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Wait, What Exactly Is Gandalf’s Voice Saying in Taylor Swift’s Head?

Fool of a Took!

Gandalf the Grey in greyscale with Taylor Swift's reputation logo

Taylor Swift, 2023’s Person of the Year according to TIME Magazine, is a fangirl.

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In an interview with the outlet, the songwriting superstar compared the process of rerecording and rereleasing her old albums to an odyssey or “quest” right out of a fantasy story. In doing so, Taylor Swift dropped references to three big millennial IP faves: Harry Potter, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and The Lord of the Rings. “I’m collecting horcruxes,” she told the magazine. “I’m collecting Infinity stones. Gandalf’s voice is in my head every time I put out a new one. For me, it is a movie now.” Nerd alert!

To be fair and honest, I wasn’t confounded by the references at all. We know Taylor Swift has fandom in her blood. That writing has been on the wall. It is known that several songs on reputation were inspired by Game of Thrones. She has a Tumblr for Galadriel’s sake. I am personally taking the “collecting Infinity stones” portion of that quote as confirmation that “my tears ricochet” on folklore is about Tony Stark aka Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame, something I have thought for a while.

Taylor Swift’s pop culture diet is pretty varied. It does not surprise me that she probably knows what her Hogwarts house is and may or may not have marathoned the LOTR Extended Editions on a snow day like the rest of us.

But why Gandalf’s voice, and more importantly, what is he saying in her head as she’s releasing new old albums? He represents guidance, sure, but as far as I can remember, neither J. R. R. Tolkien nor the Wizard were ever particularly interested in capitalism. (I kid, I kid.) Let’s go through some iconic Gandalf quotes and investigate what they could mean to la Swift.

13. “YOU SHALL NOT PASS”

Thanks to the enduring power of The Lord of the Rings memes, this is the first thing that I think of when you say “Gandalf’s voice” to me. But it makes no dang sense in this context.

12. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

Wouldn’t it be cute if it was The Hobbit that lived rent-free in Taylor Swift’s head?

11. “Keep it secret. Keep it safe.”

Definitely not. It’s another famous quote from ol’ Gandy, sure, but doesn’t relate to the (Taylor’s Version) industrial complex at all. They are not secrets. We don’t need to keep them safe. The whole point is for them to be out in the world.

10.  “It is in men that we must place our hope.”

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOL (no).

9. “Do not take me for some conjuror of cheap tricks! I am not trying to rob you. I’m trying to help you.”

Not trying to rob me, eh? Why do the rerelease albums come in multiple collectible colors then, hmm? How come Eras Tour tickets like that? Why can’t I use my AMC Stubs Premiere subscription to see the movie for zero extra money? Why were the cardigans $70? Riddle me that.

8. “End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.  White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.”

I kind of like this one as a dark horse (not Shadowfax) possibility. This could be a metaphor for the journey her albums are on, and the line has her last name in it.

7. “I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure.”

Gandalf or dating app? This is a safe option, and I just really think it would be cute and funny if Taylor Swift was particularly a fan of The Hobbit. What if she’s a Thorin Oakenshield girlie??

6. “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

Tell that to the old Taylor who can’t come to the phone right now, am I right?

5. “Look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day, at dawn look to the East.”

So… reputation (Taylor’s Version) announcement on the first light of the fifth day, confirmed?

4. “I will not say ‘do not weep’, for not all tears are an evil.”

Strong contender!

3. “The veiling shadow that glowers in the East takes shape. Sauron will suffer no rival. From the summit of Barad-dur his eye watches ceaselessly. But he is not so mighty yet that he is above fear. Doubt ever gnaws at him. The rumor has reached him. The heir of Numenor still lives. Sauron fears you, Aragorn. He fears what you may become. And so he will strike hard and fast at the world of Men. He will use his puppet Saruman to destroy Rohan. War is coming. Rohan must defend itself, and therein lies our first challenge, for Rohan is weak and ready to fall. The King’s mind is enslaved; it’s an old device of Saruman’s. His hold over King Theoden is now very strong. Sauron and Saruman are tightening the noose. But, for all their cunning, we have one advantage. The Ring remains hidden, and that we should seek to destroy it has not yet entered their darkest dreams. And so the weapon of the Enemy is moving towards Mordor in the hands of a Hobbit. Each day brings it closer to the fires of Mount Doom. We must trust now in Frodo. Everything depends now upon speed and upon the secrecy of his quest. Do not regret your decision to leave him. Frodo must finish this task alone.”

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

2. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

That would be nice. This is Gandalf in his mentor era, doling out sound wisdom. We could all do with hearing this particular quote in our heads a few times a year. However, I think the answer is a little sillier.

1. “Fly, you fools.”

Let’s be real. It’s probably this. It has to be this. Off you fly, little albums! You beautiful fools!

(featured image: Leah Marilla Thomas, New Line Cinema, Wikimedia Commons)

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Author

Leah Marilla Thomas
Leah Marilla Thomas (she/her) is a contributor at The Mary Sue. She has been working in digital entertainment journalism since 2013, covering primarily television as well as film and live theatre. She's been on the Marvel beat professionally since Daredevil was a Netflix series. (You might recognize her voice from the Newcomers: Marvel podcast). Outside of journalism, she is 50% Southerner, 50% New Englander, and 100% fangirl over everything from Lord of the Rings to stage lighting and comics about teenagers. She lives in New York City and can often be found in a park. She used to test toys for Hasbro. True story!

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