|“||I am Ryn. I come from the sea.||”|
|— Her very first words[src]|
Ryn is a mermaid who finds herself in Bristol Cove, a coastal town known for its history with mermaids. When she arrives in town, she assumes the name "Ryn" from a cartoon she briefly watches through a child's bedroom window. She is there searching for her sister, Donna, who was separated from her by fishermen who accidentally captured her. Ryn is the mother of Hope, the maternal aunt of Cami and the girlfriend of Ben Pownall.
Ryn is a strange young woman with a deep dark secret.
Not much is known about Ryn's past. The only thing known is that Ryn and Donna are sisters that come from a mermaid colony. At some point prior to the start of the series, Ryn and Donna's mother died. From there, Donna made it her responsibility to take care of Ryn and herself.
Ryn, in her human form, has a slim figure, fair skin, long dark brown hair, and steel blue eyes. Her most defining feature is her sharp cheekbones. It has been said several times by other humans (examples: Ben/Maddie/etc.) that Ryn has a physical appearance that draws others to her. This is probably because of her natural, beautiful mermaid nature.
Ryn, in her mermaid form, has the upper-body of a human and the lower-half of a spiky, long fishtail. Along with that, she has small sharpened teeth, large glassy eyes and exposed ribs.
As a mermaid, Ryn is a feral and menacing predator as seen when a shark head shows up onshore and when she attacks her rescuer, Ben, after her return to the water.
As a human, she is a very curious and highly intelligent creature. Even without a grasp of the English language, Ryn exudes a balance of innocence and naivety with dangerous animistic instincts. Ryn is a dangerous predator, who will attack at the slightest provocation, as when a woman yells at her as she is stealing clothing, or at a man who misunderstood her silence for agreement to sexual activity.
Although Ryn does not seem to be particularly intelligent in most situations, she has a remarkable memory, and capacity to learn and mimic language.
Nicole describes her as "highly evolved, even rational".
Throughout the Series
Ryn and her sister, Donna, were swimming near the surface looking for food when Donna was caught in the fisherman's net. Unable to do anything, Ryn watched as her sister was pulled up aboard the boat. Ryn decided that she was going to come onto land in an attempt to look for her sister. Now in her human form, she nakedly wandered straight in front of a car. The tires screeched to a halt and Ben Pownall came out of the car, asking her if she was okay. Disoriented and shaky on her legs, she turned away from him and continued walking in the opposite direction before her legs gave out and she fainted.
Ryn awoke on the couch of Ben's living room and inspected the shirt she had on, before Ben spoke to her, drawing her attention to him. She observed her surroundings, mesmerized by everything within her eyesight. She picked up a little-neck clam and started sniffing it. When Ben began talking again, she curiously stared at him and sang the siren's song to him. Their tender moment was interrupted by a knock on the door. When Ben left to answer the door, she used this chance to escape through the window.
The next morning, she woke up in an abandoned boat, ate a rat for sustenance, stole a hoodie and wandered down the streets of Bristol Cove. The town was having a festival, celebrating 150 years since the town's founding and their history with mermaids. She stopped in front of an antique store. Helen stopped in her tracks and stared back in awe, gradually realizing what Ryn was. Before Helen had a chance to talk to her, Ryn continued wandering down the street.
Reaching Pownall Seafood, Ryn inspected all the boats for any clues that might lead her to her sister. Seeing the North Star boat, Ryn climbed aboard. Remembering the orange net, she flashed back to the time when her sister was captured and taken away from her.
Later on, she spotted rain boots and slipped them on after stepping on a shard of glass and injuring her foot. Walking further, she picked up a black helicopter toy similar to the military's that took her sister. Overhearing a child's TV program from the open window, she named herself Ryn after the cartoon. This caused the kid to turn around and greet her. Embarrassed, Ryn hid behind the bushes. She then came across a local and introduced herself as Ryn. She tried to communicate with the man that she wanted him to take her to the black helicopter she saw her sister fly away in, but when she got inside his car, he made sexual advancements towards her but was met with a violent death - Ryn ripped his throat out and threw him through his car window.
