Lady Gaga's Freaky Roanoke Character Has Some Deep American Horror Story Roots

Lady Gaga as Scathach. Image: Prashant Gupta/FX
Lady Gaga as Scathach. Image: Prashant Gupta/FX

Fans of American Horror Story know that the fun of the show is scanning new episodes for references to other seasons—like when Lady Gaga’s character in Hotel visited the Murder House. My Roanoke Nightmare has also turned up its share of Easter eggs, and Ryan Murphy just confirmed another one involving Lady Gaga.


In this case, though, her character is tied to American Horror Story seasons past and future. (The show has already been renewed by FX for a seventh season.) While she spent her first AHS season as a couture-clad vampire on Hotel, Roanoke has seen the pop star lurching around the woods in a primitive crown and grimy dress, turning Kathy Bates’ Butcher into a ghostly spirit of vengeance, and seducing Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s character for reasons that will no doubt be explained as the season continues. She’s “the bitch with the real power,” according to the doomed medium played by Leslie Jordan.

It’s not a coincidence that Jordan—an alumnus of American Horror Story: Coven—popped up on the show this season. According to creator Ryan Murphy, Lady Gaga’s character has a strong tie to that season, and both Coven and the ancient woodsy sprite will return in some form once the show moves on from Roanoke. Turns out Lady Gaga’s character, so far not named on the show (though FX press materials call her “Scathach”) is the original Supreme, the head-witch-in-charge title held by Jessica Lange’s character, and later Sarah Paulson’s character, during Coven.

According to The Huffington Post:

Murphy explained that, due to Gaga’s schedule surrounding her new album, the singer and actress didn’t have much time to devote to “AHS” filming over the summer. But the co-creator was set on including her as The Witch.

“I knew that this character was important to the mythology of the show, and I really wanted her to play that character,” Murphy said, adding that “the return-to-’Coven’ season” won’t be Season 7.

“But we’re definitely going to do it,” he said.

The Roanoke game-changing episode is supposed to air tomorrow night, so that’ll probably be enough to distract us from speculating about the witchy mysteries of future season(s)—at least for now.

io9 News Editor, here since 2016. Previously SF Bay Guardian newspaper (RIP), SFSU (MA, Cinema Studies), member of the SF Bay Area Film Critics Circle, big fan of horror, metal, and verrry small dogs.


Michael Munro

“Scathach” (“The Shadowy One”) is a name from Irish mythology - she was a warrior and trainer of warriors, notably Cuchulainn. Here’s the traditional list of skills she taught him:

“At last, when the full lore of martial arts with Scathach had been mastered by Cuchulainn—the apple-feat and the thunder-feat, the blade-feat, the supine-feat, and the spear-feat, the rope-feat, the body feat, the cat’s-feat, the salmon-feat of a chariot-chief; the throw of the staff, the whirl of a brave chariot-chief, the spear of the bellows (gae bulga), the boi of swiftness, the wheel-feat, the othar feat, the breath-feat, the brudgeme, the hero’s whoop, the blow, the counter-blow, running up a lance and righting the body on its point; the scythe-chariot, and the hero’s twisting-round-spear-points—then came to him a message to return to his own land, and he took his leave.”

Scholars have deciphered what some of those “feats” may have been, and others remain mysterious.