American Horror Story: Coven is the third season of the FX original television series. American Horror Story premiered in the United States on October 5th, 2011. The series was created by Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy. The directors of Coven include Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Michael Rymer, Michael Uppendahl, Jeremy Podeswa, Bradley Buecker and Howard Deutch.
Zoe realizes she is a witch when her boyfriend suffers from a brain aneurism upon sleeping with her. She is sent to Miss Robichaux’s Academy in New Orleans, a school devoted to preserving young witches that is managed by the headmistress Cordelia. Zoe meets three fellow witches whom she attends a frat party with. At the party, Zoe meets Kyle and his frat brothers gang rape Madison. Afterward, Madison uses her witch powers to flip the frat boys’ bus as they drive away, putting two of them in critical condition. Zoe kills the leader of the gang rape through sexual intercourse. In gratitude Madison creates the “perfect boyfriend” by sewing limbs from different boys together with Kyle’s head.
Secrecy is a vital component in the storyline of the original Frankenstein novel. Victor is extremely secretive about his experiments and creation of the monster. After the monster is created and is out on the loose committing murders, Victor finds himself retreating even further into his hole, as he knows he can't confess his creation of the monster now that it is killing people.
The Coven storyline includes several secrets from the past which affect the current circumstances in some way. The season has a frame narrative in which a story from the past unfolds. Spalding, whom Fiona has a mysteriously secretive relationship with, holds all sorts of secrets, including the fact that Fiona slit Madison's throat for fear of her being the next Supreme of the coven. After figuring out Spalding's secrets, Zoe kills him. In the present day storyline, the young witches are also secretive about their powers and the destruction that is caused by them for fear of the coven being found out. The present time is an unsafe environment for witches and people are targeting them. Zoe and Madison, using their powers to complete extremely violent tasks, keep their powers and all that they do with them a secret from the community for their personal safety.
The Danger of Knowledge
In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Victor's hunger for knowledge proves to be the cause of much hardship and demise. Victor's pursuit of knowledge proves dangerous in what the monster is capable of. In Coven, the knowledge of the witches proves to be just as dangerous. The first episode of the season begins with Zoe realizing she is a witch when she accidentally makes her boyfriend have a brain aneurysm while having sex with her. She later uses her new-found power to kill the leader of the gang-rape in the hospital. Madison uses her power of telekinesis quite frequently to hurt people as well. While she uses it to hit people with objects, or throw their bodies across the room, her most influential use of the power is when she tips the frat boys' bus, killing Kyle. Before the witches realized they had powers, they had no reason to do harm, but the knowledge of what they are capable of shapes their actions in the story line.
Coven has been nominated for awards by the Women's Image Network Awards, Motion Picture Sound Editors, Critics Association Awards, Art Directors Guild, Critics Choice Television Awards, Motion Picture Sound Editors, Cinema Audio Society, Primetime Emmy Awards, and OFTA Television Awards.
Significance of Adaptation
Coven introduces a new environment for the creation story of Frankenstein to draw from. Kyle is recreated using the various body parts of his frat brothers. This aspect of the storyline is a major twist from the original Frankenstein text, and creates less of a duty or credit on the main character, as there is not as much work put into creating the monster compared the amount of work Victor spends alone in his laboratory working on his monster from scratch.
The use of witches in this adaptation opens the door for the use of powers and spells to affect the original storyline. The young witches are able to easily kill and resurrect people with their powers, which also quickens the production rate of the creation of the monster. By connecting the past history of witches (namely, during the Salem Witch Trials) to the contemporary storyline, Coven intrigues readers with a topic that is already interesting to a large audience.
This adaptation of the Frankenstein story is also different considering the age and status of the characters, as well as the environment in which the story takes place. This choice of environment to place the story in allows for many different aspects to be included. Madison and Zoe come up with the idea of creating a "perfect boyfriend" only after the frat boys are killed from Madison tipping their bus, and they only meet the boys initially because they attend a frat party. By having the characters live in a boarding school environment, the way in which the monster is created, as well as the impact it has in the society, looks very different compared to the original text. Coven provides a very contemporary setting for the story of Frankenstein for an audience that can easily relate to that setting and the characters.
"American Horror Story Awards." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1844624/awards?ref_=tt_awd>.
"Coven (story)." American Horror Story Wiki. Wikia, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2015. <http://americanhorrorstory.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Coven_(story)>.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Maurice Hindle. Frankenstein, Or, The Modern Prometheus. London: Penguin, 2003. Print.