Prior to moving to the Murder House, Nora lived in Philadelphia and was born into a wealthy family. She looked up to her mother as a role model, as she frequently uses the words "Mother always said...". At one point in her life, Nora moved to Los Angeles with her husband, celebrity doctor Charles Montgomery, who built a house for her, modeling the glass fixtures after her blue eyes.
Due to her wealthy background, she was increasingly disappointed because their lifestyle was not as lavish as she felt it could be, and thought that Charles was squandering his talent.
Personality and Appearance
Growing up in a wealthy family, Nora was a spoiled, selfish, elitist snob, with an expensive lifestyle to match. She was originally happily married to her husband, who was in the same social class as her at that time, but they began to lose money because her lavish spending surpassed Charles' income as a celebrity doctor. She would grow to hate him for this, and would constantly belittle him at every opportunity. She also looked down on the help, yelling at them constantly and abusing them.
Nora always said she wanted a baby of her own. However, she could not tolerate the elbow grease involved with being a mother. She would spend a lot on her son Thaddeus, giving him a lavish nursery and clothes that were considered stylish in her day, but did not bother to feed him or take care of him when he cried, and delegated that part of the job to the maids, yelling at them when he cried for too long. When Vivien found her rocking the cradle of her son, Nora looked exhausted from the fact that the baby would not stop complaining and seems to give up when she hands the baby over to Vivien as a "nanny". Moira notes that Nora lacks the motherly instinct, and has no "motherly bone" in her body, though back in Tate's child days, she had comforted him and told him to say "go away!" whenever he encountered a beast like Thaddeus.
As a ghost, Nora is sad and confused, just as she was when she died. Upon first meeting Vivien, she is more soft-spoken, and while in awe of the house, speaks as if on the verge of crying. The change of the house today compared to the days she lived there had upset her as everything looked different. She seems to be fascinated with Vivien's pregnancy. After Tate tells her she can no longer have the baby because he doesn't want Violet's family to get hurt, she becomes stern and threatening, saying she will take it no matter what.
Living in her ghost days and haunted by her past, she appears with a gaping gunshot exit wound on the back of her head, since she committed suicide. It looks like she also has some memory problems as a result, making her unable to recognize other residents of Murder House whom she's already met (i.e. Tate).
As a ghost, she encounters Vivien in the present. She is pleased that the house has been largely restored to the grandeur in which it was built. She is horrified and very upset by the modernization of the kitchen and its contemporary devices. She has a fixation on Vivien's unborn baby, which is evident given her apparition later in Ben and Vivien's bedroom, almost touching Vivien's belly.
Tate elaborates on Nora's history. Nora and Charles' son Thaddeus was kidnapped by the boyfriend of one of the girls Charles performed an abortion for. The police brought Charles and Nora evidence of what happened: glass jars filled with the dismembered body parts of their son. Distraught, Nora brought Charles a lace gown to bury their son in. To her horror, she found Charles stitching a hoof onto their child's arm and performing a Frankenstein-esque procedure.
When Tate was a young boy, Nora once rescued him from being devoured by the Infantata and taught him how to make ghosts go away and promised to protect him. Tate saw her as a surrogate mother due to his dysfunctional relationship with his own mother. He promised to get her a baby when Chad and Patrick were living in the House, because he could not bear her crying over her loss of Thaddeus.
She appears in the basement, saving Ben from almost being killed by Larry. She cuts the bonds holding him, and reprimands him for failing to protect his wife and children, and how she will not permit another failure in this house.
Vivien recognizes Nora as the woman who came to see the house after seeing a picture of the first owners that Tate gave to Violet, surprising and worrying her.
Thaddeus becomes a ghoulish creature that tries to bite Nora while breastfeeding him. Recognizing how horrific their lives have become, Nora shoots Charles in the head, then turned the gun on herself.
