Put Your Witch Hat On

rs_634x951-130903134107-634.American-Horror-Coven-Poster.mh.090313by C. Margery Kempe

I could not resist watching American Horror Story: Coven even though I usually have to laugh at portrayals of witches in popular culture. I don’t think doctors would find much to relate to in the way medical dramas show their lives and professions, so I can’t really take it personally (if you want some thoughtful yet fun pagan analysis, I’d suggest you check out the discussions by my pal Peg Aloi and her colleague Lilith Dorsey over at Patheos).

There’s no doubt that the witch has been (and continues to be) a scapegoat for fear. But she has also long been an icon of sexual strength and power, and that is one of the tropes that actually has some power in the series. As silly as the plot threads have been and as random as the actions of the characters are (and oh, they are random and senseless — committee writing at its best) this is a show about powerful women and for that alone it is wonderful.

There’s no doubt that the real draw of series is the fine cast: Jessica Lange, Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates are all legends and they bring so much to the series. Bates is under used since her introduction, but Lange and Bassett show just how sexy a powerful woman can be. The two of them facing off is always a pleasure and despite the goofiness of some of the story it is such a joy to watch a show that features a mostly female cast who don’t spend all their time bitching about the men in their lives!

I hated the first episode because it made Lange’s character seem all about “staying young” at any price. Now her search for youth turns out not to have been about being “pretty” but about retaining power as the “Supreme” of the witches, even though she has mostly squandered her power to date. Now that she’s stirred up the fractions between her witches and Bassett’s voudoun folk, war seems inevitable. Meanwhile the two of them get to look good and lay waste to the people who stand in their path. It’s fun to watch even as you’re cringing at the mishmash of history, race and culture of the great city of New Orleans.

But there are generic conventions to consider: this is horror after all. It can be sexy but somebody’s got to die, so things are bound to go badly.

What if they didn’t have to?

What sexy witch stories would you like to see? What if it were romance or erotic romance instead? What witch stories do you like? Sweeping historicals like Mists of Avalon? Or something contemporary like The Craft dealing with the here and now? What’s your idea of a good sexy witch? I’ve got an idea on the back burner, but I haven’t had time to get anywhere near it on my to-do list.

Hocus pocus —

And don’t forget to follow the Lady Smut crew so you don’t miss a thing!

Tagged with: , , , , ,


  • Post authorMadeline Iva

    Witchy-ness is totally inspiring, I agree! Sexy, powerful, bad girls– actually, you’re making me wonder why I haven’t been writing about witches all along.

    Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Post authorLizEverly

    I that that real witches are far more interesting than how they are portrayed in popular culture. That said, now I’m curious about this series and may have to check it out. Great post, CMK.

    Reply to LizEverly
    • Post authorC. Margery Kempe

      I don’t know — my life’s pretty dull to anyone but me!

      Reply to C. Margery Kempe
  • Post authorElizabeth Shore

    Honestly, I didn’t find myself thinking about witches much. Until now . . .

    Reply to Elizabeth Shore

Comments & Reviews

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.