Follow TV Tropes

Following

A Saint Named Mary

Go To

"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 is a traditionally feminine colour specifically due to its relation to Mary.

Advertisement:

"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 a 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.

Advertisement:

Note, that the character must be particularly pure-hearted, religious, maternal, or otherwise an obvious Virgin Mary reference 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.

Compare to Adam and/or Eve and Name of Cain for other religious themed names. Not to be confused with Mary Sue (though a Mary Sue might use this trope), and God help you if the character is named after "Bloody Mary" instead. See also Religious and Mythological Theme Naming.


Advertisement:

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime & Manga  

     Films — Live Action  
  • 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.
  • Maria from Stations of the Cross 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.
  • This is used in a roundabout way with the titular protagonist of Stella Maris. 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  
  • Inverted with Precious' mother Mary in Push. 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.
  • Jodi Picoult's Keeping Faith is about a little girl named Faith who shows signs of being a Messianic Archetype. Fittingly, her mother is named Mariah.
  • 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.
  • In 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's "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.
  • Subverted in Supernatural. The deceased matriarch Mary Winchester is initially treated like 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 really know Mary. Her secretive past turns out to be the source of much of their strife and the reality of who she was wildly diverged from the Winchester men's nostalgic idealization of her.

     Music  
  • "Buddha for Mary" by 30 Seconds to Mars 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  

     Visual Novels  
  • Subverted in Dream Daddy by Joseph Christiansen's wife Mary, who 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 teleevangelist, and has the codename, Angel, with the expected angelic wings, blonde hair, blue eyes.

     Western Animation  


Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report