There are a lot of moments in the show where things get really intense and really out there. When you were working on the first season and adapting the book, was there any scene where you were like, “I don’t know how we’re going to do this on a show, but we have to do it?”
Spalding: There were. I mean, the book is so rich, right? There’s a thousand pages and there were just so many fans of the books in the writers’ room, and we all had different favorite moments. We had a whiteboard that was the greatest hits that we had to use, and of course we couldn’t use them all, because you’re also trying to give a throughline to the characters. But I feel that fans will see and go, “Oh, there’s that moment.” One of the big ones was just the first generation of witches and Lasher’s origin story, and making sure we had that reflected into Rowan’s story.
There’s a few scenes where Rowan has these powers but obviously doesn’t know it yet, and she inadvertently causes brain vessels and arteries to burst in people, and you actually go inside the person’s body and see it, which I thought was a really interesting way to show that. How did you decide to show her using her power in that way?
Ashford: Oh, we just talked about it endlessly. We were like, “What are witches’ powers?” And we started going down this really interesting path with this notion that she’s a doctor. It seemed like her power needed to be connected to that somehow and couldn’t be totally different.
Spalding: And the biological sight imagery is one of the super interesting things about the book. Rice picked that as a power because Rowan is a doctor and because she comes out of this background of 12 generations before her of healers and midwives. That her witchy power comes from the human body is, I think, super fascinating.
Ashford: We felt that really held together. We actually were talking about the movie, “Three Kings.” I don’t know if you remember that?
Is that the military movie with George Clooney?
Spalding: Yeah, and there are these moments where the bullet goes inside, and you follow it.
Ashford: You’re watching the bullet go in and explode body parts and stuff, and we thought, “Oh, that’s so cool.”
And it definitely also had an impact in how it tied in with the dead crows in the second episode.
Spalding: That was really fun in the writers’ room — to think through what happens when things go haywire and absolutely awry. It was fun to think about a witch having some bird s*** on her car.