The Fall of the House of Usher Ending Explained: Who is Verna?

The Fall of the House of Usher Ending Explained: Who is Verna?

Upon delving into Mike Flanagan’s “The Fall of the House of Usher: Ending Explained” on Netflix, you might initially expect a simple adaptation of a single short story. However, the series pleasantly surprises with a wealth of references to numerous works by Edgar Allan Poe, encompassing both his poems and short stories.

The term “a love letter” has indeed been overused when describing films and shows, to the point of losing its impact. Nevertheless, in this particular case, it’s difficult to avoid invoking the phrase. “The Fall of the House of Usher” undeniably stands as a heartfelt tribute to Edgar Allan Poe and his literary legacy. This tribute is elegantly crafted, not just in its writing but also in its acting, direction, cinematography, and more. While the metaphor may have taken an unexpected turn, it effectively conveys the profound appreciation and admiration for Poe’s body of work that permeates the series.

The Fall of the House of Usher Recap

The Fall of the House of Usher Recap

Roderick and his twin sister, Madeline, grew up in the care of their religious mother, Eliza. Their father, William Longfellow, who owned Fortunato Pharmaceuticals, refused to acknowledge them due to the circumstances of their birth – the result of an affair between Eliza and Longfellow. Tragedy struck when Eliza contracted a fatal illness and, in a twisted turn of fate, took Longfellow down with her. Despite his father’s neglect, Roderick made a solemn vow not to turn his own children away, no matter the circumstances of their births.

Now, the Usher family empire is headed by Roderick and Madeline, with their six children poised to inherit. By their side is Arthur Gordon Pym, the family’s trusted attorney and devoted confidant. When Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Auguste Dupin takes the family to court, Pym becomes their chief defender. During the initial court proceedings, the entire family appears, unaware that Dupin claims to have an informant from within their ranks who will help bring them down.

What the Ushers are yet to realize is that Dupin has fabricated this informant to sow doubt within their close-knit circle. This scheme effectively sets off a chain of events, leading Roderick to question the loyalty of his own family members. Troubled by the idea of a traitor in their midst, he offers a substantial reward for the identification of the Usher who collaborated with the government against their kin. Each of Roderick and Madeline’s children, along with their significant others, becomes a suspect. Furthermore, suspicions begin to fester among the siblings themselves.

The Fall of the House of Usher Recap

A pivotal moment occurs when Prospero “Perry” Usher, the youngest among them, meets a gruesome end. Eager to prove his worth to the family, Perry seeks to generate a fortune out of thin air by hosting a hedonistic gathering in an abandoned structure. Following an unsettling encounter with an unidentified woman, Perry and his guests meet a gruesome demise after a catastrophic error results in acid raining upon the entire room. However, Perry’s sister-in-law, Morelle, miraculously survives but is rushed to the hospital.

Misfortune continues its relentless march, with Camille as its next victim. While investigating the alleged informant, Camille becomes suspicious of her sister Victorine, who is in the process of developing a groundbreaking medical device for various heart-related conditions. As Camille delves into the shady aspects of Vic’s business, she ventures into her laboratory, where she meets a violent end at the hands of one of Vic’s test chimpanzees. Yet, just before her death, the enigmatic woman from Perry’s ill-fated party once again appears and imparts a cryptic message.

The subsequent two siblings, Leo and Vic, are driven to take their own lives under mysterious circumstances related to their life stories. Despite their suicides, the peculiar details surrounding their deaths remain inexplicable. The mysterious woman seems to be present in the lives of every sibling leading up to their demises. By this point, Roderick’s CADASIL disorder has started to take a toll on his life, subjecting him to hallucinations of his deceased children.

The Fall of the House of Usher Recap

Moreover, even as the twins attempt to deny it, they eventually come to terms with the undeniable truth. The woman consistently present at every crime scene is none other than Verna, a bartender they encountered on New Year’s Eve of 1979 when they were on the run, searching for an alibi for their actions. Ultimately, after the eldest Usher children, Frederick and Tammy, meet their own fates, Madeline accepts the inescapable reality of the situation: Verna, the bartender from 1979, has come to collect her payment.