Her skin was getting more irritated and dehydrated the longer she stayed on land. Making it to the Bristol Cove Marine Research Center, she blended with the children, pretending to be part of the tour, guided by Maddie Bishop. After Maddie explained her interest in working as a marine biologist, they went outside. Ryn stayed behind and drank the fish shake, which was a blend of herring and cod as well as other nutrients. After she finished eating, she joined them outside by the wharf, where the children were meeting the two sea lions, Sitka and Hazy. Sensing her presence, the two seals began growling angrily. They could sense she was a predator. One of the children noticed Ryn intensely staring at the seals and accused her of making them uneasy.
Just then, Ben arrived at the marine center and spotted Ryn. Ryn cowered away from him, moving further back into the room, as Ben advanced toward her. He tried to calm her hissing as he knelt down in front of her and tried to befriend Ryn once more. She reciprocated his greeting by introducing herself as Ryn. Ryn's health deteriorated as her breathing got more labored and she's also started coughing. Concerned, Ben noted that she was sick. Ryn hesitantly allowed him to examine her arm, now largely covered in scales. Ben was still hypnotized by her siren song. Maddie interrupted them and informed Ben that everything was back to normal. Ben then introduced Ryn to her and told her that she was sick. After their exchange, Maddie left to go lock down the pen and Ben remained with Ryn and told her he was calling a doctor for her.
Ryn's condition had worsened. Her whole body was now covered in scaly skin and she was very dehydrated. Ryn realized that she needed to get back into the water, so she dragged her body down the wharf and plunged into the water. When she entered, she took off her clothes before her body began transforming into a mermaid. She screamed in agony as her transition began. Her bones began reconfiguring; her sharp teeth appeared, her hands turned into webbed hands that ended in claws, her dorsal fin protruded from her back, and her legs joined to form a fishtail.
With her transition complete, she started swimming when Ben saw her in one of the bay's cameras. When Ben dived in, Ryn attacked him, as it was a mermaid's natural instinct to kill, and she did not view Ben as a friend any longer, he was prey. She managed to thrash him around and bite him in his neck before Ben hit her with a pole and swam back up to the wharf.
Ryn continued swimming further into the ocean and soon enough, she came across the North Star boat once again.
After the events of "Aftermath", she did return to Bristol Cove and decided to stay, but she tells Ben and Maddie that powerful soundwaves are what drove her back to land. Not long after more of Ryn's colony surfaces due to the actions of Klesco Oil, among the colony is Cami (Donna's daughter; Ryn's niece) who all arrive at Helen's house looking for Ryn. Ben and Maddie take them to the Pownell family cabin which has been unused for 10 years, it is there that they lay refuge. Katrina, the former Alpha who was deposed, does not trust Ryn as the Alpha and plots to depose Ryn as the leader. When they started scaling, Ben, Ryn, and Maddie took them to the nearby beach to re-hydrate but the patrons from the Anchor Bar's Mermaid Beauty Pageant arrive and enter the water, to which causes the merfolk to nearly reveal themselves.
In "Natural Order", Ryn's scales start to become visible again, she is afraid that if her merfolk see this, she will be deemed too weak to be the Alpha of the pack. Ben informs the others that there is no place in the water that the sound waves will not reach, so they come up with a solution: filling a water tank with saltwater pumped from the ocean, Katrina knows this and they begin fighting until Ryn stabs her in the water tank. Later in the day, Maddie records Ryn singing her Siren song in hopes of helping Ben with his obsession. In the next episode, Ryn's colony living together in the storage warehouse becomes a huge concern. With Helen's help, the group buys an apartment to better improve the living situation, and with Jerry's help Ryn's colony receives fake IDs to better blend in with the rest of Bristol Cove. Ryn decides to show her niece Cami the hallowed resting place where Donna was buried in "Aftermath", when Cami learns that a human killed her, she become mad and states that she sees Ryn as more human than mermaid. Later in the episode, Ryn and Maddie try to find Susan's wedding ring which was left at the Siren Song Motel, Glen tries to keep her from leaving, attempting to assault Maddie but Ryn defends her and snaps his neck. Dale finds them at the scene of the crime, but he understands that Maddie was in danger and he is grateful at what Ryn did to protect her step-daughter. Katrina escapes captivity from the North Star and returns to the colony, where she and Ryn reconcile; enemies transition into allies. Everyone begins preparations to sabotage Klesco's drillship and return the colony to their home.
