James Bond’s relationship graph can be summed up in a single line: from Pussy Galore to Madeleine Swann, Bond has finally given in to the emotional needs of an ageing man. Whether in Ian Fleming’s books or the movies, Bond girls have never been anything more than sexual objects. Young and extremely seductive, Bond girls being given sexually suggestive names itself proves their purpose: they have existed to gratify Bond’s sexual needs. It is hardly a surprise then that no Bond girl is carried over to the next book or movie, with the exception of a slight mention here and there. Agent 007 has never been portrayed as being in a relationship which he can look forward to. He an extremely passionate man but incapable of love.
Bond is seen close to the women he seduces and sleeps with, but it is a blunder to expect long-term romance from him. The famous Bond drink, "Vesper Martini, shaken, not stirred" savoured in Casino Royale is named after the Bond girl Vesper Lynd. Agent 007 even dreams of leaving the MI6 and settling down with her. But she turns out to be a double agent and betrays him, leaving him cold and cynical. As Bond exclaims, “The bitch is dead”, the hopes of a love that could have stayed in his life dies too.
In Skyfall, Severine’s status is perhaps the worst of all. A Macau sex trade victim, she is rescued only to be physically and mentally exploited by Silva. The classic femme fatale, Severine is initially posed as a threat to Bond, but later considers him as an exit from the world of shadows she has inhabited over the years. Bond enjoys the tense, sexually suggestive conversations he has with her and the vehement physical chemistry between the two can never go unnoticed in the scene where Bond feels her up from behind and she obliges. Hoping to be saved, does she really have a choice? Her death is referred to by Bond only as a “waste of good scotch”.
With the censor board cropping Bond’s kisses in Spectre, Bond’s short but passionate affair with the widow Lucia Sciarra is left to the mercy of viewer’s imagination. But then something unexpected happens. Madeleine Swann comes into the picture. Unlike the previous Bond girls, she is not portrayed as an object of beauty that can fulfil Bond's sexual necessities but as a learned psychologist who keeps herself away from the life of blood even if it means distancing herself from her father. When Madeleine tells Bond that she is scared, he gently glides his fingers into hers. She is someone he can watch sleeping, sitting in an armchair for the entire night. Bond realises that if there is one woman who can really understand him, it is Madeleine. It is because of Bond's growing affection for Madeleine that even after she parts ways with him, he saves her and is seen walking away with her in the end, tightly holding her hand. Much like Mary Magdalene, Madeleine Swann is the first woman to witness Bond’s resurrection as a man who can love and be loved.