The Handmaid’s Tale’s Aunt Lydia risks mutilation after flouting sacred Gilead laws

The Handmaid’s Tale’s Aunt Lydia risks mutilation after flouting sacred Gilead laws

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AUNT Lydia is one of The Handmaid’s Tales most complex and gripping villains.

Vilified by viewers for her role in subjugating the handmaids, the dastardly dame has battered some of the show’s heroines both physically and psychologically with all manner of wicked punishments.

The Handmaid's Tale's Aunt Lydia
Aunt Lydia is happy to use violence for the sake of discipline
HULU

But for all of her strictness, it turns out Aunt Lydia isn’t exactly squeaky clean herself when it comes to upholding the repressive laws of Gilead.

Author Margaret Attwood’s hotly anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments, is written in part from Lydia’s point of view, in diary format.

In one chapter, she notes of herself: “I control the women’s side of their enterprise with an iron fist in a leather glove in a woollen mitten.

“And I keep things orderly: like a harem eunuch.

The Handmaid's Tale's Aunt Lydia
Aunt Lydia could soon get a taste of her own medicine
HULU

“Only dead people are allowed to have statues, but I have been given one while still alive. Already I am petrified.”

At first glance this may seem innocent enough, but those familiar with Gilead doctrine will know that it is strictly illegal for women to read, let along write.

Even high-ranking wife Serena Joy had a finger hacked off for simply asking the commanders to allow women to read the bible.

Lydia gets around the laws by sneaking into a library, where those in the lower social classes are banned from entering.

Actress Ann Dowd recently explained that the character’s fate in The Testaments was inextricably connected to the TV adaptation.


“It gives a clear indication from the creator of this story of where she will end up and what will happen,” she said.

“And that affects the approach in terms of where her mind is going. She’s very savvy, very much a player and knows the politics,” she continued to Time Magazine.

“She’s always thinking, always planning, always assessing. In the end of the last season, you know we’re in trouble, because how many of those young girls got out?

“That is a massive, massive catastrophe, and the fact that Lydia was not onto it in a meaningful way — she’s got some work to do.”

The Handmaid's Tale's Aunt Lydia
Aunt Lydia’s diaries make up part of new novel The Testaments
HULU

Dowd also admitted it was a thrill to find out where the character ends up.

She explained to Stylist magazine: “When you play a character, you often think, ‘I wonder what happens in the future? I wonder where she will go?’, but most of the time you don’t know.

“The book ends, the script is finished, the series is over. So to get a glimpse into where this character goes was a particular thrill.”

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