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James, honey... did something happen to you? After we got separated in that long hallway? Are you confusing me with someone else? You were always so forgetful... remember that time in the hotel? You said you took everything, but you forgot that video tape we made. I wonder if it's still there...
~ Maria to James

Maria is the deuteragonist in the video game Silent Hill 2 and the main protagonist of "Born From a Wish". she can be considered a protagonist, but her moral standing is rather ambiguous due to various endings, she has some heroic acts. She was created from the delusions of the protagonist James Sunderland, who subconsciously desired to be punished for murdering his wife Mary. Maria is in fact a manifestation of Mary, except with different hair, taste in clothes, and a sluttier attitude.

Identity

Maria is an incredibly enigmatic character with a mysterious existence and undefined origin. It can be posited that Maria is a mental construct or figment of James' seemingly delusional imagination. Similar to a dream character, she is seen defying death and questions James' perceptions of whether or not her death actually occurred.

She is physically virtually identical to James' late wife, Mary. Physically, Mary and Maria have the "same face and voice" according to James, but their "hair and clothes are different" - James is shocked by their eerie resemblance, initially mistaking Maria for his late wife. Their similarities end where their personalities begin however, as Maria's personality is far more sexually extroverted than Mary's, which is reflected in her apparel.

Maria could be seen as some sort of reincarnation or ghostly form of Mary, as a supernatural and possibly sinister creature of unknown origin, or some combination thereof.

James is both attracted to Maria and fearful of what she might represent, and he struggles to understand her. Maria appears to be a manifestation created by James's desperation to see Mary again and fill the void her absence has left in James's life, an idea supported by the title of Maria's scenario, Born from a WishBorn from a Wish suggests that in the beginning, even Maria isn't really sure what or who she really is, but by the time she first encounters James, she is beginning to "remember" him. Since the title is called Born from a Wish, it could be assumed that Maria is one of James' wishes, since Mary, in her bedridden state, wasn't everything James wanted. It could also reference James' wish to see his wife again, even if it only as an illusion.

Maria is possibly also a manifestation of Mary's desire to be perfect for her husband, and this would explain why Maria possesses memories that even James does not know about, such as knowing what Laura's favorite toy is. Alternatively, Maria could represent the inverse: the culmination of traits he secretly wished Mary possessed.

Cumulatively, Maria was likely constructed by a combination of James's delusions as a result of his inability to bear the weight of the crime of killing his wife, and Mary's lingering clinginess and desperate desire to be the perfect wife. It is also likely Maria was created by the powers of the town to test James' loyalty and devotion to Mary.

It is established in Silent Hill 3 that her model is a dancer at the club Heaven's Night although this is likely simply an in-universe reference to Silent Hill 2.

Another theory likens Maria to a guardian angel of some sort. This could be evidence by her desire to help Ernest Baldwin move on, helping James to realize the truth, her desire to protect Laura, her working at "Heaven's" Night, the Lady of the Door who is claimed to be an angel and Maria is killed by Pyramid Head after entering the door.

However, it is also possible that Maria is a negative being such as a female demon or succubus, meant to punish James by keeping him trapped in a sort of purgatory. Evidence which could support this reading can be found in Maria's apparent illness (which the game points out twice) and her repeated reincarnations after violent deaths, which has an obvious distressing impact upon James.

Personality

The instruction manual describes her as the opposite of Mary, "cheerful and energetic", but she is also rather dark and moody. Her personality is highly unpredictable; sometimes she is fearful and clingy, sometimes she speaks tenderly to James and flirts with him, and at other times she is more teasing or even cruel. In the beginning of Born from a Wish, Maria reveals she hates being alone, and that she's afraid of death and being in pain.

She seems to have aspects of Mary's personality and memories, given that she is a representation/illusion of Mary. This behavior is exhibited in the Labyrinth jail cell, for example; she cycles from Mary's sweet, soft tone and even her memories to Maria's more seductive tone. She seems consistently concerned about Laura, a little girl who was Mary's friend during her hospitalization. Maria also shares Mary's desire for James to love her. For example, in the hospital, she asks what James would do if he couldn't find Mary. At one point in the hospital, Maria begins coughing, swallows some pills and rests on a bed, evoking Mary's illness.

Due to some of her behavior and her attempts to make James accept her, even going to the extreme of trying to kill him when he refuses her (although it is possible that when she transformed into a monster, she couldn't control her own actions), she can be considered the primary antagonist of Silent Hill 2, as she tries to "trap" James into his past, refusing to let him go. Maria is absurdly clingy towards James, despite the fact that he clearly told her that he relatively recently lost his wife to illness and she's only known him for a few hours. Maria's love for James is unrequited, and James only reciprocates this love in the Maria ending. Maria's violent behavior regarding James's rejection of her could be seen as immature and childish, although, again, it is possible she couldn't control her actions as a monster.

Despite her actions, Maria is not evil or malevolent. In fact, Maria seems to be rather sweet and thoughtful at times, calling James kind, being worried about Laura being surrounded by monsters, and in the "Maria" ending going as far as to ask about Mary. This may be a part of the "trap" or, perhaps, a part of Mary's personality that is shown through Maria. However, in Born from a Wish, she is self-aware or sentient to an extent, and seems to be helping Ernest of her own volition. Because of this, the line between Maria's free will and her duty as a manifestation of James and Mary is quite blurred, at least insofar as she is not currently around James.

