American Horror Story: Coven – Why Misty Day Is the Secret Weapon

Over the course of its ten seasons (and one spinoff), American Horror Story has featured greater than its share of despicable, egocentric, and downright evil characters. With antagonistic traits comparable to Kai Anderson’s (Evan Peters) psychopathy and murderous tendencies in Cult and Dandy Mott’s (Finn Wittrock) manipulative actions and God advanced in Freak Present, it may be tough for the viewers to root for and emotionally join with a few of every season’s fundamental characters. However infrequently comes a personality so mild, good-natured, and sort that it balances out the vile actions and loopy psychologies of the villainous characters we like to hate.

Maybe the most effective instance of that is Misty Day (Lily Rabe) in Coven.

Along with her bohemian clothes within the type of flowing attire, layers of draped shawls, scarves, and mismatched necklaces, she mechanically stands other than the remainder of the witches at Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Distinctive Younger Girls who’re normally wearing black monochrome. She’s visually distinctive, a technicolor character in a black-and-white world. Her type mechanically alerts the viewer that there is one thing completely different about her and her quirkiness along with her meditation, swamp mud rituals, and obsession with Stevie Nicks’ music cements her as a singular character within the American Horror Story universe.

She does not care what others consider her (as evidenced by her residing alone within the Louisiana swamp quite than attempting to evolve to regular society) and such nonchalance for the opinions of others makes her stand out amongst a forged of vapid characters which are centered on self-importance and perfection. “You may’t be your finest self till you discover your tribe,” she says. “I am nonetheless in search of mine.” Misty provides the viewers purpose to take discover of her via her fierce independence and committal to self-improvement. Along with her humble roots and nomad spirit, she cements herself as an underdog, making us root for her success and happiness.

Lily Rabe in American Horror Story: Coven
Picture through FX

Within the arms of different actresses, she might simply come throughout as a unusual, stereotypical Southern caricature, however Lily Rabe breathes actual life into Misty. She embodies her with a dedicated sense of wide-eyed childlike innocence in her extraordinarily expressive face, to not point out an endearing Southern twang. As Misty’s feelings run the gamut from awed pleasure at assembly Stevie Nicks (who performs herself in an exquisite cameo look), intense ache and devastation when her increase field (which is her one connection to the “outdoors” world) is damaged, and pure horror at being compelled to re-live her personal private hell (dissecting a frog in a college science class), Rabe’s multi-dimensional efficiency brings Misty to life in an extremely sincere means, elevating Coven to larger ranges of character depth in the case of the season’s machinations.

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Whereas characters like Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) and Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) are sometimes self-centered and pushing a secret agenda identified solely to themselves, Misty stands other than the opposite witches within the coven along with her fierce kindness and compassion in direction of all residing creatures, massive and small (“Why would you kill God’s harmless creatures?” she asks of a pair of alligator poachers). When viewers are first launched to her, she’s seen bringing a fowl again from the useless along with her energy of resurgence. Right here, she has nothing to achieve from the motion; it is one thing she does out of compassion and empathy. She brings life into the world quite than loss of life. And her reward for it? Being burned on the stake by a mob of spiritual zealots who wrongly consider her talents to be gifted to her by the satan. However her loss of life does not final since she’s ready to make use of her powers to convey herself again to life as properly. As Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) introduces her:

“She’s a complicated witch with extraordinary items…In actual fact, these round her tried endlessly to destroy her in an effort to masks their very own evil functions. But she rose from the ashes stronger than ever, extra totally realized. A residing testomony to the larger beliefs of our coven — energy, compassion, and uniqueness.”

Regardless of the horrors and trauma that got here from experiencing the very worst of humanity, Misty rejects the trail of retribution and bloodshed in favor of spending her time communing with nature and therapeutic others quite than destroying. “I’ve surrounded myself with the white spirit mild to guard me,” she says to a threatening Fiona. “And even if you happen to do put me down, I’ve already made plans on the way to convey myself again.” Whereas it might need been narratively tempting to permit Misty to go on a murderous rampage of revenge in opposition to those that wronged her, the restraint proven in regard to her characterization does a terrific deal in the best way of establishing a properly of heat and understanding inside her. She proves herself to be a girl of pure coronary heart and compassion and these traits permit the viewers to empathize along with her and kind a real bond and emotional connection to such a purely good and harmless character in a season full of prickly ones. By caring about Misty and what occurs to her, by affiliation we find yourself caring about what occurs to her complete coven.


Misty’s kindness extends to individuals as properly when she presents not solely to assist ressurrect Kyle (Evan Peters) but additionally Madison. Her motivations are as soon as once more altruistic, reviving Kyle as a result of she is aware of how deeply Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) cares for him, and Madison as a result of the coven’s security depends upon uncovering who it was that murdered her within the first place. Misty’s actions are honest, displaying her to be somebody who’s compassionate with each her human acts and witchy magic. However that additionally doesn’t suggest she’s naive or permits herself to be pushed round by others. “You suppose I am silly due to the place I got here from,” she says, standing as much as a bullying Madison. “Nicely…I ain’t that simply fooled.” Whether or not being burned on the stake in her youth or focused by Madison for doubtlessly being the subsequent Supreme, Misty is repeatedly persecuted for being completely different from everybody else. However along with her continued forgiveness and willingness to assist the very those who have tried to hurt her, the character of Misty tethers us to the season’s emotional through-line of friendship and loyalty. As a swamp-dwelling outsider to the witch neighborhood, she serves as a surrogate for the viewer because the characters, world, and guidelines of Coven are new to us as a lot as they’re to Misty. With out this human component and characters to consider in and root for, it could be tougher to attach with the season’s extra magical components of spells and spirits.

It says a terrific deal that Misty’s personal private hell, the worst factor possible to her, is being compelled to kill one among “God’s creatures.” She’s a novel presence, each visually and emotionally, that evokes empathy in viewers via her kindness and compassion even when the world provides her purpose to do in any other case. Withour her (and Lily Rabe’s efficiency), Coven‘s story of friendship would ring hole. Misty is not only a witch or a one-dimensional background character. She may not’ve been the subsequent Supreme, however she’s the season’s secret weapon.

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