- "All that fake civilization bullshit just fell away so they could dissolve into the infinite, so they could lose themselves and unite with their God,"
- ―Maryann Forrester[src]
Maryann Forrester was a Maenad. Donning a bull's head helmet, she was a mysterious and powerful immortal being who worshiped the god Dionysus. Maryann had the power to transform into a clawed bull-like monster and manipulate human beings. She was the main antagonist for Season 2.
- "...So along comes this religion that encourages you to get hammered, run naked through the woods, have sex with whoever, whatever, and it's all part of getting closer to God. "
- ―Sophie-Anne Leclerq to Bill Compton on Maryann's origin[src]
Daphne Landry claims that Maryann has always been alive for as long as there was an Earth to walk on. Daphne also claims that she has been known as Gaia, a Greek goddess of earth, and the Egyptian goddess Isis, but she is in fact a Maenad: a creature that instigates primal chaos by influencing people to extreme hunger, violence, lust, romance, anger, greed or jealousy.
Maryann also causes people to believe that she is the representation of love who will make them happy. Glimpses into her past show that she has always led a lavish lifestyle in large houses with ample supplies of tropical fruit, and Eggs further hints that she is something of a nomad, moving from place to place semi-frequently. This could possibly be in part because Maryann would be "summoned" from one place to the next, answering the call of powerful energy sources.
Late one night years ago, Maryann encountered a young and homeless 17 year old Sam Merlotte eating her food and stealing from her house. She was unnerved at his naked appearance, taking interest in his supernatural nature and how he serendipitously seemed to be drawn to her effigy of Dionysus. Maryann lured Sam to her bed shortly thereafter, where she proceeded to take his virginity and to display some of her own power. Later, while she was showering, a terrified Sam snuck through her drawers where he found a change of clothes and 100,000 dollars. He escaped into the night, and they did not see each other again for many years.
Maryann was called to Bon Temps by the exorcism cast by Miss Jeanette on Tara Thornton. She appeared only to Tara's eyes, with the look of a younger Tara with blackened eyes. This was later implied by Maryann herself that Tara saw herself through Maryann's eyes and that Maryann responded to the ritual because she wanted to see if Miss Jeanette was the right vessel for her. However, not a vessel herself, Miss Jeannete's spell, nonetheless was believed to be a true ritual by Tara which in turn gave the spell powerful enough energy for Maryann to pick up on and come to Bon Temps physically. She appears before a drunk driving Tara shortly thereafter, naked in the middle of the road, standing with a pig. Tara swerves to avoid her and is taken into custody by Kenya Jones for driving under the influence.
Shortly after Lettie Mae leaves Tara in jail, having refused to bail her daughter out, Maryann arrives on the scene posing as a social worker (ironically specializing in public drunkenness) to give Tara her freedom. Seeing she has nowhere to go, Maryann offers Tara hospitality at her home until Tara can find her feet again. At first hesitant to trust Maryann, Tara's lack of options reluctantly leaves her no other alternative and she agrees upon confirming one condition:
- "...Nothing against religion, but not a Jesus person. "
- ―Maryann slightly tips her hand to Tara Thornton
Tara arrives at Maryann's home, a large house just outside of Bon Temps, and is bedazzled by the life of luxury soon thrust upon her. She soon meets Eggs Talley, a young man also recovering and finding his feet, and Karl, Maryann's thankless manservant. It is also probable that Daphne lived somewhere in the house. Maryann eventually meets again with Sam not telling him the reason she was there
For at least two weeks, Maryann quietly lived in a large house in Bon Temps without causing much incident. Some speculate that she was using this time to gather energy from Eggs and Tara, making herself stronger so that she could gradually infect the entire town with her influence. This theory is supported when she uncharacteristically slaps Karl to the ground for interrupting a tender moment between her housemates, ruining the hedonistic energy flow and thus, her meal.
