What happens to Madeline in The Fall of the House of Usher?

By Adam Lock
Published: October 13, 2023
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What happens to Madeline in The Fall of the House of Usher?

Netflix’s new horror series The Fall of the House of Usher may focus on the downfall of wealthy businessman Roderick Usher and his ill-gotten empire, but there is an even more intriguing character pulling the strings in the background the whole time, who deserves considerably more attention. That is the character of Madeline Usher, Roderick’s calculated and conniving sister. But what happens to Madeline and who plays the Usher twin in Mike Flanagan’s Netflix miniseries?

Warning, this article contains spoilers.

Who is Madeline in The Fall of the House of Usher?

Madeline Usher is Roderick Usher’s sister. She is also his second in command, acting as the COO of the extremely wealthy company Fortunato Pharmaceuticals.

The twins built this dynasty together, starting all the way back in the winter of 1979 when they made a business deal with a mysterious woman.

If you have watched the series you will know by now that Roderick and Madeline Usher didn’t just fall into their jobs of CEO and COO of a billion-dollar company. They had to lie, cheat, and kill to get to that position. Both of the Usher twins are ruthless individuals, who would stop at nothing to reach their goals, and Madeline might just be the more heartless of the two.

What happens to Madeline in The Fall of the House of Usher?

Flashbacks explore how Madeline and Roderick came to be owners of the wealthy company. And it would appear that Madeline was the one behind every single sinister plan. She pushed her brother into a place of power and helped take down Fortunato’s CEO at the time, murdering them in a horrific fashion to get to where they needed to be.

READ: The Fall of the House of Usher Ending Explained

Fast forward to 2023 and Roderick’s children are dying off one by one. Roderick and Madeline investigate the potential killer, hoping to save the company and their bloodline in the process. Once Madeline knows who the killer is, she sends her trusty lawyer Arthur to go and kill them, demanding he takes Verna’s eyes out first.

Madeline soon realizes that the killer cannot be stopped though. She meets with Verna to negotiate a deal, but their old one still stands. See, Roderick and Madeline made a deal with Verna back in 1979, agreeing to a life of wealth and power in return for the end of their bloodline when Roderick eventually died. They made a deal with the devil, and even after all those years, Madeline still thinks she can buy her way out of trouble.

Madeline thinks she can beat the system, telling Roderick that he must kill himself to save them all, but it backfires badly. Verna won’t let Roderick or Madeline die just yet, not until all of the bloodline is destroyed. After the final death, Roderick and Madeline can finally die, bringing an end to all of this suffering.

How does Madeline die in The Fall of the House of Usher?

Roderick drugs Madeline and mummifies her, practically burying her alive after he has removed both of her eyes. She manages to escape from her tomb though and attacks her brother, strangling him half to death. While they fight, the twins’ childhood home collapses in on itself, crushing the siblings to death.

After trying to cheat death, Madeline has been betrayed by her brother. Roderick knew that Madeline wouldn’t go down without a fight, so he tricked her, drugging his own sister. The mummification shows just how deranged Roderick had become, possibly due to his disease and mental breakdown. Ironically, the twins die together at the very same time in their childhood home, bringing an abrupt end to their entire dynasty.

Who plays Madeline in The Fall of the House of Usher?

Madeline Usher is played by Mary McDonnell in the present and Willa Fitzgerald in the main flashback sequences, whilst Lulu Wilson plays a teenage version of Madeline, and Kate Whiddington portrays her as a child.

Mary McDonnell is an esteemed actress who has starred in countless films and TV shows over the years, but this is her first appearance in a Mike Flanagan project. You may recognize her from her roles in Donnie Darko, Independence Day, and Battlestar Galactica. Willa Fitzgerald is known for her TV work, starring in Reacher and Scream.

READ: Who is Verna in The Fall of the House of Usher?

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