9 Major Differences Between "Bridgerton" Season 2 and the Books
If you're heading into season two of Netflix's "Bridgerton" expecting a direct adaptation of Julia Quinn's book "The Viscount Who Loved Me," you might be in for a bit of a surprise. The focus of the season is still on Anthony Bridgerton's search for a suitable wife, his insistence on avoiding love, and how his plans are thrown into disarray by the arrival of two sisters, Kate and Edwina.
However, the new season adds some storylines (and even characters) that don't exist or are just alluded to in the books, just like the first season did. This season, though, included some notable changes to the main plot that will definitely have book readers debating for quite some time! From minor tweaks to deepened backstory to major reshuffling of significant events, there's lots to go over when it comes to this adaptation.
So what changes can book readers expect to see when watching season two of "Bridgerton" on Netflix? We've rounded up all of the biggest differences between "The Viscount Who Loved Me" and the latest Netflix season. What did you think of these changes?
Kate and Anthony's First Meeting in the "Bridgerton" Books vs. TV Show
In the book "The Viscount Who Loved Me," Kate and Anthony don't meet until the first ball of the season. Their first encounter happens after Anthony dances with Edwina (much to Kate's dismay, knowing his reputation), and Kate meets Colin, who acknowledges Anthony's less-than-romantic courting plans. Their first conversation is downright hostile, although very charged, as Kate warns him away from Edwina and Anthony decides he enjoys the challenge.
The Netflix adaptation gives the pair an earlier first meeting that foreshadows their competitively flirtatiousness connection. Early one morning, on his way home from one of his many dalliances, Anthony spots a woman on horseback galloping across a field. He goes after her thinking she needs help, but she goes even faster. When he finally catches up to her, she teases him for losing their "race" and they banter a bit. The woman is, of course, Kate, and they're clearly into each other. It sours quickly, though, when they meet again in society and Kate overhears Anthony discussing his intentions to marry without love.
The Featherington Family Troubles in the "Bridgerton" Books vs. TV Show
Throughout most of the Bridgerton book series, the Featherington family is largely out of focus, except for Penelope. The Netflix adaptation, however, gives them considerably more screen time. In season two, their storyline revolves largely around the arrival of Jack, the new Lord Featherington, and the family's financial problems following the late Baron Featherington's gambling debts and murder.
On the one hand, Jack seems willing to provide for his newfound cousins, even providing Philippa with her dowry to marry Mr. Finch, her sweet, dorky beau from season one. On the other hand, he soon sets his own marital sights on the bullying Cressida Cowper because, as it turns out, he's broke too! In the end, Jack proves to be an even more conniving scammer than the previous Lord Featherington, and despite Lady Featherington initially eagerly participating (and even, at some points, directing) his schemes, she eventually throws him under the bus to protect her daughters.
The Pursuit of Lady Whistledown in the "Bridgerton" Books vs. TV Show
On screen, the quest to discover Lady Whistledown's identity is a major preoccupation for several characters, including Eloise and Queen Charlotte. In the second season, that obsession only grows, leading Eloise to form a sweet connection with a brand new character who wasn't in the books — a printing assistant named Theo, who, like her, is into radical progressive politics. We also get to see Penelope's increasingly creative methods to conceal her identity as Whistledown. (Shout-out to Madame Delacroix for her assist!)
Penelope also faces a devastating choice when the Queen begins to suspect that Eloise is Whistledown: let her best friend face the Queen's wrath, or write a scandalous article about Eloise to prove that it can't be her. While Penelope's article exposing Eloise for spending time unchaperoned with Theo works to get the Queen off of Eloise's back, it also gives Eloise the last puzzle piece she needs to realize Penelope is Whistledown. The result is a devastating (and hopefully temporary) BFF breakup.
In the books, however, that plot line doesn't really exist. Queen Charlotte isn't even a character in the books, Eloise doesn't care nearly as much about uncovering Whistledown, and book readers don't learn Whistledown's identity until the fourth book in the series.
The Sharma Family Backstory in the "Bridgerton" Books vs. TV Show
At the very beginning of "The Viscount Who Loved Me," we get a brief overview of the Sheffield family history. Mary is Edwina's mother and Kate's stepmother, but has raised Kate since she was very young. Now, after Edwina and Kate's father's death, they need to make good matches in order to get out of their financial situation.
The Netflix adaptation adds a few new wrinkles beyond just changing the family name to Sharma. In this version, Mary Sharma was born Mary Sheffield, a well-to-do woman and a previous "diamond" of her season. She was disowned by her family when she married a poor clerk who already had a daughter (Kate) and ran off to India with her new family. After her husband's death, Lady Mary and her daughters are left in dire financial straits. Her estranged family makes an offer when Kate contacts them secretly: if Edwina can marry a titled Englishman, the Sheffields will cover her dowry and take care of Lady Mary for life — but Kate, not being a blood relative, will be left out in the cold.
