Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Did you spot Margaret Atwood’s cameo in The Handmaid’s Tale?

margaret atwood cameo easter egg handmaids tale.jpg

Margaret Atwood was under your eye the whole time in The Handmaid’s Tale, and you (probably) didn’t even notice.

Of course, you’d be forgiven for missing her: the hit dystopian drama – adapted from Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same name – makes for harrowing viewing (even more so when you consider the fact it’s based on real-life events) and, as such, requires our utmost concentration.


Read more: The real-life events that inspired The Handmaid’s Tale


In the very first episode, we watched and listened intently as Offred (Elisabeth Moss) recalled the dawn of Gilead: she was a free woman, with a husband, and child, and life of her own, when the Aunts – wielding cattle prods - ushered into the Red Centre for the very first time.

Offred – or June, as she was known then – had no idea of the horrors to come. How the red tag on her ear (denoting her fertility status) had doomed her to a life of sexual servitude and surrogacy. How she would have her own name identity wrenched from her. How her status as a ‘second wife’ (her husband, Luke, was married before her) meant that this theocratic society would see her punished as an adulterer. How she would be forced to don red robes, enter the home of a Commander (Joseph Fiennes), and take part in a monthly ‘ceremony’ – or, to call it what it truly is, rape – in a bid to bear him and his wife a child.

The brutish Aunts, however, were there to tell her all of this and more. Dressed in shapeless brown uniforms, with the symbol of an inverted vagina hanging from their necks, they bullied and berated the ‘girls’ into accepting their new realities.

And, yes, Atwood herself was among these disciplinarians.

Check it out:

Margaret Atwood makes a cameo appearance in The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood makes a cameo appearance in The Handmaid's Tale

Of course, this isn’t the only time that the show pays homage to the author behind the novel. Although, fair warning, there are spoilers ahead…


Read more: Atwood pens an alternate ending for The Handmaid’s Tale


In episode two, Offred and the Commander embark on an illicit game of Scrabble together – and, in a bid to see who goes first, they each flip a tile.

The two letters they reveal?

Yup, you guessed it: an ‘M’ and an ‘A’.

Offred and the Commander's Scrabble game unveils two pertinent letters

Offred and the Commander's Scrabble game unveils two pertinent letters

In the fifth episode of the show (which has been broadcast on Hulu in the US), Offred is seen reflecting on her complex relationship with the Commander.

In a bid to explain exactly how she feels about him, she recites a stanza from “a poem I read once”.


Read more: The secret fashion detail we’ve all been missing in The Handmaid’s Tale


The lines she cites are as follows:

You fit into me

like a hook into an eye

a fish hook

an open eye.”

Sound familiar?

Margaret Atwood is all over this iconic show

Margaret Atwood is all over this iconic show

Well, it should: as Redditor Woah-buzhidao points out, this is yet another Easter egg: these lines have been taken from You Fit Into Me, one of Atwood’s own lesser-known poems.


Read more: 12 powerful dystopian novels that every woman should read


And we doubt the cameos will stop there: Atwood is on board as a consulting producer on the show, so it’s safe to say that the adaptation will feature plenty more references to the iconic author before the final episode rolls around.

Hulu viewers are up to episode eight of the series, while Channel 4 viewers will be able to see the third in the series of 10 on Sunday 11 June at 9pm. The first two episodes are currently available on 4OD.

Images: Hulu / Channel 4

Related

handmaids tale costume.jpg

The secret fashion detail we all missed in The Handmaid’s Tale

serena joy yelling at offred handmaids tale.png

We need to talk about those bloody knickers in The Handmaid’s Tale

margaret atwood handmaid tale trailer.jpg

The real-life events that inspired The Handmaid’s Tale

Comments

More

Philip Pullman to name new book character after Grenfell Tower victim

“A life that was so full of promise has been cut short in the most terrible way."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
27 Jun 2017

Bestselling author reveals surprising side-effect of writing a book

Always wanted to write a book? Read this first

by Sarah Biddlecombe
27 Jun 2017

How a tiny bookstore fought off an onslaught of sexist internet abuse

Proving the internet does not belong to trolls

by Anna Pollitt
27 Jun 2017

19 tweets that prove JK Rowling is the queen of social media

Creator of Hogwarts, queen of our hearts.

by Moya Crockett
26 Jun 2017

Handmaid’s Tale fans, here’s what really happens to Ofglen in the book

As it's confirmed Alexis Bledel’s character will be returning for the second series

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Jun 2017

Four of the best books so far this year, as chosen by Amazon and us

If you read nothing else, make sure you give these titles a whirl

by Anna Brech
22 Jun 2017

Emma Watson really, really wants you to read these 10 feminist books

She’s curated her very own “essential feminist bookshelf”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Jun 2017

We need to talk about Offred’s secret weapon in The Handmaid’s Tale

This is the most important thing we can take from episode four

by Kayleigh Dray
19 Jun 2017

Little girl crashes stranger’s wedding for a seriously cute reason

And the photos are just perfect

by Kayleigh Dray
19 Jun 2017

JK Rowling flies to the rescue after Trump blocks Stephen King

This is getting ‘riddikulus’ now...

by Kayleigh Dray
14 Jun 2017