The Haunting of Bly Manor: A beautiful piece of storytelling
Where did all the inspiration come from?
The Haunting of Hill House, the very first season in the anthology series was well0inspired by the novel with the same name by Shirley Jackson, everything with a lot of liberty. The book, where all those creative characters come together at Hill House to learn about paranormal phenomena. But, when we talk about the show, it’s a family that moves into the house, just a flip.
The series is also based on a highly recognizable work of Gothic fiction, you can have a hard time finding the same in the bookstore as Flanagan and co. made changes in the title with hopes to make the show fit into the current “Haunting” brand. Henry James’ novella The Turn of the Screw has been the biggest inspiration for Bly Manor, if you have been through the text, you can come to know about many original foundational elements: two very creepy children, a remote mansion, and the young nanny in trouble.
The entire show closely revolves around the basic plot of the source material, yes, it makes changes in the story from Victorian times to the 1980s. It actually means that the central theme of the book, the repressed sexuality of the governess, can be discovered in more overt ways.
Converting probably a shorter version of the novella into a nine-hour TV show actually means that the two characters of Miss Jessel and Peter Quint, who didn’t exist in the novel, can be planned with more details. Also, the strange behavior of the housekeeper, Mrs. Grose, has been explained in an exciting way. And, it has a happy ending.
Now, you must be wondering, although, the Lady of the Lake never showed up in The Turn of the Screw. and the titles of the episodes didn’t really comply with the show, are you wondering the same? The reason behind this is Flanagan relied on various ghost stories that were written by Henry James so as to create the world and mythology of Bly Manor, and the season revolves around the work done by the author.
The old tricks sometimes work…
Comes with his old tricks yet again, Mike Flanagan, in The Haunting of Bly Manor. The extraordinary nine-part series, stars veterans from The Haunting of Hill House which came in the year 2018, this includes Henry Thomas, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Victoria Pedretti, and there are plenty of hidden ghosts.
Flanagan along with his fellow writers are again coming up with a story of a haunted mansion, and this, in turn, means that their set is again going to be surrounded by shadowy spirits. Sometimes viewers can spot them whereas their existence can be missed at times.
In the first few episodes of the series, ghosts can be seen in every corner, it feels like whether protagonist, Dani, is on a fun-house ride. The series comes to the right path in the midway, the ghosts are included sporadically in the back half. Of course, there are many of them by one specifically active Bly Manor ghost the same must have been missed by many viewers, and this is what brings us here!
It is important to note that through most of the part we are skipping “unhidden” ghosts such as Peter Quint, or you can call it the glowing eyes the one that is seen by Dani in reflection many times.
Taken from the source nicely…
The series is not at all about family, it is actually not about biological family. Every single individual who lives in the eponymous manor has been separated from their near and dear ones, the reason can be disease, trauma, or even death. The same story has been told to a family on the night right before a wedding in a framing device taken nicely from the source.
Now, you will find the narrator describing the story of an American teacher who, in the year 1987, works as an au pair in the English countryside and she is looking forward to escaping her own past. In the beginning, it might seem an idyllic life watching over two precocious children in a slow-motion, no less than a frog in boiling water.
Every single episode of the series is not distributed to the various characters. Every episode has a different focus and this is on a different aspect of the past, be it young Miles’ restless tries to get back home from boarding school, the journey of au pair Dani from America to Britain, or you can talk about the death of au pair Miss Jessel. Everything has been explored like they are memories.
The most thematically driven original series
You can call this series the most thematically driven original series. All the scenes look on a mission to show grief, memory, and escapism. Every character has been lost in a completely different way, it can be faith, denial, or the worst case, conversing with the dead.
The themes are built through the series as far as they reach a boiling point in any particular episode which entirely abandons the 1987 story altogether. Yes, it’s risky, and the fact is risks pay off. One episode is enough to make or break a series, we can talk about the one in Bly Manor can stand with Castle Rock’s “The Queen” or Bojack Horseman’s “Free Churro” they are surely written nicely.
Yeah, there exist some scares galore, or we can say there is only one true jump scare during the conclusion, Bly Manor is a love story. A love story can be both unhealthy and twisted, it can be familial, it can also be forbidden, but, in the end, it’s all about love sticking around.
Most of the part of the series involves children, those children nimbly tread the fine line between adorable and believable, even if their role needs to be performed like adults. The entire cast plays every line with a haunting paranoia, and it’s actually an amazing thing to watch.
How do we treat our memories is the biggest takeaway from the series. Do we go back to them for the purpose of coping?
Or, are they an unhealthy escape? Do these memories ever fade away?
Let’s take a scene into consideration, the manor’s resident chef, Owen, talks about his beloved mother, she is dealing with dementia, and she says she has been gone for a long time. In the end, the only thing that is left is a beautiful story, the one that has been framed in the show.
Don’t think that the series is horror series. It’s also so saturated in love, found family, it’s a joy you won’t think much about.
In place of trying to give the existing one an improvement, Flanagan’s thoughtful, if uneven, retellings put them on the couch of analysts, dissecting the themes and characters with a lot of patience. In the first half, Bly Manor takes into account what has propelled Dani, the chef (Rahul Kohli’s Owen) as well as the estate’s other denizens into a well of gravity in the English countryside. As the episodes continue, a question comes out, will they ever escape it?
With the help of the ’80s setting and some of the same cast members from Hill House, Flanagan brings out yet another exceptional tragedy with meticulous attention to detail.