Sallie German

Sallie German

Modified & Updated: 25 Jan 2024


The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, has captivated readers since its publication in 1985. The story is set in a future society called Gilead, where women are subjugated and fertile women called Handmaids are forced to bear children for the ruling class. The novel was adapted into a critically acclaimed television series, creating even more buzz and intrigue around Atwood’s gripping tale.

While many fans of the show and book are familiar with the main storyline and characters, there are some surprising facts about The Handmaid’s Tale that even the most devoted enthusiasts may not know. From behind-the-scenes secrets to inspirations for the story, these facts provide a deeper understanding of the world Atwood created. So, prepare to be astonished as we uncover 20 surprising facts about The Handmaid’s Tale.

Table of Contents

The Handmaid’s Tale was originally a novel.

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, published in 1985, served as the foundation for the acclaimed TV series. It quickly gained a cult following and is considered a modern classic in the realm of speculative fiction.

The TV series premiered in 2017.

The Handmaid’s Tale made its small screen debut on April 26, 2017, and has since become a global sensation. The show has received numerous awards and critical acclaim for its gripping storytelling and powerful performances.

The story is set in a totalitarian society called Gilead.

Gilead is a fictional world where women are subjugated and classified into different roles. The Handmaids, in particular, are women who are assigned to bear children for barren elites. The series explores themes of oppression, power, and resistance.

Elisabeth Moss portrays the lead character, Offred.

Emmy-winning actress Elisabeth Moss delivers a captivating performance as Offred, the protagonist and narrator of The Handmaid’s Tale. Her portrayal has been widely praised for its intensity and emotional depth.

The Handmaid’s Tale has received critical acclaim.

The TV series has garnered widespread acclaim for its thought-provoking narrative, stunning visuals, and top-notch performances. It has won multiple Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series, and has been praised for its relevance and timely social commentary.

The Handmaid’s Tale has sparked important conversations.

The show’s exploration of themes such as reproductive rights, feminism, and totalitarianism has ignited discussions about the state of society and women’s rights. It has become a symbol of resistance and a rallying cry for social change.

The costumes in the series are iconic.

The Handmaid’s Tale is renowned for its distinctive costumes, particularly the red cloaks and white bonnets worn by the handmaids. The visual imagery of the show has made a lasting impression and has become iconic in popular culture.

The Handmaid’s Tale has a dedicated fan base.

The series has amassed a devoted following of fans who are deeply invested in the characters and their struggles. Fan theories, discussions, and fan art have become an integral part of the Handmaid’s Tale community.

The Handmaid’s Tale has expanded beyond the TV series.

In addition to the TV adaptation, The Handmaid’s Tale has also been adapted into a graphic novel and a stage production. Its impact has extended across various mediums, resonating with audiences in different ways.

The Handmaid’s Tale has faced controversy.

Due to its provocative themes and brutal depiction of violence, The Handmaid’s Tale has generated controversy and sparked debates. Some viewers have found it disturbing and unsettling, while others see it as a necessary commentary on societal issues.

The Handmaid’s Tale has inspired real-life activism.

The series has inspired women’s rights movements, protests, and initiatives around the world. The iconic imagery of handmaids standing in defiance has become a symbol of empowerment and resistance.

The Handmaid’s Tale has explored the backstory of some characters.

In addition to the main narrative, the show has delved into the past lives and experiences of supporting characters, providing a deeper understanding of their motivations and the world they inhabit.

The Handmaid’s Tale has a haunting musical score.

The series’ haunting score, composed by Adam Taylor, adds an atmospheric and emotionally charged element to the storytelling. The music has been praised for its ability to heighten tension and evoke powerful emotions.

The Handmaid’s Tale addresses relevant social issues.

The series tackles a range of social issues, including gender inequality, religious extremism, and political oppression. Its exploration of these themes has resonated with audiences and sparked conversations about the world we live in.

The Handmaid’s Tale has broken barriers for streaming platforms.

The success of The Handmaid’s Tale has proven that streaming platforms can produce high-quality content that rivals traditional network television. It has paved the way for other original streaming series to gain recognition and acclaim.

The Handmaid’s Tale has won numerous awards.

The TV series has received numerous accolades, including Primetime Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and Critics’ Choice Television Awards. Its impact on the industry and its ability to captivate audiences have been recognized by prestigious award organizations.

The Handmaid’s Tale has explored the impact of technology.

In the dystopian world of Gilead, the influence of technology is explored, reflecting our own society’s complex relationship with advancing technologies and their potential implications.

The Handmaid’s Tale has a powerful ensemble cast.

In addition to Elisabeth Moss, the show features an incredibly talented ensemble cast, including Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Alexis Bledel, and Ann Dowd, who each bring their unique talents to their respective roles.

The Handmaid’s Tale has become a cultural phenomenon.

Since its release, The Handmaid’s Tale has transcended the realm of television and has become a cultural touchstone. It has inspired discussions, protests, and adaptations, solidifying its place in the zeitgeist.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a captivating exploration of resilience.

Despite the harrowing circumstances faced by the characters, The Handmaid’s Tale ultimately explores the resilience of the human spirit and the power of resistance in the face of oppression. It is a testament to the strength and determination of individuals to fight for their freedom.

These were just some of the surprising and fascinating facts about The Handmaid’s Tale. The series continues to captivate audiences and spark important conversations about the state of society and the potential consequences of extremism. With its thought-provoking storytelling and brilliant performances, The Handmaid’s Tale has solidified its place as a cultural phenomenon and a powerful exploration of the human spirit’s ability to endure.


The Handmaid’s Tale has captivated audiences worldwide with its gripping storyline, thought-provoking themes, and outstanding performances. With its dystopian setting and powerful narrative, the series has become a cultural phenomenon, sparking conversations about gender inequality, reproductive rights, and the dangers of totalitarian regimes.

As viewers dive deeper into the world of Gilead, they discover numerous surprising facts about The Handmaid’s Tale that add another layer of intrigue to the already compelling story. From hidden connections to unexpected inspirations, these facts shed light on the meticulous attention to detail and storytelling brilliance that makes the series so compelling.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer to The Handmaid’s Tale, these surprising facts offer a fascinating glimpse into the making of this groundbreaking show. With its upcoming seasons, we can look forward to more twists, turns, and jaw-dropping revelations that will continue to keep us on the edge of our seats.


1. How many seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale are there?

As of now, there are four seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale. The show premiered in 2017 and has garnered critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base.

2. Is The Handmaid’s Tale based on a book?

Yes, The Handmaid’s Tale is based on the novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood. The book was published in 1985 and has since become a classic in dystopian literature.

3. Can I watch The Handmaid’s Tale without reading the book?

Absolutely! The TV series stands on its own and provides a unique visual interpretation of the story. While reading the book may enhance your understanding of the world and characters, it is not necessary to enjoy the show.

4. What themes does The Handmaid’s Tale explore?

The Handmaid’s Tale explores themes of oppression, gender inequality, reproductive rights, the power of language, and the consequences of unchecked authority. It serves as a chilling warning about the dangers of totalitarianism and the importance of fighting for freedom and autonomy.

5. Is The Handmaid’s Tale suitable for all audiences?

The Handmaid’s Tale is rated for mature audiences due to its intense and often disturbing content. It contains scenes of violence, sexual assault, and psychological trauma. Viewer discretion is advised.