she leverages to keep her safe in the Games and beyond is her songwriting and singing, enchanting all who listen to her music (“putting narcotics into all of my songs”). While she falls in love with Coriolanus throughout their time together, the reality of the capitol and the Hunger Games makes her jaded (“the circus life made me mean”).

11. I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)

Character: Adam from Girls

Notable Lyric: “They shake their heads saying, ‘God, help her’ / When I tell them he’s my man / But your good Lord doesn’t need to lift a finger / I can fix him, no, really I can”

Girls’ Adam (played by Adam Driver) is introduced as Hannah’s (Lena Dunham) odd, toxic, casual boyfriend in season 1. While their relationship sees a tumultuous trajectory through the six seasons, at least in season 1, Hannah is dedicated to making him into her boyfriend despite how terribly he treats her. Just like in Swift’s song, her friends and family are wary of Adam and want better for Hannah.

12. loml

Character: Sebastian from La La Land

Notable Lyric: “Our field of dreams, engulfed in fire / Your arson’s match your sober eyes / And I’ll still see it until I die / You’re the loss of my life”

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La La Land follows Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian’s (Ryan Gosling) love story as they both chase their dreams in Hollywood. While their romance — complete with musical numbers and sunset dances — is epic, it ultimately comes to an end because both parties choose the pursuit of their dreams instead. In the heartbreaking ending scene of the movie, Mia stumbles into Sebastian’s bar with her new husband and watches him perform, and the two exchange knowing glances: their love was deep, but never meant to be. They are the losses of each other’s lives.

13. I Can Do It With A Broken Heart

Character: Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy

Notable Lyric: “I cry a lot but I am so productive, it’s an art / You know you’re good when you can even do it / With a broken heart”

Not many characters in the history of television have shed as many tears as Meredith Grey (Pompeo). Over 20 seasons, she suffers heartbreak after heartbreak, losing the love of her life, her best friends and several family members throughout the course of the series. Yet, Meredith remains dedicated to her craft, working her way up to becoming Chief of Surgery, all while dealing with endless tragedies.

14. The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived

Character: Jack Berger from Sex and the City

Notable Lyric: “And I don’t even want you back, I just want to know / If rusting my sparkling summer was the goal / And I don’t miss what we had, but could someone give / A message to the smallest man who ever lived?”

One of the worst TV boyfriends of all time, Jack Berger (Ron Livingston) had the audacity to break up with Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) via Post-It note. Writing, “I’m sorry, I can’t. Don’t hate me,” Jack solidified his status as the “smallest man who ever lived” by breaking Carrie’s heart so casually.


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15. The Alchemy

Character: Haley James Scott from One Tree Hill

Notable Lyric: “Cheers chanted, ’cause they said / There was no chance, trying to be / The greatest in the league / Where’s the trophy? / He just comes running over to me”

Haley James Scott (Bethany Joy Lenz) and Nathan Scott’s (James Lafferty) romance in One Tree Hill feels like it was written in the stars, and the “tutor girl” and basketball star’s relationship can be compared to that of Swift and Travis Kelce. Haley is always cheering on her high school basketball champion-turned-NBA star husband, just like Swift cheers on Kelce during his football games.

16. Clara Bow

Character: Daisy Jones from Daisy Jones & the Six

Notable Lyric: “You look like Stevie Nicks / In ‘75, the hair and lips / Crowd goes wild at her fingertips / Half moonshine, a full eclipse”

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Lacey Terrell/Prime Video

Daisy Jones’ (Keough) character was actually based on Stevie Nicks, and Nicks herself said she “felt like a ghost watching my own story” while viewing Daisy Jones & the Six. In “Clara Bow,” Swift sings of the ephemeral lifetime of a starlet or “It Girl,” and how society and the media paints the next generation’s star as a “better” or “edgier” version of her predecessors. In the show, the crowd really does go wild at Daisy Jones’ fingertips, and she is challenged by studio execs and the media to adjust her image to be more palatable — issues that Swift has faced herself.

