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The Untold Truth Of American Horror Story's Scáthach

Titled "Roanoke" after the failed colony of the same name, the sixth season of "American Horror Story" delves into one of history's greatest mysteries. Roanoke was supposed to be the first permanent English settlement in North America, but when those who went back to Britain to gather supplies returned to the island, the settlers had vanished without a trace.

Pop superstar Lady Gaga first appeared in the "American Horror Story" universe during the fifth season, "Hotel." She portrayed The Countess, a vampire and the owner of the Hotel Cortez. She returned for the sixth season in what appeared on the surface to be a smaller role, though it was actually anything but. Her character, Scáthach, was the true mastermind of everything that went down in what is now North Carolina — she just used other characters to do her bidding.

Fans felt Lady Gaga's character deserved better, but what they may not realize is that there is a lot more to Scáthach than meets the eye. She isn't just a blood-thirsty witch trying to maintain her power over the Roanoke colony or please her pagan gods. In fact, her existence changed the history of witches in the "AHS" universe forever. Read on to find out how.

Scáthach is a descendant of the Druids

Unlike the other witches on the show, Scáthach is not descended from the inhabitants of Salem. In fact, she is much, much older than that. In the episode "Chapter 4," she shares her backstory during an encounter with Matt (Cuba Gooding Jr.), telling him that she is descended from the Druids and their Roman conquerors. Druids are a Celtic social class that never wrote about themselves, so all accounts we have come from the civilizations and societies they interacted with.

Much of what we know about the Druids comes from Roman writings. The Romans painted them as deeply spiritual people who had an appreciation for human sacrifice. Julius Caesar himself claimed that the Druids used human sacrifice to obtain the favor of their gods (sound familiar?). Their pagan beliefs were considered a threat to the Roman Empire.

In "Roanoke," the deities that Scáthach's people worshiped are frequently referred to as "the old Gods," described as having dark magic that they'll share with their followers for the right price. They can also make life better with great harvests and moderate weather. But, all good things come from a sacrifice. In this case, that meant taking human life during the Blood Moon lunar cycle every October.

Scáthach wasn't born a witch

While Scáthach is referred to as The Witch, she wasn't always one. As a descendent of the Druids, who are believed to have followed ancient deities, it's thought that her worship and sacrifice to them gave her the powers that enabled her to become a witch.

In "Chapter 4," we learn that Scáthach was an English woman, a stowaway on a British ship to the Americas during the early 16th century. The ship's crew suffered many casualties on the journey, and, when Scáthach was discovered on board, she got the blame. She was proclaimed a witch and the cause of their problems. They sentenced her to death, but she wasn't about to let that happen.

The ancient gods she followed demanded blood, so Scáthach killed all of the British settlers. The old magic bestowed upon her for this massive sacrifice created something special and new, and she began her life as an immortal witch in the New World. This revelation changes the history of witches in the show's universe completely.

The third season of the series, "Coven," describes witches as descendants of the women of Salem, the only witches mentioned in the show until Scáthach. The revelation that you don't have to be born a witch, or be a Salem descendant to become a witch, opens up a whole new world of witches that could yet enter the "AHS" universe.

Scáthach is the original Supreme

While Scáthach was not born a witch, she is considered the OG witch. Speaking to HuffPost in 2016, "American Horror Story" co-creator Ryan Murphy stated that she is the original Supreme in the show's universe. The Supreme is the witch of the generation that possesses more supernatural abilities than the rest of the witches. However, it isn't only power that makes a witch the Supreme.

To take over from the previous Supreme, or to fill the position when a Supreme dies, interested witches have to compete in the Test of the Seven Wonders. This test ensures they have all the abilities a Supreme should possess, as witches without the power needed to complete the test will end their lives in the process.

Scáthach being the original Supreme means she didn't complete a Test of the Seven Wonders and did not have to prove her power to anyone. It has also caused fans to question how the power of a Supreme shifted from her to the other Supremes we know of, like Cordelia Goode (Sarah Paulson).

It's possible that each coven has its own line of Supremes, meaning Scáthach is the reigning (and only) Roanoke colony Supreme and the first ever Supreme in witch history, separate from the Salem Supremes. This adds another layer to the witch lore of "AHS," and also shows just how powerful Scáthach is.

Scáthach and her use of boar hearts

In the episode "Chapter 3," the in-universe show "My Roanoke Nightmare" tells the backstory of Thomasin White/The Butcher (Kathy Bates). Cricket Marlowe (Leslie Jordan), a medium known for finding missing children, states that "the spirits downloaded to me like a paranormal zip drive." In this spiritual download, he learns about Thomasin's connection to Scáthach.

Thomasin's husband John was the governor of the Roanoke colony and had to travel back to England for supplies. She was left in charge during his absence. Her son and other men of the colony did not agree with her decisions, so they kidnapped and banished her. On the brink of death, Scáthach found her.

Scáthach killed a boar that was going to attack Thomasin. She released Thomasin from the contraption on her head and gave her the boar's heart to eat. Scáthach then told Thomasin to surrender her soul as thanks. She joined Scáthach and returned to the colony to convert the people and sacrifice certain individuals in Scáthach's name.

The use of the boar heart is mirrored when Scáthach offers Lee Harris one in the episode "Chapter 9," causing her to do Scáthach's bidding and kill a teenage fan wandering the forest during the Blood Moon. She even commits the act with a meat cleaver, just like The Butcher. While Lee doesn't stay this way, it shows the boar heart is significant to Scáthach and how she gains followers.

Scáthach is connected to the Ulster Cycle

In Celtic mythology, Scáthach is connected to the Ulster Cycle, a set of stories that center around the conflict between the ancient Irish kingdoms of Ulaid and Connachta. In these stories, she is considered a strong warrior who even trained other warriors, and is known for her use of magic. While the "American Horror Story" character is very different from the mythological figure, there are parallels between the two.

In the ancient stories, Scáthach trained Cúchulainn, a great warrior. But, the training came with a cost. While she shared with him everything she knew about combat, she then asked him to fight her enemies and save her sons. This is mirrored in what she required of Thomasin after rescuing her from the boar. She saved her life, but it came at a deadly price.

The "AHS" character's interaction with the British settlers after being found as a stowaway is also reminiscent of the mythological figure's initial interactions with Cúchulainn. He threatened her to gain access to her knowledge, while in "AHS," the crew of the ship threatened to kill her for causing them misfortune and being a witch. In both instances, Scáthach is threatened by men for her (supposed) unique abilities and ends up having the last laugh.