Ryn is visited by Nicole, telling her that she knows what she is and she would be able to help the U.S military with a lot of people in need, Ryn contradicts this as she knows that the military harmed her late sister Donna. Nicole insists that the military has learned from their mistakes, and have focused on Aldon Decker's research that does not involve such cruel treatment. Ryn does decide to trust Nicole and she visits the naval research facility of free will. At Helen's apartment, Ben introduces their plot against Klesco: Ben and Maddie will remove the sonic cannon within 5 minutes to stop it from emitting anymore dangerous sound waves. Ryn and her merfolk will swim towards the ship, they will use blowtorches to cut the base of the drill. Calvin and Xandar will use the North Star's trawl winch to have the net rip the drill out of its place. At the gala hosted by Klesco, dozens of business executives, journalists, and other attendees will be present, a live video feed will broadcast the drillship and Helen enter the party with a fake ID to make sure that everyone pays attention to what happens onscreen. Later that night, Ryn experiences how to make love for the first time.
On the night of the sabotage, Ben, Maddie, Xander, and Calvin work together will Ryn's merfolk and take the North Star close enough to the Klesco drillship. They successfully pull the ship's drill which causes the damage to be shown live at the gala, unfortunately, Sarge dies from getting his neck slit from the sharp hook, Ryn and her merfolk take his body and swim away. Everyone pays their respects to Sarge, Ryn takes the necklace Helen gave to him to bring back. Ryn later returns to Bristol Cove with some bad news: her colony has suffered numerous casualties leaving only three survivors. Ben, Maddie, and Ryn are now on good terms with the military, Ryn allows the doctors and scientists to study her. Ryn starts participates in safe and careful observations conducted by the science staff under Nicole's supervision. Despite the harmlessness, Ben still sees this as oppression, especially since they studied her painful transformation from mermaid to human. Ryn allows the doctors to extract the stem cells, knowing that she wants to help Ben's mother with her current condition. But while she was making love with Ben, she started choking Ben but is stopped by Maddie. Ben and Maddie later learn that when the doctors at the military research facility extracted some of her stem cells, she begins to display signs of aggressive, erratic behavior. The reason being is that with her hormone level being increased, she produces a primal response to fight in the water, which is what her mermaid species do. Ben and Maddie confine Ryn to the empty glass tank they used as a temporary solution, but she breaks out of it by smashing the glass, escaping into the nearby woods.
Nichole knows about her escape, and states to Ben and Maddie that they did not do a good job of keeping her in the storage warehouse, and that they should have contacted her about it beforehand. Nicole assists in finding Ryn using thermal imaging, they find her just in time. At this point, Ben and Maddie must rely on Ryn in order to continue Elaine's treatment. In "Mixed Signals", Ryn and Maddie are eating dinner with Ben's family, Maddie begins falling under the influence of Ryn's Siren song, and she is given a kiss in front of Ben's family revealing their polyamorous relationship. Ryn is made aware of Maddie's issue and dives back into the ocean to get Eliza's help, Eliza informs Ryn that there is a place in the ocean where sound is kept; however, it is located too deep for any human to swim to. With the help of Commander David Kyle, Ryn, Ben, and Maddie embark on their journey in a submarine where she experiences the ocean from a human perspective. They arrive at an underwater cavern, where we learn that Ryn was born here and that it is where mating season takes place. They were able to record the ambient sounds they needed and return to Nichole, Maddie's condition is cured. Later, Ryn knows that mating season is nigh, and she must return to the water. In the same episode, she learns that Charles Pownell is Ben's ancestor and is a little angered by how he never told her. Afterwards her and Levi return to their colony.