Maryann would later employ several underhanded and manipulative tactics in order to keep Tara near her and Eggs.
- " Nobody needed towels!! "
- ―Maryann doesn't take kindly to Karl's interruption
On her first brief visit to Merlotte's, she eagerly sees Sam having heard that he has a gift for her. Sam apologizes to her for his theft in his younger years, though it is obviously more an apology out of fear than genuine regret. He proceeds to give her a large bag filled with money, and while touched at the notion, Maryann declines his offering saying it's not what she wants. Sam accuses her of trying to somehow punish him by luring Tara into her life, but Maryann dismisses his allegations, implying Sam is vain to think her presence in Bon Temps should be because of him.
Her second visit to Merlotte's is of greater interest, as she arrives early in the afternoon on a relatively slow business day to sample the food, though Sam is reluctant to serve her and wants her to leave. Maryann reminds Sam that she forgave him a $100,000 loan, so the least he could do is let her buy herself some lunch, to which he relents. Maryann then orders everything off the menu, coming to a sum of what Tara would later say was over $300, and impressively consumes all of it.
It was later in this afternoon that she encountered Sookie Stackhouse for the first time, and genuinely praised the young waitress for her positive attitude in the face of what others would see as absolute misery. Sookie, however, throughout the duration of this conversation, had been listening to Maryann's thoughts and found them to be unlike any she had heard before being entirely in another language, in a haunting mantra-like voice constantly invoking Dionysus in ancient Greek.
Sookie coyly asks Maryann where she is from in a suspicious manner, but Maryann retains her demeanor and convincingly lies that she was born in Cape Cod. Uneasy, Sookie excuses herself, but reminds Tara to consider her invitation to move into her house and be her new housemate. Maryann behaves as though she is touched by the gesture, though the look seen on her face (only to the viewer) confirms that she intends to kill Sookie to prevent this from happening.
Later that night after finishing all her food, Maryann begins to seductively dance in the bar, lulling all the patrons into her spell. Slowly but surely, they all begin to dance wildly and engage in lewd behavior turning Merlotte's all but into a dance club. Furious at seeing this, Sam takes Maryann to the back office and demands an explanation, but Maryann plays dumb, denying any responsibility. When he loses his temper, Maryann demonstrates just what kind of power she has by forcing Sam to shapeshift into his Collie form.
Maryann informs him in no uncertain terms that if he ever threatens her again, she will reveal his secret to everyone in Bon Temps.
Later that night, Maryann, in a bull mask and with large, demon-like claws, somehow tracked Sookie down while she was 20 miles outside the city limits and slashed her back, infecting the waitress with an extremely deadly Maenad toxin. Maryann did this in hopes that Tara would not be able to take Sookie up on her earlier offer, and was visibly surprised when she learned that Sookie was miraculously fine the next morning, though she concealed her shock from Tara.
When Tara announced she would indeed move in, Maryann had no choice but to let her go, offering encouraging words and making sure to say she's sure Tara would do the same for her if she could, something she would later put to the test.
Having somehow known the date of Tara's birthday, Maryann arrives at the Stackhouse residence with a wedding cake to throw Tara a party. She invites nearly everyone in Bon Temps, all of whom later that night she drives to primal actions of sex, violence and hunger as she blacks them out and brings them under her power. The next morning, Maryann has clearly made herself at home and decorated the Stackhouse kitchen with luscious fruits and beautiful flowers, to Tara's confusion.
Maryann informs her that she, Karl, and Eggs need a place to stay since her "client" came back from Peru to reclaim his house that she had been watching in his stead. Tara tells Maryann that what she wants isn't possible. She, herself, just moved in and this is Sookie's house, not hers. Maryann puts on a hurt facade by this and claims to understand. Whipping up some fake tears, she leaves the kitchen.
