Now that American Horror Story: Coven and Witches of East End have been out for awhile, this witch thinks it’s time to address what bothers me about these shows both as a fan and a practicing witch.
Both shows start on the premise that women suddenly come in to powers they didn’t know they had and have to be taught how to use them. They seem to start on that journey but then all of a sudden, they are just slinging spells all over the place and have no freaking clue what they’re doing or what the consequences will be. People die, come back to life, die again, come back as shades and don’t know what they are, portals to places get ripped open, and nobody seems to give a rat’s ass as they do these things. The “I found out I was a witch yesterday so now I’m gonna just do whatever” mentality bugs me because (ESPECIALLY in Coven because they are in what is supposed to be a school and made a big damn deal about what learning witchcraft would entail) there is so much drama going on in the background, it’s seemed to turn into a soap opera with magic.
This isn’t to say the shows aren’t enjoyable. I am hooked. I have to know what happens next. But if I think about how the shows started, I wonder where that plot line went and if they are ever going to bring it back. I enjoy wondering who The Supreme is (Coven) or who is in this other world full of witches (East End) but the character development the first few episodes promised never happened. So, how are these characters supposed to withstand the trials ahead when they’re just as woefully unprepared as they were in the first episode? Are they all of a sudden gonna level up to 9000 just to wrap up the plot? And it certainly doesn’t present a good view of real witches as flighty manipulators who reach for their spell books without thinking.
Now, I certainly didn’t expect anyone to hold hands and sing We Are The World or anything in these shows. There is nothing to watch if there isn’t any conflict. But part of this experience is to see the characters grow and change; and that includes some sort of actual teaching happening on camera. And none of that has happened yet. All the characters have some sort of deus ex machina-esque sudden knowledge of what they’re doing – and it’s rarely complete and frequently blows up in their faces.
As these shows go on, I would like to see some sort of training of the fledgling witches in these shows. It would showcase witchcraft as a CRAFT, a skill which must be honed and practiced, AND it would give the characters a chance to grow their powers through the plot instead of on the fly when its convenient. I don’t want Hogwarts, but I want these witches to learn SOMETHING.