Unfortunately, the mating was unsuccessful as stated in the episode "The Last Mermaid". The reason being is that the seawater has become polluted for many years resulting in infertility. Ryn mates with her merman mate on land, willing to take the risk, then she has a talk with Ben to tell him that she truly understands that he is nothing like his ancestor Charles Pownell; their love is good. In the next episode "Sacrifice", Maddie and Ben learn that she could not conceive a baby on land, but they have a new plan: IVF (in vitro fertilization) where the scientists at the military research facility extract eggs from Ryn, get them fertilized, and have her baby grow inside of her. Ben wants but also make sure that Ryn does get injected with them, so he suggests going to Beth's human/merfolk hybrid family. The only problem with that option is that Beth's people do not have the equipment required to extract and fertilize the egg, so Ben decides to sever their good graces with the military by stealing the capsules containing the fertilized embryos and taking it to them. Upon arriving at Caspian Ranch, Ryn participates in a fertility ritual that goes like this: Ryn submerges half of her body in a bathtub of seawater to transform into her tail, her epidermis will shed and a new healthier one will take its place, Ian tracks down Ryn's phone to Caspian Ranch and records video of her transforming into a mermaid. Afterwards, Ian kidnapps Ryn while sedated, puts her in the backseat of his car, and drives off to take her to his producer at KFGT. Ben and Maddie are on a high-speed chase trying to rescue Ryn from Ian. However, Ryn saves herself as the drugs wear off giving her the chance to take the wheel leading the car into the water. The car fills up with water as it sinks leaving a panicking Ian trapped. Ryn uses her supernatural strength to escape while Ben rescues Ian.
Two days later, Ryn, Ben, and Maddie are at the Anchor bar when the news reports the discovery of mermaids, all the patrons recognize Ryn from the news and they start asking questions surrounding them. They escape in their car. Two months later, the United States Army has put Bristol Cove under martial law allowing only permanent residents to enter and leave, activists stand outside the entrance protesting the cruelty and demanding rights the mer-people. Ryn, Ben, and Maddie bypass the army and get to a gas station where they pay someone money to give up their car, they make their way to their destination: the Fraser Estuary in Vancouver. Just as they are about to cross the border, the authorities have created a blockade forcing Ben to take a detour into the woods and abandoning the car, they find an abandoned cabin and decide to spend the night there. But the military discovers their presence, Ben's own father is the one who lead the military to them, Ben chastises his father for his actions and restrains him as he exits the cabin surrounded by soldiers. Maddie is shot. But this was all a vision that Ben had foresaw, he made the right decision to let Ian drown in his car lying to Maddie that he was already dead. In the last moments of the second season, the existence of mermaids still remains a secret, but Ryn is devastated that her mebryo is no longer viable... Ben and Maddie tell her that they will try again...
Sometime after "New World Order", Ryn continues to live her life with Ben and Maddie, she is first seen selling pearls that she collected from oysters, she shops Bristol Cove's farmers market for ingredients to make dinner for Ben and Maddie to enjoy later in the day.
Soon after, Tia arrives at Helen's antique shop, she shares her opinion on humans and how mer-people are the most evolved species on the planet. She offers Ryn a proposition: go with her to unify all the merpeople tribes for a chance to restore their oceans focusing only what is essential, Ryn refuses and Tia leaves. She speaks with Tia again in the next episode persuading her that killing all humans will not help the tribes but Tia disagrees, this is when we learn that Katrina came from Tia's tribe and was raised by Ryn's colony. They fight for a period of time, then Tia warns Ryn that she will kill her if she attempts to intervene before diving back into the water. Out at sea she finds Tia preventing her from harming Ben's father Ted, she sustains injuries from Tia, learning that she is a much stronger and resilient mermaid unlike any she has ever seen. From this moment, she trains with her niece Cami and her friend Hunter on land and sea as well as reading dozens of books to match her level of knowledge to Tia's.
At times, Ryn would feel stomach pain due to her merbaby being carried by Meredith eventually learning that her baby is alive. Everyone does what they can to care for Meredith under specific circumstances, when the baby finally was born Ryn smiles for the very first time in the series. Sadly, Meredith's human body was not compatible with the merbaby, this was the cause of her death. At the end of "Life and Death", Ryn takes her newborn merbaby daughter back with her to the water where we see its transformation, they swim away together returning home to their colony.
Donna is Ryn's mermaid sister and the leader over her in their mermaid colony. They share a close relationship, especially after the death of their mother years ago, and often hunt for food together. However, during one of their food hunts, they are caught in Xander’s father’s ship net and beached on their ship. Ryn and Donna try to escape while injuring Chris Mueller in the process. In the end, Donna is captured by the U.S. military and Ryn escapes. Ryn later beaches herself and turns into a human in an attempt to find Donna. Ryn finds several human allies along the way until Donna and Ryn share a heartfelt reunion and return to the ocean together.