The Bee Sting Scene in the "Bridgerton" Books vs. TV Show
"The Viscount Who Loved Me" has one of the most famous and wonderfully bonkers scenes in the entire Bridgerton series. During a conversation with Anthony, Kate is stung by a bee. Anthony panics, flashing back to when he watched his father die from a seemingly insignificant bee sting, and he tries to literally suck the venom out of Kate. The problem is, she was stung on her upper chest, and his mother and Lady Featherington spot them in what appears to be a compromising position. It's this incident that forces Anthony to marry Kate midway through the book, much like his sister Daphne had to with Simon previously.
Perhaps to avoid those comparisons to the previous season's "and now we must get married" storyline, the Netflix version changes up this scene. Kate does get stung, and Anthony does panic, but there's no "sucking the venom." Instead, Anthony panics and Kate reassures him, putting his hand on her heart so he can feel that's she's fine. They nearly kiss before freaking out and leaving without anyone seeing them.
Edwina and Anthony's Courtship in the "Bridgerton" Books vs. TV Show
Although she's the diamond of the season, Edwina also has the unfortunate fate of being the unwitting third wheel in a love triangle between her suitor, Anthony, and her sister, Kate. In the books, this is all handled fairly casually. While they like one another well enough, Edwina and Anthony's relationship doesn't get all that far before the bee sting incident forces him to abandon the pursuit of Edwina and marry Kate instead.
In the Netflix version, however, things get a lot more dramatic. Desperate to prove himself, Anthony actually proposes to Edwina, and Edwina truly develops feelings for him. They even get as far as the wedding before Edwina realizes that she's not the sister he really wants. Edwina calls off the wedding at the alter, and although she's upset with Kate for a time, the sisters reconcile after Kate falls off her horse and is knocked unconscious. When Kate comes to, Edwina encourages her sister to stop living for other people and is supportive of Kate and Anthony's marriage.
The Netflix version even gets the Queen involved in the plot! Seeing an opportunity to get one up on Lady Whistledown, the Queen shocks everyone and announces that she was the one who called off Anthony and Edwina's wedding. She then suggests that Edwina might like to meet her nephew, a prince . . . sound familiar?
Marina's Return in the "Bridgerton" Books vs. TV Show
The Netflix version of Marina Thompson, now Marina Crane, is already very different from her character in the books. In the book series, Marina is never seen on the page. She's only talked about in the past tense in Eloise's book, "To Sir Phillip With Love," where she is the late wife of Sir Phillip Crane and a distant cousin to the Bridgertons.
For Netflix's version, Marina is the main character in the first season; she's a cousin of the Featheringtons, who turns out to be pregnant by her love, a man named George Crane. With George having vanished while fighting overseas, she desperately seeks a quick marriage to save herself and her child, setting her sights on Colin Bridgerton. He falls for her fast, but when Whistledown reveals her pregnancy, he breaks up with her over her lies. She winds up marrying George's brother, Phillip, after learning George has died.
Marina makes a surprise reappearance in season two when Colin comes to visit her. It's a bittersweet meeting, but Marina surprises Colin by noting that he has someone who loves him in Penelope, if he'd only open his eyes to see it.
Penelope's Heartbreak in the "Bridgerton" Books vs. TV Show
One of the slowest-burning storylines on "Bridgerton" (and in the book series as well) is Penelope's seemingly unrequited love for Colin. They're close, but he only sees her as a friend in the beginning. In the books, there's a heartbreaking moment near the beginning of the fourth book, "Romancing Mr. Bridgerton," in which Pen overhears Colin heatedly telling his brothers that he would never marry her.
That scene does still happen in the Netflix version, but it's moved up to the end of season two, rather than waiting until the season based on the fourth book. After sharing a sweet dance during which Penelope starts to hope that maybe Colin is seeing her in a different light, she overhears his friends teasing him and him bro-ily asserting that he's not courting Pen and never would. This puts Penelope in a situation of double heartbreak, having been hurt by the man she secretly loves and "dumped" by her BFF, Eloise, after she was revealed to be Whistledown.
How Kate and Anthony End Up Together in the "Bridgerton" Books vs. TV Show
As mentioned earlier, in "The Viscount Who Loved Me," Kate and Anthony's enemies-to-lovers flirting abruptly takes a turn when the bee sting scene forces them to get married. They then spend the rest of the book dealing with Anthony's trauma issues that make him unwilling to fall in love, as well as Kate's feelings of inadequacy from being compared to her sister all her life. Eventually, after a carriage accident briefly puts Kate in danger, they give in to the fact that they really do love each other and make up for lost time.
In the TV version, things go quite differently. Even after the called-off wedding between Anthony and Edwina, Anthony and Kate struggle to be together, both having spent their lives putting their family duty first and repressing what they really want. The biggest departure from the books happens near the end of the season when Kate and Anthony have sex before they're even engaged. Kate even rejects his first proposal, despite having slept with him. It's only later, after a horse-riding accident and some heart-to-hearts with their families, that the pair decide to stop living for the sake of others and put their own hearts first.