The Fall of the House of Usher ending explained: Who is Verna?

As the family's bloodline comes to an end, viewers want The Fall of the House of Usher ending explained

Carla Gugino as Verna in The Fall of The House of Usher
(Image credit: Netflix)

TV fans who've raced through the new Netflix horror are keen to have The Fall of the House of Usher ending explained. 

Throughout the eight episodes of Mike Flanagan's The Fall of the House of Usher, members of the wealthy Usher family each met their demise one by one - and the mysterious Verna was present every time. Presided over by pharma CEO Roderick - who is responsible for the fictional drug Ligadone, which is reminiscent of the modern-day opioid crisis - The Fall of the House of Usher is based on the Edgar Allan Poe story of the same name, and includes references to the writer's other famous stories and poems too. 

Much like Netflix viewers have also been asking about the Bodies ending and the Reptile ending - both of which have made it onto the streaming service's global top ten - now the same questions are being asked of this latest thriller. Here's The Fall of the House of Usher ending explained...

The Fall of the House of Usher ending explained

At the ending of The Fall of the House of Usher, Roderick tells Detective C. Auguste Dupin - who has a personal vendetta against the Usher family - about the deal he and Madeline struck on New Year's Eve in 1979.

Roderick reveals that he and his sister Madeline had drugged Fortunato Pharmaceuticals CEO Rufus Griswold before walling him up in the basement, which explains the jester that haunted Roderick, as the siblings placed a jester Halloween mask on Griswold before trapping him.

When they leave the murder scene, Roderick and Madeline go to a bar owned by the mysterious Verna. She offers them a deal: immeasurable success and fortune as the head of Fortunato in exchange for the death of every member of the Usher bloodline upon Roderick's death. As part of the deal, Madeline and Roderick can do whatever they wish with no consequences, but the younger Ushers will pay for their actions. 

The Fall of the House of Usher picks up as Roderick's health starts to decline, and members of the Usher family begin to die. In episode seven, Madeline thinks she has found a loophole in the deal by encouraging Roderick to overdose - believing that this would end the demise of the Ushers - but Verna brings Roderick back to life at the start of episode eight and continues to pick off members of the Usher family one at a time. 

Meanwhile, Madeline thinks she has found another way to break the terms of the deal, by creating sentient AI versions of existing humans. This explains all the texts Roderick received from his granddaughter Lenore during his conversation with Dupin - they weren't actually from her, but from the AI software. 

Kyliegh Curran as Lenore in The Fall of the House of Usher

(Image credit: Netflix)

Lenore had already died by the time the texts were sent, and she is the last of the Usher bloodline to go, save for Roderick and Madeline. Unlike the gruesome deaths of other family members, Verna gives Lenore a peaceful death and confesses that she takes no joy in it, because Lenore is the only 'good' Usher in the family. 

When Verna visits Lenore, she tells her that her mother, Morella, will establish a non-profit in her daughter's memory with the fortune she inherits upon the collapse of Fortunato Pharmaceuticals, and her work there will save millions of lives - all thanks to Lenore.

That just leaves Roderick and Madeline, and the siblings meet in the basement to discuss the empire they have built. Roderick poisons Madeline's drink and leaves her there, but it turns out she's not yet dead - explaining the banging that can be heard while Roderick talks to Dupin.

When Madeline bursts out of the basement she kills Roderick and the house crumbles around them - crushing them both and ending the Usher bloodline once and for all. 

C. Auguste Dupin standing outside the Usher house at night

(Image credit: Netflix)

What happened at the end of The Fall of the House of Usher?

At the end of The Fall of the House of Usher, Roderick and Madeline both die, ending the Usher bloodline. Detective C. Auguste Dupin manages to escape, and after a visit to the family's grave site he puts the feud behind him.

All that remains of the Usher family are those who have married in - Roderick's most recent wife Juno and Lenore's mother Morella. Juno goes on to beat her Ligadone addiction and dissolve the Fortunato company, turning its remains into a centre for addiction recovery.

The family's ethically dubious lawyer - Arthur Pym - also survived, but he is arrested and sent to jail for the rest of his life for the Usher family's crimes. 

At the very end of the series, Verna is shown placing an item on each of the Usher's graves that represents their respective downfalls.

Who is Verna?

It's never revealed who - or what - Verna is exactly, other than a supernatural being with whom young a Roderick and Madeline made a damning deal.

Her name is an anagram of 'raven' - which is also the title of Edgar Allan Poe's classic 1845 poem. In Poe’s famous poem, the bird represents death and loneliness, which ties in with Verna's appearance at the death of each Usher family member.

Elsewhere on Netflix, we've revealed where Fair Play is filmed. If you've been watching the Beckham documentary, we've got the details on David and Victoria Beckham's kids and where David Beckham lives

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.