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The Fall of the House of Usher Ending Explained

In an alternate existence, Roderick Usher, portrayed by Bruce Greenwood, might have pursued a career as a poet. “A struggling poet, but, let’s be honest, are there any poets who aren’t?” Verna, played by Carla Gugino, mused as she described the life Roderick could have led had he not forsaken all the genuine treasures he possessed for a life of destitution. He sacrificed his wife and his very soul in exchange for all the wealth the world could offer, yet he departed this world devoid of true riches, despite it all.

Who is Verna?

Who is Verna?

Verna’s enigmatic presence in the Usher siblings’ lives continues to be the central enigma that haunts the story. With the passing of each sibling, Verna’s involvement in the events becomes more pronounced, and she begins to display unnatural characteristics. The narrative takes a significant turn when it is revealed that the twins had a fateful encounter with Verna back in 1979.

One striking aspect of Verna’s character is her perpetual youthfulness, which raises the possibility that the woman attending the deaths of the twins’ nephews and nieces may actually be Verna’s daughter. Madeline speculates that Roderick’s pattern of behavior might have resulted in another heir, one even more disturbed than most. Over the years, Roderick and Madeline have amassed a substantial estate, and their children are poised to inherit everything equally after the twins’ deaths.

Furthermore, Roderick allows each of their children a startup loan for their ventures, subject to approval by him and Madeline. Madeline believes that Verna’s supposed daughter has come to stake her claim and is intent on eliminating all competition to inherit the entire fortune. However, the truth becomes increasingly difficult to deny.

Who is Verna?

Madeline and Roderick were not born into wealth. As illegitimate heirs to the Fortunato company, with a mother who killed the previous owner during a psychotic episode, the twins were initially ridiculed employees in the company. Their fortunes changed when a young Auguste Dupin sought to sue Fortunato for its illicit practices and crossed their path. The Ushers capitalized on the situation.

In a long con, Roderick manipulated Dupin at Madeline’s direction and earned the trust of Fortunato’s owner, Rufus Griswold. Subsequently, the twins orchestrated Griswold’s death, setting the stage for Roderick’s ascent. However, the night of Griswold’s demise, the twins met Verna at a bar to create an alibi. It was there, in the after-hours, that Verna made a tantalizing proposition. She promised the twins endless power and luxury without legal consequences for their actions in exchange for their future generations.

For Madeline and Roderick, who had grown up feeling entitled to a share of the company but were denied, this offer was irresistible. Though they had secured a promising future within Fortunato, nothing was certain. Verna’s offer, promising a brief but opulent life for their children and grandchildren, appeared more valuable than a long life of poverty. Thus, Madeline and Roderick agreed to Verna’s terms, signing away their family’s future. However, after leaving the bar, both assumed the night’s events were a shared delusion, as they found no trace of Verna or the bar.

Who is Verna?

In the present, the siblings search for Verna, and Pym discovers improbable photographic evidence of her throughout history, with her appearing alongside notable figures such as Bush, the Rockefellers, and Zuckerberg, dating back to 1901. While her identity remains ambiguous, it is conceivable that Verna is a celestial being with a presence stretching back through civilizations, humanity, and time itself.

For fans of Edgar Allan Poe, there are visual and thematic parallels between Verna and “The Raven” from his famous poem, including the anagrammatic connection between their names. In the poem, the raven symbolizes unending grief over the loss of love, and Verna seems to personify a harbinger of grief within the narrative. Yet, her character goes beyond this metaphor.

Verna takes pleasure in observing humans driven by their ambitions while causing harm to the rest of humanity. She appears to relish witnessing the extent of a person’s hubris. Throughout history, she has worked with various influential figures, watching them destroy the world and its inhabitants for their own gain. She does the same with Roderick and Madeline Usher.

Who is Verna?

