Is The Great’s Marian a real person? Was she Catherine’s maid?


Created by Tony McNamara for Hulu, “The Great” is a historical dramatic comedy that focuses on the trials and tribulations in the life of Catherine the Great, Empress of All Russia. As she takes the throne from her cruel and incompetent husband, Peter III, both expected and unexpected challenges arise, testing her leadership, determination and loyalty. The series sees Elle Fanning, Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox, Douglas Hodge and Sacha Dhawan in central roles.

The historical drama was praised for its anti-historical stance, wickedly dark satire, and use of contemporary lenses to look at the turbulent socio-political environment of 18th-century Russia. In particular, the rebellious characters who help Catherine rise to power – Marial, Orlo, and Velementov – are fascinatingly complex and entertaining. Marial, Catherine’s best friend and former maid, is particularly interesting with her fiery personality, fearless demeanor, and fuzzy motivations. Naturally, fans are curious as to whether Marial is based on a real person. Let’s find out!

Is Marial a real person? Was she really Catherine’s maid?

No, Marial is not based on a real person. The series acknowledges that it is based on “a sometimes true story”, generously using fiction to examine historical facts about Catherine, her followers and her subjects. Thus, several characters in the series do not have real-life counterparts as they are simply the product of the creative imagination. “My first question to Tony McNamara, who wrote it, was ‘Is Marial based on a real person?’ about it, “Fox (Marial) said in an interview with Brief Take. Obviously, Marial, Catherine’s closest confidante and former servant, is fictitious.

Originally linked to a life of bondage due to her father’s mistake of trying to have sex with the mummified corpse of Peter’s mother, Marial is the reason Catherine is considering the idea of ​​a bang. state in the first place. Disgusted by her modest serf life and desperate to become a lady of the court again, it is Marial who informs Catherine that the death of the emperor will lead to the empress’s accession to the throne. Although not based on a real person, her character allows fans to take a peek into the lives of serfs as well as those of noble women. While the real Catherine had several maids who helped her and allegedly even encouraged her to have lovers, none of them pushed her towards a coup.

Thus, Marial is an amalgamation of the people and the nobility. In the second season of the series, we see Marial restored to her status as Lady of the Court. She effortlessly exerts her influence, doesn’t shy away from challenges, and is unabashedly sexually promiscuous. Openly holding a grudge and always offering the brutal truth, Marial is exactly the kind of woman who was feared by orthodox and patriarchal society in 18th century Russia. Often times, Marial tells Catherine to control her anger and to proceed intelligently, as she has personally experienced what happens to a woman who is not afraid to express her negative feelings and opinions. However, she also urges the Empress to commit crimes for the common good. Without a doubt, exaggerated fiction and humor are used to convey the injustices historically faced by intelligent and socially conscious women.

Image Credit: Ollie Upton / Hulu

Based on the 2008 play of the same name by McNamara, the dramatic comedy is not ashamed of its mix of fact and fiction. The character of Marial is infinitely entertaining and complex: is she a friend or an enemy? Where is his loyalty? Marial betrays Catherine to save her life and regain her old social position. However, she does not consider herself a traitor as her betrayal actually saved the life of the Empress. In addition, Marial’s close relationship with the Patriarch is often a pain point for Catherine. However, the two women often find solace and strength in their friendship. The relationship between Marial and Catherine adds layers to the show, as the premiere is entirely devoted to the Empress but also passionately independent at the same time.

Fox confessed: “In fact, in some ways we are [Fanning and Fox] quite similar to our characters [Catherine and Marial]. In the show, she [Catherine] starts out as that kind of upbeat young girl with bright eyes, and I’m that kind of slightly older girl with dry humor [Marial], and this is very true in life. Thus, Marial is not based on a real person, but is an interesting interpretation of the bold, intelligent and determined women present in Russia during the reign of Catherine the Great. Her presence raises intriguing questions about the nature of loyalty and also highlights the beauty of a strong female friendship.

Read more: Is The Big One Based on a True Story?


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