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Species Information
Mentioned in
Also Known As
  • Raving ones
Notable features


Maenads are sad, silly things... The world changed centuries ago and they're still waiting for the God Who Comes.
Sophie-Anne Leclerq to Bill Compton about maenads in Frenzy.

Maenads are a rare, supernatural species and the immortal handmaidens of Dionysus, the god of wine.[1] They believe if they find the perfect vessel, sacrifice and devours part of him or her while surrounded by the magic of their familiars, then Dionysus will be summoned. At that point, when they willingly surrender themself to him, he would hopefully ravish them, quite literally devour them, until they're lost into oblivion.[2]


Very little is known about the history of maenads, aside from the belief that they started out as humans.[2] Daphne Landry claimed that Maryann, the only known maenad, had always been alive for as long as there was an Earth to walk on. Daphne also said that people have called Maryann all kinds of things, such as Kali, Lilith, Isis, and Gaia.[1] Sophie-Anne Leclerq also stated that maenads are "old relics," predating even ancient Greece. For centuries they've been trying to successfully summon forth Dionysus. They're constantly improvising their recipes in hopes of finding that one magic element that will make it all happen.[2]

20th Century

Late one night years ago, Maryann encountered a young and homeless seventeen 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.

Present Day

Maryann was drawn to Bon Temps due to the potent energy she attributes to a ritual performed by Miss Jeanette, a faux voodoo doctor. She appeared before a drunk driving Tara Thornton shortly thereafter, naked in the middle of the road, standing with a pig. Tara swerved to avoid her and wax taken into custody by Kenya Jones for driving under the influence. Maryann took an interest in Tara and had Tara move in with her. She introduced Tara to Benedict Talley, a troubled man she had previously taken in to take care of and used to kill several of her victims. Eventually, Maryann settled into Sookie's house and ordered the Bon Temps residents to capture Sam Merlotte, whom she intended to sacrifice in her tribute to Dionysus. She ultimately succeeded in capturing Sam and had Eggs slide a knife in his heart, but Bill saved Sam. Sam, shifting into a white bull, had Maryann believe Dionysus had returned to earth. Hence Maryann dropped her supernatural shields and Sam, still in the guise of a white bull, was able to kill Maryann for good. After she was killed the townsfolk return to their senses and had no memory of what they had done under Maryann's influence and remembered her simply as the elegant woman who threw wild parties.

Psychological Characteristics

Often, the maenads were portrayed as inspired by Dionysus into a state of ecstatic frenzy through a combination of dancing and drunken intoxication. In this state, they would lose all self-control, begin shouting excitedly, engage in uncontrolled sexual behavior, and ritualistically hunt down and tear animals (and sometimes men and children) to pieces, devouring the raw flesh. Maryann found pleasure in hosting giant orgies, creating mayhem and chaos and witnessing pure lust. Certain individuals, such as Sophie-Anne Leclerq, see maenads as not being very smart because they seek the true death, the one thing they've evolved beyond, at the hands of their mad god.[2]

Evidently, maenads' "brain signatures" are represented as an endless mystic chant.[3]


Maenads appear indistinguishable from ordinary humans, except for the fact they could transform their hands into three-talon claws and had black blood. According to the vampire Chow Lin, a maenad's smell is distinctly animal.[4]

