The Haunting of Bly Manor is an epic gothic love story, and the love aspect is what makes the series so powerful.
What makes the Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix so brilliant is not the fact that it is a ghost story or a love story, but rather that it is a story that hold multiple meanings. There is something to be said for a series that is able to deliver some so beautiful and tragic that it leaves you both satisfied and wanting more.
At the end of the series, a grown up Flora tells our narrator that she framed her ghost story wrong and that it is instead a “love story.” And while I absolutely agree with this, and could probably write an entire essay on why this is truly an epic love story for the ages in many ways, it would be minimizing of the work that Mike Flanagan and his team did on Haunting of Bly Manor.
The Haunting of Bly Manor has reminded us that gothic romance can be just as beautiful and tragic as any ghost story told. And while Haunting of Hill House gave us a family haunted by not only the ghosts of their former home, but also of their own mistakes and tragedy, in Bly Manor it really is love that has trapped so many in this home.
Bly Manor Is Haunted by Love and Grief
What makes Haunting of Bly Manor so very tragic is that, from the very beginning, it is clear that love and romance are part of what is causing so much of the tragedy at this manor in the English countryside. And even as individual stories unfold and we learn the truth of each tragedy, it is clear that love and sacrifice is also what will set people free.
From a young nanny supposedly committing suicide after the man she loved left her behind (the truth is much more horrifying) to the housekeeper refusing to reveal that she is in love with the chef/chauffeur of the house, thinking that she has more time, there are individual stories that weave their way into the fabric of what makes this haunting so powerful.
If you learn nothing else from watching The Haunting of Bly Manor, you have to admit that love is one of the most powerful forces on Earth. The love of a mother toward her child (which ends up being the basis for what curses Bly Manor) to the love of a man and woman or a woman with another woman — these are all unique forms of love that can shape and change the direction of a person’s life.
One of the most beautiful love stories in The Haunting of Bly Manor has to be the one between Dani and Jamie. While there is a certain tragedy to their love story because of what Dani’s fate is, there is also so much beauty to it as well.
We get to see these two share a life together. And while it may not be as long as either of them hoped for, it’s still more than some people ever get. Considering that this relationship is at the heart of this entire tale (in many ways), there are plenty of people who are especially happy with the fact that it is a lesbian couple who get to have the true love story of the series.
In an interview with ELLE, Amelia Eve (who played Jamie) explained that, “When Mike told me Dani and Jamie were going to be a couple, this is gonna sound really silly, but I didn’t even think of them as a lesbian couple. It just felt like a relationship. These two people completed one another. That’s how we acted it, that’s what felt natural and what felt right — it’s just a relationship between two people who are in love.”
And once you watch all of Haunting of Bly Manor, it all makes sense. Because I never even thought about how significant the relationship was in terms of representation on TV; instead I saw two people in love and fighting with the ghosts of their pasts, both in the literal and figurative sense.
While you may go into watching Haunting of Bly Manor for the ghosts and potential horror aspect, the reality is that this is a beautiful, dark gothic story of love and loss. It is a ghost story, but it is so much more than that. And that is what makes the entire series so very special.
The Haunting of Bly Manor is streaming on Netflix now.