Is Maryann A Maenad?

June 29, 2009 by  


Greek Mythology defines Maenads as the female followers of Dionysus.  A literal translation of the name means “raving ones” In Wikipedia the Maenads are said to be 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. During these rites, the maenads would dress in fawn skins and carry a thyrsus, a long stick wrapped in ivy or vine leaves and tipped by a cluster of leaves, weave ivy-wreaths around their heads, and often handle or wear snakes.”
If you remember the first time we saw Maryann she was in the woods, naked carrying a staff which would be her “thyrsus”. In the previous two episodes of  True Blood we saw Maryann influence the patrons at Merlotte’s into an uncontrolled “frenzy” of dance, also putting a kind of aphrodisiac type spell over the crowd. Now the party at her house  in the third episode made the party at Merlotte’s seem tame.
In the following paragraph from the hermetic fellowship it describes many of Maryann’s personality traits.
“The Maenads are called nurses and foster mothers — they not only nurse and mother the young God (referring to Dionysus), but young animals in the forest as well.
They have the power to make the Earth bloom and the wild animals come to them.”

The same document also lists the power of maenads as such:
· To awaken the God
·    To run with the God
·    To share His attributes
·    To tame wild things by nursing them
·    To call forth water and wine and milk and honey from the Earth
·    To fight and not be harmed
·    To destroy
·    To prophesy

We have seen the nurturing side of  Maryann in her relationship to Tara and Eggs. These are two people who were strays of society to some degree, we learned Eggs was homeless and Tara never had a mother who was emotionally there for her needs, she was left her entire life to fend for herself then re-abandoned when her mother saw herself as “saved”.  We also saw Maryann‘s interaction (which more seemed like communication) with the pig at her house. Briefly we saw a picture at her pool which showed Pan with his human lover, maenads were known to be lovers of Pan and the Satyr which is described as a half man half goat creature.

The Question is why would she attack Sookie? Also why would she have killed Ms. Jeanette? The two things these women have in common is Tara. As for Ms. Jeanette I feel  Maryann believes she was avenging Tara , in her confrontation with Tara’s mother she may have not physically ripped Tara’s mother’s heart out but her words were meant to.  I am sure their is a whole other reason for her attack on Sookie we will have to watch more to find out(I love and HATE  that everything in this show is a cliffhanger.)

And watch out Tara this women may be nurturing when you are on her good side,the other side well  NOT so good.

To read more on Maenads and Dionysus information is available from the following sources

meanad on wikipedia

Dionysus on wikipedia

(photo credit: HBO inc.)

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  • vixen

    Miss Jeanette was killed specifically for her heart (which is missing from her body when they find her) and if you look in the episode when Maryanne has her party, they are serving up a broth which has been boiled up with the heart. In the myths of Dionysos Zagreus (the ‘first incarnation’ of Dionysos) Dionysos is murdered by the Titans, but his heart is saved by Zeus who feeds it to Semele (who will give birth to Dionysos reincarnated). The Titans eat the rest of his body. This idea of the ‘soul’ or ‘lifeforce’ of Dionysos being eaten by either his followers or other gods is reflected in Trueblood. Maenads were said to re-create these myths by eating raw flesh/blood – ties in nicely, dont ya think!

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  • charlie

    She is definitely a maenad, the symbol for Dionysus was the bull, which can attribute to her shape of the minotaur, her motherly instincts are also inline with the mythology, as they were nymphs who were devoted to the god after he was given to them by his aunt. Also the emphasis on dancing, ecstasy and gluttony are consistent as well.

    • Bubba The Vampire

      In the second book it is quite clear that she maenad.

  • Donna Porzio

    In the Sookie Stackhouse novels the second bood entitled Living Dead In Dallas has Sookie meeting up with Maryanne in the woods after Bills car breaks down & they have a little tiff. Sookie gets angry & leaves Bills car & takes off down the road. There she meets Maryanne for the first time. Maryanne is standing with a wand & a pig by her side.She is dirty & dressed scantily with tangled hair & bare feet. She asked Sookie if she was Bills pet. Sookie asked her what she was & she told her a maenad. Before she attacked Sookie she told her this is for Eric Northman. After arriving at Erics for help & Sookie eventually comes to they fiqured out Maryanne is looking for a “tribute” by the vamps since her god Bacchus is no longer honered. If they do not pay tribute to her she will “send her madness their way”.