17. The Black Dog

Character: Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City

Notable Lyric: “But she’s too young to know this song / That was intertwined in the tragic fabric of our dreaming / ‘Cause tail between your legs, you’re leaving / I still can’t believe it / ‘Cause old habits die screaming”

Carrie Bradshaw (Parker) had quite a few toxic relationships during the original run of Sex and the City, but her on-and-off relationship with Mr. Big (Chris Noth) was one of the most heartbreaking. Carrie instantly falls for Big when she meets him in season 1, but he never prioritized her, constantly seeing other women during their relationship. The scene in “The Black Dog” where Swift imagines her ex with a new, younger woman can be compared to Big’s return to New York when he’s engaged to Natasha (Bridget Moynahan). For Carrie, Big is a bad habit that dies screaming every time.

18. imgonnagetyouback

Character: Kat Stratford from 10 Things I Hate About You

Notable Lyric: “Whether I’m gonna be your wife, or / Gonna smash up your bike, I haven’t decided yet / But I’m gonna get you back”

Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) and Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) have the ultimate enemies-to-lovers relationship in 10 Things I Hate About You. Kat can’t quite decide if she loves or hates Patrick — especially after finding out he was part of a bet to try to get her to go out with him — just like Swift in the song. Kat ultimately does “get him back,” though, with a searing poem that shares its name with the movie title.

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19. The Albatross

Character: Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games

Notable Lyric: “So cross your thoughtless heart / She’s the albatross / She is here to destroy you”

Just like Swift uses the albatross as a metaphor for herself, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is portrayed as a Mockingjay (a fictional bird) in The Hunger Games series, a symbol of strength and rebellion. Furthermore, Katniss is an albatross to President Snow (Donald Sutherland), as she is sent to destroy him and what he stands for in battling the capitol.

20. Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus

Character: Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby

Notable Lyric: “Could it be enough to just float in your orbit? / Can we watch our phantoms like watching wild horses? / Cooler in theory, but not if you force it to be / It just didn’t happen”

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is in love with Daisy, a married woman he knew from the past who lives across the dock from his mansion on Long Island. He tries to just “float in her orbit” by hanging out in her social circles and watching the green light at the end of her dock from across the bay. While they strike up a brief affair, the love story ends tragically, with Gatsby shot and murdered.

Gatsby always romanticized what he had with Daisy in the past, even on his dying day, just as Swift sings, “If you want to break my cold, cold heart / Just say, ‘I loved you the way that you were’ / If you wanna tear my world apart / Just say you’ve always wondered”

21. How Did It End?

Character: Elio Perlman from Call Me By Your Name

Notable Lyric: “The deflation of our dreaming / Leaving me bereft and reeling / My beloved ghost and me / SItting in a tree / D-Y-I-N-G”

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In Call Me By Your Name, Elio (Chalamet) and Oliver’s (Armie Hammer) Italian love affair is brief but heartbreaking. Elio struggles to recover from Oliver’s departure (“bereft and reeling”). His deep sadness is highlighted in the final scene of the movie, where after briefly speaking to Oliver and hearing that he is now engaged to a woman, Elio tearfully stares into the fireplace.

22. So High School

Character: Gabriella Montez from High School Musical

Notable Lyric: “Bittersweet sixteen suddenly … Truth, dare, spin bottles / You know who to ball, I know Aristotle”

Just as Swift studies poetry and Kelce plays football, High School Musical’s Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) make an unlikely pairing with her academic intelligence and his basketball prowess. In “So High School,” Swift describes a romance that makes her feel sixteen again, high school love perfectly represented by Troy and Gabriella.

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23. I Hate It Here

Character: Lady Bird from Lady Bird

Notable Lyric: “I hate it here so I will go to secret gardens in my mind / People need a key to get to, the only one is mine / I read about it in a book when I was a precocious child / No mid-sized city hopes and small-town fears”

As she finishes her last year of high school in Sacramento, Lady Bird (Ronan) feels trapped in the town she grew up in, desperate to get away to “a city with culture” on the East Coast. She escapes her bleak reality through theater and her dreams of getting away, just as Swift sings in “I Hate It Here.”

24. thanK you aIMee

Character: Carmy Berzatto from The Bear

Notable Lyric: “I pushed each boulder up the hill / Your words are still just ringing in my head, ringing in my head / I wrote a thousand songs that you find uncool / I built a legacy that you can’t undo / But when I count the scars, there’s a moment of truth / That there wouldn’t be this if there hadn’t been you”

Jeremy Allen White’s Carmy in The Bear faces a lot of bullies in his life. He is constantly having flashbacks to his former boss in New York City degrading him and his mom and his brother yelling at him, their voices literally “ringing in [his] head.” Yet, just as Swift does in “thanK you aIMee,” Carmy uses their insults and pressure as motivation to be the best, and it ultimately pays off in his success (“I built a legacy that you can’t undo.”)