That night while Tara bartends, Maryann covertly arrives at Merlotte's and begins to sway the emotions of all the people inside to feel negatively and focus all this energy at Tara. Tara becomes so frustrated with everyone relentlessly jumping down her throat that she leaves in a huff before her shift is even over. Arriving home, she finds Maryann dressed in uncharacteristically maternal clothing, reading a book, and saying she made Tara dinner and filled the fridge with her favorite foods.
Moved by this, Tara begs Maryann to stay with her.
The next night, Maryann once again brings the entire town under her thrall, this time in preparation to sacrifice Sam Merlotte to her god Dionysus, so he would be born into the world. She accomplished this by having Daphne (the shapeshifter revealed to be the pig who first appeared with her) seduce and lure Sam out to where Maryann was channeling orgiastic energy from the town's citizens. Thanks to a distraction from Andy Bellefleur, Sam is able to escape, however by shape-shifting into an owl he saw while Maryann chased him.
Though Maryann didn't express any malice or bitterness at Daphne's failure (even going so far as to express sincere gratitude), upon their next meeting she had a mesmerized Eggs stab her right through the heart, killing her for giving Sam information about her entity. This cements the notion that Daphne's true purpose was to bring Maryann the vessel, whether she was alive or not hardly being a concern. Daphne's body was left in the freezer in Merlotte's, implicating Sam in the murder and resulting in him being detained in jail.
Sam once again escapes her, visibly irritating her to the point that she decides to bring the entire town under influence once again, this time permanently, until they bring her Sam Merlotte.
When Sookie Stackhouse returns to Bon Temps from Dallas, she finds the town in complete disarray and her house completely made over in a haunting, pagan fashion. Maryann behaves as though the house is hers, taunting Sookie and Bill with her presence. Bill "strongly suggests" that Maryann leave, but she is undaunted, remarking that Bill is quite a specimen, keen to his supernatural, vampiric nature. She also mentions that Bill will "leave Sookie cold," (perhaps foreshadowing his kidnapping only two days later).
Sookie rudely dismisses Maryann, angering the Maenad into attacking Sookie. She pins Sookie against the wall, lifting her up faster than Bill's eyes can follow. Bill Compton pushes her away and bites her neck, but is quickly poisoned by her black blood, much to Maryann's knowing delight. She incredulously clasps Sookie's face, wondering aloud what Sookie could be before she is jolted by Sookie's photokinesis.
Sookie then grabs a poisoned and pained Bill and quickly flees the house. After assuming that he has few clues about what Maryann might be, although he tells Sookie about some legendary creatures he read on a book years ago, he seeks advice from Sophie Anne, the Vampire Queen of Louisiana, on how to defeat Maryann. She tells Bill that the reason Maryann's blood poisoned him was because vampires could only feed on human blood and that a maenad is no longer even remotely human. Bill asks if she started out as human to which Sophie-Anne says she did, that even vampires started out as human, they simply evolved into what they are now.
Sophie-Anne reveals that Maryann's powers are directly tied to her beliefs. She tells him everything in the universe imagined itself into existence. Thus by believing in her god and becoming a maenad, Maryann was immortal. The only way to defeat her was to make her believe that Dionysus was ravaging her.
Back in Bon Temps, preparing to sacrifice Sam and using Sookie as a bridesmaid for Maryann's sacrificial ritual, Bill arrives with Sam in his custody and proposes a trade to which Maryann agrees. Sookie is horrified when a mind-controlled Eggs stabs Sam in the chest, but by reading Sam's mind she hears Sam telling her to destroy the egg and Maryann's statue offering to disrupt Maryann's ceremony. Sookie does so using her 'light' power for the second time.
An enraged Maryann starts sacrificing everyone around the yard by sending excessive amount of energy around her. When Sookie tells her to stop she begins transformation and starts pursuing Sookie into the woods, only to stop when she hears a growl. Suddenly she sees a large white bull coming towards, which she takes to be her god finally answering her summons. She is surprised when coming closer being moved by the situation, the bull suddenly impales her with one of its horns, asking if it means she is to be the final sacrifice to bring her god into the world. She accepts that her god wants her to die, thus dropping her immortality shield, and lets herself be ravaged by the bull, only to be shocked again when the bull morphs into a healed Sam who is ripping out her heart.
