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Lady Gaga's Character on American Horror Story: Roanoke

Meet the Celtic Goddess Who May Have Inspired Gaga's AHS: Roanoke Character

Image Source: FX

Now that we've made it through the first handful of American Horror Story: Roanoke episodes, it's time to take stock. We've already met plenty of season six characters, but there's one entity we haven't completely figured out. We're talking about Lady Gaga's character, a mysterious and ancient woodland creature who lives in the woods and seems to lord over the reaped souls of The Lost Colony.

In "Chapter 4," we get a lot of insight and backstory into this strange figure; we learn how Gaga's character first arrived onto the land and how she ended up as this forest-dwelling spirit. What we still haven't gotten, though, is a name. In hopes of finding answers, we did some digging of our own, back into Celtic mythology, to see if we could figure it out.

In "Chapter 4," Matt describes her: "She had been an English girl once, a descendant of the Druids and their Roman conquerors." According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the word "druid" is Celtic, and it refers to a "member of the learned class among the Celts." For this reason, it's safe to look at Celtic mythology as the source material for her story. Here's what we discovered: one goddess in particular has a lot of striking tie-ins to themes and images in Roanoke, and her name is Arduinna.

Image Source: Getty / Frank Rumpenhorst


According to the Encyclopedia Mythica, Arduinna is the "goddess of the moon, hunting, and forests . . . She is accompanied by a boar, her sacred animal." Even based on these two sentences, the connections to Roanoke are clear. As "Chapter 4" reveals, the harvest of this land's human flesh falls every year on the "Dying Grass Moon," which is definitely a real name for a type of full moon in October. The show also refers to it as a "Blood Moon," which is quickly corroborated by the crimson moon that appears in the sky later on. There's the first intersection between AHS and Arduinna right there.

As for her companion, the boar? Um, where do we begin? The most obvious connection, of course, is that horrifying Pig Man that keeps popping up. Then, of course, there's the fact that someone leaves a pig corpse on Matt and Shelby's porch, and that those creepy, feral boys are found feasting on a pig in "Chapter 3." But we can get closer to Gaga herself. The backstory of Kathy Bates's character, Thomasin, tells us how she had been banished to the woods by the other members of The Lost Colony. She was left there to die, but Gaga soon found her and saved her from an attack by, yep, a wild boar. "Give me thy soul," she says, offering the boar's heart. Thomasin consumes the organ, and the pact is sealed.

There are other connections as well: the fact that both Arduinna and Gaga seem to have claimed the forest as their domain is an obvious one. According to a book called The Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, Arduinna was also "offered with sacrifices of animal meat at festivals," which explains why Gaga might be so bloodthirsty, and why she convinces Thomasin to butcher the entire Lost Colony.

Image Source: Everett Collection

There are other, more tenuous connections, which you'll find if you dig deeper. You may not have heard of Arduinna, but she's often compared to the Roman goddess Diana. (And let's not forget, Matt mentions Roman conquerors when describing Gaga.) And Diana, similarly to Arduinna, is a woodland goddess who is often associated with the moon.

Here, as we reach even further from Roanoke, you'll find what is perhaps the most fun and far-fetched connection. It takes us all the way back around to American Horror Story: Coven, and perhaps takes this whole theory into a perfect loop. There's another Celtic moon goddess, and her name is Rhiannon. "Rhiannon," as you may remember, is a song written by Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks. And hey, according to Coven, Stevie Nicks is a well-known witch. She shows up in episode 10 of AHS's third season, performing this very song. So, it might be coincidence. We might be reaching too far. But you have to admit, that's a lot to leave up to chance.

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