During Roderick’s lifetime, Verna orchestrates multiple deaths, and when he succumbs to the same affliction that claimed his mother, she comes to collect her due: the Usher bloodline. She guides each Usher toward their demise, starting with Roderick’s children, each of whom, in one way or another, deserves their gruesome fate. However, when she approaches the youngest, Lenore, Roderick’s innocent granddaughter, Verna grants her a swift and painless death.

Ultimately, regardless of her undisclosed title, Verna remains a supernatural force intrinsically tied to the themes of death and success. She possesses a profound connection with mortality and immortality. Therefore, before she claims Roderick and Madeline, she compels Roderick to meet with Dupin to reveal every secret, ensuring his memory is immortalized in the human consciousness, and that some truth lies behind it.

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Who Is Madeline Usher?

Who Is Madeline Usher?

The intertwining of algorithms and AI in “The Fall of the House of Usher” reflects the overarching theme of the pursuit of eternal life. This theme not only pays homage to Edgar Allan Poe’s penchant for ciphers and cryptography but also suggests that all poetry, to Poe, is a kind of cipher. His love for cryptography is exemplified in the famous cryptogram in “The Gold-Bug.”

Madeline’s character in the story is enigmatic, and her true nature is even murkier than that of Verna. Some interpretations of “The Fall of the House of Usher” posit that she represents a physical embodiment of the metaphysical, though this aspect isn’t explicitly explored in the series. This interpretation could help explain why Madeline placed more belief in Verna than Roderick did, and her obsession with legacy is tied to algorithms, AI, and Egyptology. In contrast, Roderick sought a legacy that would vanish the moment he passed away, as per their pact with Verna.

Who Is Madeline Usher?

Madeline is also likened to two Egyptian queens in the series. Verna refers to her as Cleopatra multiple times, while Roderick’s treatment of her in death mirrors that of Queen Tawosret, with sapphires resting in her eye sockets. Tawosret’s life paralleled Madeline’s, as she initially lived in her husband’s shadow and later assumed the throne after his death. Madeline’s reign, like Tawosret’s, also ends in civil conflict, mirroring her ultimate struggles with her brother despite their mutual love.

Cleopatra’s recurrent mention by Verna may suggest a connection to the idea of reincarnation, drawing parallels between Madeline and a strong, successful, and fiercely intelligent leader who used her beauty and wit as weapons. While Poe’s works rarely delve into Egyptology, its use in the series effectively underscores the Ushers’ fixation on immortality.

The most clever representation of Madeline’s obsession with legacy is her connection to Lenore. Although the series portrays Madeline as cold-hearted and focused solely on her brother, her moments with Lenore reveal genuine affection. Madeline’s love for Lenore inspires her to give her a special gift, one that becomes a torment in the end, a fitting symbol of Madeline’s twisted legacy and obsessions.

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Why Wouldn’t Verna Let Roderick Usher Die By Suidice?

Why Wouldn’t Verna Let Roderick Usher Die By Suidice?

Roderick Usher, while a masterful salesman, learned that there are no loopholes when dealing with Death. Death, in this portrayal, appears to have a certain fascination with select humans and finds them intriguing. She understands that Roderick lacks any remorse for his actions.

In his final moments, Roderick confesses to Auguste that deep down, he knew what he was doing, particularly during the witching hour when sinister truths often surface. He understood that he was ascending to the top of a gruesome tower built upon a pile of corpses. Verna, in a stark visual representation, demonstrates the magnitude of the deaths caused by the Usher family’s involvement with Ligodone by making it “rain corpses” at Fortunato.

Why Wouldn’t Verna Let Roderick Usher Die By Suidice?

Verna’s decision to prevent Roderick from dying by suicide may be attributed to her design or belief that he didn’t deserve the autonomy to choose his own death. It highlights the complex and eerie relationship between Roderick, Verna, and Death in this narrative.

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How Did Madeline Usher Come Back To Life?

How Did Madeline Usher Come Back To Life?

