Bridgerton Season 2 is here, and it’s time to dive into the differences between the books and the Netflix series. This is FULL of spoilers, so turn back now if you want to be surprised. You can also check out my spoiler-free guide to the differences if you want a hint without the whole shebang.
There are a couple of things to know before we dive into the weeds here. Season 2 of Bridgerton is based on The Viscount Who Loved Me, book 2 of the Bridgerton series. It’s primarily about Kate and Anthony, so everyone else is considered a secondary character. That means storylines that aren’t directly related to Kate and Anthony have been pulled from future books or are entirely new inventions. I’ve mentioned this where I could without getting too deep into spoilers for things that may or may not happen in seasons 3, 4, and beyond of the series.
Bridgerton Season 2, Episode 1: Capital R Rake
Episode 1 begins with the Bridgerton family preparing for Eloise’s presentation to the Queen. Eloise, however, isn’t officially “out” in The Viscount Who Loved Me, with her first season planned for the following year. In the television series, she is beset by nerves, having no desire to take part in society events. In the prologue to Book 5, To Sir Phillip, With Love, however, we learn Eloise is quite excited for her first season and has high hopes about finding her perfect match.
Back in the Netflix series, Eloise’s presentation is interrupted by the arrival of the latest edition of Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers. The reveal that Penelope Featherington was Lady Whistledown at the end of Season 1 of Bridgerton was far in advance of the book reveal. That didn’t occur until Book 4, Romancing Mister Bridgerton. Of course, that means that anything you see in the entire second season of the TV series that relates to Penelope as Lady Whistledown did not happen or happened years later in the books.
Mary Sharma and her daughter Edwina and stepdaughter Kate are staying with Mary’s old and dear friend Lady Danbury in the Netflix series. They had been living in India and traveled to London for the season, hoping to find a match for Edwina. While Mary, Edwina, and Kate Sheffield did travel to London for the season in the novel, they had previously been living in the English countryside. They had also saved money for five years after the death of Kate and Edwina’s father in order to afford their own house rental and season for both girls. Kate is 20, almost 21 and Edwina is just 17 in the book. Kate’s age is 26 in the television series.
Our hero and heroine first meet during a horse ride in episode 1. That horse ride never happened in the book. While Kate had certainly already heard of Anothony Bridgerton in Lady Whistledown’s column, their first meeting occurred at the Hartside ball in the book. Kate’s negative opinion of Anthony is based entirely on his reputation as a rake rather than having overheard Anthony’s conversation at Lady Danbury’s ball as shown in the Netflix series.
Episode 1 also references the Queen naming “her” diamond of the season. While in the book there are references to “the diamond of the season,” “the season’s incomparable,” and “a diamond of the first water,” the Queen does not actually name a diamond in either the books or real history. That is just a moniker given to the debutante who is the most popular on the marriage mart that particular year. While Edwina is indeed the diamond of the season in the book, the Queen does not name her as such. As a matter of fact, the Queen is not mentioned in the book at all.
Lady Danbury confronts Kate in episode 1 about the Sheffield family (Mary’s parents) requiring that Edwina marry a member of the nobility in order to receive her dowery. In the book, Sheffield is the family name of Mary’s husband and Kate and Edwina’s father. There is no threat of losing an inheritance being kept secret from Edwina.
The first episode of Season 2 ends with the arrival of the new Lord Featherington. While the entire Featherington clan has frequent appearances in The Viscount Who Loves Me, there is no Lord Featherington arriving from America in this book.
Bridgerton Season 2, Episode 2: Off To The Races
Much of the action in Episode 2 takes place at a horse race. This race and all of the ensuing activities never took place in the book.
When it comes to The Viscount Who Loved Me, Eloise never visited a print shop, the Queen never used Edwina to find out Lady Whistledown’s identity, and Mr. Mondrich doesn’t appear at all. Of course, as already mentioned, Lord Featherington was absent as well, meaning he never pursued Cressida Cowper.
So while Anthony did indeed spend some time courting Edwina in the book, that is basically the only thing episode 2 and the novel have in common.
Bridgerton Season 2, Episode 3: A Bee In Your Bonnet
Episode 3 begins with a flashback to the death of Anthony’s father, Edmund Bridgerton, which was actually the prologue of The Viscount Who Loved Me. In the novel, Anthony had been out riding with Benedict when he comes home to find his father has died from a bee sting. In the TV series, Anthony was actually with his father when the sting occurred. The death of his father is the moment that Anthony takes over as the man of the family, and faces an enormous amount of responsibility as a result, in both the Netflix series and the book. In the novel, however, the death of his father also comes with Anthony’s belief that he will die young, just as his father did. This is the primary reason he is determined to marry, in order to ensure his family’s future prior to his death. While the television series might have made gentle hints towards some knowledge of his own mortality, it primarily focused on his overwhelming sense of responsibility to others are his motivation to marry.
Since there’s no new Lord Featherington in the book, there is also no attempt to match him with Prudence as you see in the TV series.
A country house party takes place at Aubrey Hall, the ancestral seat of the Bridgertons, in both the book and the television series. The game of Pall Mall is played in both places as well, with Kate getting her hands on the mallet of death each time. There are two main differences, however. Simon joins the game in the book but has stayed home in the Netflix series. The game is cut short and Kate is declared the winner after knocking Anthony’s ball into the lake in the novel. Kate and Anthony fall into the mud while attempting to retrieve their balls from the woods in the TV series.
Kate sending her ball towards the grave of Anthony’s father did not happen in the book, just the television series. The resulting flashback where Anthony was asked to make medical decisions during Hyacinth’s birth was also an invention for the Netflix series.
