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What Is Bly Manor in The Haunting of Hill House Season 2?

The Haunting of Hill House

Netflix has confirmed a follow-up to its hit supernatural horror series The Haunting of Hill House. While the first season loosely adapted Shirley Jackson's acclaimed novel of the same name, the second season will take inspiration from a different, but no less chilling, horror classic.

Accompanying the announcement, the Twitter account for the Netflix series released a promo featuring an audio clip of ominous whispers that included the phrase "empty with a great emptiness." Less than an hour later, a second post confirmed the horror series will adopt an anthology format, with the second season rebranded as The Haunting of Bly Manor, based on the works of author Henry James. But what is Bly Manor?

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It's the principal location of James' 1898 novel, The Turn of the Screw. The Gothic novella centers on a young governess hired to look after two orphaned children in an English manor. Soon thereafter, the older child, Miles, returns to Bly Manor after being expelled from school under mysterious circumstances, joined by his younger sister Flora.

As the governess acquaints herself with the children, she begins to see on the ground and in the house a man and woman whom she doesn't recognize, and who seem to appear and disappear at will. Upon investigating the matter, the governess discovers they were former employees in an illicit relationship who both died suddenly. As the couple frequently spent time with the children while they were alive, the governess realizes the children are being haunted and tacitly aware of the ghosts' presence.

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After sending Flora away to be cared for by her uncle directly, the governess confronts Miles in the manor, only to find him in the presence of the male ghost, Quint. As Miles explains the reasons behind his expulsion, the governess attempts to save the boy from the ghost, only for Miles to fall dead as Quint vanishes.

The story has been adapted several times, and inspired countless ghost stories of its own, from a lengthy storyline in the popular, supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows to the acclaimed 2001 film The Others, starring Nicole Kidman. James grounded the paranormal elements of his story in realism, leaving readers to debate whether the ghosts are real or simply delusions of the unnamed governess, reflecting Victorian themes of sexual repression and maintaining a facade of nobility in the face of mental illness.

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Given how The Haunting of Hill House drew inspiration from the 1959 Jackson novel, The Haunting of Bly Manor will likely be a very loose adaptation of James' work, updated for more modern sensibilities. Despite that, the second season could function as a Crimson Peak-esque period piece or else be modernized entirely. And given the lives of the ghosts menacing the children figuring prominently before the governess' arrival, the adaptation could play with multiple time periods similar to the first season of the Netflix series. Either way, Season 2 of the horror anthology series has certainly found a strong, classic literary inspiration and looks like to double down on its sinister exploration of the supernatural with at least two malevolent spirits moving forward.

The Haunting of Bly Manor is scheduled to arrive in 2020 on Netflix.

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