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Myrtle Snow is a quirky and honest witch. She is a character in Coven primarily portrayed by Frances Conroy. She is the head of the Witches' Council, and has a strong dedication towards the coven of the Salem descendants.

Background

Myrtle Snow is an alumnus of Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, having attended with Fiona Goode and several other witches during the time Anna Leigh Leighton was the Supreme. She and Fiona acted as rivals towards one another throughout their schooling.

After the disappearance of Anna Leigh (the audience is aware that Fiona killed her), Fiona was questioned by the Council. She lies, claiming that she does not know where Anna Leigh disappeared to, and further encourages the Council's notion that Anna Leigh intended her to be the next Supreme, despite Anna Leigh telling Fiona before her murder that she was going to make sure Fiona would never be Supreme.

During a party held in the Academy to announce Fiona's appointment as Supreme Elect, Myrtle did not cheer with the rest of the witches and confides with a friend that, as the "Guardian of veracity in the vernacular"[3], capable of detecting falsehoods, she detected Fiona lying to the Council. She whispers to Fiona that she suspected her of murder, but Fiona just laughed and used her telekinesis to drop Myrtle's glass onto the floor.

Knowing that Spalding would likely have aided Fiona in "cleaning up her mess," that night, Myrtle enchanted Spalding's tongue to prevent him from lying and summons the Council to question him. She confided this to her friend, but unfortunately, Spalding overheard. Out of love and devotion to Fiona, he cut out his own tongue before the Council could arrive. Myrtle noticed that Fiona was in the bathroom with Spalding before the headmistress could arrive, and suspected Fiona to be the one who cut his tongue out.

With no witnesses, Fiona managed to become the Supreme, while Myrtle became the next Head of the Witches' Council. She remained rivals with Fiona, whom she believes to be absent in necessary duties a Supreme should fulfill.

When Fiona's daughter, Cordelia, was abandoned at the Academy as soon as she began manifesting powers, Cordelia and Myrtle formed a very close bond. Myrtle later claimed that she was more of a mother to Cordelia than Fiona was, but didn't want to have children of her own because she wanted to devote her life to the Coven.

Personality and Appearance

Myrtle was a woman with the air of a traveled sophisticate, who was usually seen wearing haute couture. Her red hair, legendarily associated with witches [4], formed a mane around her face in a yaki style, and she wore vintage cat eye glasses. Her black lace gloves often gripped a cigarillo on a long-stemmed holder. Myrtle possesses telekinetic powers and an affinity for truth spells.

As well as a being powerful witch, Myrtle Snow is also obsessed with fashion given her numerous couture outfits. Her love of fashion is even more defined when she is sentenced to burn at the stake following the murder of her fellow council members. She walks to the stake, black umbrella in hand, wearing a long, flowing red dress with matching gloves and heels, as well as a pair of sunglasses. As she is asked for final words, she screams out "Balenciaga" (while wearing Carolina Herrera), after the French fashion house founded in 1914 by Basque-Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga. This was her tribute to couture, her ultimate love. She also violently criticized Cecily Pembroke before murdering her for her faux-pas regarding Pembroke's 40s-era hat, claiming that it would give her nightmares.

Story

After Zoe Benson discovers her Black Widow powers, Myrtle and her albino man-servants escort her from her home to the Academy in New Orleans. She turns down Mrs. Benson's plea to at least drive her daughter to the train station, saying it will only hurt Zoe.

After Nan summons the Witches' Council when she believes Madison Montgomery to be dead, since she can no longer hear her thoughts, the Council begins questioning the students and Cordelia. Nan lets slip the incident in the Ramsey house where Madison's pyrokinesis surfaced, and that other than herself, Fiona is the only other witch who knows about it; Myrtle deduces the possibility that Fiona killed Madison in fear that she would take Fiona's powers.

Myrtle accuses Fiona of murdering Anna Leigh and Madison, and of severing Spalding's tongue to prevent him from telling the truth. She asks Spalding to write down the name of the one responsible for cutting his tongue off. As Spalding would not have had to cut it off, had Myrtle not enchanted it, she is the one responsible. The sight of her name on the paper is enough to send Myrtle into an uproar, claiming that Fiona always gets away with everything. But Cordelia is quick to defend her mother, stating that Fiona had no reason to murder Madison since Madison had a secret heart murmur and could not have been the next Supreme, as one of the hallmarks of a rising Supreme is radiant health.

After accusing Fiona of neglectful behavior, she and the council demand Fiona's resignation. Fiona accuses Myrtle of trying to take a back-door to the Supremehood, and accuses her of attacking Cordelia. Fiona then shows evidence of Myrtle stalking Fiona and being inside New Orleans the time Madison was killed. However, Fiona "proves" (with the help of Queenie) that Myrtle was the one who attacked Cordelia by using Queenie's voodoo doll powers to put acid burn marks on Myrtle's hand. Cecily and Quentin unanimously vote to burn Myrtle at the stake, which occurs with each member of the coven present at the execution. She was then resurrected by Misty Day and is, later, seen under mounds of dirt in Misty's garden, slowly healing.