A distraught Maryann's last words are "Was there no god?"; Sam and Bill's deception had worked, as they had tricked Maryann into vulnerability. Sam then crushes her heart in his hand, causing her body to instantly decay into a skeletal, black corpse. Bill appears shortly after and reveals Sam had agreed to be stabbed if Bill would heal him after Sookie distracted Maryann. Sookie requests that Bill and Jason remove Maryann's body from the lot, explaining that she doesn't care where her body goes. ("Beyond Here Lies Nothin'")
Maryann also makes a brief Season 5 appearance, episode In the Beginning when Sookie after learning she may lose her fairy powers being half human, she remembers Maryann asking 'What are you?' and everyone else who asked the same thing.
Powers & Abilities Edit
As the only Maenad seen thus far in the series, the true scope of Maryann's power was not revealed, though it is suggested that she possessed numerous unique and rare abilities. Sophie Anne describes all Maenads as very old beings, predating ancient Greece. Daphne Landry further implies that Maryann can do different things to different supernatural creatures, although she cannot hypnotize them, and that her age is such that she even predates written history itself.
The fact that Maryann seemed to have acquired many names for herself during her immortal lifespan (Gaia, Kali, Isis, even Lilith) corresponds to this theory, thus coming to the conclusion that she may be more than 8000 years old but nothing is certain of her age because even if she worshipped Dionysus, there is no real definition of what age the Greek mythology existed. The first myth was written in 800 BC but the myths haven't an exact date and can be very old. Thus, someone comes to the conclusion that either could she be alive since Earth was created, worshiping an old deity with the name Dionysus (remember it is a television show that doesn't follow exactly the real mythology) or she could possibly be a Greek woman living 3000 years ago and who followed Dionysus once and became immortal in the process, acquiring all the powers of a maenad.
In addition to being long-lived, Maryann was shown to be remarkably invulnerable to conventional damage, as she demonstrated an ability to effortlessly and gleefully deflect bullets fired at her with her hand. Maryann proved to be impossible for vampires to drain, as her blood was made up of a black, corrosive and/or poisonous substance. It is unlikely that even Sookie's latent fairy powers dealt any lasting damage, as Maryann was shown to enjoy it and even later requested that Sookie jolt her again.
When Bill and Cooter were met with Sookie's powers later in Season 3, they were knocked several meters back through the air, in pain, whilst Maryann was only moved a few feet back being delighted and having fun. This suggests a possible trait among all Maenads, to take amusement in the futility of being attacked. Ironically as a long-lived being Maryann didn't know what Sookie's power was exactly, but she surely knew that this power has something to do with nature's force and she was amused on being attacked by it.
In terms of physical powers, Maryann's most prominent feature is the ability to morph her hands into a pair of razor claws that secrete a powerful toxin known to instantly paralyze humans, while the bacteria slowly poisons and kills the host. Without proper medical attention to the point of infection, even vampire blood is proven to be ineffective in healing the victim. Vampires, while not as susceptible as humans, when subjected to this toxin are still not completely immune and are poisoned, though Bill was able to recover by simply feeding from Sookie.
Maryann also demonstrated superhuman speed and strength, as shown when she lifted Sookie up with one hand against a wall, and faster than Bill's eyes could follow. It is also suggested she possesses some means of tracking prey, as she was able to locate and attack Sookie whilst the latter was 20 miles outside of Bon Temps in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps her most frequented ability, however, was her power to channel, control, manipulate, and even feed off the energy of living beings around herself. When enacting this ability, her body was shown to slightly unhinge physically, beginning to flicker and vibrate maddeningly. She usually stayed in one fixed location with her eyes closed, suggesting this was something of a meditative process for her. All humans caught within range as she spun her thrall are shown to begin engaging in hedonistic and primitive behavior.