A month after their reunion, Donna and Ryn are forced to find help on land due to humans overfishing in their waters. Donna goes against Ryn’s friends and allies after she believes all humans are bad, which strains their relationship. Ryn stays on land to rectify the fishing situation while Donna returns to their colony in the water. After Donna realized her colony wants to kill Ryn for staying on land for too long, Donna temporarily abandons her colony and allies with Ryn and her friends to stop their colony. This restores their close relationship. However, Ryn risks losing Donna after Xander unintentionally shoots Donna in the stomach. Ryn anxiously waits for Donna's recovery, but unfortunately, Donna’s chances are slim according to Ben, Maddie, and Helen.
Donna eventually succumbs to her wounds and dies in Ryn's arms, which leaves Ryn to experience more heartbreak as a newbie human. Later on, Ryn decides to let Helen help her find a burial place for her sister.
Ryn leads a mermaid colony that holds fellow merfolk Donna, Levi, and Katrina in it. Katrina was originally Ryn's matriarchal leader. However, Levi and Katrina felt that she was on land too long and attempted to kill her. However, Ryn asserts her dominance over Katrina and gains leadership over Katrina's mermaid colony.
Ryn first meets Ben after seeing him driving down a deserted road and he spots her running around his town barely clothed. Being she was a non-English speaking mermaid, she doesn’t understand Ben’s intentions as he clothes her and drives with her back to his house. Ben is puzzled at Ryn and tries to figure her out as she continues to blankly stare at him. Ryn then decided to use her Siren song on him, hypnotizing him being she was curious about him until she could escape his house on foot. Ryn eventually is found by Ben again. Later in his marine rescue center, Ryn struggles to the water and transforms into her siren-self. Ben sees this on camera and dives in after her thinking she is drowning. However, this is where Ben first discovers Ryn is, in fact, a mermaid/siren. Acting on instinct, Ryn attacks Ben underwater despite knowing he isn't a real threat.
Their friendship continues to develop during the first season until it grows into something a little more than platonic, especially when Ben becomes obsessed with Ryn’s siren song. Ryn was unaware of his growing-obsession for her. Despite this obsession, Ryn and Ben grow to be close friends, who even share a kiss at one point (Ryn is unaware of romantic interaction at this point, however). Even though Ryn is a bit naive of what the difference between friendship and romantic love is in human culture, she refers to Ben as being "love". After the events of the first season, Ryn sees how obsessed Ben has become with her, especially with her siren song (similar to how Aldon became obsessed with Donna's siren song) knowing what became of Aldon, Ryn decides that it is best if she stayed away from Ben for a while for his safety. In the latest episode "Primal Instincts" Ryn, Maddie and Ben wake up after falling asleep cuddling after having shared kisses and falling asleep. Ryn asks Maddie and Ben why they stopped, which Maddie replies they weren't sure if Ryn wanted to do anything more. Ryn replies that "She wants to make love to Ben and Maddie" Ben and Maddie share a look before replying they would like that too.
Ryn meets Maddie through Ben and the two share a tense relationship at first and Ryn even attacks her at some point, but Maddie continues to open up about herself to Ryn, which helps them to grow closer in friendship. Eventually, Ryn decides to fully trust Maddie with Ben as they help Ryn find her sister. They share several moments together, which helps them to grow closer during the first season, such as: when Maddie opened up to a curious Ryn about her choice to decorate her hair, when Maddie helped Ryn dry off after falling into the pool at the Siren Song Motel and Ryn hugged Maddie after learning she was afraid of her, and when Ryn asked about Maddie's mother and Maddie taught her what love was (which lead Ryn to kiss her) Ryn also refers to Maddie as being "love" (along with Ben) at some point during the series, opening up the possibility of a romantic relationship between the two. In the Season 2 episode "Primal Instincts" the show has officially established Ben, Maddie, and Ryn as a polyamorous couple.
Ryn became friends with Helen after she remained on land to find her sister, Donna. Helen sheltered Ryn while she tried to find her sister. Helen made it strictly clear to Ryn that she belonged in the water, despite this, the two grew closer as friends and allies. Ryn also reveals she sensed Helen was a fellow mermaid after they both buried Donna's body.
