When Margaret Atwood announced she planned to write a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale many wondered how it affected the current TV show on Hulu. Atwood’s sequel is called The Testaments and Hulu recently bought the rights to the book to adapt it to the screen. The Testaments came out on Sept. 10, 2019 and includes some connections to Hulu’s adaption of The Handmaid’s Tale. Beware, anything past this point includes spoilers for both The Testaments and The Handmaid’s Tale.
Aunt Lydia is one of the narrators of ‘The Testaments’
The Testaments has three narrators. One of those narrators is someone viewers of The Handmaid’s Tale know very well, Aunt Lydia. In Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale and Hulu’s adaption, Aunt Lydia is a villain to June. She comes across as a true believer in Gilead and can be shown to be very cruel.
Aunt Lydia’s backstory in The Testaments is very different than her backstory in the TV show on Hulu. In the show, Aunt Lydia was a teacher before Gilead and was shown to be very religious. In The Testaments, Aunt Lydia was a judge who was forced into the Gilead regime.
To readers’ surprise, Aunt Lydia is not actually a true believer in The Testaments. Instead, she has a plan to bring Gilead down. Aunt Lydia is a complex character in The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Testaments makes her even more complex.
“‘The Testaments’ might actually be better than ‘the Handmaids Tale.’ I’m such a sucker for a well-written bad guy, and Aunt Lydia is my new love,” wrote a Twitter user.
“Couldn’t help feeling guilty for liking Aunt Lydia throughout The Testaments,” wrote another.
June’s children from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ are the other narrators
The two other narrators also have a connection to June. One is Hannah, her daughter with Luke. In The Testaments, Hannah goes by the name given to her in Gilead, Agnes.
The third narrator in The Testaments is June’s daughter with Nick. In The Handmaid’s Tale, their daughter’s real name is Holly but she goes by Nichole. In The Testaments, her real name is Nicole but she goes by Daisy. Nicole does not live with June, Nick, Luke, or Moira in the book and instead lives with another adopted family in Canada.
The epilogue of ‘The Testaments’ reveals the fate of some of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ characters
In Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, the ending is ambiguous. Even though there is an epilogue that lets readers know Gilead did eventually fall, the fate of most of the characters are left completely unknown. Readers do not know if June actually makes it out of Gilead to Canada or England.
The Testaments reveals that June, who is only known as Offred in the books, does not go to Canada but instead goes underground. In Gilead, she is known as a terrorist and survived two assassination attempts. This seems to fit in with The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu as June joins the resistance in the third season.
The epilogue of The Testaments is a lot more hopeful and concrete than the epilogue in The Handmaid’s Tale novel. While Moira, Emily, and the Waterford family are not mentioned at all in the book, other characters are. The epilogue reveals that June, Nick, and Luke all reunite with Agnes and Nicole.
“Loved reading that the girls were reunited with all their parents so we know that June, Luke, and Nick are all alive and well. Would have loved more info about them too, but this wasn’t their story,” wrote a Reddit user.
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