Maryann has also demonstrated limited aerokinetic abilities, being able to produce brief gusts of wind while using their powers of persuasion to induce chaotic behavior in others. When she was angered that energy became so powerful that could mentally kill someone. That kind of energy was like an ear-piercing (or mind probably) screech. For example when the infected citizens made a mistake and thought that the God came, she was so pissed that started sending mass amounts of energy to their minds in a form of cacophony.
When her control and influence has infected them completely, the pupils of the subjects eyes black out, meaning the ego and super ego of the psyche is completely suppressed, leaving the id to run wild, creating a totally loyal, (if questionably effective) servant to Maryann, at which point she no longer needs to focus. Supernatural beings were shown to be immune to this form of mass hypnosis and energy channeling, though not completely. This was later demonstrated that Maryann was capable of influencing Sam's emotions, along with everyone else in Merlotte's, and even manipulate the energies in his body to force him to shift. In Charlaine Harris books, Maenads also have limited control over vampires, bestowing in them the madness infection, whereby they would go into a bestial mindset and become insane, known to be completely incurable and the only option would be to stake the vampire. Maryann's influential powers were shown to be very powerful compared to a vampire's glamouring and that her hypnotic spell was difficult to be broken. This was demonstrated with Sookie, Bill, and Tara while the two were trying to break Maryann's spell over Tara. This wouldn't have been possible by a vampire alone without the help of Sookie's telepathy (although it wasn't the same the other way around, because Sookie was able to retrieve the blacked out memories belonging to Eggs) New World in My View.
Maryann also had a free lifestyle by moving from one place to another living a parasitic nomadic life. It is unknown if it that was a general maenad trait or it was just Maryann who liked to live that way. The most possible thing is that the homes she has acquired come from rich people that unwittingly have summoned her into their lives and were sacrificed in the process. There is also a small possibility that Maryann or maenads generally, needed to change their names.
Maenads are somewhat sensitive to powerful energy sources, as Maryann claims that the ritual energy from Miss Jeanette's spell is what ultimately summoned her to Bon Temps in the first place. It is unknown whether Maryann was in fact present in the ritual or it was just her energy that made Tara see herself as a child. And that child facade shows a possibility that Maryann knew about Tara's abusive life from the start.
Perhaps she also possessed some form of psychic intuition, as she commonly seemed to be aware of or know things that she had no possible way of knowing. She was able to identify Jason Stackhouse's relationship to Sookie, though never having met him beforehand. She also knew Andy Bellefleur by name, despite never having met him, and even knew Tara's birthday. She also was able to tell almost immediately that Sookie was not completely human upon meeting her, and, though unable to determine Sookie was of fairy origin, she did seem to know that someone or something was watching over her, which would later turn out to be Claudine and the other fae. That was of course obvious for her as Maryann lived off the human energy but couldn't tell what Sookie's one was. She also foreshadowed Bill's imminent kidnapping at the hands of Russell Edgington.
Maryann herself stated that she lived off human energy, though she was shown capable of eating as a human would, if in unfathomable proportions. In fact, even if it offered her no personal sustenance, she seemed to have a real passion for eating food and ordered plate after plate while she was dining at Merlotte's, filling up the entire table with entrees just for herself. Her love of food was also evident in her home life, as her kitchen was always decorated elegantly with exotic fruits.
Her parties frequently had ample and lavish dishes available to serve to guests, and she was seen hovering over Karl's shoulder suggesting ways he could improve flavor in that night's dinner. Her knowledge in the culinary arts also expanded far enough for her to be able to make excellent dishes that contained ingredients that would be atypical today, such as rabbits and human hearts.
- In the Living Dead in Dallas novel, the character is named Callisto, but it was changed for the second season of True Blood.