Maria may be having an existential crisis, seeking purpose and meaning. Maria believes James may have this meaning despite being warned by Ernest not to seek him out, and refrains from suicide because of it.

By the time James meets her, she already knows that he killed Mary. Maria decides to follow her "fate", and seems to keep reminding James of Mary's death, as Maria (an illusion of Mary) dies many times during the game. She leads James in the right direction and gives him many subtle clues as to where to go next. She asks him "Is this your only 'special place'?", and tells him about the Lakeview Hotel, saying "I'll bet it was."

Maria frequently likes to remind James that she is "real". When they first meet, she states "I don't look like a ghost, do I? See, feel how warm I am!" and later, "It doesn't matter who I am. I'm here for you, James. See? I'm real." These statements are open to many interpretations, including that Maria is solely meant for James himself, as he (besides Ernest, who was hinted at as being a ghost) is the only person she encounters. This is most likely the reason she stays outside of the bowling alley, avoiding Eddie Dombrowski and Laura. Maria is never present whenever James encounters another human; she is aware of Laura and claims to have seen her, but the two of them are never actually seen together, nor does Laura explicitly mention Maria. Her isolation from the other characters enhances her phantom-like qualities and furthers the idea that she was created solely for James alone. Her repeating to James that she is real may be her trying to convince him - or perhaps even herself - that she is. In Born from a Wish, she interrupts Ernest and claims "that's just what he believes" and he "doesn't really know anything", when he speaks to her about identity, James, and other things relating to her purpose as James's manifestation.

Background

James and Mary Sunderland were a happily married couple. They had made a vacation to Silent Hill, and Mary fell in love with the place. Their happiness ended, when after only a few years of marriage, Mary fell ill with an incurable disease. Mary's situation caused her to turn into an erratic person, lashing out at those she loved most, including James. Over the course of Mary's three year illness, part of James grew to hate Mary for destroying his life. He finally snapped and smothered Mary with a pillow. In shock and denial, James's mind caused him to forget his crime and believe that Mary died three years previously. He then hallucinated a letter from Mary, saying that she was waiting for him in their "special place" in Silent Hill. He then set off to look for Mary in Silent Hill. When he arrived, the power of the town created different monsters representative of his anxieties. It also spawned Maria in response to his masochistic desire for punishment. It created the instrument of that punishment in Pyramid Head, who was based off an image of an executioner of Silent Hill from when the town was a penal colony, which James had seen when in Silent Hill.

Born From A Wish

Shortly after James arrived in Silent Hill, Maria awoke in Heaven's Night stripclub. Ignorant of her purpose, Maria contained some of Mary's memories. She wandered out into the town, eventually ending up in Baldwin Mansion. She found that Ernest Baldwin had locked himself in his room and refused to let her in. He sends her in search of certain items and tells her that James is a "bad man," which causes her to become aware of her purpose. When she got into Baldwin's room, Maria found no one inside. She briefly contemplated suicide, then went to Rosewater Park to wait for James.

Punishing James

James, looking for Mary in Rosewater Park, encountered Maria instead. Deciding that the special place refered to was the Lakeview Hotel, he agrees to let Maria tag along. She diverts James to Brookhaven Hospital, where Pyramid Head chased James and Maria down a hallway. James escaped into an elevator but Maria fell behind on purpose and Pyramid Head skewered her with a spear. This sent James into a state of emotional agony, seeing himself as having failed to save Mary yet again. However, death for Maria was only temporary. James encountered her again while exploring a subterranean area called the Labyrinth, where he finds her in a cell with no immediate way out. Maria calls James "silly" to believe that she died, and then exhibits that she has some of Mary's memories. She then openly tries to seduce James, and tells him to hurry up and get her out of there. James makes his way through the Labyrinth to the door to her cell, but when he gets there, she is "dead" again and in a bloody mess. He leaves, distraught. James makes his way to the hotel, where he is made aware of his crime by means of a videotape. In a warped version of the hotel lobby, James sees two Pyramid Heads skewer Maria. James then admits that he was weak and wanted someone to punish him for his sins, and rejects the Pyramid Heads, which then kill themselves. James notices that Maria's body is gone, and moves on to the next area.

The Final Battle

James ascends a long flight of stairs, and at the top he meets Maria, now having taken on Mary's exact likeness. James tells her that he doesn't need her anymore, after which Maria offers to be his new Mary. When James rebuffs her, Maria resists, transforming into a demon resembling a patient in a hospital bed. James then fights and kills Maria, and moves on with his life after seeing Mary appear one last time in the Leave ending. In the In Water ending, James kills himself by driving his car into the lake. In the Rebirth ending, James rows Mary's corpse out to an island in the middle of the lake with the intent of performing a resurrection ritual, before the screen fades to black. In the Maria ending, the final boss is Mary, who claims she still hasn't forgiven him. After he kills her, he meets Maria in the park again, and leaves town with her. But right as they get to the car, Maria coughs, signifying that the past will repeat itself and James is doomed to walk down the same path over again.

Heroic Acts

  1. Desire to help Ernest Baldwin move on.
  2. Worry and willing to found Laura.
  3. Helping James.

Gallery

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