Chapter V: Van is the 5th chapter of The Testaments. It contains section 12 with Aunt Lydia as narrator.


Lydia speaks with Commander Judd, and recounts her arrest shortly after the takeover.


Section 12Edit

(Ardua Hall) Lydia attends a meeting with Commander Judd where he tells her they’ve eliminated two people (Neil and Melanie) who were part of the “Underground Femaleroad” against Gilead, referred to as “Mayday Operatives“. They discuss the success, but also lament the mysterious death of the young Aunt Adrianna in Canada, and discuss Neil and Melanie's possible counterparts operating within Gilead.

Later, Lydia thinks about the past and considers that she should have left the country when she had a chance, before the rise of the Gilead regime led by the “Sons of Jacob“. By the time when the Constitution is suspended, Lydia is a middle-aged woman and working as a well-respected judge. When women's credit cards are cancelled (and their property legally transferred to their husbands or nearest male relatives), Lydia is informed of the change by her colleagues Katie and Anita. As they are discussing the new laws by the provisional government, their office is overrun by soldiers. Katie, as an unmarried young woman pregnant via sperm donor, is immediately taken to “the high school”. Tessa, a receptionist in her late twenties, is selected for the "box store" to be potentially married off. Anita and Lydia, however, are seized, and taken to a stadium, now used as prison.

Notable QuotesEdit

"Quote here"
- Context here[src]


(e.g. observations, cross-references, 'useless knowledge')


Katie is taken to “the high school”. The "Red Center" where Offred and the other handmaids were trained was a repurposed high school (see I Night).


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