Mixing the marriage dramas of the London elite of the early 19th century and a modern tone that fits from sex scenes to string versions of songs by Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish, ‘ The Bridgertons ‘ stands as a romantic comedy. as anachronistic as it is charming. The Netflix series has had a great reception among viewers, who have fallen prey this Christmas time of its torrid romances, its duels at dawn and its ‘Austenian’ essence.
But the story of the Bridgerton family began on paper, in the successful series of books written by Julia Quinn. They are based on the series created by Chris Van Dusen under the label of Shondaland (the producer of Shonda Rhimes ), which will follow the same structure: each season is based on a book, and each book focuses on one of the brothers and sisters. of the family. The first season follows the story of ‘The Duke and I’ starring Daphne Bridgerton ( Phoebe Dynevor ), but fans of Quinn’s novels will have been surprised to see that this adaptation changes a lot from the original material.
From paper to the small screen, ‘The Bridgertons’ has undergone many changes and we analyze them here, from those characters that have appeared out of nowhere or that have suddenly gained more prominence than they had, to certain moments that have softened in their jump to images. Hold on to your cup of tea because we’re going to drop all the T.
A London free of racism
As many will have deduced, it is not true that the London of 1813 was so diverse and free from racism. In Julia Quinn’s books there are no explicit mentions of the protagonists’ skin color, so creator Chris Van Dusen, along with Shonda Rhimes, just needed an excuse to unleash the diversity of their elitist British society, and they found her in Queen Charlotte. There is a theory not completely confirmed among historians that the monarch at that time, wife of King George III, had African ancestors.
The series accepts this fact as true and takes it to its ultimate consequences: they invent a new situation in which the queen decides to use her position of power and influence to offer titles and lands to various black families in the country, including the Duchy of Hastings to the father of Simon Basset ( Regé-Jean Page ). But this whole situation is exclusive to the Netflix series: in the books, the character played by Golda Rosheuvel was not featured at all and the black characters in the series, such as Lady Danbury ( Adjoa Andoh ), were simply not specified as such, per what can not be spoken of a change between the two stories, but of an interpretation.
The foreign prince, Lord Featherington and other characters that did not exist
No, Queen Charlotte is not the only one who has appeared in the series without first going through the Julia Quinn books. This adaptation of Shondaland has taken a lot of creative licenses and added a lot of characters that weren’t originally in the story. This is the case of Prince Friederich ( Freddie Stroma ), the gallant foreign heir who tries to woo Daphne, which in reality is only an addition to increase the tensions in the relationship between the young woman and the Duke.
Another that we won’t see in the books either is Lord Featherington ( Ben Miller ), who should have died before the beginning of the story and yet is alive and well (and betting) on the Netflix series. Thus, Lady Featherington is not a widow, but a woman obsessed with marrying off her daughters while, without her knowing it, the family fortune hangs by a thread. Joining this list of new characters are Will Mondrich ( Martins Imhangbe ), Simon’s friends he boxing with, Genevieve Delacroix ( Kathryn Drisdale ), the seamstress with a fake French accent who has an affair with Benedict Bridgerton, and her friend Siena. Rosso ( Sabrina Bartlett), the opera singer who has a steamy affair with Anthony Bridgerton. Although there is more fabric to cut from the latter.
Siena Rosso was in the books, but different
The opera singer appears very early in the first season of ‘The Bridgertons’ as the romantic interest of Anthony Bridgerton, the first-born of the family. Both are maintaining a passionate romantic and sexual relationship that goes through many ups and downs, mainly caused by Anthony’s inability to fully commit to the relationship in the face of pressure from his mother to adopt the role of patriarch in the family, in the absence of his late father, and so that he soon finds a good wife. And in that “of good”, according to the standards of the society of the time, Siena Rosso does not enter.
In the books there is a somewhat different character, Maria Rosso, who is also an opera singer but who does not catch Anthony’s attention until the second book, ‘The Viscount Who Loved Me’. That is to say, that during the first book, on which this first season of the series is based, the woman does not have anything of prominence nor does she maintain a relationship with the oldest of the Bridgertons. What will happen in the future, we will have to see later. We’re not giving you too many spoilers ahead of season two!
The Marina Thompson drama
One of the most complicated situations in ‘The Bridgertons’ is that of Marina Thompson, a Feather ington cousin who comes to London to revolutionize the marriage market with her beauty and charm. But she has a secret: she is already in love with another man, a soldier who fights in the war, and she is pregnant with him. As we know, this causes numerous problems and various situations during the first season, which finally ends with the engagement between Marina and Sir Philip Crane, her lover’s brother, who is revealed to have died in combat.
In the books, this is true … more or less. Marina Thompson is never too big of a character to begin with, and Quinn doesn’t give her as much prominence on paper as the show does. Indeed, Marina marries Sir Philip Crane, but the little that we are told about her is that they have a very unhappy marriage, that she suffers from a deep depression and that, finally (as it is known in the fifth book of the saga), committed suicide. It remains to be seen what the series does with the character taking into account this bitter future. Although, with how much they have decided to change the events of the book, perhaps Marina Thompson will find a happy ending.
The controversial sex scene
One of the most controversial scenes in ‘The Bridgertons’ comes during the war between Simon and Daphne during the first months of their marriage. She wants to have children, but he wants to fulfill the vengeful promise he made to his father and refuses to have children. In the series, after a series of misunderstandings (that if ‘wanting’ and ‘power’ are not the same …), Daphne discovers how human fertilization works and understands that, every time her husband expels semen out, it a maneuver not to get her pregnant. So he decides to take the reins and trick him into doing it inside this time. A questionable decision, at least. But in the books it is even worse.
Quinn wrote these moments with other nuances that, for the sake of the sympathy that viewers should have for the characters, have been lost in his television adaptation. For example, when Daphne finds out why she is not getting pregnant, she tells Simon that she will no longer sleep with him, leading the man to threaten to rape her and remind her that he is his property. Fortunately, the situation does not reach more. Later we have the scene in which Daphne cheats on him, like in the series, but in the books he drunk enters her room and she takes advantage of the situation. In the series, all this moment is softer, although equally reprehensible.
The mystery of Lady Whistledown
At the end of the first season of ‘The Bridgertons’ we find out who Lady Whistledown is, and fans of the books will have been surprised. Not because of her identity ( we reveal it here ), which is the same as in Quinn’s fiction, but because of how soon the news arrives: on paper, we don’t know who the newsletter is until the fourth book. So the series leaves us with that mix of narrative ‘twist’ and ‘cliffhanger’ for the second season, where they will surely continue to explore what this character hides, voiced by Julie Andrews.