Tate has a close relationship with Nora. He kills Chad and Patrick after they decide to not have a child together so that a new family could inhabit it, then later impregnates Vivien in order to fulfill Nora's longing for a child. We also find out that she does not know that she is a ghost. When Hayden tells her this, Nora is very volatile and upset. She cries a lot and is very confused about the situation. Hayden and Nora decide to work together since both want to have a child, and they finally agree to take Vivien's twins.
In 1984 Tate is playing in the basement, when he is attacked by Thaddeus, but before he could be harmed, Nora appears and saves him. She comforts him when he is scared, wipes his tears, teaches him how to scare Thaddeus away and tells him she will protect him. Tate tells her "I wish you were my mommy."
In 2011 Tate tells Nora that she can no longer have the baby since he doesn't want Violet's family to suffer, apologizing for falling in love. Nora, however, becomes stern and forcefully tells him she's taking the baby no matter what.
As Vivien goes into labor, Nora's husband jumps into action to deliver the babies. He and Nora opt to take the stillborn son of Ben.
Nora is found by Vivien in the basement rocking the cradle of the Harmons' baby boy, who has been crying inconsolably for days. Nora thinks that Vivien is the new nanny, and starts giving her some orders and house rules. When she sees Vivien's face, she recognizes her as the baby's birth mother and she reminds her that "arrangements have been done". Nora is rude and petulant, she is clearly back to her old self. She claims she is too tired because of the "little monster" so she asks Vivien to take care of the baby while she takes a long rest.
- To Herself: "If mother could see me now... polishing my own silver..."
- To Charles Montgomery: "I wanna bury our son in this... Charles, what are you doing? What have you done to our baby?"
- To Charles: "Of course, I'm proud of you Charles. You are a man after all."
- To Hayden: "What you are saying is madness. I'm not dead."
- To Vivien Harmon: "I'm not entirely sure if I have the patience to be a mother"
- To Tate: "But I can... And I will... The baby is mine."
- To Charles: "You are going to support this family one way or the other."
- To Ben Harmon: "I will not permit another failure in this house... Save the baby."
- To Tate: "Life's too short for so much sorrow."
- To Vivien: "Little noisy monster..."
- To Vivien: "I don't like this, this is not right, is not what I want..."
- To Tate: "If Thaddeus comes back to scare you again, just shut your eyes and say 'go away', you understand, Tate?"
- She is the first character to be portrayed by Lily Rabe. For a complete list of her characters, see Cast.
- A picture of Nora, Charles and their son was featured in Hotel's episode "Room 33."
- She is the first character to be named "Nora". The second character is Nora Benson, who is Zoe Benson's mother, and the third is Nora Campbell, who is Timothy Campbell's mother.
- Perhaps Nora moves on in the scene with her and Vivien (during "Afterbirth") where Vivien finds her stillborn child's spirit in the house and Nora unable to take care of the child.
- Spirits are trapped inside that house, because either their bodies are still burried under the ground, so they can't go to "the light", but some aren't, like Nora and Tate. They remain in the same state of mind, or "vibe", they were in when they were killed (angry, seeking revenge, jealous, sad, or like Nora, still grieving for her lost child and very confused about everything).
- Nora finally replaced the baby she lost only to realise it wasn't the missing ingredient to making her life happy and realises that her faults are internal and that she isn't a good mother. Since Nora finally found herself a baby, and comes to terms that she's not very fond of the whole "being a mom" thing, when she says "I'm so exhausted. Oh dear, I think I might... I might need a rest now" she means REALLY rest in peace and finally have her spirit free from that house.
- See also: Nora Montgomery/Media
- ↑ In Room 33 she appears in a picture.
- ↑ Episode: Murder House (episode)
- ↑ Episode: Halloween: Part 1
- ↑ Episode: Halloween: Part 2
- ↑ Episode: Open House
- ↑ Episode: Rubber Man (episode)
- ↑ Episode: Birth
- ↑ Episode: Afterbirth