Powers and Abilities

  • Immortality: Maenads are ageless and cannot die as long as their supernatural defenses are up. According to Sophie-Anne Leclerq, maenads are immortal because they convinced themselves they are.[2]
  • Accelerated Healing: Maenads can apparently regenerate from damage sustained on their body, seeing as how Maryann was bit by the vampire Bill and appeared completely unharmed not long after his assault.[2]
  • Enhanced Strength: Maenads possess some degree of enhanced strength, as seen when Maryann single-handedly lifted Sookie a few feet of the ground.[2] It is unknown if maenads are stronger or weaker than vampires.
  • Enhanced Speed: Maenads are incredibly fast, this was seen when Maryann moved across a room faster than even the vampire Bill's eyes could follow.[2] She again demonstrated her speed further when she chased Sookie throughout the woods.[4]
  • Enhanced Durability: Maenads are remarkably durable, seeing as Maryann deflected a bullet with her bare hand.[2] She was also able to withstand being jolted by Sookie's "electricity," showcasing genuine delight and fun in the experience,[5] and even later requested that Sookie jolt her again.[6] Maryann also proved impossible for vampires to drain, as her blood was made up of a black substance that poisoned Bill when he bit her.[5] According to Sophie-Anne Leclerq, this is because vampires can only drink human blood, and Maryann was no longer even remotely human.[2]
  • Tenor.gif
    Channeling: Maenad's channel human energy for sustenance[6] and they can produce a number of other effects in a supernatural being by channeling their respective energies.[1] When enacting this ability, Maryann's 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. Maenads are somewhat sensitive to powerful energy sources, as Maryann claims that the ritual energy from Nancy LeGuare's spell is what ultimately summoned her to Bon Temps in the first place.[2]
    • Hypnosis: Maenads can affect or control the actions of humans. Maryann controlled the actions of the human inhabitants of Bon Temps by putting a bizarre spell on them, which turned their eyes completely black and had them do her bidding. The whole town devolved into a primitive state in a matter of days, and those taken over by Maryann engaged in оrgіеs, sacrifice, and even cannibalism. Additionally, those she took over were resistant, but not immune, to the effects of glamouring and telepathy.[5] While it was difficult, her influence could be broken; this was demonstrated when Sookie and Bill combined their abilities to break Maryann's hold over Tara.[5] It was then shown that while Tara was now resistant to Maryann's influence herself, Maryann was able to regain her hold on Tara by literally knocking sense into her.[2]
    • Psychic Pain Infliction: Maenads are able to induce an extreme amount of mental pain onto the victims under their control.[2] Maryann implied she could even use this technique to kill her followers all at once.[6]
    • Forced Shifting: Maenads can force shapeshifters to change form against their will.[3]
    • Madness Inducement: In Charlaine Harris's 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.[7]
  • A maenad's claws

    Poisonous Claws: Maenads can morph their hands into talons that are used for poisoning and tearing apart their prey. This poison is similar to the bacteria found in a Komodo dragon's mouth, albeit way more efficient.[4] Unless proper medical treatment is provided, not even vampire blood can heal this poison and the recipient's body will reject it otherwise.
  • Clairvoyance: Maenads apparently have the ability to gain information about an object, person, location, or event through means other than the known human senses. Maryann seemed to have 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.[6] She also knew Andy Bellefleur by name, despite never having met him,[8] and even knew Tara's birthday.[9] 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.[6] She also foreshadowed Bill's imminent kidnapping at the hands of Russell Edgington.[5] This was further alluded to as she seemed to possess some means of tracking her prey, as she was able to locate and attack Sookie whilst the latter was 20 miles outside of Bon Temps and in the middle of nowhere.[4]
  • Limited Aerokinesis: Maenads were shown producing unexpected gusts of wind when hypnotizing masses.[10] Whether or not they have any control over this or if it this was just an uncontrollable byproduct of their mass hypnosis is unknown.
  • Voice Manipulation: Maenads have the ability to change their voice. Maryann was able to make her voice deeper and more menacing.[11][1][10][6]


  • Faith and Belief: A maenad's power stemmed from belief in their god and at the moment of being consumed by him, they willingly let down their supernatural defenses, thus rendering them vulnerable.[2] This was proven true after Sam, shifting into a white bull, had Maryann believe Dionysus had returned to earth. Hence Maryann dropped her supernatural shields and Sam, still in the guise of a white bull, was able to kill Maryann for good.[6]
  • Supernaturals: All supernaturals have a natural resistance to a maenad's hypnosis. Maryann could force shifters to shift and other stuff with other "supes," but she couldn't get inside them, they had to go to her on their own free will.[1]

Known Maenads


  • Maenads were also known as a type of nymph, immortal goddesses of natural manifestations; maenads being the extremes of pleasurable emotions and actions (sex, rage, inebriation, frenzy, etc.).
  • In Roman Mythology, maenads were also known as bassarids (or bacchae or bacchantes) after the Roman equivalent of Dionysus, known as, Bacchus. Cultic rites associated with worship of the Greek god of wine, Dionysus (or Bacchus in Roman mythology), were allegedly characterized by maniacal dancing to the sound of loud music and crashing cymbals, in which the revelers, called maenad, whirled, screamed, became drunk and incited one another to greater and greater ecstasy. The goal was to achieve a state of enthusiasm in which the celebrants’ souls were temporarily freed from their earthly bodies and were able to commune with Bacchus/Dionysus and gain a glimpse of what they would someday experience in eternity. The rite climaxed in a performance of frenzied feats of strength and madness, such as uprooting trees and tearing a bull (the symbol of Dionysus) apart with their bare hands, an act called Sparagmos, and eating its flesh raw. This latter rite was a sacrament akin to communion in which the participants assumed the strength and character of the god by symbolically eating the raw flesh and drinking the blood of his symbolic incarnation. Having symbolically eaten his body and drunk his blood, the celebrants became possessed by Dionysus.
  • Their name literally translates as "raving ones."