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Madonna Archetype

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"Madonna" comes from the medieval Italian word ma donna, meaning "my lady". It is most commonly associated with Mary, a very prominent figure in the Abrahamic faiths as the mother of Jesus Christ. Since fiction likes to borrow much from the religious culture that it spawns from, there is often Stock Parodies of its most prominent or important characters, like Jesus, Satan, or in this case, Jesus' mother.

The Madonna Archetype character can be any combination of the following:

Sister Trope to Messianic Archetype, Moses Archetype and Satanic Archetype. Compare Mother Goddess, Jeanne d'Archétype. See also Divine Date, Madonna–Whore Complex, Passion Play and Pietà Plagiarism. Not to be confused with the entertainer Madonna.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Broadly speaking, the Priestesses are kind of this in the universe of Fushigi Yuugi. They are young, virginal girls, who save the world by a special relationship with one of The Four Gods. Most memorably, in the OVA, Mayo's arrival has been foretold as being a pregnant virgin who arrives from another world to save this one. (Mayo, however, is most definitely a subversion of the trope, being less saintly Yamato Nadeshiko, and more of an Apocalypse Maiden. She does end up saving the Universe of the Four Gods, with help from Miaka, whose baby she's been given to hold onto, once she realizes the gravity of what she's done.

    Comic Books 
  • An old The Avengers arc had the team trying to find and protect the "Celestial Madonna," a woman prophesied to birth the most powerful being in the universe. The Madonna herself turned out to be Mantis.

    Fan Works 
  • In no grave can hold my body down, through implications from their visions, the cult surmises that the goddess has a "mortal beloved". To the surprise of everyone In-Universe and to none of the readers, that person is Chloe, Max still pining for Chloe even though they cannot be together.
  • After her granddaughter Azalea is born, Medusa frames Chrona in Child Born of Love as a form of Holy Mother destined to birth children that would bring Witch-kind into a new era of control over the world. What makes this ironic is that she ends up becoming the witch equivalent of the Anti Anti Christ, being their Dark Messiah "the Witch of Destruction" who is very much on the side of their enemies at Shibusen.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The plot The Terminator centers around Sarah Connor, a normal, unremarkable American girl who is targeted to be killed by the Terminator because her future son John Connor would grow up to be mankind's savior. She eventually ends up conceiving John with Kyle Reese, the very man sent back in time by John himself (like how an angel was sent to immaculently conceive God's human form with Mary) to protect her.
  • Heidi LaRoc from The Lords of Salem was chosen by the titular Lords of Salem to be the chosen mother of The Anti-Christ as revenge for her ancestor Reverend Jonathan Hawthrone burning them at the stake. By the end of the film, the modern iterations of the Lords succeed in their mission. The Antichrist is born and Heidi is found possessed and glowing atop the bodies of all of the village's female descendants in a manner that evokes the Virgin Mary.
  • Charlie from Legion is the pregnant waitress at the Paradise Falls Diner. When the angels begin invading and start the end of the world, Michael explains to her that her baby is destined to be the savior of mankind. While God had lost faith in humanity and thus sent Michael to kill it before it was born, Michael himself still believes in humanity and decided to protect it instead.
  • Star Wars:
    • Shmi Skywalker, a strongwilled slave woman who conceived Anakin without a father — in The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon speculates he was conceived by the Force; in Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith it appears that Darth Sidious/Palpatine was involved somehow. However she got pregnant, her son Anakin was an immensely powerful young man destined to "bring balance to the Force" — and he did, after falling to the Dark Side, assisting in the Empire's evil as The Dragon, before being brought back to the Light by dying to save his son.
    • Rey's mother has shades of this in The Rise of Skywalker. She lived in a desert as a junk trader and gave birth to a child born with extradordinary abilities, who grows to become the saviour of the galaxy and even gets brought back from the dead. The outfit Rey's mother wears is also very similar to how the Virgin Mary is often depicted (a blue cloak with a hood).
  • The deuteragonist of Children of Men is Kee, the first pregnant woman in a Childless Dystopia in eighteen years. Given that the baby represents a new hope for humanity, Kee herself has many allusions to the Virgin Mary: Theo realizes she's pregnant in a barn (analogous to a manger), she jokes that she was a Virgin and that she doesn't know who the father is, and when her baby is born people react to it like a religious figure. Theo himself plays the Joseph role by shepherding Kee to safety.
  • Babylon A.D.: The Neolite sect planned to invoke this with Aurora, who is a virgin who only got pregnant through their genetic manipulation. They planned to have her be a modern Virgin Mary whose miraculous pregnancy and childbirth would make them the dominant religion.

  • Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings is depicted as motherly, has a name which translates to "lady crowned in light" in her language (thus alluding to a halo), and was entrusted with one of the rings of power by a higher being- a great responsibility. Tolkien also stresses her purity, stating that she was "unstained" and "had committed no evil deeds." Some critics debate whether or not Galadriel is truly meant to resemble Mary in any way, but given Tolkien's strong Catholicism, these traits all suggest the parallels are intentional.

     Live-Action TV 
  • On Scrubs, the Christmas Episode features a pregnant teenage girl who's run away from home. She has to be induced, because she has HELLP syndrome. She escapes from the hospital, and goes into labor in a city park, where Turk has come to rest (after having been burned out by all the horrible cases he's seen that night). He delivers the baby, and gets back into the Christmas spirit, with everyone singing Christmas carols together.

    Video Game 
  • In Final Fantasy VI, the mother of half-Esper main character Terra is a human woman named Madeline, literally Madonna in the original English translation, and the Esper Maduin, a member of a race of magical superbeings created to fight in the ancient War of the Magi. Their daughter, Terra, becomes the first human in a thousand years to be born with the gift of magic — only for the Evil Empire to storm the Other World of the Espers, capturing Maduin and many of his fellow Espers. Madeline dies in the fighting, and the Emperor himself rips Terra from her arms. The game begins when she breaks free of the Empire's control, and joins the heroic Returners, a link between humans and Espers and the key to defeating the Empire.
  • Elisabet Sobeck from Horizon Zero Dawn flip-flops between this and Messianic Archetype, but the story as a whole paints her as this. She is the Greater-Scope Paragon of the story, having been the creator of Project: Zero Dawn - gathering what was left of humanity's greatest minds to create GAIA to restore the Earth after the Faro Plague destroyed it - and ultimately sacrifices herself to save the rest of Zero Dawn's Alpha team. Over nine-hundred years later, after HADES goes rogue and has GAIA destroyed, GAIA's last act was to have Elisabet cloned at the cradle, essentially immaculately conceiving the game's hero Aloy in a long-term gambit to save humanity.

    Web Comics 
  • Homestuck: Kanaya Maryam's last name is Maryam, the Aramaic (also Hebrew or Arabic) version of the name Mary. She is associated with the zodiac sign Virgo (the virgin). A mother grub (the species responsible for giving birth to new trolls) has given up its role as birth mother to become her lusus. When the start of the Sgrub session kills her lusus, Kanaya acquires the Matriorb, an artifact that can be used to hatch a new mother grub. This makes her responsible for saving the genetic future of trollkind.

    Western Animation 
  • In a rare male example, Greg Universe in Steven Universe represent the Virgin Mary to his son Steven's role as a Messianic Archetype. He happens upon a beautiful otherworldly being (Rose Quartz) whom he then conceives a child with, a miracle in that gems do not reproduce like humans. He would go on to raise Steven without her, helpless to stop Steven from putting himself in danger and ultimately becoming the planet's (and later the known galaxy's) savior. The episode "Three Gems and a Baby" goes on to cement this as it subtly reenacts Away in a Manger in the Nativity with Greg playing the part of both Mary and Joseph.


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