- Though offering a maenad tribute was not a theme explored in the television series, Maryann remarks in two separate episodes that she does enjoy receiving presents.She also mentions that her car is a "gift."
- In Release Me episode of Season 2 Bill is having a flashback when Lorena meets him in the hotel in Dallas. In the flashback he is reading a book called "Gods & Monsters of Ancient Greece" which in a later episode Bill connects Maryann's origins with one specific page he read that time, which depicted a picture of a maenad whose shadow was that of a bull and one who owned three clawed talons. This suggests that Maryann's transformation to the bull beast is actually inspired by this illustration.
- It is unknown how Kenya knew about Maryann from before as Maryann was supposed to come to Bon Temps after Tara's ritual. But as implied by her, Tara just summoned her to her life. The most possible thing is that Maryann was just living there for sometime posing as a social worker. Either she was just waiting for an excuse to respond to an energy source that either she was feeling with her intuition but didn't know where it came from, or she was just living there and just reacted to the whole ritual. But a possibility exists that there are some many intriguing well-hidden allusions in all these events just before Maryann appears and they may explain her coming there. First of all Lettie Mae is desperate about a 'demon' inside her, there was an attempted murder to Sookie by drunk people at Merlotte's, a drunken party there too with Arlene and Rene/or Drew Marshal, then Tara driving drunk and there was also a crazed serial killer Drew Marshal that went out of control and killed fangbanger women. Things close to debauchery and chaos which Maryann loved and lived off them. So she could possibly live there in the outskirts of Bon Temps for a long time and somehow knew about Tara and the citizens from before posing as a social worker, a set-up, feeding herself with all this human energy alongside, waiting and anticipating for an excuse to use someone's problem and appear as useful like she did with Eggs and Tara so she could get into their lives.
- Apart from the usual chant "Lo lo Bromios" Maryann invoked Dionysus by other chants. When Sookie read her mind at Merlottes she heard "Lo lo Bacchus, lo lo Bacchus hekas, o hekas, este bebeloi" which means "Oh great Dionysus, let the profane ones depart"
Maryann (Callisto) in books Edit
In the Sookie Stackhouse Novels, a maenad named Callisto travels to Bon Temps as an emissary for Dionysus, the God of the Wine. Since no one formally worships the God of the Vine in contemporary times, she travels from location to location demanding tribute from those who distribute the symbol of his power, alcohol (specifically wine). She comes to Bon Temps in search of the vampire Eric Northman to pay his tribute since he owns the vampire bar, Fangtasia, in Shreveport. Callisto injures Sookie with her poison claws as a living message to Eric. While Sookie and her Vampire associates travel to Dallas to look for a missing vampire, Callisto enters into a sexual relationship with Sam Merlotte. Her mere presence makes some people unleash their lust and sexual desires. In the last orgy, Callisto tells Sookie who it was that killed her friend Lafayette, in the process killing all members of the orgy save for Tara and Eggs. Then she goes to other towns so they may pay her tribute and she may give them her blessing, but not before saying goodbye to Sam, with whom she shared a romantic relationship, enjoyed in the forests of Bon Temps.
True Blood Edit
|Season one appearances|
|"Strange Love"||"The First Taste"||"Mine"||"Escape from Dragon House"|
|"Sparks Fly Out"||"Cold Ground"||"Burning House of Love"||"Fourth Man in the Fire"|
|"Plaisir D'Amour"||"I Don't Wanna Know"||"To Love Is to Bury"||"You'll Be the Death of Me"|
|Season two appearances|
|"Nothing but the Blood"||"Keep This Party Going"||"Scratches"||"Shake and Fingerpop"|
|"Never Let Me Go"||"Hard-Hearted Hannah"||"Release Me"||"Timebomb"|
|"I Will Rise Up"||"New World in My View"||"Frenzy"||"Beyond Here Lies Nothin'"|