After an unknown enemy attacks Misty's shack, the two flee to the Academy. Once there, Myrtle, convinced that Misty is the next Supreme, gathers the others to participate in the ritual "The Sacred Taking" to allow a new Supreme to rise with the sacrificial death of the old. As it is extremely unlikely Fiona will kill herself for the good of the coven, Myrtle and the others set out a plan to make Fiona commit suicide out of desperation. She is seen at the end of the episode playing the piano and amazed to learn that Fiona is still alive.

Feeling saddened and appalled by Cordelia’s attack and subsequent blindness, Myrtle reminisces with Cordelia about the time when Cordelia was brought to Miss Robichaux's. Since that day, Myrtle stands clear to have loved Cordelia like a daughter, and questions her if she believes that Myrtle attacked her. Cordelia states that she knew this whole time it was not her doing. Myrtle, still affected, calls her former co-workers, Cecily and Quentin over to discuss her resurrection over food. Myrtle then tricks them into eating monkshood-laced melon balls and they are temporally paralyzed. Myrtle then takes the melon baller, and carves out one of each of their eyes with a melon baller. Myrtle places the eyes in Cordelia’s sockets and she can finally see again.

When Cordelia was having an emotional crisis at the greenhouse, Myrtle tried to calm her down. She plays the theremin, which Cordelia remarks that it makes horrible and awful noise.

When conflict erupts between Madison and Zoe, Myrtle and Madison snipe at one another. After Cordelia blinds herself with garden shears, Myrtle meets Fiona outside Cordelia's rooms. Myrtle tells Fiona that Cordelia is something Fiona can never understand: a hero, willing to sacrifice for the good of the coven. Later that night, Myrtle calls Zoe to the greenhouse, encouraging Zoe to run away with Kyle, in order to save herself from Fiona. Myrtle goes so far as to give Zoe a piece of rare, and valuable, jewelry to use for money, and displays her passion for romance.

In the legacy room, Myrtle brings flowers while Fiona is sitting for her portrait. That night, over a bouquet of Atropa belladonna, Myrtle and Madison discuss Misty's entombment before being interrupted by Kyle and Zoe, who have returned to the Academy after the latter of the two comes to believe herself to be the next Supreme. When the girls attacked the Axeman, Cordelia stayed behind with Myrtle. In the last scene, she is with the others admiring Fiona's portrait.

In The Seven Wonders, Myrtle pushes Cordelia to find her true power and become the Supreme. Some time later, after Cordelia's powers as Supreme fully manifest, Myrtle, Queenie, and Zoe cry at the beauty of Cordelia's televised invitation to the Academy, which resulted in more than 30 girls expressing interest in attending. Myrtle suggested that Queenie and Zoe become members of the Council, and encouraged Cordelia to "cut away the old rot" in order to bring the coven into a Golden Era. Myrtle insisted Cordelia burn her at the stake for killing her former colleagues. She is last seen on the stake in a beautiful, long red dress and sun glasses. Her last words are "Balenciaga!"

Powers

Myrtle was a powerful natural born witch and is shown to have mastered three of the Seven Wonders.

  • Telekinesis - One of the Seven Wonders, the magical ability to manipulate objects with the power of the mind.
  • Divination - One of the Seven Wonders, the magical ability to obtain direct knowledge about an object, person, location, or physical event through means other than the user's physical senses. This can be activated by just being around a person, focusing on specific tasks, searching for information, or touching objects.
  • Transmutation - One of the Seven Wonders, the magical ability to move instantaneously from one location to another. This power is more commonly known as Teleportation.
  • Illusion Manipulation - The magical ability to create, shape and manipulate illusions, causing others to see, hear, touch, smell, and/or taste things which do not actually exist, or cause them to perceive things differently from what they truly are. Myrtle used this power on Fiona Goode in an attempt to make her take her own life, showing her a possible future where her lover, the Axeman, leaves her to die alone of her cancer.
  • Potioncraft - Affinity for an extensive knowledge of "Green Magic," including conventional herbalism as well as more sophisticated botanical science and potion brewing.
  • Restoration Spell - The magical grafting of a body part back onto a living host. It was used by Myrtle in the transplantation of eyes "donated" by Cecily Pembroke and Quentin Fleming onto Cordelia, thereby restoring her sight. Myrtle states that this is some of her "best work", and that she learned this while on "The Other Side" after her death. This may imply that this particular act of magic is not ordinary, hailing from secrets obtained in the afterlife.
Infernales, curare hominem. Restitute eum ad naturam. Infernales, curare hominem. Restitue eum ad naturam.
  • Truth Enchantment - An enchantment on the tongue to only speak the truth when questioned. Cast by Myrtle Snow on Spalding, which led him to cut off his tongue to thwart it.
Veritas, Honorum, Justitia, Sapientia, Scientia. I conjure and command thee, dark lords to the vernacular, summon truth from lying tongues. Fie upon the wicked who dare to throw sand in our eyes.With force I command thee, let truth be spoken!
  • Preservation Spell - An enchantment that allows an object or thing to be preserved. Myrtle Snow has achieved such a spell, enchanting the tongue of Spalding for safe-keeping.

