A Turtle of massive size with an ancient appearance, Maturin existed long before the creation of the mainstream universe in Stephen King's novels. By nature, Maturin was kind, wise, loving, gentle, compassionate, benevolent, and had a very grandfather-like demeanor when he spoke to humans. Maturin was said to be constantly withdrawn into his shell, sleeping and rarely ever coming out for anything. One of the occasions that Maturin did come out of his shell was when he had a stomachache which caused him to vomit out the mainstream universe, after which he promptly retreated back into his shell. Because of that, It (a creature that existed in the void within the Macroverse and was an adversary of Maturin, described by the latter as his "brother") considered the Turtle to be old, lazy, and stupid. However, given his vast amount of wisdom, power, and the aid, Maturin provided to those in need of it, It's perceptions of him seemed to be false.
In It, Maturin seemed to serve largely as a spectator to the events that unfolded in the battle between It and the Losers' Club. Maturin only involved himself and advised the young Bill Denbrough during the Ritual of Chüd in 1958, while Gan provided the Losers with most of their strength. Maturin initially politely introduced himself to Bill, and upon his plea for help simply stated that he “took no stand” in the matters at hand. However, after considering his “brother” with some disdain and contempt, Maturin swiftly provided great council and advice to the young man, assuring that It was ultimately afraid of Bill, human potential, and of the Turtle himself. Maturin ultimately urged Bill to battle the monstrous being with his willpower, mental strength, and internal faith and believe. With the Turtle’s encouragement and support; Bill overpowers and badly wounds It; forcing It into retreat. Before once again retreating into his colossal shell for another untold lengthy slumber, Maturin compliments Bill on his victory, but sagely cautions him to finish It off once and for all, as he may not get another opportunity to do so.
In the Novel
When the Losers faced It once again as adults 27 years later, It gleefully told Bill that Maturin was dead; having choked to death on a galaxy or two some time ago. When the Ritual of Chud started again in 1985, Bill was presented with the gargantuan corpse of the Turtle, and saw to his horror that It did not lie.
The name Maturin itself was a reference to Stephen Maturin, a naturalist from the Aubrey–Maturin series of novels, that were written by Patrick O'Brian. Maturin discovered a new species of tortoise which he subsequently named Testudo aubreii after his friend Jack Aubrey. Turtles are important symbols within Indigenous cultures; the world being carried on the back of a turtle and the creature is an icon of life a contrast to IT, being a representative of death. The symbol of the turtle is also a marker of identity, autonomy, culture and deep respect for the environment. Additionally, the concept of the turtle carrying the world is spread across many Indigenous cultures and there are varied oral traditions called Turtle Island which represent the creation of North America. Basically, the world was flooded to wipe out the evil, and some animals including a loon, muskrat, and the turtle had survived. Many of the animals attempted to bring soil from beneath the water, with only the muskrat succeeding (although sadly losing its life in the process). The soil was then spread on the turtle's back creating the land as we know it. From these stories, the turtle is considered the centre of creation, much like Maturin is in Stephen King's book.
IT (2017) and IT Chapter 2 (2019)
While Maturin does not make an appearance in either of the movies, there are allusions/nods to his existence in the films:
- Beverly has a turtle sticker on one of her school books
- Before Bill encounters IT in his flooded basement, he goes into Georgie's room and picks up a Lego turtle
- When the kids are swimming in the quarry, they argue and attempt to look for a turtle under the water.
IT Chapter 2 (2019)
- The exterior shot of adult Ben's house has a turtle statue.
- When Ben is in the classroom during summer school, there is a turtle on the desk.
- "Maturin is actually what we call the root that Mike takes from the Native Americans as part of his journey to help guide his path on how to ultimately defeat Pennywise,"
- The Waste Lands
- Song of Susannah
- The Dark Tower
- 11/22/63 (Mentioned)
- It: Chapter Two (2019 film) (Mentioned)