11 huge differences between The Haunting of Bly Manor and the book it's based on
13 October 2020, 16:22 | Updated: 13 October 2020, 18:02
The Haunting of Bly Manor stays pretty loyal to Henry James' The Turn of the Screw but there are several major differences.
Netflix's The Haunting of Bly Manor and Henry James The Turn of the Screw are both scary but they're not exactly the same.
Just like The Haunting of Hill House before it, The Haunting of Bly Manor is based on a famous horror story. Bly Manor takes its main inspiration from Henry James' 1898 ghost story The Turn of the Screw. Both stories tell the tale of Bly and a governess, who comes to look after two orphans, Miles and Flora, only to find out that the house appears to be haunted.
Much of Bly Manor is loyal to the book it's based on but there are some big differences. With that in mind, here's 13 of them.
THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR SPOILERS BELOW
1) The series is based on multiple Henry James novels.
Yes. The Turn of the Screw has been adapted for screen multiple times so the creators of The Haunting franchise were keen to find ways to breathe new life into it. To do so, they used The Turn of the Screw as the main basis of Bly Manor and then they took inspiration from Henry James' many other ghost stories to change it up.
Each episode is named after a different Henry James story which is incorporated into the series. In other words, Bly Manor also contains elements of The Great Good Place, The Pupil, The Two Faces, The Way It Came, The Altar of the Dead, The Jolly Corner, The Romance of Certain Old Clothes and The Beast in the Jungle.
2) Jamie and Owen aren't part of the book at all.
The love story between Dani and Jamie? That's completely new. The love story between Owen and Hannah? That's new as well. In The Turn of the Screw, there's no gardener and no chef, which means there are no love interests for Dani or Hannah at all. While Bly Manor is a love story framed as a ghost story, The Turn of the Screw is simply a ghost story.
3) Miles dies in the book.
Perhaps the biggest change between the book and the series is what happens to Miles. In the book, Flora asks to never see the governess again after Dani asks her if she's seen the ghost of Miss Jessel. Mrs. Grose then takes Flora to her uncle and that night, left home alone with Miles, they both see the ghost of Peter Quint and Miles dies in Dani's arms.
Like the series, the book implies that Miles was possessed by Peter. However, in the book Miles is unable to escape Peter's grasp. The book ends with his death.
4) Hannah is never murdered in the book.
You know the big twist in episode 5 when we find out that Hannah is a ghost who was murdered by Peter possessing Miles? That doesn't happen in the book at all. At the end of The Turn of the Screw, Mrs. Grose is still alive and well.
Episode 5 is inspired by the Henry James tale The Altar of the Dead but, even in that story, the protagonist isn't a ghost.
5) There isn't a man in the mirror in the book.
The governess is British in the book and there's no backstory for her. So the whole history of Dani getting engaged, splitting up with her fiancé and him getting run over immediately afterwards is all new to Bly Manor. Consequently, we only see Dani feeling guilty about it and being haunted by the memory of his death in the series.
6) It's possible that Dani made it all up in the book.
While the events of Bly Manor are pretty set in stone in the TV series and the ghosts are real, they're open to interpretation in the book. The governess is presented as an unreliable narrator so it's possible that it was all in her head and the viewers are forced to decide if the ghosts of Peter Quint and Miss Jessel haunted her or not.
7) Episode 8 is an almost completely loyal adaptation of The Romance of Certain Old Clothes.
Episode 8 is based on Henry James' The Romance of Certain Old Clothes. In the story, Viola and Perdita are sisters who fall in love with the same man, just like in episode 8. Viola doesn't murder Perdita in the book but she does marry her husband after Perdita dies. Perdita's ghost then murders Viola years later when she opens a chest full of her old dresses.
8) The lady in the lake doesn't exist in the book.
While inspired by The Romance of Certain Old Clothes, Viola never becomes the lady in the lake in that story and she does not appear in The Turn of the Screw either. The lady in the lake story and the way in which it intertwines with the story of Miles and Flora is unique to The Haunting of Bly Manor.
9) There are only two ghosts in the book.
With the lady in the lake NOT being part of the Turn of the Screw, she's not able to murder hundreds of other people in Bly Manor so the only two ghosts in the book are Peter and Miss Jessel. Peter died slipping on ice while drunk and Rebecca either took her own life or was murdered by Peter's ghost.
10) The dollhouse isn't in the book.
With no lady in the lake, Flora doesn't need a dollhouse to track her moves in the book. You can thank the creators of The Haunting franchise for that detail.
11) The book is set almost 100 years before the series.
Given that it was written in 1898, The Turn of the Screw was set back then. The people behind Bly Manor decided to set it in the 80s so that the flash forwards could be set in the modern-day, just like Hill House.