- "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.
Maryann is found to be very sadistic when it comes to the people around her. She showed this many times whenever she committed a heinous murder by cutting out a victim's heart. The creature showed us this once more when she discarded the present Tara's mother sent for her.
At first she is very warm and kind to Tara after she is abandoned by her mother in jail. She invites Tara to her temporary home where she dances continuously and throws frequent parties and smokes what seems to be an unlimited amount of weed which numbs Tara to her true darkness.
Powers and Abilities
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 supernatural abilities. Daphne Landry implied that Maryann could do different things to different supernatural creatures; it was stated and shown that supernatural creatures can resist and/or be immune, to her hypnotic abilities. Maryann also was shown to be unafraid of vampires and these creatures often stayed out of her way. Sophie-Anne Leclerq, the Vampire Queen of Louisiana, also stated that "fortunately" Maenads showed little interest in the vampire species, further implying Maenads were powerful beings, even when compared to vampires.
As a Maenad, Maryann was effectively immortal. She did not physically age (retaining the appearance of woman eternally in her late thirties to early forties) and was immune to conventional injury (disease, poison, etc.). The only known way to kill a Maenad is when she willingly lets down her supernatural defenses; the only known time a Maenad does this is when they believe Dionysus has come to "ravish" and "quite literally devour" them.
In addition to being immortal, Maryann was shown to be remarkably durable and resilient to conventional damage. This was shown in an instance where she effortlessly deflected a bullet fired at her with the palm of her hand. Also, when Bill and Cooter were met with Sookie's photokinetic powers later in Season 3, they were knocked several meters back through the air and experienced some degree of pain, whilst Maryann was only moved a step or two back, and she showed delight and had fun because of the experience. Ironically as long-lived as others claim Maryann to be, she didn't know what Sookie's power was exactly, but she did know that this power had something to do with the forces of nature. Regardless, it is unlikely that 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. She was able to regenerate from damage sustained on her body and appears to be superior to even the likes of a vampire.
Maryann also possessed some degree of superhuman strength and speed, as shown when she lifted Sookie up with one hand a couple of feet of the ground, moving faster than Bill's eyes could follow. Due to being a Maenad, Maryann's most prominent feature is the ability to morph each of her hands into three razor-sharp talons that secrete a powerful toxin known to instantly paralyze humans, while the bacteria slowly poisons and kills the host. Unless the victim receives immediate and expert medical attention, even vampire blood is ineffective in healing those exposed to this toxin.
Maryann also proved to be impossible for vampires to drain, as her blood was made up of a black, corrosive and/or poisonous substance. When Bill bit her he was subsequently poisoned by her blood, which caused him to vomit and gag with pain. This left him in a noticeably weakened state, though he was able to fully recover by simply feeding on Sookie.
As a Maenad, Maryann possessed the distinct ability to channel and manipulate human energy within an undefined radius of herself. When manipulating such energy, her body was shown to slightly unhinge physically and vibrate. When in this state of vibration, she usually stayed in one fixed location with her eyes closed. This suggested that this was something of a meditative process for her. Regardless, any human caught within her range of influence as she vibrated often engaged in hedonistic or primitive behavior. When her influence takes over a human completely, their pupils dilate to the point of blackening their eyes out totally, meaning the ego and super ego of their psyche is completely suppressed, leaving the I.D. (or inner desire) to run wild. Those taken over completely are naturally subservient to Maryann's will. Additionally those she takes over are resistant, but not immune, to the effects of glamouring and telepathy. Also, 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. 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. Lastly, Maryann demonstrated that she could inflict some kind of psychic pain onto those under her thrall. Her thralls were shown to mentally hear a high-pitched noise that caused them great psychic strain. It was heavily implied that Maryann could use this psychic pain-infliction to kill her thralls.
While supernatural beings were mostly immune to the aforementioned effect of energy channeling skills, it was stated that they are still affected by it, albeit in unique and different ways. Shifters were shown to change shape unwillingly when they were exposed to Maryann's energy manipulating abilities. 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. This was widely known to be incurable and the only option would be to stake the vampire afflicted.
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. 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. She also foreshadowed Bill's imminent kidnapping at the hands of Russell Edgington. 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.
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.
- 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, 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.
- In the first episode of Season 2, Maryann explains to Tara and Eggs a painting that depicts the god Pan mating with a human mistress. This is likely a reference to Arthur Machen's horror novella The Great God Pan, where the outwardly beautiful and charming villainess Helen Vaughan is revealed to be a Humanoid Abomination, namely a daughter of the god Pan and a human woman. It is safe to say that the character of Maryann Forrester takes a good deal of inspiration from Helen Vaughan.
|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"|