Episode 1 of Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches sets the stage for what promises to be a first season full of surprises as Alexandra Daddario‘s Rowan Fielding starts to uncover her true identity and the legacy that accompanies it. The road to those revelations began in “The Witching Hour” when Rowan’s adoptive mother, Elena Fielding, called into the New Orleans office of an as-yet-unnamed organization to speak to the agent assigned to Rowan’s file. Though it’s not quite on the same level, the unnamed agency has a little bit of the same feel as the central agency in charge of bounties in the John Wick franchise and it’s clear that whatever this agency is, it’s been established for some time. As it turns out, there is an agent assigned to Rowan, an “empathic investigator” by the name of Ciprien Grieve, and as the rest of the episode goes on to detail, he knows quite a bit about Rowan and the Mayfair family. While the episode itself is short on details about who Grieve is and the nameless organization by whom he is employed, Anne Rice‘s source material has plenty of clues.
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All signs point to Grieve working for an agency called the Talamasca. Created by Rice for 1988’s Queen of the Damned, the third novel in the prolific author’s Vampire Chronicles, the Order of the Talamasca is an ancient and secret society created to observe, chronicle and suppress the dissemination of information about the paranormal. Canonically, the Talamasca was founded in the year 758 by the ancient vampire Teskhaman, his fledgling, Hesketh, and the spirit known as Gremth. In Rice’s novels, the Talamasca served as the connective tissue between the Vampire Chronicles and Lives of the Mayfair Witches series.
The character of Sip Grieve is something more of a mystery than the order for which he works because he is an original creation for the streaming series. According to EW, Grieve, who is played by Tongayi Chirisa, is an amalgamation of two major characters from the book: Talamasa agent Aaron Lightner and Rowan’s husband, Michael Curry. According to his file, Grieve possesses a power known as “Synesthesia Pareidolia.” The term seems to be a combination of two known sensory phenomena: synesthesia and pareidolia. Synesthesia is defined as a condition in which the stimulation of one sensory pathway activates another. For example, a sound may “sound” a certain color, words may “taste” a certain way or touching objects may trigger the visualization of certain objects. Pareidolia is a phenomenon in which a stimulus allows a person to derive meaning from an ambiguous perception. Taken together, it would seem that when Grieve touches objects, he can visualize their past and empathize with the people in those visions.
Given Grieve is a composite character, it seems he may end up doing more than watching Rowan Mayfair over the course of the series. The character of Michael Curry plays a major role both in the life of Rowan and the plan of the being known as Lasher. That role is, however, incredibly spoilery to those who haven’t read the novels, so we’ll skip it for now.
Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches is now streaming!