No one learns of Benedict’s artistic talents until book 3, An Offer From A Gentleman. Therefore his admission that he’s trying to get into the Royal Academy of Arts wouldn’t have happened at this time. That means there were no extreme nerves or special “tea” from Collin in the novel.
Episode 3 ends with Kate getting stung by a bee in front of Anthony, something that happened in the book and would have caused a great uproar if it didn’t happen in the TV series. Unfortunately for fans of the novel, the bee sting here takes a completely different turn. Anthony places his hand on Kate’s chest and they breathe heavily for a few moments, then he runs off. In The Viscount Who Loved Me, Anthony has a moment of panic and attempts to suck out the bee venom. This is spotted by Lady Featherington as well Kate and Anthony’s mothers. Kate was considered “compromised” and the only solution to being compromised is an engagement.
Bridgerton Season 2, Episode 4: Victory
Episode 4 is where things lose all hope of following the book. The house party still happens in both the novel and the Netflix series, but Kate didn’t join in on a hunt, Collin didn’t visit Marina, and Prudence was not caught in the orangery with Lord Featherington in the book.
There is a moment in the novel where Anthony finds Kate in the library, absolutely terrified of a thunderstorm. Anthony’s kindness to her in the face of what she knows is an unreasonable fear is something of a turning point in her antagonistic relationship with him. This happens before the bee sting in the novel. It happens after the sting in the television series, and Kate’s fear of storms is not nearly as strong as it is in the book.
Since Kate and Anthony are engaged as soon as the bee sting happens in the novel, needless to say, Anthony didn’t propose to Edwina at the end of the house party in the book as he did in the TV series.
Bridgerton Season 2, Episode 5: An Unthinkable Fate
Since the Queen never appeared in The Viscount Who Loved Me, and Edwina and Anthony were never engaged, it goes without saying that there was no wedding planning by the Queen.
Eloise meeting Theo Sharpe never happens in the novel. Basically, anything with Theo Sharpe is an all-new invention since he never appeared in the books.
In the Netflix series, Mr. Dorset takes Kate for a boat ride that ends with both Anthony and Mr. Dorset in the water. This is a nod to Kate’s corgi Newton knocking Anthony into the water during an early scene in the book.
As there was no threatened inheritance from the Sheffield family in the book, there was also no awkward family dinner with Edwina’s grandparents and no discovery that Kate had been keeping it all a secret.
Perhaps the most important difference, other than the fact that Edwina and Anthony were never engaged, is the fact that Edwina never loved Anthony in the novel. As a matter of fact, when Anthony and Kate were first engaged, Edwina was thrilled and said she was “not even one tiny bit surprised.”
Bridgerton Season 2, Episode 6: The Choice
Changing the Sheffieds to the Sharmas in the TV series brought with it a backstory that included the Sharma family’s lives in India. The pre-wedding ceremony and Kate calling Edwina “Bon” and Edwina calling “Didi” are only present in the Netflix series.
Since the book didn’t include the new Lord Featherington, it also didn’t include the ruby mine scam that he and Lady Featherington were pursuing among the ton in the television series.
Of course, no wedding between Edwina and Anthony in the book means there was no runaway bride moment, either. With no mention of the Queen, there was also no chance to have an awkward appearance from King George in the novel.
Finally, with none of the previous moments happening in the book, there was also no kiss in the church between Anthony and Kate.
Bridgerton Season 2, Episode 7: Harmony
Episode 7 focuses on the scandal from the broken engagement, and Eloise’s own personal scandal when the Queen threatens to expose her as Lady Whistledown. Penelope, as Lady Whistledown, frees Eloise from the threats of the Queen by exposing Eloise’s meetings with Theo Sharpe.
Of course, no Queen, no Theo Sharpe, and no broken engagement mean none of the main events in the episode took place in the book.
The book does contain a moment in a gazebo, but not the moment in a gazebo near the end of episode 7.
And speaking of the end of the episode, Kate is injured in both the book and the Netflix series. In the book, she is already married to Anthony and breaks her leg in a carriage accident. In the television series, she spends the morning after her night with Anthony on a horse ride in the rain. She falls off the horse and hits her head on a rock just as the episode is ending.
Bridgerton Season 2, Episode 8: The Viscount Who Loved Me
Anthony rescues Kate at the beginning of episode 8, after her fall from her horse. Her head injury has caused her to fall into a coma. In the book, while Kate did break her leg during the carriage accident, it was never serious and her life was never in danger.
The rest of the events in episode 8 are also mostly things that didn’t happen in The Viscount Who Loved Me. Benedict is not yet known as an artist, so he never had his way into the Academy purchased by a large donation from Anthony. Penelope’s identity as Lady Whistledown is still well under wraps, so it was never discovered by Eloise. There was no gem mine scandal to be exposed by Collin.
Episode 8 does end with Anthony and Kate finally married, so at least in that way the book and the Netflix series have ended on at least one bit of common ground.
What’s coming for Bridgerton Season 3 & 4?
Now that we know a season 3 and 4 are on the way, what can we expect from Bridgerton? Book 3, An Offer From A Gentleman, focuses on Benedict and Sophie. We haven’t met Sophie, but we should still expect her Cinderella-themed story to take place in season 3. Penelope’s story is book 4, and Eloise’s book is book 5. They take place concurrently, so I’m expecting season 4 to be a Romancing Mister Bridgerton and To Sir Phillip, With Love mashup.
About Bridgerton Season 2
What happens when duty is in conflict with the heart’s true desire? There is potential for a considerable scandal, indeed. Bridgerton Season 2 is streaming now, only on Netflix.