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Lyrics with Liv: Explaining the Folklore Love Triangle

By Olivia Sukari



Hey everyone and welcome to a new article series I’m calling “Lyrics with Liv”, where I’ll be analysing and explaining songs and their lyrics (mainly Taylor Swift). We’re starting off with Taylor Swift’s “Folklore Love Triangle”.  Enjoy!!


Context:

Whilst writing her 8th studio album, “folklore”, Dr Taylor Alison Swift decided that she wanted to create a fictional world of high school characters in a “love triangle”. You can hear more about this and her other songs on the album in her musical documentary, “folklore: the long pond studio sessions”. 


The Characters:

There are three characters: Betty, James and Augusta/Augustine (Taylor hasn’t confirmed which name it is yet). Each character has a song written from their perspective following along the storyline.


Storyline:

  1. Betty and James are your typical high school relationship, and all is well until summer comes along.

  2. Just as the school year ends and summer begins, James leaves Betty for a girl named Augustine/Augusta and spends the summer away with her.

  3. Augustine/Augusta is unaware of the circumstances he was in, leading her to believe that they were falling in love.

  4. At the end of the summer, James is filled with regret and realises that he may have just lost the love of his life, so he devises a plan to get Betty back.

  5. Betty and James end up back together, but what happens to Augustine/Augusta? I guess we’ll never know.


The Songs:

The lead single of “folklore”, “cardigan”, is written from the perspective of Betty after the heartbreak she faced from James. “august” was written from the perspective of Augustine/Augusta (hence the name) as she reflects on her time with James over the summer after finding out that he was never hers. And last but not least, “betty” was written from the perspective of James, while he faces the regret of possibly losing the love of his life forever and plans to get her back.


Fan Theories:

We said we didn’t know what happened to Augustine/Augusta, but some Swifties have come up with theories that the triangle is connected to the rest of the “folklore” album.


One of my favourite theories was created by @taylor_castro on TikTok. Her theory is that Betty and James get married, but Augustine/Augusta returns and we get “illicit affairs”, another song on the album. After Augustine/Augusta’s return, Betty and James get a divorce and Betty rebrands; she starts going by her full name “Rebekah” and rides up on the ‘afternoon train’. She and her new husband pick out a home and call it ‘Holiday House’, and she keeps throwing her signature parties mentioned in “betty”, and we get “the last great american dynasty” (It’s a pretty cool storyline if you ask me).


However, the love triangle is the only thing Taylor has confirmed (yet).


Final Thoughts:

The “folklore” love triangle was well thought out and well-written by our favourite mastermind, Taylor Swift, and I think we can all agree we need a sequel to find out what really happens to Augustine/Augusta after she was left behind. Stay tuned for the next article on the series (hint: it’s another “folklore” song).

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