Mary Goodnight

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Mary Goodnight
Portrayed by Britt Ekland
Gender Female
Affiliation MI6

Mary Goodnight is a fictional character from the James Bond universe.

Novel biography[edit]

In the novels, Mary Goodnight is a former Wren who is now the secretary to the 00 Section, which includes James Bond. Replacing the section's previous secretary, Loelia Ponsonby, Goodnight has a less severe, more bubbly and adventuresome personality than her predecessor. Making her first appearance in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, she is described as "a honey," and there was speculation among the 00 agents as to which of them would be able to seduce her first. (Bond was tied with 006 as the favourite but backed out of the competition after becoming involved with his future wife Tracy.) She has an excellent figure and has blue-black hair, although two novels later, in The Man with the Golden Gun her hair is blond to the point that it shines almost silver in moonlight.

In You Only Live Twice, Goodnight is a bit more serious than she was in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, showing concern for Bond as he slips into a round of self-destructive behaviour following Tracy's death. Her appearance in this novel is little more than a cameo, although she is permitted to add a few lines to Bond's premature obituary.

In the final Fleming novel in which she appears, The Man with the Golden Gun, Goodnight's role is expanded to a full-fledged Bond-girl. Having transferred to the Secret Service's Kingston station in Jamaica after Bond's presumed death, she assists Bond in building a cover for himself as he goes after the gunman Francisco Scaramanga, at one point posing briefly as Bond's fiancée. When Scaramanga tricks Bond into believing that the mannequin across the tracks of the small railroad on which they are travelling is Goodnight, the deception triggers a running gun battle between Bond and Felix Leiter on the one hand and Scaramanga and his associates on the other.

In all three novels in which she appears, Mary Goodnight shows what appears to be some genuine affection for Bond. Despite having a pronounced wholesome, modest, and almost sisterly aspect to her personality, at the end of The Man With the Golden Gun she invites a hospitalised Bond to finish his recuperation in her rented villa in the Blue Mountains. Since Bond is required to have careful supervision upon his release from the hospital this may in fact be an innocent offer on her part though it may not because of her comment on the community not minding unmarried couples sharing a house, and Fleming leaves unanswered the questions of whether Bond takes her up on her offer and of whether, if he does, the two end up sleeping together. Mary Goodnight can be considered the only Bond Girl of the novels to make actual appearances in multiple stories, as opposed to being merely referenced; (Miss Moneypenny also made several novel appearances but many would question whether she is considered a "Bond Girl".)

Goodnight was one of several characters revived by Jeffrey Deaver for his 2011 Bond novel, Carte Blanche. Once again, the character is established as being Bond's secretary, with Deaver taking the liberty of describing her as looking similar to the actress Kate Winslet. Like most MI6 characters in the novel, Goodnight plays a supporting role only and disappears from the narrative about one-third of the way into the book.

Film biography[edit]

In the film The Man with the Golden Gun, Goodnight, played by Britt Ekland, is a Secret Service staffer, more ditzy than in the novels. She assists Bond when he is following Andrea Anders in Hong Kong. Very quickly it is established that she has as-yet unfulfilled designs on Bond. When they first meet on screen the premise is that they already know each other, the only time this has happened with a Bond girl.

After Goodnight shows Bond where Anders is staying, she hopes to spend the evening with Bond, but 007 declines, as he has his meeting with Hai Fat. Later in the film, Goodnight is embarrassingly pushed into the wardrobe of Bond's hotel room when Anders enters Bond's bedroom. Goodnight falls asleep in the closet as Anders and Bond have sex; after Anders leaves, Bond wakes Goodnight and tells her "Your turn will come, I promise."

At the meeting point with Anders, Goodnight takes the Solex, but whilst placing a homer on Francisco Scaramanga's AMC Matador, she is pushed into the car's boot. Bond meets up with Goodnight on Scaramanga's island where later she knocks the maintenance man into a pool of liquid helium - which causes the power plant to gradually overheat and explode, ripping the island apart. Bond and Goodnight manage to escape, and after dealing with Nick Nack, Goodnight manages to finish what she started with Bond on "a slow boat from China."