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Scathach's Powers In AHS: Roanoke Explained

"American Horror Story" has always been controversial and divisive, whether because of its violent content or because of how the fandom reacts to the narratives and themes of each season. And out of all the seasons, few have split the fanbase like "American Horror Story: Roanoke." The season is one of the most narratively ambitious, as it employs several layers of meta-storytelling. Part of the season is a dramatization of actual events in the world of the show, while other scenes are presented mockumentary style. The overarching story of the season concerns a couple who moves into a historic farmhouse in North Carolina that is connected to the infamous lost colony of Roanoke. 

The atypical narrative style made the season a big gamble. But one of the most captivating aspects turned out to be the return of Lady Gaga, who first appeared in the prior season, "American Horror Story: Hotel," as the Countess. She has significantly less screentime in "Roanoke," but her character is crucial to the lore of the season. Her role as one of the most powerful witches in "American Horror Story" history, Scáthach, demonstrates a long list of mystical powers used to terrify — and at times seduce — the main characters.

Scathach was confirmed to be the original Supreme

Scáthach is a witch of few words. She is typically present for ritual sacrifice, manipulating the actions of others through fear and magic. But halfway through the season, her origins are revealed. Not only is Scáthach a formidable witch, but she is also the first Supreme (via Huffington Post). These powerful witches and the concept of the Surpeme were first introduced in "American Horror Story: Coven." And long before Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) held the title, Scáthach took power from the old pagan gods of Europe. When she traveled to the Americas in the early days of colonialism, she was given a new sort of power that resulted in the creation of the Supreme. The Supreme witch is the pinnacle for any coven and is defined by her ability to perform The Seven Wonders.

With her limited screentime, Scáthach is only around long enough to demonstrate three of The Seven Wonders. The first is telekinesis, which Scáthach uses in a number of ways, including freeing The Butcher (Kathy Bates) from her imprisonment in colonial times. Scáthach also seems to have a particular fondness for concilium, otherwise known as mind control. She particularly enjoys enthralling men who immediately fall for her charms. She also appears suddenly, most likely through transmutation. But as Supreme, she would have the ability to do the rest of The Seven Wonders we don't see her demonstrate on the show, including pyrokinesis, divination, vitalis vitalum, and descensum.

She ensures servitude through the use of blood magic

After aligning herself with The Butcher to control the doomed colony, Scáthach becomes a common sight around Roanoke. It is because of her that the colony becomes prosperous, a feat she accomplishes through blood magic. As a worshiper of pagan gods, Scáthach uses human sacrifices to get what she wants. This is eventually what causes the downfall of the colony. Scáthach convinces The Butcher the only way to ensure the colony's loyalty is through sacrifice. The Butcher understands that those she governs will not follow her in life. Instead, she stains the ground with their blood so their spirits never leave the land. Scáthach finishes this ritual by killing The Butcher, who is a willing participant.

This was also demonstrated when The Butcher first meets Scáthach. The witch convinces The Butcher to sell her soul and has her eat a still-beating heart. This violent magic is necessary for the amount of power that Scáthach controls.

You aren't a true witch if you can't cast some spells

Viewers aren't privy to a lot of the inner workings of Scáthach's witchcraft, but spellcasting is one of her most obvious powers. Because she is a descendent of the Druids, she draws power from the woods and prays to the old gods. This can result in some heavy-duty spells that are intended to only cause pain. In addition to her occult-leaning rituals, Scáthach also casts spells on the unlucky bystanders in the woods.

One of her most unfortunate targets is Cricket (Leslie Jordan), a medium attempting to free an innocent child from the clutches of The Butcher. While fumbling around in the woods, Cricket happens upon Scáthach, who attacks. She dispenses of him easily, rendering him blind for a time with a mixture she concocts. Cricket eventually regains his eyesight but the spell renders him terrified for a time. Scáthach also uses the lunar cycles — especially the blood moon — to ensure her spells have the proper power. She is able to show Cricket visions of her past so he understands what happened to the Roanoke colony.

Her immortality allows her to keep plaguing the Roanoke land

The veil between life and death is thin on the land where the Roanoke colony used to live. The spirits of the lost commune haunt the grounds and terrorize its inhabitants. But Scáthach is not one of them. She is responsible for their deaths but did not need to die herself. She goes on living, sustained by her magic and attempting to satiate her carnal urges with anyone who walks by. As her title suggests, her powers are Supreme. Immortality is not common, since witches of the modern era can only gain power when their predecessor dies. But as she is the original, this likely does not apply to her.

Her immortality allows her to stick around to seduce Matt (represented by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the reenactment "My Roanoke Nightmare"), who cannot resist her. The real Matt (André Holland) is so taken with her powers that he returns to her in the in-universe documentary "Return to Roanoke: Three Days In Hell" in order to be with her, even though he knows how grotesque and evil she has become.