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"Maria! Say it loud and there's music playing, Say it soft and it's almost like praying."
Tony, West Side Story

A pure-hearted or Token Religious Teammate character will often be named after the Virgin Mary. As Mary was the biblical Jesus' mother, Team Mom and other motherly characters are often named after her as well. Bonus points if the character dresses in blue, as in many countries that color traditionally feminine specifically due to its relation to Mary.

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"Mary" is the main English way of spelling the mother of Jesus' name, however, it is spelled differently in other languages (for example, "Miriam" and "Maria"). Despite appearing sparingly throughout the text, Mary is an iconic example of a nice and pure character. note  As a result many characters are named after her.

As common as this trope is played straight, it is often subverted as well. An evil or malicious character will be named "Mary" (or an alternative spelling) for ironic kicks, or double meaning, as the name also means "bitter" in the original Hebrew. As the Virgin Mary is known as such a benevolent character, characters that seem like straight examples but aren't aren't uncommon.

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Note, that the character must be particularly pure-hearted, religious, maternal, or otherwise an obvious Virgin Mary reference (like a Madonna Archetype) to count. A character just being named "Mary", "Maria", or a similar name is not enough. "Mary" is one of the most popular names out there and thus many characters are named it without any association to this trope. Often goes hand in hand with Virgin in a White Dress.

Compare to Adam and/or Eve and Name of Cain for other religious-themed names. God help you if the character is named after "Bloody Mary" instead. See also Religious and Mythological Theme Naming.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 

    Films — Live Action 
  • Mary Magdalene: Certainly not a deliberate reference to Mary, Mother of God (who also appears in the film) since it was a common female name, but Magdalene is portrayed as saintlike in her compassion and wisdom, reinforcing this trope. Of course, she's also venerated widely as a saint by many Christian churches.
  • Reefer Madness: The Musical features a played-with example in Mary Lane, the painfully wholesome Christian love-interest to similarly wholesome Jimmy Harper. Despite her saintliness, however, both of them fall victim to The Reefer and are driven manically insane.
  • The kind, happy couple from The Seventh Seal is made up of a young child and his young parents, Mia and Jof (the Swedish transliteration of Mary and Joseph). To drive the connection further, Jof even has a vision of the Virgin Mary and a young Christ in the scene that introduces them. They serve as a representation of simple faith in contrast to the main character's existential doubt and fear.
  • Stations of the Cross: Maria is explicitly named after the Virgin Mary, and she is the only member of the fundamentalist Society of Saint Paul to be shown not to be silent, dogmatic, or cruel. All she wants is not to sin and be closer to God, but she struggles in a life where her infant brother is sick and underdeveloped, and like Mary with her son, she cannot bear to see her little boy suffer.
  • Stella Maris: This is used in a roundabout way with the titular protagonist. An archaic title for the Virgin Mary is "Our Lady, Star of the Sea", known as "Stella Maris" in Latin. Stella Maris in the film is a very pure-hearted and innocent woman.

    Literature 
  • Gone: Mary grows to become the designated mother of children in the series, earning the in-universe nickname "Mother Mary." Later subverted, as she suffers increasing mental problems as the series goes on.
  • Keeping Faith is about a little girl named Faith who shows signs of being a Messianic Archetype. Fittingly, her mother is named Mariah.
  • Push: Inverted with Precious' mother Mary. She is a physically and emotionally Abusive Parent who let her daughter be raped by her father for years and impregnated by him, the first time at twelve. Mary also sexually abuses Precious herself and tries to kill her.
  • War and Peace: The deeply religious Princess Marya (the Russian equivalent of Mary) is the long-suffering caretaker to the Bolkonsky patriarch.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Once Upon a Time: The "real world" version of Snow White is named Mary-Margaret Blanchard, a reminder of the fact that even in a world without happy endings, her soul is as white and unblemished as snow. The comparison between the Virgin and Mary-Margaret is furthered because the hero known as the Savior is the child of Mary-Margaret, much like how the Virgin Mary's child was the Messiah.
  • Supernatural: Subverted. The deceased matriarch Mary Winchester is initially treated as the patron saint of the Winchester clan, the reason they do what they do, and their motivation to carry on in moments of extreme adversity. However, as the series carries on, the question slowly becomes how well did any of them know Mary. Her secretive past turns out to be the source of much of their strife and the reality of who she wildly diverged from the Winchester men's nostalgic idealization of her.

    Music 
  • Thirty Seconds to Mars: "Buddha for Mary" is about a girl named "Mary" (who ironically is an atheist) and has a lot of religious overtones. It also possibly serves as a drug reference, as "Mary Jane" is slang for marijuana.

    Theatre 

    Video Games 
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Marie Belmont takes the French equivalent to Mary because, well, she's a pure and Heavenly woman who advises from the glory of Heaven. Her living husband is motivated by her goodness, and his name is even Gabriel, the name of the angel who announced that Mary would give birth.
  • Earthbound Beginnings: Queen Mary rules over Magicant, which is essentially a Fluffy Cloud Heaven, and turns out that she was Ninten's great=grandmother, Maria, who had foster-raised the alien antagonist Giygas as her son.
  • Golden Sun: Mia (Mary in the original Japanese) is the healer of a small town, using her Mercury Psynergy to heal the sick (though Muggles only see that she glows when healing someone). Her default class becomes Paragon and later Angel in the sequel.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The Ill Girl Maria Robotnik was the White Sheep of her family and was Shadow's best friend/sister-figure. She was also Too Good for This Sinful Earth and is a Posthumous Character who died undergoing a Heroic Sacrifice. Maria was decked out almost entirely in blue.
  • Story of Seasons:
    • Maria from the original Harvest Moon is most likely the most religious non-priest or nun character in the franchise. She is deeply devoted to the Harvest Goddess and spends much of her free time at church. In Harvest Moon: Magical Melody the town has no church due to plot reasons. Maria was thus made into a librarian. Despite the change in occupation, a large number of Maria's quotes related to her religious beliefs. Maria dresses in a blue dress as well.
    • Maria's granddaughter is not as religious as her grandmother, especially after her initial appearance, but is still more religious than most. She is named "Marie" in Japan, "Maria" in Harvest Moon 64, and "Mary" from Harvest Moon: Back to Nature onward. Like her grandmother, she dresses predominantly in blue.

    Visual Novels 
  • Dream Daddy: Subverted by Joseph Christiansen's wife Mary. Joseph is the neighborhood preacher, and although their names reference Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Mary herself drinks all the time, dresses in black, and flirts with younger boys at a bar.
  • Umineko: When They Cry: This trope is mentioned by Maria, who references the Virgin Mary when discussing her name. She believes that she was "a child of God" conceived by the Holy Ghost since Rosa always told her that she didn't have a father.

    Webcomics 
  • Homestuck:
    • Kanaya Maryam, the Team Mom and arguably one of the nicest of the trolls. Her ancestor, the Dolorosa, is a clear allusion to the biblical Virgin Mary.
    • Subverted with Porrim Maryam, a tattooed vampire feminist who's implied to have slept with most of her friends.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe: Mary Goodhope, the daughter of a televangelist, and has the codename, Angel, with the expected angelic wings, blonde hair, blue eyes.

    Western Animation 

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