[Warning: The next accommodates spoilers for The Haunting of Bly Manor. Learn at your individual danger!]
For The Haunting of Hill House, creator Mike Flanagan drew inspiration from Shirley Jackson’s novel of the identical identify. However for Season 2 of the Netflix horror anthology, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Flanagan remixed and reimagined a number of works of Henry James. You’ll be able to see nods to the Victorian creator within the themes Bly Manor explores, together with lack of innocence; eager for a life by no means lived; and the connection between id, consciousness, and reminiscence. The names of Henry Thomas and Amelia Eve’s Bly Manor characters, Henry and Jamie, additionally sustain The Haunting custom of Flanagan naming characters after that season’s inspiring creator, like he did with Elizabeth Reaser‘s Shirley Crain in Hill Home. Plus, every of Bly Manor‘s 9 episodes is titled after certainly one of James’ tales. Whereas for a number of of those — similar to “The Pupil,” “The Two Faces,” and “The Method it Got here” — the references by no means go a lot additional than the episode title, different tales influenced the terrors and tragedies of Bly Manor in creative and provocative methods.
Learn on for our full explainer on 9 Henry James tales that impressed The Haunting of Bly Manor.
The Flip of the Screw
This 1898 gothic horror gives the essential premise for Bly Manor, telling the story of a younger governess who takes a job overseeing two younger orphans at a distant, and presumably haunted, property. Characters together with Dani Clayton (Victoria Pedretti), Hannah Grose (T’Nia Miller), Peter Quint (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), Rebecca Jessel (Tahirah Sharif), and Henry (Henry Thomas), Miles (Benjamin Ainsworth), and Flora Wingrave (Amelie Smith) all originated on this novella — though most had been depicted fairly otherwise within the present.
Bly Manor answered a number of of the lingering questions from The Turn of the Screw, similar to why Miles is expelled from faculty, why the youngsters’s uncle is so disinterested in them, how Quint and Jessel die, and whether or not the ghosts are actual or all within the governess’ head. Followers of the e book may even acknowledge Flanagan’s intelligent spins on memorable moments from the ghost story, together with Miles fainting after seeing Peter’s ghost in Episode 2 as a nod to the e book’s bleak ending the place Miles faints and dies.
As well as, the inclusion of the narrator (Carla Gugino), finally revealed to be an older model of Jamie, has its origins in The Flip of the Screw. Within the e book, the story of the governess is reshared to a gaggle of visitors gathered at a manor for Christmas by somebody who had liked the doomed caretaker, very like how Jamie shares the story of Dani to the visitors gathered for Flora’s wedding ceremony.
Although the present pays homage to a number of memorable moments in The Flip of the Screw, it additionally options a number of references to the e book’s most well-known movie adaptation, The Innocents. Most notably, the tune “O Willow Waly,” which performs all through the season, is drawn from the film. A handful of different moments — together with Dani strolling the ultimate stretch to Bly, Miles giving her flowers, the chilling recreation of conceal and search, and the murdered pigeon — are additionally nods to the movie. Dani Clayton’s final identify is even a tribute to The Innocents‘ director, Jack Clayton.
The Jolly Nook
In The Flip of the Screw, we all know little about Miles and Flora’s absentee uncle, however Flanagan constructed out the character by mixing him with the narrator of certainly one of James’ finest ghost tales, The Jolly Nook. On this brief story, an American who had been residing in Europe returns to New York, the place he turns into haunted by the monstrous man he would have been had he stayed. In Bly Manor, Henry Wingrave can be haunted by his ghostly double, however this time the evil alter ego is a manifestation of his guilt over his Dominic (Matthew Holness) and Charlotte’s (Alex Essoe) deaths. Each tales deal vastly with the topic’s disgrace and the facility of selections, and each have comparatively blissful endings, with Henry and the unnamed narrator going through their doppelgängers and discovering validation that this ghastly double is not who they honestly are.
The Romance of Sure Previous Garments
The Haunting of Bly Manor‘s eighth episode is an adaptation of this brief story and serves because the origin story for Bly’s ghostly curse. Similar to within the present, it facilities round sisters Viola and Perdita Willoughby, whose sibling rivalry is exacerbated when one of many sisters marries Arthur Lloyd — though within the e book it is Perdita who marries Arthur, not Viola. Particulars together with the ladies residing at Bly, Viola’s (Kate Siegel) six-year illness, and her turning into the Woman within the Lake had been invented for the collection, however the story’s climax — by which the ghost of the lifeless sister murders the opposite for opening the trunk regardless of her needs — is pure Henry James.
