Guardians are a class of men in Gilead. They are lower ranking than Angels, though they still have some privileges over ordinary men. Guardians serve as peacekeepers in the cities, foot soldiers in Gilead's army, and as bodyguards and servants to Commanders.
Attire and WeaponryEdit
The Guardians are usually seen wearing dark green (or navy blue uniforms in the Hulu series) uniforms while on duty. Like the Angels uniforms, the Guardians' uniforms are a stark contrast to the camouflage uniforms of the United States Armed Forces (who are still loyal to the US Government-in-exile and are fighting to restore the United States of America)
In terms of weapons, the Guardians in the 1990 film adaption were seen armed with FN FAL battle rifles.
In the 2017 TV series, the Guardians are seen armed with M4A1 carbines and Glock 17 handguns.
Guardians are often young men, who are just beginning to work their way up the ranks of Gileadean society. They are often placed on road blocks or outside gates. Guardians assigned to a particular Commander often serve them as chauffeurs, driving them from place to place. They also do odd-jobs around the house, helping Wives garden and so on. They can also act as escorts for Wives when they venture out in public, and as bodyguards for pregnant Handmaids. In Season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale, there's strong evidence that many post-coup Guardians were members of US National Guard units and law enforcement agencies from across the north-eastern United States who were forcibly conscripted by the new Sons of Jacob/Gilead regime to become Guardians in the immediate time period after the SoJ's coup d'état against the United States Government.
It isn't uncommon for Guardians to be privy to the secrets of their Commanders and their Wives; for example, Nick escorts Offred to the Commander's study and drives his Commander to Jezebel's. Sometimes, Wives also arrange clandestine meetings between Guardians and their Handmaids, to increase the Handmaid's chances of conceiving. Most Guardians are apparently single, as they do not earn the privilege of a Wife until they achieve the rank of Angel. However, Guardians can be issued with an Econowife by the Gilead government.
In addition to the roles mentioned above, the Guardians have also been used as foot soldiers in the Republic of Gilead's war against the United States Government-in-exile's forces e.g. the US Armed Forces and against the numerous American loyalist rebel and citizen militia units who are fighting to free the United States from Gilead rule. One example of the Guardians being used as foot soldiers in Gilead's war against America is the battle for the city of Chicago, Illinois where Guardians (and Angels) are fighting against the US Army and the Illinois National Guard for control of the city.
Along with the Angels, the Guardians have also carried out numerous atrocities and crimes against humanity against the American people by killing innocent and unarmed civilians whom the Gilead regime deems as "un-Godly", "traitors", "worthless" or "gender traitors". One example of the Guardians' crimes against the American people can be seen in Season 1 Episode 7 of the 2017 TV series with Zoe showing Luke a vandalised church filled with dead men and women strung by the neck from the church's rafters. Zoe told Luke that the Guardians were responsible for vandalising the church and killing the church goers as punishment for hiding fertile women from Gilead forces.