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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

True Blood Season 4: Marnie Stonebrook

Marnie Stonebrook
Well, it's that time of year again and another season of True Blood has come to an end. In previous seasons, we were introduced to Vampires, Fairies, Werewolves, Were-panthers, and Shifters to name a few. Although witches were technically introduced to the show in season 3 with the appearance of waitress Holly Cleary, this season witches were a large part of the major plot, the portrayal of which was met with some controversy from practicing Wiccans

The main antagonist of the season was Marnie Stonebrook, a witch and medium who owned an occult shop that also acted as a meeting place for her coven, of which Jesus Velasquez and Holly Cleary were members. When we first met Marnie, she was timid, fearful, and quite lonely. 

Distressed over the death of her "familiar", Marnie tricks her coven into attempting to resurrect her pet bird and is successful for a brief time which leads her to planning to resurrect a dead human being. However, Bill Compton (now the King of Louisiana,) is tipped off to the coven's activities by a spy he had planted among their number. Fearing the witch's power over the dead, Bill sends Sheriff Eric Northman to put an end to their plans by any means necessary.

When Marnie refuses to give in to Eric's demands, Eric attacks her and as her coven chants a spell of protection, resulting in Marnie becoming possessed by the spirit of a witch (necromancer) named Antonia who died some 400 years prior at the hands of vampires who feared her power. Antonia, working through Marnie, casts a spell on Eric which sends him away and also strips him of his memory. 

Having tasted a level of power she heretofore had not been capable of, Marnie attempts to draw the spirit of Antonia back into her through ritual blood-letting. Over the course of a few episodes Marnie learns more about Antonia's life through a series of visions which show how vampires disguised as Priest of the Catholic Church feared the power of witches and used their influence to start the Spanish Inquisition, resulting in Antonia being burned at the stake. As she burned, Antonia cast a spell which drew all vampires in a 20 mile radius into the sun to their deaths. 

Each time Marnie is in physical danger Antonia takes possession of Marnie and uses her magic to protect her, such as when she cursed Pam to rot. Only when Marnie is kidnapped and held prisoner by Bill Compton, does Antonia fully possess Marnie allowing her to escape. Marnie, as Antonia, then convenes her coven and attempts to perform the spell to make all vampires meet the "true-death" in the sun.

When her spell fails, Marnie meets with Bill to negotiate peace, however, this results in deaths on both sides and Eric coming under Marnie's complete control. After the death of one of their own, Marnie's coven begin to question her motivations and the wisdom of starting a war with the vampires. Marnie magickally holds her coven prisoner in the Moon Goddess Emporium as she  plans her next move. Marnie then plans on using Eric and other vampires under her control to kill Bill at a peace rally, which also fails when Sookie uses her fairy power to break Marnie's hold on Eric. 

At this point, Antonia begins to see that revenge will not bring her the peace that she seeks and attempts to leave Marnie, but Marnie convinces her to stay with her and forge ahead. Trapped inside the Moon Goddess Emporium, Marnie's coven begs her to let them go. Marnie revels how her power to communicate with the dead made her an outcast in society and we begin to see that her sense of loneliness and powerlessness is the driving force behind her desire to destroy the vampires. When Casey, one of the coven members, attempts to rush Marnie, she is killed when Marnie telekinetically impales her with an athame. At this point, Antonia sees that she has allowed Marnie to go too far and when she attempts to leave Marnie magically binds her spirit to her so that she can continue to draw from the well of Antonia's magic. 

Ultimately, Jesus is able to free Antonia from Marnie's body leaving Marnie powerless and unable to defend herself from the vampires. Marnie is killed by Bill Compton who shoots her in the head. After her death, Marnie possesses the body of Lafayette, another medium,  and kills Jesus taking his daemon to add its power to her own. In a climatic battle, Marnie is defeated when Sookie, Holly, and Tara tap into the magic of Samhain to summon the dead to protect them from Marnie. Marnie is forced out of Lafayette's body and convinced by Antonia and Gran to give up her thirst for vengeance and move on to peace in the afterlife.

According to comments left in various forums, many fans felt that making Marnie the driving force behind her own actions (as opposed to Antonia being in control) was not a popular decision. Many people felt that it was completely out of character for the story to go in that direction. However, I disagree. For me, Marnie was a totally relate-able character. 

Marnie admitted that people saw her as weak and it was important for her to be seen as strong, to not allow others to dominate, control, or abuse her. She sought out possession to gain a sense of empowerment and when she gained that power it corrupted her.  Marnie forged a spiritual bond with Antonia and in the process Antonia's enemies became her enemies. The vampires became all those who hated, ostracized, judged and abused her in her life; and she thought that by destroying the vampires it would somehow give her a sense of resolution. 

Many people, myself included, seek out witchcraft to gain more power in their lives. In the early days of my craft, I had to learn that magic does not equal instant gratification. Power, real power, comes to one slowly because you mature through the process so that you don't allow it to corrupt you. And no matter how much power you accumulate, some things are just out of your control. Sadly, Marnie learned this lesson too late. 

Carolina Dean






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