Dearest reader: It is with bated breath that we await the second season of Netflix’s Bridgerton, the most extraordinarily romantic (and superlatively horny) period drama streaming.
Based on Julia Quinn’s beloved books of the same name, the Shonda Rhimes-produced show returns March 25 with eight new episodes that will once again chronicle courtship in Regency-era London.
Season one was mostly adapted from the first book in the series, The Duke And I, and centered on the will-they/won’t-they of Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page). But creator/showrunner Chris Van Dusen didn’t stop there, pulling liberally from multiple Quinn titles for the series’ freshman season.
Netflix’s Bridgerton mixes and matches numerous storylines from the books, while adding heaps of new ideas all its own. We’ve sifted through the major differences between the source material and the show so far and come up with five ways we think that might impact the drama and dalliances of season two.
Lady Whistledown could be unmasked—and soon
The season one finale revealed Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) to be none other than scandal columnist Lady Whistledown. This stunning disclosure is far and away the most jaw-dropping Bridgerton TV development to date–but surprisingly, doesn’t happen until midway through book four, Romancing Mister Bridgerton.
Cluing audiences in on Penelope’s double life this early on sets in motion a more hastened hunt for Whistledown’s true identity. In the books, it’s Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) who stirs the pot by offering £1,000 as a reward to whoever exposes the writer. But in the show, it’s new character Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) who declares war on Whistledown. (Remember Penelope’s harried carriage escape from police?)
Will the queen successfully uncloak London’s most prolific muckraker? Based on the season two trailer, Her Royal Highness certainly seems eager to at once.
Anthony might be harder to root for
Quinn’s second book, The Viscount Who Loved Me, tells the love story of Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), which would have been enticing enough source material if TV Anthony weren’t so low-key insufferable.
In the books, Anthony is written as a fiercely loving and loyal brother who, despite being a smidge overbearing, regards his sisters’ desires for “love matches” with respect. He’s the opposite on the show, half-assedly trying to find Daphne a husband before throwing up his hands and promising her to the awful Nigel Berbrooke (Jamie Beamish). Plus, Anthony is horrible to his opera-singing mistress Siena (Sabrina Bartlett), who deserved better even if her character played a smaller, slightly different role in the books.
Anthony ended season one resolute in his desire to find a “sensible” partner, saying, “I have finally determined the difficulty: love itself. Removing it from all romantic relations shall make me all the better for it.” He’s just as practical in the books, but not nearly as annoying. Let’s hope he gets more likable–and fast.
Benedict’s love story may feature a familiar character
An Offer From A Gentleman, Quinn’s third Bridgerton book, spotlights Benedict (Luke Thompson) as he falls for an unknown woman at a masquerade ball and then yearns to know her identity. The Cinderella story fosters some of the most delightful moments in the books–largely because love interest Sophie is incredibly charming and her romance with Benedict equally as sweet.
So we get readers’ bewilderment at the introduction of the fabulously entertaining new character Genevieve Delacroix (Kathryn Drysdale) in Bridgerton season one. Benedict took up with the “modiste” (that’s a 19th-century term for a dressmaker) part way through the season, and, despite explaining that she went back to France in the finale, seemed seriously into her up until then.
Might Benedict find his way back to Genevieve–or was she really just a red herring for Lady Whistledown? It’s worth noting that, if Sophie is added to the show, some fans are hoping changes will be made to allow an LGBTQ+ storyline.
Prince Friedrich could return at pretty much any time
Speaking of newcomers, Prince Friedrich (Freddie Stroma) is still on the market–a fact the mamas of Grosvenor Square aren’t soon to forget.
After naming Daphne “the season’s incomparable” in Bridgerton’s premiere episode, the Queen goes about matchmaking the eldest Bridgerton daughter with her royal nephew Friedrich. Status, wealth, and looks: The blissfully boring Prince of Prussia is a perfect match for Daphne in every way–excluding the teensy detail that she doesn’t love him. Of course, after a very Twilight battle of the buff boys, the Duke and Daphne wed, and Prince Friedrich was heartbroken.
There aren’t any eligible Prussian princes in Quinn’s books, but there are plenty of places to slot in the dashing love interest. Maybe the Prince will fall for Marina Thompson (Ruby Barker), whose role in the show changed considerably from the books. Or maybe he’ll return to Daphne, considering the actor who played the Duke up and quit the show. The princely possibilities are endless!
Fan-favorite Eloise may be on an entirely new path
If there’s one character audiences fell head over heels for in Bridgerton’s first season, it was Eloise (Claudia Jessie). Eloise is the most relatable Bridgerton, whose hysterical disdain for courting regularly steals scenes. “Why would a woman want to draw more notice to the fact she’s like a bird squawking for a man’s attention in some bizarre ritual?” she once mused over hair feathers.
Thus far, Eloise’s TV journey has been relatively similar to that of the books. But the appearance of Sir Phillip Crane (Chris Fulton) in the first-season finale left readers with questions about what lies ahead. Recall that Phillip married Marina after his brother George–Marina’s true love–died in battle.
We can’t speculate on how this seemingly unrelated plot point effects Eloise too much, lest we spoil some of the show’s most exciting source material. But if you want to know what we know about what Eloise is “supposed” to do with Phillip, then read book five, To Sir Phillip, With Love. It won’t provide answers, per se, but it will give you plenty more to think about while you wait not-so-patiently for Bridgerton season two.
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