Instead of a Sorting Hat Saturday where I sort characters from other stories into Hogwarts houses, this week, I’m celebrating the release of reputation with a Taylor Swift playlist for every Hogwarts house. Here’s the first one. The songs are in chronological order.
This song is all about reckless young love, summed up in images like a slamming screen door, a distinctive laugh, and a secret late-night phone call. It takes some bravery to jump headfirst into that.
Different people react to love differently, and I think for Gryffindors, it’s definitely a source of courage. This song is about the ways a first taste of love can be terrifying (“My hands shake, I’m not usually this way”) and at the same time, empowering. All the things that would normally matter seem insignificant: “I don’t know why, but with you I’d dance / In a storm in my best dress, fearless”.
Bravery in love is all well and good, but Gryffindor stands for a lot more than that. It’s all about having the courage to stand up for what you believe in. Gryffindors are not afraid to “fight for what [they’ve] worked for all these years”, trusting that their efforts truly can change things.
There’s courage in being able to rise above an unpleasant situation, and that’s what Taylor Swift explores in this song: “But I took your matches before fire could catch me, so don’t look now / I’m shining like fireworks over your sad, empty town”.
This song more than any other reminds me of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Although they face difficult times together, those trials have brought them closer together. “Long live all the mountains we moved / I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you” is actually a pretty good description of the way their friendship grows in the face of hardship.
State of Grace
“This love is brave and wild,” Taylor Swift sings in this song from Red. Unlike some of her early “fearless in love” songs, this doesn’t mean that being in love makes the narrator feel fearless or emboldened. It means love is a “worthwhile fight”. Imagery like “mosaic broken hearts” and of course the titular “state of grace” paint a picture of a love that isn’t easy, but is worth it.
This is another song that takes a more mature look at the passion that comes with love. It’s still “faster than the wind, passionate as sin”, but it’s also prone to ending in heartbreak. Love is dangerous, and there’s something brave about embracing it anyway.
Welcome to New York
This song reminds me of moving away for college for the first time, and not just because of lines like “when we first dropped our bags on apartment floors”. The image of people looking for “something more / searching for a sound we hadn’t heard before” rings true with anyone who’s stepped outside their comfort zone. In a way, it’s kind of a counterpoint to “Never Grow Up”, an earlier song that idealizes the safety of childhood.
I Know Places
Let’s just run away together, okay? That seems to be the message of this song, where the singer claims, “I know places we won’t be found”. Even though the song is about running away and hiding from something, it doesn’t feel desperate or afraid. It feels as giddy and liberating as “Fearless”. (Of course, the more recent song “Getaway Car” portrays a very different view of running away together.)
King of My Heart
There’s courage in opening yourself up to love after a series of heartbreaks. While the imagery in this song evokes much earlier ones, with its royal titles and fanciful dreams, there’s a wariness about it that is not present in “Love Story” or even “White Horse”. In fact, it starts off with “I’m perfectly fine / I live on my own / I made up my mind I’m better off being alone” and takes a while to get to the gooey romantic lines like “all at once, you are the one I have been waiting for”.