Portrait of a Character – Maryam Haroun

Portrait of a Character – Maryam Haroun

Origins

With the writing of The Light, and for its immediate sequel, Waiting, I realized that Azar Hamidi needed a love interest. And of course she needed to be a Muslim woman.

Portrayal

I wanted very much for the actress to be Muslim or at least of Middle Eastern descent. Therefore, I chose American actress Noureen DeWulf. She is Muslim (albeit not a strict practitioner) and is of Indian descent.

Portrait of a Character – Maryam Haroun
Maryam Haroun (Noureen DeWulf)

To me, she is has the right look – beautiful and ethnic, and a believable match for Azar Hamidi (with a spirited challenge for her hand by Ramih Azar in the E2 stories).

Furthermore, Maryam has lived much of her life in Winnipeg, so she has embraced a few aspects of Western living, similar to Ms. DeWulf.

Personality

Shy and withdrawn, Maryam begins working in Stellar Cartography. But she’s gifted, and Hoshi needs help with Communications. Therefore, she and Chip handle the other shifts, during and after the Xindi War, and even during the E2 kick backs in time.

Portrait of a Character – Maryam Haroun
Maryam in her hijab

She also wears a hijab, which is a head scarf. Because she prays to Mecca five times per day, her needs must be accommodated. She, Chip and Hoshi decide that Hoshi will handle the first shift, Chip will take nights and Maryam will take second shift. As a result, most of Maryam’s praying occurs when she is not on duty. For any instances where it does, Hoshi will handle anything earlier in the days, whereas Chip will handle any later scheduling conflicts. The team works together well and it is not an issue.

Relationships

Maryam’s sole relationship is with Azar Hamidi.

As a somewhat devout Muslim woman, she wants her marriage to be arranged, but of course her father is not aboard the NX-01, and she cannot consult him during the first E2 kick back in time. Therefore, she turns to Phlox, who does his best but admits that he doesn’t always make it his foremost priority.

However, Hamidi is chosen, in part because he is more of a risk-taker, but also because Phlox offers he and Ramih Azar a somewhat Solomonic choice, asking what will you do if you are not chosen to be Maryam’s husband? Ramih Azar says he will woo one of the other single women. But Azar Hamidi says he would withdraw, as it would be too painful to bear. And so Maryam chooses him.

Mirror Universe

Maryam is not specifically dead in the Mirror, and there are no impediments to her existing there.

Portrait of a Character – Maryam Haroun

Maybe she does.

I suspect she’d be a lot less religious. Jews aren’t outright persecuted in the Mirror Universe as I write it, but they keep their faith secret so as not to attract the attention of an overly jealous tyrant Empress. I suspect Muslims would feel similarly.

Hence a Mirror Maryam would likely go without a hijab, for starters.

Quote

“My mother told me, when I was a little girl, and I questioned our marriage traditions, she said that I would fall in love on my wedding night. I did not believe her then, and I scoffed. But she was absolutely right.”

Upshot

Like any number of characters (Pamela Hudson and Eleanor Daniels come to mind immediately), Maryam was originally a plot device and not much more. I hope that the E2 stories give her the justice she deserves.

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