Despite the fact that the series is named after Mrs. Hawking, in many ways this is really the story of Mary. It’s about her growing into a true hero, and in saving others finding the way to save herself.
Played by Circe Rowan, Mary’s journey comes from the fact that her world used to be very small. As a servant and a member of the lower classes, everything about her life encouraged her to never use her own mind, to never speak her own thoughts, that she was of most use to others doing what she was told. She has seen very little of life, and has never been encouraged to see herself as a person with skills and strength to give.
In being Mrs. Hawking’s assistant, she must learn many new skills— how to fight, to move with stealth, to operate without detection, to take on personas, to come up with plans of attack. The level of excellence required to pull off something so difficult as saving people from the traps of society is enormous, and when we enter Vivat Regina, Mary is struggling to meet the high expectations. And with her mentor’s constant pushing, she’s begun to doubt whether or not she has it in her to meet it all.
But it’s not enough to just learn what Mrs. Hawking has to teach. Mary has to learn her own strength, her own way of doing things. And part of this is developing the confidence in herself, both her abilities and her own judgment, to push herself to do what she has to do. And sometimes that’s going to mean speaking out, disagreeing, making her own path.
It’s no small task for a former servant girl who was supposed to make herself invisible at all times. But Mary is an exceptional person, and watching her grow into her potential shapes a huge portion of this story.