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The Handmaid’s Tale is full of unimaginable horrors brought to us from the mind of Margaret Atwood and her best-selling novel. The Hulu series has taken the story further and included even more atrocities that the handmaids must endure. June (Elisabeth Moss) discovered in season 3 that there are some handmaids that are even more unlucky than herself. They are forced to wear actual rings pierced through their skin to seal their mouths shut. It was truly a shock at first glance. But why do some of the handmaids have rings in their mouths?

June must cover her mouth while she’s in Washington, D.C.

Elisabeth Moss
Elisabeth Moss | Paras Griffin/WireImage,

Viewers will remember when June travels to Washington, D.C. and encounters handmaids that are forced to have their mouths shut with metal rings. While visiting, June has to cover her mouth with a special red garment attachment that covers her mouth and is truly a horrible sight. It was terrible to witness June try to talk to another handmaid and discover that she can’t because of the rings holding her mouth shut.

Showrunner Bruce Miller reveals why some of the handmaids have rings in their mouths

It was truly terrifying to see women unable to speak with rings in their mouths. The reasoning behind the grotesque sight will shock you even more than the act itself. Showrunner Bruce Miller recently revealed the details to Business Insider that the rings were actually a form of protest by the handmaids that were then used against them.

“We call them rings,” Miller explained. “It was my idea to put it in the show. It was an extrapolation of the enforced silence, which is the idea that handmaids are told to be quiet, and they’re forced to be quiet.”

The rings were voluntary at first and became a requirement later on

Miller revealed that the rings were an actual voluntary experience in D.C., at least at first. The handmaids decided to take a pledge of silence and put the rings in themselves. “That’s how these things start, they’re voluntary, then they’re encouraged, then they’re required,” Miller said.

Even Miller himself appears to have had a hard time looking at the handmaids with the rings just like the rest of us. “I think that [June] is seeing the train coming, the train of more oppression and even more of your voice being taken away,” Miller continued. “And even more being an object. Being just a walking womb. So it’s the most horrible looking appliance, and the most horrible, shocking image for me. It was just terrible.”

June may not be wearing rings in her mouth, but she’s still just as oppressed as the other handmaids stuck in Gilead. Hopefully, fans will get to see her finally break her chains and find a way out of Gilead and towards freedom. She deserves it after all she’s been through. There will be a fourth season to come of The Handmaid’s Tale.