A deep dive into the Easter eggs in Taylor Swift’s ‘Fortnight’ music video

Featuring Post Malone, the video includes notes and clues from Swiftian lore.

As of this writing, the author is swaying with a hand up in the air as Post Malone croons, “Thought of calling ya, but you won’t pick up / Another fortnight lost in America.”

“The Tortured Poets Department” was released on April 19, with fans (myself included) losing their minds after a 2:00 AM surprise drop. 

“‘The Tortured Poets Department’ is a secret DOUBLE album. I’d written so much tortured poetry in the past two years and wanted to share it all with you, so here’s the second installment of TTPD: The Anthology. 15 extra songs. And now the story isn’t mine anymore… it’s all yours,” Swift pens on Instagram. 

Shot in black and white, the video is bathed in elements of Victorian goth, a little bit of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Zack Snyder’s Suckerpunch.

Alongside the release, Swift announced that the album’s first single is Fortnight, featuring rapper and songwriter Post Malone. Easily one of my top songs of TTPD, the song is rumored to be a little look into Swift’s relationship with ex-flame and British actor Joe Alwyn.

Several listens later, however, had me thinking that the song could have borrowed its underlying melody from Somebody Else by The 1975. The band’s frontman Matty Healy and his alleged torrid dalliance with Swift have details weaved into the songs of the album that a sonical reference could be very much possible.

But I digress. It’s time to take apart the brilliantly filmed Fortnight music video. Shot in black and white, the video is bathed in elements of Victorian goth, a little bit of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Zack Snyder’s Suckerpunch. At the core of it all are notes and clues of Swiftian lore, the elements of which we tackle individually:

The silent film intro

Film enthusiasts rejoice! The music video opens with a title card and a whirring sound mimicking the silent era, along with cheeky caricatures of cats in the four corners of the frame. 

Taylor Bow and the white dress

The setting is a white room that resembles an asylum. Taylor is dressed in white, a nod to her dress at the 2024 Grammys, where she also announced “The Tortured Poets Department.” The handcuff you see is a callback to her song Imgonnagetyouback, with the lyric, “Even if it’s handcuffed, I’m leavin’ here with you.” 

But more than that, she is in full wedding garb, down to the garter on her left leg. She is a jilted bride here, which calls back to her “evermore” hit champagne problems. “She would’ve made such a lovely bride / What a shame she’s f’d in the head.” 

Silent film actress Clara Bow also inspired her makeup look, complete with thin eyebrows and lipstick. The pins spell out her signature number 13 in Roman numerals and call back to another “Evermore” track, Right Where You Left Me. “Dust collected on my pinned-up hair.” 

The “Forget Him” pill.

An orderly comes in to serve her the “miracle move-on drug” (also found in the Fortnight song) with the label “Forget Him.” The pills could also allude to Healy, who frequented substance use.

If you look closer, the date range is from 12131989 to 04192024, spanning from her birthday to the album’s release date. The dates could also resemble her love for Joe, whom she dubbed her eternal love in “Reputation’s” New Year’s Day. “You and me, forever more” and how it is a “heartbreak time could never mend” in “Lover’s” Cornelia Street. She takes the pill to “forget,” but as she says, “the effects are temporary.”

The tattoos

After being uncuffed from the bed, she walks towards the mirror and wipes her face, revealing tattoos similar to Malone’s, who is later revealed to be her love interest in the video. Swift makes several allusions to Alwyn as a tattoo on her, like in “Reputation’s” Dress. “You made your mark on me, a golden tattoo” or “folklore’s” Cardigan—“I knew you’d linger like a tattoo kiss.”

This could also be another allusion to Healy, who sports several tattoos.

The typewriters

In a GQ interview, Healy discussed his love for typewriters. The machine is referenced in several of Swift’s songs on the album, including the eponymous Tortured Poets Department. In that song, she sings, “You left your typewriter in my apartment / straight from the Tortured Poets Department.”

Fire and Water

Malone finally makes his appearance as light streams from both their typewriters. Interestingly, the shades resemble Swift’s and Alwyn’s zodiac signs—her fire sign, Sagittarius, burning bright, meeting his catastrophic blue Pisces. Swift also alludes to the color blue when she talks about Alwyn in her songs. 

The silhouette and The Story of Us

The lights combine and combust, moving to Swift and Malone lying side by side within a silhouette of Taylor’s head. This resembles a scene from Swift’s Lover music video, where she and her lover lie on the bed together. She reads from a book called US, which could be a nod to her “Speak Now” song The Story of Us.

Swift’s silhouette serves as the ground they lie on together, which could mean that Swift wishes this happened in real life, not just in her mind. It is also a throwback to Swift’s silhouette in “1989’s” Style, which contained a man looking at the water within.

The post-concert run

The montage shifts to Swift running to Malone and him enveloping her in his arms. This resembles her post-“Reputation” concert run towards Alwyn, shown in the 2019 Miss Americana documentary. Malone hugs her from behind, and Swift rests her head on his chest, much like in the “Midnights” Lavender Haze music video. 

“Storms in my eyes”

Swift looks at him with a dreamy, almost idealistic wonder, and Malone responds with stoic nonchalance. Her face darkens, and her expression is nearly one of disgust, but Malone maintains that same stoicism.

This exchange could allude to “Midnights’” You’re Losing Me, where she sings, ” I sent you signals, and I bit my nails down to the quick / My face was grey, but you wouldn’t admit that we were sick.” 

Swirled in a story

But despite the cold, she still reaches out to him. In “Lover’s” Death by a Thousand Cuts, she laments, “If the story’s over, why am I still writing pages?” 

The dead poets

Surprise cameos and a nod to the coming-of-age genre come in the form of Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles, the stars of the film Dead Poets Society, which served as one of the album’s inspirations. Aside from adapting their last names from the movie in this video, they serve as doctors who perform a procedure on Swift. Fans have also pointed out that they resemble Swift’s collaborators Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner. 

More than that, there is a Master Control label tacked on the machines. Hawke and Charles could also resemble Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta, who were involved in selling Swift’s masters. In the video, they try to control her mind and probably steal its contents before the whole place short-circuits. 

Malone is dressed as a doctor-turned-hero as he unplugs Swift from the machine. This could symbolize Alwyn swooping in during Swift’s lowest to save her from the lowest point of her life. 

The rust of telephones

Malone calls from a phone booth that Swift sits atop. He sings, “Thought of calling ya, but you won’t pick up.” The phone booth resembles a London telephone booth, a shoutout to both Alwyn and Healy, who are British. But more than that, the booth sits atop a cliff, a smart callback to folklore’s “hoax.” Stood on the cliffside, screaming, ‘Give me a reason.’ Your faithless love’s the only hoax I believe in.” 

The phone calls Swift refuses to answer is a callback to Midnights’ “Maroon.” “The rust that grew between telephones.” She is sitting in the rain, similar to a scene from the music video of Reputation’s “Delicate,” where she sits in a car in the pouring rain. 

Dear Reader

She pulls all the files out as she descends into chaos. The files burn around her, a lyrical reference to “Midnight’s” Dear Reader. A chair is thrown into the asylum room’s window, but she realizes that she is trapped in the labyrinth of her mind (callback to Labyrinth!).

The video ends with Malone leaving the booth and reaching out to Swift as she takes his hand. 

What other Easter eggs did you find? 

Catch the “Fortnight” music video on YouTube. 

The new lifestyle.