Why is Emma Roberts the Most Iconic Part of “American Horror Story”?

November 16, 2020

Written by Ella Rebecca Horton

Ella Rebecca has been in love with the horror genre since an early age. The Bride of Frankenstein began her love of the classics and she's been writing and collecting since.



“American Horror Story’s” tenth season is a-go, with filming reportedly having begun in October 2020. The theme of the season has been kept tight-lipped (with lips actually being one of the only clues revealed so far!). But one thing is clear: Emma Roberts won’t be back. As the actress works on other projects, we lament her loss for the upcoming season. But why has Emma Roberts been one of the most iconic elements of the entire decade of American Horror Story?


Emma Roberts as Madison Montgomery


Most fans would argue that “Coven” was where “AHS” gained its cult classic status. The series revolved around an academy of witches in Louisiana as they battled with all manner of past and present villains. But the horror elements aside, Roberts’s portrayal of telekinetic actress Madison was one of the most iconic – and quotable – of the series.


Madison worked so well because she embodied what many viewers wished they could pull off. She was cool, she took no prisoners, and she pulled no punches. Madison lived on her terms. Her attitude became something to behold, not something to be put off by. Viewers were able to empathize with Madison, who represented someone thrust into an unfamiliar situation (being a witch) and thus allowing the ID of her personality to come to the fore.


The attitude and not holding back of the character represented to viewers what it would be like to wield such powers. As we watched both Coven and Apocalypse, we lived vicariously through Madison, who did and said what some of the audience wished they could do and say. We all wished we were more like Madison as we watched her in action.



Emma Roberts as Maggie Esmerelda

The opposite of Madison Montgomery was Roberts’ Freak Show character, Maggie Esmerelda. The key role of Maggie was a foil for the villainous Stanley. But she developed into a love interest for Evan Peters’s Jimmy Darling and love rival of Sarah Paulson’s conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler. Maggie was more understated than Madison but gave more heart to the story. She was also the voice of reason among a slew of characters who were increasingly erratic.


Maggie Esmerelda worked as a character as she embodied the calming aura of the fortune teller she tried to be. Her role was to dispense advice to Stanley, help Jimmy overcome his father issues, and later to mitigate against Neil Patrick Harris’s villainous Chester Creb. The fortune-teller represents someone who is able to see things clearly and can help give a different take on how things are unfolding, as Maggie did in the show.


This resonated with audiences, who understood the inclusion of the fortune-teller character. Many people watching the show will understand the need to have someone there to talk through things with. Indeed, the opportunity to have free psychic chat helps people gain a different perspective on things and can help people make decisions and come to terms with situations in life. Maggie was able to help characters talk through their issues and make decisions on how to proceed, representing a solid voice of reason. She also acted as our eyes and ears among the rest of the cast, who were less down to earth.


Emma Roberts made a guest appearance in “Cult” as a newsreader and starred in 1984 as a camp counselor, but her piece de resistance for the franchise was during seasons three, four, and eight. Ryan Murphy has alleged that the witches from Coven and Apocalypse will return, which means we will get to see Madison Montgomery again. Maggie Esmerelda, on the other hand, will unfortunately still rest in pieces.

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