As every true fan knows by now, Netflix’s Bridgerton series is based on the bestselling book franchise by Julia Quinn. So far, the first and second seasons have corresponded to the first and second books—The Duke and I and The Viscount Who Loved Me, which follow the love stories of Bridgerton siblings Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) and Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), respectively. The producers and writing staff made a few changes in adapting the books to the screen, but thankfully there were a few elements they didn’t dare cut. Here are some of our favorites from Season 2, now available in its entirety on Netflix.
Note: There are spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen the whole season yet you may want to come back to this later.
Newton the Corgi
Kate’s dog Newton is described in The Viscount Who Loved Me as “somewhat overweight,” with a “belly that almost dragged on the ground,” but we’re not going to body shame this very good boy. Newton’s relationship with Kate’s (Simone Ashley) stepmother Mary has a ring of familiarity to it.
“So,” Kate continued determinedly, “poor Newton regards Mary as something of a challenge. So when he sees her . . .” She shrugged helplessly. “Well, I’m afraid he simply adores her more.”
There’s another scene from the book in which Newton is the cause of someone falling into a lake, though in the text it’s Edwina who gets tackled by the over-zealous pooch rather than Anthony tripping over him. But we’re not going to complain about the change, especially when it’s a clear homage to the original romance hero secretly plagued by feelings of passion—Mr. Darcy as portrayed by Colin Firth in the original Pride and Prejudice‘s BBC series.
The Eldest Sibling’s Dilemma
This is more of a theme that has been carried over from the books rather than a specific scene, line, or character. It’s the concept of duty and its flip side, self-sacrifice, and what ties Anthony and Kate together. Being eldest siblings, they are both expected to set aside their own desires in favor of what’s best for their families. For Kate, preparing Edwina for the marriage mart and finding her a advantageous match is far more important than anything she may want. She’s already accepted her fate as a spinster who may never marry. All that matters is ensuring Edwina’s happiness. The same is true for Anthony. As the acting head of the family it’s his responsibility to produce a suitable heir. He’s not looking for love. In fact, he’s actively looking to avoid it and all the complications it brings. The irony that was too good to do away with in the adaptation is that the similarities between Kate and Anthony’s situations make them perfectly suited to each other, but also ensures these two selfless idiots a rocky road to a happy ending.
A Game of Pall Mall
The ultra-competitive nature of the Bridgerton siblings is revealed when the Sharma sisters (their names were changed from Sheffield to Sharma, continuing the Season 1 trend of diverse casting) join them in a cutthroat round of the lawn game more popularly known today as croquet. The scene was one of the highlights of The Viscount Who Loved Me, and much of it was brought into the show. Even the infamous “mallet of death,” Anthony’s usual black mallet which he’s forced to relinquish to Kate, has its origins in the book. Once again, he’s left with a pink set. The game ends differently in the two versions, though both use it as an excuse to put Anthony and Kate alone together in close proximity. Of course sparks–as well as pall mall balls–fly.
In both the books and the series, Anthony inherits the title of Viscount Bridgerton at the age of 18, when his father dies from a simple bee sting. This event profoundly changes his life and outlook. From that moment on, Anthony becomes certain that he will die at a young age, just as his father did. This isn’t spelled out as clearly in the show as it is in the books, but it’s heavily implied. And so, when Kate is also stung by a bee in his presence his panic is only natural. She has no adverse reaction, but both book Anthony and show Anthony completely lose it on her. The saucy bee goes right for her chest, and so does Anthony, bringing an element of sexual tension to the moment. In the series, the scene ends without any major consequences, other than Kate being surprised and confused by his intense reaction. But in the books, he actually attempts to suck the venom out, and the two are caught in the act by Anthony’s mother, Lady Mary, and Lady Featherington. What follows is the main point of divergence between the two stories, as they are subsequently forced to save their honor by getting married (a situation that’s come up before on the show in different permutations, and will again).
“You are the bane of my existence. And the object of all my desires.”
Yes, the most swoon-worthy line in the show came straight from The Viscount Who Loved Me, though not originally in dialogue form. The actual passage reads:
And then there was Kate Sheffield.
The bane of his existence.
And the object of his desires.
All at once.
Heady stuff, and it sounds even better in Jonathan Bailey’s voice.
This last one is actually not from The Viscount and I, but Colin does become a seasoned traveler in later books, and his travels play an important part in the fourth installment, Romancing Mister Bridgerton. That book is kicked off by a scene we saw near the end of the Season 2 finale. Penelope overhears Colin announcing to a group of his gentleman friends that he’d never dream of courting her. Which, in romance world, is a sure sign that he’ll eventually come to feel the opposite and regret those words. Surely something to look forward to. Also, a good portion of the book revolves around uncovering the identity of Lady Whistledown (Bridgerton fans already know it’s Penelope, but it remains a mystery in the books until Romancing Mister Bridgerton). As more characters on the show learn the truth, it’s bound to come out sooner or later, so we have hope that the rest of that book will serve as inspiration in coming seasons as well.