So River Song isn’t exactly ‘legendary’; she’s more ‘notorious’. But she certainly counts as a magical baby whose birth was eagerly awaited by many. And Amy Pond doesn’t fit the stereotypical idea of a pure and virginal mother. But I think that she can definitely be seen as a Mary figure. She wasn’t a regular little girl—she grew up with a Time Crack in her wall, after all. Despite her more, ah, liberated adulthood, Amy-as-Mother is portrayed as pure—we see her wearing white, which is strongly associated with purity, the whole episode where we first see her with baby Melody. She’s also, following this episode, constantly referred to and defined in terms of her wonderful motherhood, even though she’s not a very good mom and we don’t actually see her being a parent raising a child at, well, any point, because her child is taken when she is born and not returned until she is full grown. Amy’s pregnancy also falls into the mystical pregnancy trope because she can’t just have a regular baby—it has to be a weird magic baby with a Time Head—and her pregnancy is by no means natural—it is controlled and orchestrated by a force beyond her control, which has an ulterior motive for the baby.
I think that Mary Winchester is another easy pick as a Mary figure in fiction. She is constantly portrayed wearing white, both with and without her children. She is held up as a paragon of femininity and motherhood by both the Winchesters and within the show itself. She has also been singled out for a special reason by forces far beyond her for a larger purpose. In fact, she gets this in a double-whammy: she is chosen by Azazel when he is looking for parents for his demon-kid army, of which Sam turns out to be the best and brightest, and we later find out that the angels have been grooming the Campbell-Winchester bloodline for eons in order to create two kids who could be Lucifer’s and Michael’s vessels.
And really, how could I go through a post about Mary figures without talking about Anakin Skywalker’s mom, Shmi? Shmi’s storyline more closely intersects with that of the Virgin Mary than any of the other women here. She, and apparently according to Wookieepedia this is legit Star Wars canon, (I just thought Mr. Skywalker was an absent father or something) becomes pregnant without ever doing the deed with any fellas. The product of this actual virgin birth is destined to be the Chosen One, who will bring balance to the Force. She is self-sacrificing, recognizing that her son has a larger role to play in the grand scheme of things than she can understand.
As an aside, all of these women also meet unfortunate and tragic ends, which is not a part of the Mary story—Mary is rewarded for her faithfulness and assumed body and soul into Heaven when she dies—but it does reflect on the unfortunate tendency to use women as a tragic backstory/motivation tool for dudes rather than as characters in their own rights.
But that’s a point for another post. Are there any other Mary figures in fiction that I missed? Let me know in the comments, and tune in next time to get some religion!