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It's just, I know I can be a jerk like him sometimes, and I do not want to be like him. Ever.
~ Max expressing her feelings to Lucas, November 4, 1984.
~ Max's catchphrase.
Maxine "Max" Mayfield is a major protagonist in Stranger Things.
She is portrayed by Sadie Sink (who will portray Lori in The Glass Castle, and Annie Broadway, and played Ziggy Berman as the young counterpart of C. Berman in Fear Street: 1978 and Constance Berman in Fear Street: 1666), as Jacey Sink played the character as a child.
Max Mayfield was born in 1971 to Sam and Susan Mayfield, and her mother would later go to marry an man named Neil Hargrove. In 1984, Max meet Neil and Billy Hargrove along with her mother. Susan and Neil were dating and planned to get married. Max developed a love-hate relationship with Billy. Billy was sometimes emotionally abusive to Max (it's unknown if he physically abused Max but it's unlikely) but he also was willing to teach her how to drive and Billy gave Max her nickname "Mad Max". Billy also sympathized with Max with how they both hated Neil. When Neil beat Billy Max attempted to help Billy and give him ice although Billy lashed out at Max.
Max made a friend named Sam. Billy met Sam and decided to break his arm in order to show Max wasn't "easy going" likely in an attempt to be overprotective. Max and her family moved from California to Hawkins, Indiana after her mother officially remarried to Neil. She and Billy were not happy about the move.
During her early stay in Hawkins, Max would visit the Palace arcade and beat the high scores of Dustin Henderson, which gained the latter and his friends' attention. When at school, Max noticed that a group of boys were stalking, and wrote a letter to tell the "creeps" to stop following her. She later went to the arcade after being dropped off by Billy, and was watched by Dustin and Lucas Sinclair, whom had fallen for her since she had beaten their high scores. The following day, Max was greeted by the two, who invited her to join them in trick-or-treating and to join their group of friends. After class, Max was driven home by an enraged Billy, who attempted to drive Dustin's friends off the rode due to his anger at Max being late.
Mayfield decided to meet with Lucas and Dustin during trick-or-treating to make up for Billy's actions, which caused their friend Mike Wheeler to get annoyed since he believed they were making her Eleven's replacement. She later witness Will have an episode, and asked Lucas and Dustin why he was acting strange. The next day, Lucas told her the false story of Will's disappearance from the previous year, but she remained skeptical. After class, Dustin showed Max and the group a slimly creature he found, but Mayfield was locked out of the room when Mike and Will told Dustin and Lucas where the creature came from. Annoyed, Mayfield opened the AV club's door with a paper-clip and witnessed Dustin's creature (named "Dart") leave, and she agreed to help them find it.
While looking for the creature, Max confronted Mike on why he acted cold towards her, and he explained that their friend group had a girl named "El" who moved away. Mayfield attempted to convince Wheeler to have her join their group by doing skateboard tricks, but was knocked down unknowingly by Eleven, who had escaped from Hopper's cabin to find her friends. Max and the group then witness Will have another episode until he was awaken by his mother Joyce, and she was shaken by the incident. She also became irritated with the group keeping secrets from her, and explained her frustration to Lucas. Leaving with her brother, Max was told by Billy to not hang around with Lucas since there were people she shouldn't be around.
At the Palace arcade, she was tricked by an employee Keith into meeting Lucas, who revealed the truth about last years events. She initially dismissed him as messing with her, but started to believe him but asked for proof, which Sinclair couldn't provide. The next day, Lucas asked her to meet him at the junkyard with Dustin and Steve Harrington to show proof. There, she witnessed Dart and the Demodogs arrive before heading off the Hawkins laboratory. Regrouping with the others, Mayfield is informed of the Mind Flayer taking over Will and that the tunnels of Hawkins were infected from the Upside Down's portal. Max, Dustin, Lucas and Mike were left in Steve's care, and witnessed him fight Billy until Mayfield used a sedative to knock her stepbrother down.
Max then helped her friends in burning the infected tunnels to distract the Demodogs, which allowed Eleven to close the gate and Will to be freed from the Mind Flayer. After the incident, Max went to the snow ball with Lucas, and the two began a relationship after sharing a kiss.
After the events of the previous year, Max's life has been in turmoil. Following Billy's death, Neil divorced Susan and moved out of their home, causing Susan to get two jobs to keep her and Max afloat. Max has also been suffering from insomnia and nightmares about Billy's death, feeling guilty. At school, her grades have dropped and has been reluctantly seeing the school counselor, Ms. Kelly. She and Lucas have split up and she shunned all her friends in Hawkins.
Expert Skateboarder: Max is a very talented skater. She was shown to possess excellent balance and parkour skills. She was able to jump across the surface to touch the ground with ease.
Lock-Picking: She can open locked doors with a paper-clip. She successfully unlocked the door of the AV club, which accidentally allowed Dart to escape.
Driving Proficiency: At a young age, Max was able to drive fairly well because her biological father had taught her how to drive. Max was able to drive her stepbrother’s car to the entrance of the Mind Flayer's tunnel system where she then safely parked the car.
First Aid: Max had very knowledgeable skills in providing medical care properly to heal and stitch up a patient’s wounds/injuries. She knew to clean Eleven’s bleeding leg with soap and to put pressure on it before using any Antibiotics and succeed at getting her better.
You still stink, by the way!
~ Max to Lucas.
From now on, you leave me and my friends alone. Understand?
~ Max to Billy.
Friends don't lie. Boyfriends do.
~ Max to Eleven.
Dear Billy, I don't know if you can even hear this. Ever since you've left, everything's been a total disaster. For a while we tried to be happy, normal. I know that's impossible.
~ Max narrating to Billy at his grave.
Her nickname "MADMAX" is a reference to the Mad Max film series.
Max is the youngest member of the Party who knows how to drive.
Max is the first character from Stranger Things to have a stepfamily and the first character to have a sibling die on the show.
When Max was captured by Vecna, her friends played her favorite song: "Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush, which allows her to escape from Vecna's land.
The use of the song caused a real world surge in popularity to the song, reaching number 1 on iTunes.