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The American Horror Story Character That Fans Think Is Overly Hated

In the decade since "American Horror Story" debuted in 2011, the provocative Ryan Murphy-Brad Falchuk brainchild has created an absolute pile of characters for fans to love, hate, hate that they love, and love that they hate. There's one such character, however, upon whose love/hate category fans appear to be split. In a series known for placing even relatively "good" people in situations that reveal they, too, are capable of monstrous behavior, it's a character from "AHS: Asylum" whose reaction in such a situation earned what many fans think is an undeserved degree of ire.

In the "AHS" Season 2 finale, "Madness Ends," viewers are treated to a mostly tidy resolution to the various main characters' narrative arcs. Among these resolutions, we learn that long-suffering hero Kit (Evan Peters) is actually the one who rescued Jessica Lange's complex (and, at times, terrifying) Sister Jude from her fate in the asylum. Though the audience was previously led to believe Jude was rescued by reporter and former asylum captive Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson), it turns out that depiction was merely a fabrication for Winters' book about her traumatic experience at Briarcliff. But why do many of her supporters feel she receives too much hate?

She did what she had to do

In the AHS subreddit, u/livtoben aimed to find out why, saying, "Some people hate Lana Winters for killing her own son, yet they love Tate even though he killed (a lot) of people and is a rapist." The user's confusion was shared previously by a fellow Redditor, when they asked, "Why do people consider Lana Winters to be morally ambiguous?" Fans on both sides of the fence were happy to provide answers, but, at least recently, the majority seem to be equally perplexed by viewers' disgust for Winters' actions, which they see as justifiable.

Referring to Winters' murder of her adult son Johnny (Dylan McDermott), u/LitBit_618 remarked, "I would have killed him too. She did what she had to do. Her son was going to kill her." It's a valid point. Winters' son (the result of her having been raped by the original Bloody Face) was a serial killer who became obsessed with finding and murdering his mother, by whom he felt cruelly abandoned. "She did what she needed to do," echoed u/eli454, a feeling shared by many on the subreddit.

If Winters shooting her son in what many see as self-defense isn't at the heart of some fans' dislike for the character, what is? In the final episodes of "AHS: Asylum," we see Paulson's character return to the overtly ambitious journalist she embodies at the season's onset. "It becomes clear," wrote HuffPost contributor Joey DeAngelis, "that Lana is milking her experience for every last penny and every last ounce of fame." Here, the writer is referring to the fact that Winters fabricates part of her traumatic autobiography so that it will play better as her own narrative. This may well be why opinions are split on the direction of Lana Winters' moral compass, but at least a few fans think there's something else going on here. 

Why some fans still refuse to accept Lana

In response to u/livtoben's inquiry as to why Lana gets so much hate on "instagram and YouTube," u/lucyvgu theorized that it may have more to do with society's understanding of women's role within it than it does with society's reaction to murder. (Particularly since, as the original post points out, many people don't seem to have a problem accepting Tate.) Referring to Johnny's murder, u/lucyvgu wrote, "...if someone does hate her for that it's because a lot of people have a very f****** up idea of motherhood and think that it's every woman's desire and goal." Pointing out that Lana didn't raise Johnny, and that he was, "conceived under extremely awful and traumatic circumstances," the Redditor concluded by saying "He was just a man who was trying to kill her, but I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people refused to understand that." 

In a more extensive investigation of the conflicted audience response to Paulson's protagonist, writer and critic Zofia Wijaszka pointed out on In Their Own League that while some "accused her of being an opportunist," the bigger injustice behind the Lana hate lies in the audience questioning Winters' decision to even have Johnny if she wasn't going to raise him, while also questioning her decision to attempt to abort him before changing her mind, also questioning her decision to return to her career, and calling her "cold." Wijaszka believes that the "fundamental issues" Winters grapples with and represents — including "the struggle of being a homosexual person in the 60s" — are every bit as relevant today as they were in Winters' lifetime. Referring to women in contemporary society, she writes, "We are judged whether we pick a career or motherhood, or both, and somehow we always end up being 'a cold b****' after all." 

Sarah Paulson weighs in

Whether "The Lana Effect" is rooted in sexism and misogyny, sympathy for serial killer Johnny, or something as simple as people just not liking that she took creative liberties with the truth, or a mix of all three, the fact remains that in the world of "American Horror Story," pretty much any character can return at any point. With that in mind, as well as the premiere of "AHS: Double Feature" around the corner, it's worth taking a closer look at our response to Lana. 

For Sarah Paulson, at least, there's little question regarding Winters' integrity, particularly after all she's been through. In a 2013 interview with HuffPost where she discussed the (then-upcoming) finale of "AHS: Asylum," Paulson discussed the importance of the fact that people respond to trauma differently: "Her lover's killed, she bore a child out of rape by a man who tortured her, she killed him — it's just really a lot to ask a person to carry around. So if a person needs to go into denial and embrace her newfound fame, I don't know how you could possibly hold that against her."