The Beast within the Jungle
This 1903 novella is what impressed Dani’s tragic ending on the finish of Bly Manor. The novella is the story of James Marcher, a person who believes he’s destined for a spectacular, catastrophic destiny. And in ready for this destiny to come back to fruition, Marcher permits life to move him by, together with by no means letting himself love his trustworthy companion, Could, since he would not wish to topic anybody to his impending doom. However after Could dies, Marcher realizes his beast has lastly sprung and that his grievous future was to appreciate too late that he ought to have spent his life residing and loving reasonably than obsessing over his personal perception he was destined for one thing extra. In Bly Manor, Flanagan takes these identical concepts however offers it a extra bittersweet spin, exhibiting Dani nonetheless discovering love and happiness with Jamie for years, regardless of her data of her lurking beast, till in the future Viola returns and Dani succumbs to her destiny to turn out to be the Woman within the Lake.
The Altar of the Useless
Though Bly’s housekeeper Mrs. Grose originated in Flip of the Screw, the present’s tackle this character has extra in widespread with the protagonist from The Altar of the Useless. The 1895 story follows Stransom, a person who’s faithfully dedicated to his altar of the lifeless, which started as a technique to honor his late fiancé. Over time, worshipping the lifeless and honoring their reminiscence turns into extra necessary to Stransom than residing life. When Stransom meets a girl who shares his beliefs, it appears as if their relationship could progress — notably after the aunt she had lived with dies, opening up the prospect for higher freedom and intimacy between the pair — that’s, till he learns that she had beforehand liked his late good friend, who had wronged Stransom so vastly in life that he had refused to gentle a candle for him. This previous grievance blocks Stransom from constructing this current relationship, and the pair develop aside. The story ends when the 2 reunite at his altar, the place he lights one final candle for himself and dies. It is easy to see shades of Hannah, in addition to her relationship with Owen (Rahul Kohli), on this mournful story about somebody whose will to self-sacrifice and whose previous ache blocks their likelihood to reside life. However, like within the present, The Altar of the Useless ends with a reminder of the significance of affection and forgiveness, even within the face of demise.
Our beloved cook dinner Owen takes his first identify from this brief story, and it is the place the Wingrave household will get their final identify. Owen Wingrave tells the story of a younger man from a army household who decides to stop his martial training. Along with his household angered at his so-called dishonorable selection, Owen goes to bravely face the ghosts of his ancestors by sleeping in a haunted room on the household’s property, solely to die within the night time. Whereas the Owen in Bly Manor additionally grapples with balancing household obligations along with his private wishes, he’s lucky sufficient to not undergo an identical destiny.
The Nice Good Place
The dream-hopping the characters expertise in Bly Manor is harking back to the dream world the protagonist in The Nice Good Place visits. (The characters additionally discuss with Bly as a “nice good place” a number of instances within the first episode.) Within the story, George Dane is a author who, overwhelmed by the nonstop duties of life, finds himself transported to a fantasy realm that is free of those burdens. On this serene place, Dane’s consciousness is reborn. Via this expertise, he is capable of bear a reunification course of between his inside and outer worlds, in order that when Dane wakes up from his dream, he has a newfound sense of peace about life. One can see these concepts concerning the relationship between consciousness and id taking part in out by means of the ghosts in Bly Manor, whose destiny — shedding their consciousness, and subsequently their id — is introduced as the final word horror. Within the present, when the characters slip out and in of their dream worlds, that are often defining recollections from their pasts, it is not almost as peaceable as on this story. However for some — like Hannah — the expertise does pay related dividends to what Dane skilled, with Hannah capable of finding peace and unity inside herself after the desires power her to get involved together with her true self and wishes.
Sir Edmund Orme
Dani is already haunted by the ghost of her ex-fiancé, Edmund (Roby Attal), when she arrives at Bly. This backstory is impressed by James’ Sir Edmund Orme, which focuses on a male narrator who falls for Charlotte Marden solely to start seeing the ghost who has lengthy haunted Charlotte’s mom. Each Mrs. Marden and the narrator see the ghost of Edmund Orme, whom the widow had jilted proper earlier than they had been to be married. Consequently, Edmund’s ghost haunts her and anybody who’s in love with Charlotte within the hopes doing so will stop the daughter from repeating her mom’s actions. Edmund’s ghost disappears on the finish of the story, after Charlotte accepts the narrator’s proposal simply earlier than her mom’s demise. In Bly Manor, Edmund’s ghost additionally disappears abruptly, this time after Dani stands as much as him, lastly able to face him and clear a path for her future with Jamie.
On this brief story, Edmund can be described in instant succession as a “excellent” and “splendid presence,” which could have offered the inspiration for Flora’s favourite phrase, “completely splendid.”
The Portrait of a Woman
The identify of Viola’s daughter is taken from certainly one of James’ most well-known novels, The Portrait of a Woman, which follows a free-spirited American lady, Isabel Archer, who loses her freedom and finds herself trapped in a grim marriage to a manipulative man. Along with offering inspiration for the identify of Viola’s daughter, one also can see thematic connections between Isabel Archer and Rebecca Jessel, as they’re each two bold, clever younger girls whose brilliant futures turn out to be derailed by falling for sinister males who view them as objects to own.
The Haunting of Bly Manor is streaming on Netflix.