- "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 on the HBO original series True Blood. Played by American guest starring actress Michelle Forbes, Maryann makes her debut on the episode "I Don't Wanna Know" in the series' first season. Donning a bull's head helmet, Maryann was a mysterious and powerful immortal being who worshiped the god Dionysus. Possessing the power to transform into a clawed bull-like monster and manipulate human beings, Maryann was the main antagonist through the series' second season. Playing a recurring role through the series' first and second seasons, Maryann meets an untimely demise on the episode "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'", at the end of the series' second season, and was seen once more, in a flashback on the episode "In the Beginning", in the series' fifth season.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
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.
According to Daphne, Maryann seemed to have acquired many names for herself during her immortal lifespan (Gaia, Kali, Isis, even Lilith). As a maenad she worshiped the Greek god Dionysus, (the god of wine, merry making, theater and ecstasy), a god worshiped as early as 1500-1100 B.C. Dionysus was the last god to be accepted at Mount Olympus.
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 her powers of persuasion to induce chaotic behavior in others. When she was angered that energy became so powerful that it 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 she 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, albeit 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 series. Unlike her TV series counterpart, Callisto is more like an anti-heroine than a villain. She is a maenad who comes to the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana in search of a tribute from Eric Northman (instead of searching for Sam Merlotte to sacrifice in order to bring her God back). At the beginning of Living Dead in Dallas, Sookie meets Callisto, who is accompanied by a feral razorback pig, in the woods. Callisto wants tribute from Eric and, in order to convey this message, Callisto claws Sookie, which poisons her blood. Callisto even helps Sookie take revenge for her deceased friend Lafayette by killing Mike Spencer and the Hardaways (who are revealed to have killed Lafayette). Unlike Maryann, she doesn't try to harm or kill Sam and it is even implied that Sam and Callisto had a romantic relationship, but she leaves Bon Temps to look for more tribute.
- While she is associated with Ancient Greece, her inner thoughts are in Latin as read by Sookie in the series. This may be a continuity error, a hint that she's not nearly as old as she claims, or because Latin became a more familiar language to her over time.
- Since Maryann Forrester is likely just an alias adapted by her, it is possible her real name is Callisto.
- 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 Marshall 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.
- Her age is kept somewhat mysterious in the series. She claimed to predate civilization itself. Other sources generally say that she is ancient. Given her connection to Ancient Greece and it's theology, she her origins must date back no later than the beginning of the Classical Period, or about 1200 B.C.E. using the fall of Troy as a reference. This would make her at least 3200 years old, give or take a few centuries. The lack of consistent date keeping in Greece going back that far likely means that even she doesn't know her true age.
- Maryann is the second main antagonist to initially appears as a protagonist and friend to one of the protagonists.
- Maryann was a minor antagonist in "I Don't Wanna Know", a supporting protagonist in "To Love Is to Bury" and a supporting protagonist in "You'll Be the Death of Me". She was the main antagonist of Season 2.
- Maryann is one of two main antagonists to appear in every single episode of their season as big bad.
- It is unknown if there is any connection between Maryann, who has been known previously as Lilith, and the real Lilith, the first vampire and the main antagonist of the fifth season.
|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'"|
|Season five appearances|
|"Turn! Turn! Turn!"||"Authority Always Wins"||"Whatever I Am, You Made Me"||"We’ll Meet Again"|
|"Let's Boot and Rally"||"Hopeless"||"In the Beginning"||"Somebody That I Used to Know"|
|"Everybody Wants to Rule the World"||"Gone, Gone, Gone"||"Finally"||"Save Yourself"|