What does Nevermore mean in The Fall of the House of Usher? Lenore's text message explained

15 October 2023, 21:46

Watch the trailer for The Fall of the House of Usher

Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven' plays heavily into the final episode of The Fall of the House of Usher.

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So, you've finished watching The Fall of the House of Usher and you're wondering about that 'Nevermore' moment in the final episode, right?

Mike Flanagan's Netflix series is based on several of Edgar Allan Poe's poems and short stories. From character names and episode titles, to Verna herself, there's countless easter eggs and references for audiences to find as they go along – including a direct nod to 'The Raven'.

Throughout the series, while Roderick Usher and C. Auguste Dupin have been sat together in the house, Roderick receives messages from his granddaughter Lenore. He acknowledges them but doesn’t reply to them. When Dupin asks him about it, he brushes it off and continues the conversation.

The truth behind the text messages from Lenore is finally revealed in the final episode of the series, and the plot twist features a reference to Edgar Allan Poe’s iconic poem.

What does Nevermore mean in The Fall of the House of Usher?

What does Nevermore mean in The Fall of the House of Usher?
What does Nevermore mean in The Fall of the House of Usher? Picture: Netflix

In the final episode, after the deaths of all the Usher children, Verna carries out her devastating final death: Lenore. The 16-year-old thankfully doesn’t have to deal with a brutal death like her father, and her aunts and uncles. Verna simply taps her head and Lenore dies peacefully. Roderick’s beloved Lenore is the final member of the Usher bloodline to die, signifying that time is up for Roderick and Madeline, and the entire Usher empire.

But before Roderick dies, he wraps up his conversation with Dupin and finally explains that the reason why he hasn’t been answering Lenore’s texts is because she is dead.

He tells Dupin that Madeline created an AI project that scans someone’s social media accounts and creates a digital version of them. The project wasn’t completed, but Madeline did end up using Lenore as a beta test. She created a ‘Lenore’ bot, which began to work shortly after her death, and continued to send Roderick one very specific message: Nevermore.

Lenore's character is a direct reference to Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven poem
Lenore's character is a direct reference to Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven poem. Picture: Netflix

Nevermore meaning: Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’ poem explained

"Nevermore" is a direct reference to Edgar Allan Poe’s poem ‘The Raven.’ In the poem, the only word the raven ever says to the narrator is “Nevermore”. Over time, the raven begins to antagonise the narrator with the death of his lost love… who is named Lenore.

According to the trusty Spark Notes, the raven’s constant repetition of the word symbolises the grief and isolation that the narrator feels in the wake of the death of his beloved Lenore. As the narrator continues to ask the raven questions, all it ever replies with is "Nevermore", further emphasising the fact that the narrator will never be with Lenore again. Each time "Nevermore" is said by the raven, the narrator loses more and more control over his situation, descending into helplessness.

“The bird’s refrain, "nevermore," is an inarguable absolute, meaning that nothing can change about the speaker’s situation,” Spark Notes adds.

In Roderick Usher’s case, it can be applied to the deaths of his children, the loss of his beloved grandchild and the loss of his entire company, empire and legacy – all thanks to Verna (who appears to be the raven herself), and the deal he and Madeline made back in 1979.

(And yes, it’s also the name of the academy in Wednesday, which is another reference to Edgar Allan Poe.)

Read more about The Fall of the House of Usher here:

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