When The Haunting of Hill House was released in 2018 it quickly became one of Netflix‘s most acclaimed series of that year, with viewers terrified and heartbroken by the reimagining of Shirley Jackson’s classic ghost story.
Naturally such an excellent reception quickly led to clamours for a second series, but with the show having reached a fairly definitive conclusion it was unclear exactly what shape another run would take.
Well, the series was indeed renewed for a second series, this time titled The Haunting of Bly Manor, which is set to be released on Netflix this week.
But how exactly does it tie into The Haunting of Hill House? Read on for everything you need to know.
What happened at the end of The Haunting of Hill House?
The Haunting of Hill House told the story of the Crain family, and the long-term fallout of a traumatic night experienced by the family’s five siblings and their father more than 25 years ago.
The family had been staying at the eponymous mansion in the summer of 1992 while the parents renovated it to sell on, but soon experienced all sorts of paranormal phenomena and were forced to flee the house after the children’s mother was killed in a tragic event.
Several years later the children have all been affected by the events in different ways, with the horrible night continuing to haunt each of them – eventually leading to the suicide of Nell, the youngest daughter, back at Hill House.
The final episode saw the entire family back at Hill House – with Nell’s troubled twin brother Luke having tried, and failed, to burn it down.
Oldest sibling Steven and father Hugh find Luke in one of the house’s rooms – known as the Red Room – and Steven, who had previously been extremely sceptical of the paranormal, gets locked in it.
In the room he awakens from a nightmare and discovers that Luke is close to death. Meanwhile his two surviving sisters, Theo and Shirley, awaken from their own nightmares.
It becomes clear that the Red Room changes its purpose for each member of the family, a fact which is revealed by the ghost of Nell who returns to save each of her family members from their respective nightmares and inform them that they had all loved each other completely.
Thereafter the full story of the night of their mother’s death is told – and it becomes clear that Hugh must sacrifice himself in order to let his children escape in order to appease the ghosts of the house.
Saved from a grisly end, the surviving family members overcome all the grievances with each other which had come to light throughout the series and the season ends two years in the future, with the siblings celebrating Luke’s sobriety.
How does The Haunting of Hill House connect to The Haunting of Bly Manor?
The short answer is that it doesn’t – at least, not from a narrative perspective. The two series are completely separate standalone stories complete with different settings and characters.
While the original was based on Shirley Jackson’s classic haunted house tale, the follow up series is based on the work of another classic horror scribe, Henry James, and specifically his 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw.
That said the two seasons are still linked in some ways – both in terms of some of the personnel involved in the two projects and the thematic ground that they cover.
Mike Flanagan, who created the original series is once again the showrunner for the new series – although he directs only one episode himself this time round – while many of the stars also return to play different characters in The Haunting of Bly Manor cast, including Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Henry Thomas.
The two series also both use ghosts as a means of exploring trauma and grief, each providing fascinating revisionist takes on already excellent source material.
Beyond that though, these are two separate projects – so you don’t need to have watched Hill House to get started on Bly Manor – although we’d recommend you watch it anyway simply to enjoy one of the best horror tales of recent times.
Still not sure if the new series is for you? Check out RadioTimes.com‘s The Haunting of Bly Manor review.