She offers her colony hospitality for a short time before relocating to Ben's family cabin. After receiving a check for $104,350.00, she helps Ryn's colony find an apartment to improve the living situation.
Ryn becomes enemies with Aldon after she learns through Donna that Aldon was the one to experiment on and torture Donna. Ryn and Donna decide to lure Aldon into the woods and try to kill him for the torture he inflicted upon Donna, but Ben arrived in time to stop them from killing Aldon. Ryn later lets Aldon try to help Donna's wounds, but Ryn tells Aldon to leave when he begs Donna to sing her siren song to him.
Ryn meets Maddie’s father after his team arrests her. Dale interrogates Ryn about a supposed-drug epidemic, but their relationship transitions when Maddie helps Ryn reveal her mermaid form by pouring saltwater on her right arm revealing her scales, webbed fingers, and claws to Dale. Ryn and Dale become allies and their hostile relationship is no more after she has snapped Glen's neck for attempting to assault Maddie at the Siren Song Motel. While driving back from the Siren Song Motel with Ryn, he explains the importance of laws on land to her, and that the myths that Bristol Cove believes about mermaids represents a peaceful existence that would bring change to the rest of the world.
Powers and abilities
- In her human form Ryn is highly stronger, faster and resistant than normal human beings.
- In her mermaid form she's even stronger, faster and resistant than her human form.
- She does not transform into her mermaid form in fresh water.
- She can naturally breathe underwater.
- She can reach every depth in the water.
- Is able to pass a primate intelligence test as demonstrated in "Interview With A Mermaid".
- She heals a lot faster than humans, this healing process is accelerated in her mermaid form.
- She can confuse people's minds and lead them in a state of madness with her voice, singing a particular song composed with lots of frequencies (as seen with Aldon Decker and Chris Mueller, by her sister Donna, Ben Pownall and Maddie Bishop, by Ryn herself).
- She can take away the pain from living beings with her voice, singing a different song, as shown in "No North Star" and in "Life and Death" to calm down her unborn daughter, who was growing inside of Meredith.
- She is able to sense her daughter Hope's presence.
Throughout the series, Ryn shows examples of how much about human culture she learns while residing on land:
- While Ryn is helping out at Helen's antique shop in "The Arrival", she learns the basics of customer service, the concept of money and its slang words "dough" and "moolah.
- In "The Wolf at the Door" Ben teaches her how to drive, and learns what it means to laugh.
- In "The Last Mermaid", Ben and Maddie give her a cellphone and learns how to use it.
- In "Borders", her talent for cooking is introduced when she serves Ben and Maddie carrot and banana salad with marshmallow chicken.
- In "Survivor", Ryn expands her knowledge by reading books. She also attempts to use the vocal assistant on Maddie's phone.
- In "Mommy and Me", she and Maddie attend a session for mothers and their babies where she learns about singing a lullaby and the meaning of "attachment parenting".
- In "Northern Exposure", Ryn flies on the plane to Alaska experiencing air travel for the first time, on their way to the mermaid tribe's territory she sees a brown bear in the middle of the road seeing nature on land.
- Her name is also a town in Poland.
- Her weight is 196.6 lb (almost 200)
- Her body temperature is 92.2 (6.4 degrees lower than the average human body temperature)
- Her unnamed mother died long before she had time to remember her. We do not know what happened to her father, since the females do not give much importance to the males whom they mate with.
- Her lack of resemblance to Donna suggests that although sharing the same mother, they would be from two different fathers, which would make them maternal half-sisters.
- Maddie says to her long-lost addict mother in "Primal Instincts" that Ryn is from Finland when she asked about Ryn's accent.
- It is in particular to her that the scientists of the United States military seem to be interested, because of the reports of Nicole according to which she is very evolved and even more rational than the others; referring to her as "the one they need". This is confirmed by the fact that Ryn is the Siren of her colony that spent the most time on the surface.
- It is revealed that in "No North Star", she has the ability to sing a particular soothing song that takes away pain but not fully heal. This song was probably taught to her by Eliza, who was in a way the healer of their colony.