25. I Look in People’s Windows

Character: Joe Goldberg from You

Notable Lyric: “I look in people’s windows / Like I’m some deranged weirdo”

While his inner monologue may deny it, You’s Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) is a “deranged weirdo” who does actually “look in people’s windows.” In a literal sense, this is stalker Joe’s anthem.

26. The Prophecy

Character: Nora from Past Lives

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A24 Films

Notable Lyric: “I’m so afraid I sealed my fate / No sign of soulmates / I’m just a paperweight in shades of greige / Spending my last coin so someone will tell me it’ll be okay”

In Past Lives, Nora (Greta Lee) reconciles with a past love from her childhood, considering what would have been if they had gotten the chance to be together. While Nora would have loved to change “The Prophecy” of her life, her relationship with Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) was never meant to be, or perhaps, was meant to be in another lifetime.

27. Cassandra

Character: Alice from Don’t Worry Darling

Notable Lyric: “Bet they never spared a prayer for my soul / You can mark my words that I said it first / In a mourning warning, no one heard”

Olivia Wilde’s psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling follows Alice (Florence Pugh) in a picturesque 1950s community, living what appears to be a perfect life with her husband, Jack (Harry Styles). When Alice starts to notice cracks in the facade of their life, she vocalizes her concerns and quickly realizes something much more sinister is going on. As she investigates and tries to warn the other women in the community, she is gaslighted and even threatened to be killed, just like Cassandra of Troy, the subject of Swift’s “Cassandra.”

28. Peter

Character: Marianne from Normal People

Notable Lyric: “Said you were gonna grow up / Then you were gonna come find me / Words from the mouths of babes / Promises oceans deep / But never to keep / Oh, never to keep”

Normal People follows Connell (Mescal) and Marianne’s (Daisy Edgar-Jones) tumultuous relationship from their early teenage years to adulthood. While they spark a romance in high school, Connell betrays Marianne with his concern with her social status at their school. It isn’t until college that the pair reunites, but the circumstances never quite align so that they are able to be together happily. The story ends with the pair promising that they will revisit their love in a year, promising to grow up and come find each other, in a sense.

29. The Bolter

Character: Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls

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The CW Television Network, The WB Television Network

Notable Lyric: “I can confirm she made / A curious child, ever reviled / By everyone except her own father / With a quite bewitching face / Splendidly selfish, charmingly helpless / Excellent fun ‘til you get to know her / Then she runs like it’s a race”

Influenced by her upbringing and her relationship with her parents, Lorelai Gilmore (Graham) repeatedly flees relationships throughout the course of Gilmore Girls, reluctant to put her trust in a significant other once they really get to know her. Just like “The Bolter” that Swift describes, Lorelai’s charm, beauty and fun-loving nature attract others to her constantly, but if they get too close, she’ll bolt. (Her relationship with Max, for example.)

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30. Robin

Character: Matilda from Matilda

Notable Lyric: “You have no room in your dreams for regrets / (You have no idea) / The time will arrive for the cruel and the mean / You’ll learn to bounce back just like your trampoline / But now we’ll curtail your curiosity in sweetness”

In “Robin,” Swift sings about childhood innocence untouched by the cruel hand of the world. In the song’s chorus, she encourages the protagonist, singing “Way to go, tiger.” Matilda — from Roald Dahl’s eponymous children’s book and the subsequent 1996 film adaptation — is a young, innocent girl who is endlessly curious and kind, but stuck in unfortunate circumstances. Matilda faces cruelty in her family and in bullies like Mrs. Trunchbull, but just as the song says, she bounces back and comes out the other side victorious.

31. The Manuscript

Character: Hannah Horvath from Girls

Notable Lyric: “As the years passed / Like scenes of a show / The Professor said to write what you know / Lookin’ backwards / Might be the only way to move forward”

As a writer, Hannah Horvath puts pen to paper to process the events unfolding in her life. (Lena Dunham, who plays Hannah and created Girls is actually a close friend of Swift’s.) Hannah famously refers to herself as “the voice of my generation. … Or at least a voice. Of a generation.” Hannah even attends the Iowa writers’ workshop to develop her craft, encouraged by real professors, just like in the song.

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