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Spalding

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Spalding is a mute butler at Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies. He descends from an ancient line of servitude to the Coven. He is a character in Coven portrayed by Denis O'Hare.

Background

Spalding has faithfully been serving as the butler of Miss Robichaux's Academy for decades. Tragic past events have tied him to the Academy and to the witches of the Coven.[1] He has witnessed Fiona Goode slit the preceding Supreme Anna Leigh Leighton's neck and her suspected successor, Madison Montgomery and dutifully aided in the disposal of the latter's body and perhaps the former's as well.

Personality and Appearance

His traditional butler attire of a fine tuxedo is contrasted by his weathered face framed by long, scraggly hair and beard. His fingernails are yellowed and talon-like. He mutely endures the cruel teasing of Madison but perhaps only because he has had his tongue removed.

Story

Not much is known about Spalding's origins, but he was already working as a butler for the Academy when witches Fiona Goode and Myrtle were already young ladies and students in the Academy. He quietly witnessed Fiona murder the current Supreme at that time, Anna Leigh Leighton; it was implied by Myrtle that he assisted Fiona in "cleaning up her mess". Fiona pleads innocence to the Council and lies that Anna Leigh was certain she was the next Supreme, and Myrtle, Fiona's rival who had the ability to detect lies, bluntly tells Fiona and her friend that she suspects Fiona of murder when Fiona is crowned Supreme Elect by the Council.

Myrtle enchants Spalding's tongue so that he cannot tell a lie, and then summons the Council to question him about the death of Anna Leigh. While confiding this to her friend during dinner, Spalding overhears everything while cleaning the table. That night, he slips a note to Fiona asking her to meet him in a bathroom. She arrives, and he tells her that she will hear his final words: "I have always loved you.", before slitting his own tongue with a razor blade. Spalding survives, but his screams attract the students to the bathroom. Myrtle notices that Fiona was in the bathroom before their headmistress did, and suspects that it was Fiona who slit Spalding's tongue to prevent him from speaking the truth.

Spalding has remained the mute butler of the Academy until the present events of the series. While most of the witches in the Academy treat him politely, Fiona treats him like a normal servant and occasionally insults his muteness mixed with compliments about his silence while Madison is more cruel and asks if someone cut his tongue off because he was bad at giving oral sex. [2]

He has kept to himself all these years, mostly staying inside the Academy and doing chores. While not doing chores, he has tea parties with his excessive collection of dolls.

One night, while having a tea party with his dolls, he overhears Madison and Fiona coming home from the bar, and witnesses their conversation go awry when Fiona "accidentally" kills Madison,[3] the events mirroring what happened when Fiona killed Anna Leigh. [4] This time, he hands Fiona a handkerchief to wipe the blood off her hands and pours her a drink. He rolls Madison's body in a bloody rug and complies with Fiona's order to get rid of the body. Unknown to anyone, he kept Madison's corpse and added her to his collections of tea party dolls. [3]

During Fiona's inquisition, Myrtle knows that he knows who is responsible for the death of Anna Leigh and Madison, and the one responsible for cutting his tongue out. Had he written Fiona's name, she would have been sentenced to die by fire. However, technically speaking, if Myrtle did not enchant his tongue, he would not need to have cut it decades ago, and writes "Myrtle Snow" on the paper, infuriating Myrtle. [5]

Zoe finds out that Spalding has been keeping Madison's corpse in a trunk in the attic after communicating with the spirit of The Axeman. Zoe, Queenie, and Nan interrogate Spalding, who (through telepathy with Nan) claims that he was responsible for killing Madison because he was enchanted with her beauty, but Zoe is suspicious that he is not telling the truth. [6]

Later, Zoe recites an incantation, enchanting Spalding's tongue and returning it to his mouth. Spalding admits that Fiona was responsible for murdering Madison due to his tongue being enchanted to tell the truth, and Zoe stabs Spalding in the chest after this revelation, killing him. [7]

However, like The Axeman, his death in the house does not stop his involvement but rather empowers it; when Fiona is tricked into killing herself to support the rise of the new Supreme - Misty Day, rather than Madison as she was led to believe - Spalding returned, once again capable of speaking, and convinces her not to give in. [8]

Spalding is seen with Delphine and the hung man James with his guts hanging out and tells Delphine to get him an expensive doll and in return he gives her Benadryl® as she thinks it will render the Voodoo Queen Marie mortal. Delphine stabs her and runs after she finds out that Marie was still immortal and runs down the stairs. Spalding knocks Marie out with a doll and says "I wanted her out of my hair." He takes her stolen baby and calls it his first "living doll". [9]

Notes

Quotes

  • To Fiona Goode: "These are my last words, Miss Fiona. I have always loved you."
  • Fiona Goode: "Spalding, you don't understand. I am finally... trying to do... something decent... something noble for the coven."
    Spalding: "Hmm. Horseshit! You're making a martyr of yourself by giving up. You've been tricked. You've allowed a pack of lesser witches to buffalo you into this ignominious end. I won't permit it."
    Fiona Goode: "I don't understand."
    Spalding: "They've been running a number on you."
    Fiona Goode: "Huh?"
    Spalding: "Madison Montgomery is not the next Supreme. She didn't conquer death. She was brought back by some dirty little... swamp witch. They've been leading you to your doom with lies. Lies... you swallowed more easily than those pills."
  • To Zoe Benson: "FfffffIONA! Fiona Goode! I say her name. I bless it. As long as there is a tongue in this head I will say it, I will always say her name! Fiona Goode! Our Supreme!"

Gallery

See also: Spalding/Media

References

  1. FX Networks
  2. Episode: Bitchcraft
  3. 3.0 3.1 Episode: Fearful Pranks Ensue
  4. Episode: The Replacements
  5. Episode: Burn, Witch. Burn!
  6. Episode: The Axeman Cometh
  7. Episode: The Dead
  8. Episode: The Sacred Taking
  9. Episode: Protect the Coven

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