From Hill House to Bly Manor

We’re going to start today’s post by going back in time.

Every year, Goodreads allows you to set a reading goal for the year. Many people in my life participate in the reading challenge. I usually remember I have a Goodreads account every 18 months or so, so the Goodreads challenge isn’t one in which I participate, but it tends to be a popular conversation topic among the Horsemen.

Two of the Horsemen are particularly invested in scary movies and scary content in general – myself and Koop. I mentioned in an earlier blog post that in the early stages of our marriage (mine and Dom’s, not mine and Koop’s, we’re not a Greek tragedy) I lost movie-choosing privileges after making some terrible scary movie selections. I blame this on the fact that I moved away from Koop, and the distance damaged my scary movie meter.

So last year while working on his Goodreads goal, Koop asked for recommendations for books that he could read quickly but weren’t intentionally short because he didn’t want to cheat, and I recommended The Turn of the Screw.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James is my favorite Victorian era ghost story. How many Victorian era ghost story have I read? The answer is more than you would expect, but it’s a long story that revolves around my desire to only have class 4 days a week one semester of college.

Anywho! I loved Turn of the Screw. For the unconverted, Victorian era ghost stories are largely suspense-based. They rely more on subtly and build up than contemporary ghost stories. I thought that was code for “these books aren’t that scary” but that is categorically incorrect. C turned in early when I was about halfway through The Turn of the Screw and I realized I didn’t want to read the book when I was the only one awake in our apartment.

The story is about a governess who travels to Bly Manor to teach two young children. The circumstances at Bly are peculiar, but not worrisome enough for the governess to leave.

Traditionally, one of the reasons The Turn of the Screw was considered so scary was that it involved children. Funnily enough, it wasn’t until I wrote this post that I realized how that fact makes it a great selection for Hill House season 2. BUT NOW I’VE GOTTEN AHEAD OF MYSELF!

Koop read four chapters of Screw and then stopped. He said I tricked him into reading a hard book because he wasn’t prepared for the writing style because he’s a chicken.

So then I pestered him again and again and again to read it. And he didn’t. He did read The Haunting of Hill House, the book that inspired the show. I haven’t read that one, but I read a recap of it anddddd Koop confirmed that the book and the show have little in common.

Side note: has anyone watched the movie House on Haunted Hill? I saw it a few years after it came out and it terrified me (I was on the young side) but the title always seemed kind of odd. Reading the recap for The Haunting of Hill House made me wonder if that movie is based on the book, but I can’t find anything to back up this idea.

Back on track.

When Netflix release the promo for Hill House season 2 and asked for name guesses, I listened/watched the promo very carefully. And had exactly zero guesses. When viewers successfully guessed the name (The Haunting of Bly Manor) and I realized the season was about The Turn of the Screw, Koop got this look:

I think I might convince him to read it before season 2 comes out next year.

On that note, I’m not sure it will matter. Hill House was so different from the book, and I’m positive Bly Manor will take similar liberties. The suspense factor is great, but they’ll need more ghost-y things to make a good show. I hope/think it will explore the history of Bly Manor and not just the story of the governess (similar to the way Hill House did) but only time will tell!

I mentioned in my A Discovery of Witches post that I don’t re-read books too close to watching their on-screen adaptions. Do you like to re-read books? Does it help or hurt when you watch the adaption? Sound off in the comments!

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the Bly Manor promo:

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

-M

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