Despite the series setting up precedent for this in its very first episode with the death of Roderick and Madeline’s mother, this one is still a bit of a head scratcher if you look at it from a mortal point of view.

Roderick poisons Madeline in the same way they poisoned Rufus Griswold all those years ago. She then dies, Roderick gets her up on the table, and gets to work preparing the queen for her burial. If it just ended at her falling into his arms, her rising up from the dead wouldn’t be particularly curious. However, the finale makes a point to show Roderick picking up the mummification tools, implying that he squidged up her brain and pulled it out of her nose; cut out her tongue, and popped out her eyes. This is confirmed when she stumbles up the stairs to kill him later, so this definitely isn’t the same scenario their mother was in!

How Did Madeline Usher Come Back To Life?

But, when you look at it from a metaphysical perspective, a couple of other options present themselves. First, Verna decided it wasn’t time for Madeline to die yet either and brought her back just long enough for her to finish off Roderick and she allowed them to die together. The second takes the very afterlife that the two worshipped into account. Perhaps she stayed dead and Roderick already had one foot in the afterlife, making it possible for her to end him.

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Who Survived the Fall of the House of Usher?

Who Survived the Fall of the House of Usher?

The survivors of the curse that Roderick Usher brought upon himself and his family all meet fitting, if often challenging, fates:

Arthur Pym, portrayed by Mark Hamill, emerges as a somewhat unexpected hero in the series, understanding the enormity of his wrongdoings and the consequences he deserves. He recognizes the destructive nature of humanity and, in a meeting with Verna, declines her offer to save himself. Instead, he voluntarily chooses to spend his life in prison, showing grace in accepting his sentence. Although it may seem that he makes this choice because he has nothing valuable to offer Verna as collateral, Pym faces the court without any defense of his actions and accepts his punishment with dignity.

Who Survived the Fall of the House of Usher?

Auguste Dupin enjoys a well-deserved happy ending. He is freed from the specters meant to haunt Roderick, as his former friend turned rival offers him full closure for the wrongs he’s endured. Dupin takes charge, setting the recorded confession at the head of Roderick’s tombstone, and he makes it clear that he doesn’t want or need Roderick’s explanations. He walks into the sunset, prepared to enjoy his retirement with his husband, children, and future generations, making him the wealthiest man in the world in terms of personal contentment.

Juno Usher’s story is somewhat more intricate, but ultimately positive. Had Roderick lived to divorce her, she would have been left penniless and trapped in withdrawals for three years. However, her circumstances take a turn for the better as she enjoys a comfortable stay at the Four Seasons while Death deals with the Usher lineage. Despite the likely arduous process of weaning herself off Ligodone, Juno moves forward to establish the Phoenix Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to assisting people struggling with addiction. She uses the substantial financial resources she obtained from liquidating Fortunato for this noble cause.

Who Survived the Fall of the House of Usher?

Morella Usher, portrayed by Crystal Balint, experiences the most profound devastation among the survivors. She would undoubtedly have traded the wealth she acquired from the Fortunato liquidation for the life of her daughter, but such an exchange is impossible. Instead, she initiates the Lenore Foundation to aid those enduring domestic abuse. Before Verna takes her life, she makes sure to convey this to Lenore, explaining that Morella saved millions of people within a decade, and their impact multiplied as those they helped went on to assist others.

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How does The Fall of the House of Usher end?

By Heavy Spoilers

Years later, the truth about Verna being responsible for the deaths of the Usher children became unmistakably clear. In an attempt to evade the consequences of their sinister deal, Madeline schemed to persuade Roderick into taking his own life. However, Verna had no intention of letting him escape so easily and forced him to confront the full weight of his actions, including the tragic death of his granddaughter Lenore, the only Usher with a strong moral compass.

Subsequently, Roderick extended an invitation to Madeline to return to their childhood home. Once there, he poisoned her drink and began the gruesome process of mummifying her. It was during this macabre act that Auggie arrived at the house, overhearing Roderick’s confession. Yet, ominous sounds emanating from the basement indicated that Madeline wasn’t quite lifeless.