Quotes

  • Myrtle Snow on Misty Day: "Behold our next Supreme!"
  • To Fiona Goode: "I've got a book of matches in my pocket, Fiona, and I'm just dying to light this fire."
  • Myrtle Snow: "No need to bind me. I shall not resist. Why would I? I've been swimming against the tide my whole life. Look where it got me. I used to be an outcast, a freak, until I found my place in this coven. I thought I'd come home, but I was wrong. I go proudly to the flame. Go ahead; burn me."
  • Myrtle Snow: "You're all toads in a pot, which Fiona is slowly bringing to boil. By the time you notice, it will already be too late. I'd rather burn than boil."
  • To Fiona Goode: "This will not STAND! You killed Anna Leigh because she was the last Supreme and you killed an innocent girl because she was the next Supreme! YOU GOT AWAY WITH IT! She keeps getting away with it!"
  • About Misty Day: "She's brought more people back from the dead than Jesus Christ."
  • Nan: "How did your hair grow back so quick?"
    Myrtle Snow: "Oh, little bird, I've been buying in bulk from North Korea for years!"
  • To Madison Montgomery: "You are the worst kind of Hollywood Cliche. A bobble-head with crotchless panties."
  • Musing about the Salem Witches who migrated to New Orleans: "Can you imagine those poor Salem witches, traveling all the way down here in covered wagons without a proper charcuterie platter or a bidet? Absolutely savage!"
  • To Delphine LaLaurie about her soup: "Cumin. Coconut. Cardamom. Mulligatawny Soup! I've been transported to Rajasthan! Bravo Delphine. Magnifique."
  • Myrtle's last words: "Balenciaga!"
  • To the Witches' Council: "Forgiveness, you say? Forgiveness is, and always will be, the high road... the preferred road. Would that we had such luxury. Oh, Quentin. Not to worry. It's just a bit of monkshood in your balls. Causes temporary paralysis. "Human Statue Syndrome," we call it. I believe it's the nervous system first. You lose control over your limbs, the muscles harden into cement, and it feels like ice in your veins. Then the respiratory system. Or is it the other way around? Well, no matter. It's supposed to be quite terrifying, is it? Are you terrified? You should be. At any rate, I'm not going to kill you. Well, maybe after dessert. I put a lot of effort into the key lime pie. I do love a key lime pie, even more than a ile flottante. Call me a Philistine! Enough chit-chat. You've both wanted to eliminate me for years, so you could dominate the Council. But I was never worried you'd be hapless enough to try. Quentin! You're a fatuous fool and a drunk! Pembie, you're even worse. You're weak-willed, boring, and your fashion faux pas give me nightmares. I invited you here not to chastise you or exact revenge, But to help out the coven. To help out my beloved Cordelia. Ha! I bet you thought, 'Oh, she left the melon baller in there. She's growing old and forgetful!'"
  • Myrtle Snow: "Girls, stop these vulgar fisticuffs. It's beneath us."

Notes

  • She is the third character to be portrayed by Frances Conroy. The first was Moira O'Hara in Murder House and the second was Shachath in Asylum.
  • Myrtle Snow has been absent in four episodes overall throughout the season. Those episodes are Boy Parts, The Replacements, The Axeman Cometh and The Dead. This makes her the main character with the least amount of appearances throughout the season.
  • This is the third time that Frances Conroy and Jessica Lange are together on the show, and the second time that their characters are adversaries.
  • Myrtle can play the piano, as well as the theremin. She claims its sound soothes her soul in stressing times.
  • During the performance of the Seven Wonders, Myrtle notes that her favorite power is telekinesis.
  • Myrtle's last word, "Balenciaga", is a notable French fashion house founded by Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga.
  • Myrtle's wild red hair, as well as her passion for fashion, are considered as a tribute to Vogue creative director and ex-model Grace Coddington.
  • Myrtle was the only witch to be burned twice at the stake.
  • She may be related to Rhett Snow, an Uber driver that briefly appeared in Roanoke.
  • Myrtle Snow bears a slight resemblance with another witch, Professor Trelawney, from the Harry Potter series, portrayed by Emma Thompson in its movie adaptations. Both share a similar personality and appearance, and both focus on schools for witches.

Gallery

References

  1. Episode: Burn, Witch. Burn!
  2. Episode: The Seven Wonders
  3. Episode: Fearful Pranks Ensue
  4. Prejudice and discrimination against redheads.

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