  • Melissa

    OMG>>>TRUW BLOOD is awesome.I am reading the books that this show is based on and its great. the show is dead on. I wish i could be a part of this show. Some of the things are off but i guess it is to keep us at the edge of our seats. I used to dread sunday especially sunday nights but not anymore. a bottle of O posiive please…lol

    • Nia

      It is the best adult television on tv. I have read the books also and I love the fact that the show is different. I prefer the show. I like to be surprised. Even Alex Scarsgard said the show should be different to keep the fans guessing. Enjoy!

  • sirflyalot

    In the second book Southern Vampire – Living Dead In Dallas, the Maenad attacks Sookie to send a message to Eric. Apparently, she is looking for a tribute from the vampires. Like a Bear or Man or something like that. All of this is in Chapter 2 and 3 of the book. The True Blood series has seriously deviated from the books, though.

  • palavicini

    I had been searching about maryann… thanks 4 the information,
    and I think they kept lafayette alive cause he is a very talented actor

  • Abby

    I just started reading the second book and in it Lafayette dies in the first chapter…I wonder why they decided to let him live in the second season…I don’t mind because I think he is an amazing actor…but I can’t wait to see what they have in store for him.

  • patty

    Not that Alan Ball is following the novels too closely, but in the book she is indeed a Maenad. It is interesting how minor characters from the book- such as Tara & Jason-have become such lead characters in the show..

  • TB lover

    Michelle Forbes – confirmed it today, she is a Maenad –

  • Alicia

    Maenads also cavorted with beasts and pigs…

  • Rebecca

    Don”t you just love True Blood. They have taken “creatures” and put them in your face and then everyone is trying to figure it out. Everyone is talking about what Maryanne is. It’s amazing. Its so much fun trying to figure it out. I almost don’t want to know its just fun playing the guessing game with her.But on the other hand, I really do want to know.I know i can’t have it both ways,but you have to admit it really is fun trying to figure her out.

  • Thanks for more information Chris and Brad,I also learned another interesting tidbit(courtesy of wiki)Minotaurs had feminine features although they were male. In an earlier comment to my own article I had mentioned the minotaur had womanly hips and a feminine physique so I presumed the creature to me a female.I love when people who have studied Greek Mythology)or mythology in general chime in.If anyone has studied or finds out more please add in!
    thanks Andrea!

    • Specifically, the Minotaur is not a man’s body with the head of a bull. It had many attributes. It had the horns of a bull but the rest of it’s head was like a pit bull dog or mastiff and instead of hands or hooves, it had raptor’s talons (as did the Gorgons), a feature which is accurately represented in the show. Its humanoid body was androgynous in appearance although heavily muscled to indicate its great strength. The Minotaur was also very carnivorous, virgins youth and maidens being sacrificed to it annually by being sealed in the labyrinth to await their doom, Theseus being the first and only to escape this blood rite.

      • India

        In Greek mythology, the Minotaur was part man and part bull. It was kept by King Minos of Crete in the center of a “labyrinth,” an elaborate maze-like construction designed by the architect Daedalus specifically to hold the Minotaur. According to legend, the Minotaur required human sacrifices on a regular basis. Theseus volunteered to be sacrificed, and with the help of Daedalus, was able to slay the Minotaur and escape the maze.

        Minotaur’s father was a bull and his mother human. So he is half and half
        The Queen of Crete fell in love with a white bull. Strange, but it was Poseidon’s doing. Daedalus, the inventor, made a fake cow for her to get into, and the white bull mated with this thing. So Queen Pasiphaë got pregnant and bore the Minotaur.

  • Chris

    She transformed Ulysses’ crew into pigs… ring a bell? Maybe the writers of True Blood took another “free turn” towards Circe instead of a Maenad….

  • Brad

    “She was sister of two kings of Colchis, Æëtes and Perses, and of Pasiphaë, mother of the Minotaur. Circe transformed her enemies, or those who offended her, into animals through the use of magical potions.” Another interesting tidbit about Circe that I got from Wikipedia!!!

  • Brad

    I never thought about the Maenads possibility with Maryann and it does make a lot of sense. I’ve always had an interest in Greek mythology but never read much about them. The first thought I had about Maryann and who she really is, was the goddess/witch Circe. She was the seductress from the Iliad I think who transformed Odysisses men into swine and had many other magical powers. It will be very interesting to find out what she really is!!!