Bridgerton is everything we’ve ever hoped for in a romance novel adaptation! Let’s talk about some of our favorite parts!
When someone announces they’re going to adapt a romance novel into a series or film, I typically cringe a little. It’s hard to get romance right, and there are way too many people who think writing romance is easy. Then Shonda Rhimes said she was bringing The Bridgertons to life. This is a much-loved series in the romance community, and a very divisive one, too. If anyone could make romance work, though, it was going to be Shondaland.
Bridgerton manages to capture historical romance in a way that we’ve rarely seen. It’s bright and three-dimensional. Everything about the series is lush and beautiful. The most impressive accomplishment, in my opinion, is the pace of the series. Yes, we spend a lot of time at balls, picnics, and promenading, but unlike other historicals, the writers are doing the work during these scenes. Everything in Bridgerton is in service to the story. If we’re with Simon and Anthony at their club, there’s work being done for us, the viewer, that will be useful either then or later.
It’s easy to get caught up in this series and forget that we still have seven other Bridgerton siblings to learn about, too. This season focuses on Daphne and Simon’s love story, but we’re getting character development that will help the oldest members of the family as they lean into their stories later.
Anthony’s journey from rake to husband. Benedict’s struggle with his place in society as a second son. Colin’s road back from betrayal and feeling like love is naive. Eloise and her desire for independence in a world where she’s not valued. Add in the secondary characters, and you’ve got levels of character development that even “serious” shows never measure up providing their stories.
These are our top five reasons for giving Bridgerton a chance, even if romance isn’t your thing.
In the novels, Lady Danbury is such a formidable character, and she’s no different in this series. Adjoa Andoh absolutely nails Lady Danbury. She’s tough with a sharp wit. She doesn’t let Simon off easy, either. There are several wonderful scenes with Lady Danbury, but one of my favorites is when she meets Simon for the first time when he’s just a boy.
She lost her best friend when Simon’s mother died in childbirth, and she makes it part of her life’s work to see Simon successful and settled. The way that Lady Danbury controls a room is admirable, and honestly, the energy I want to take into 2021.
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) December 29, 2020
We all love gossip in romance novels. It’s what makes the ton spin, right?
Bridgerton has it’s own gossip girl in Lady Whistledown. She’s obviously very insulated in the ton because she knows everyone’s secrets, and she’s not afriad to name names. She does seem to cause a lot of problems for the main characters, though, and even for herself.
In the book series, we don’t actually find out the identity of Lady Whistledown until the fourth book. However, we understand at the end of season one that it’s Penelope Featherington. Whew, boy. Does she have a lot to make up for in the coming seasons when Colin finds out what she’s been doing in her spare time.
I am flattered by your obsessions, dear readers. I shall see you tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/6kzPpkn8v7
— Bridgerton (@bridgerton) December 25, 2020
This beautiful young cousin of the Featherington’s absolutely stole the show. She’s earnest and by the end of the season, tired. Her heart has been broken beyond belief, and yet she continues on because this is the only way she and her child will be safe.
Marina is the outsider that offers Penelope, Daphne, and even Lady Featherington, perspective. There will be another post on things I’m not a fan of in Bridgerton, and it should surprise no one who has read the books, that Marina’s storyline lands on that list.
Strong Secondary Characters
As mentioned earlier, the secondary characters in this adaptation are so well-written. They’re all so fleshed out and real. You become just as invested in their stories as you do in Daphne and Simon’s love story.
We need to talk about Will and Alice. This couple is here to show Simon how a real marriage should look since he didn’t have that growing up, but let me tell you, I want so much more of the pugilist Will and his supportive, no-nonsense wife Alice. They’re so loving and have this beautiful family. They don’t treat Simon with kid gloves and call him out when he’s wrong.
Honestly, Simon needs to be a better friend to them.
One of the more larger than life characters in the series in most definitely Queen Charlotte. As we get deeper into the show, though, we see that her bravado does slip, especially in regard to her husband, King George.
By the time Bridgerton takes place, King George III is already deep into his madness. At first, Queen Charlotte’s disregard for his health is shown in a slightly comedic fashion. After she has dinner with him, and he asks about their long-dead child, we see that his illness has broken her heart. We find out through Lady Danbury’s conversation with Simon that Queen Charlotte and King George’s marriage was a love-match. It must be absolutely devastating to watch someone you love go through that.
I also love the Queen and Eloise’s friendship. You can tell from the jump that the Queen likes to stir the pot just as much as Lady Whistledown does, but she doesn’t like to be the focus of the gossip, out of the loop, or proven wrong.
Let’s keep in mind that none of this would be possible without the staff that keeps these households running. I mean, we see them do everything from lacing up corsets so tightly that the wearer passes out to turning the other way while Anthony Bridgerton takes his mistress against a tree.
Deeper into the season, there’s a gem of a scene where the staff of several households spread the rumor about Lord Berbrooke’s illegitimate child in order to run him out of London and away from Daphne. The staff in these households are ride-or-die. Daphne’s lady’s maid, Rose, takes her new duties in stride and casually ignores the tension between the Duke and Duchess. Mrs. Varley, is Lady Featherington’s right hand woman. She takes care of everything in that household, even keeping away Bow Street Runners as Lady Featherington comes to the horrible realization of what her husband has done before his untimely death.
We absolutely can’t leave the secondary character part of this discussion without mentioning Madame Delacroix & Siena Rossa.
These two women are making their own way in a world that’s not kind to women in general. They walk a very thin line, and they know that their futures are tied up in how they can manage the people of the ton while not being of the ton. Madame Delacroix knows full well what one wrong word from their families she serves can do to her business. She knows that Benedict Bridgerton isn’t here looking for love, but for now, she has his protection and his friendship.
For Siena Rossa, the growth of this woman! I was clapping when she sent Anthony on his way in the season finale. This is a woman who knows her value and won’t allow herself to be caught up in his games anymore. She doesn’t love him, and despite what he thinks, Anthony doesn’t really love her. This moment with Siena sets up Anthony’s story for season two in a big way.
I said I would be giving you reasons to watch even if you didn’t care for romance, but we can’t talk about a romance without mentioning the incredible chemistry between the couples on screen. Please enjoy these gifs as evidence enough.
The art of rolling up your sleeves:
Simon on the art of marital relations:
— Bridgerton (@bridgerton) December 29, 2020
The art of compromising a young miss into marriage:
— Bridgerton (@bridgerton) December 27, 2020
HIS BRUISED KNUCKLES FROM FIGHTING FOR HER HONOR:
We are but inching closer to the social season. Tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/EvTU7EmDM6
— Bridgerton (@bridgerton) December 24, 2020
The swoon of this scene:
— shondaland tv (@shondaland) December 29, 2020
And a runner-up award needs to be given to the music. It was a brilliant decision to have instrumental contemporary music for this series!
— shondaland tv (@shondaland) December 29, 2020
Bridgerton is now streaming on Netflix.