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Culture > Entertainment

So I Rewatched AHS: Coven

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NCSU chapter.

And it was better than I remembered.

American Horror Story is truly one-of-a-kind in its show structure, star-studded cast and storyline. The series, created by Ryan Murphy (who also created Glee) and Brad Falchuk, was one of my first forays into the horror and gore genre in middle and high school. AHS: Coven, the show’s third season, was my absolute favorite due to its subject matter and the plot not being as  creepy as the other seasons.

I decided to revisit AHS: Coven recently, as it inspired a photoshoot concept earlier this year. I hadn’t watched the series in over five years, so I wanted to both refresh my memory and rediscover a topic I’ve always enjoyed: Witchcraft. 

Set in 2013 New Orleans, Coven follows the descendants of the original Salem witches at a school that protects them and helps them hone their gifts. This season is equal parts funny, gory and iconic, with so many more layers and subplots that I remembered. As I watched, I was amazed by the production, storyline, and acting. 

Here are my highlights. Mild spoilers so read at your own risk:

The Opening Scene

The show opens with our main character Zoe (played by recurring AHS icon Taissa Farmiga) and her boyfriend Charlie. They weave through the halls of Zoe’s house, home alone and ready to take their relationship to the next level. We get splices of skin, kissing, you know, all the good stuff. But by the end of the scene, Charlie is dead, a result of Zoe’s… you know. 

This is how we find out Zoe is a witch. She is taken away to a school in New Orleans where she meets other witches, The entire scene is raunchy, it’s gruesome, but it also has a disarmingly contrasting lightness, accented by the bright vocals of the Cemetery Girls (the “La-La” vocals throughout the season). It really sets the tone for the rest of the show, and I think its “out-there”ness is one of the things that makes the American Horror Story franchise and the Coven season in particular so iconic. 

The Supreme (Not the Bojangles Kind)

One of the major conflicts of Coven involves the Supremacy. The Supreme is basically the witchiest of all the witches, and is in charge of the entire coven (which at this point is about six witches). To become the Supreme, a witch must master the Seven Wonders, a series of miracles to prove their power. 

Fiona Goode, the estranged Supreme at the beginning of the season, notices her powers and health deteriorating and takes it as a sign that the new Supreme is close to realizing her role. She returns to New Orleans and wreaks havoc on the witches as she tries to preserve her power and youth by destroying the competition. This conflict, threaded throughout the season and ending with a lot of brutal deaths and a new Supreme, really highlights the lengths some people will go for power.

Salem vs. Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau

The Salem descendants aren’t the only witches in New Orleans. Voodoo Priestess Marie Laveau, based on the real 19th century occultist of the same name, is leader of a coven across the French Quarter. In the show Marie Laveau is immortal, having been alive since the 1800s. The two covens do not get along, but have a reluctant truce that is broken when Fiona enters Marie Laveau’s domain in search of immortality. Throughout the season, the covens take turns attacking each other until they have to form an alliance when the safety of all witches is threatened by witch hunters.

The war between the factions serves as a commentary on the racial tensions that still permeate everyday life due to the deep history surrounding slavery and segregation. The voodooists are all women of color who have been excluded from white spaces, resulting in the separate factions. Queenie, the only black witch in the Salem coven, also discusses feeling alienated by her “sisters” due to her race.



Stevie Freaking Nicks

Yep. Stevie Nicks guest stars in this season. Nicks is known in many circles as a witch, and her appearance in a show about witches definitely cemented that claim. I mean, that viral video of her singing “Silver Springs” live says enough.

There’s definitely a ton that I’m missing, like Misty Day, Frat Kyle, Delphine LaLaurie, Spalding, The Axeman, etc, but I don’t want this article to be t en pages long. Give AHS: Coven a watch and message me if you want to chat. My Instagram is @dahliakristinaa.

Dahlia Bagley is a senior at NC State University and this is her fourth year writing for Her Campus. A lover of music, film, fashion, and pop culture commentary, Dahlia loves to share playlists, movie recommendations, trend predictions and anything else that piques her interest. Dahlia is studying Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and has a minor in both Spanish and English, meaning she is constantly talking, often in Spanglish. In her freetime, Dahlia enjoys shopping, reading, skincare, and spending time with friends. An avid creative writer, Dahlia has written countless poems and short stories, which she hopes to one day have the nerve to publish. Always on a quest for knowledge (read: random facts that will never come up organically in conversation), she also enjoys watching video essays and reading about various historical events. Though born in Boston, Massachusetts, Dahlia considers herself from Charlotte, North Carolina, where she has spent most of her life. When not in Raleigh for college, she is spending time at home with her parents, two sisters, and her wonderful dog, Vader.