It wasn’t too long ago that Shonda Rhimes blessed us with 8 episodes of the Duke of Hastings and the role he played in the lives of the Bridgertons, from his friendship with Anthony to his eventual marriage and family with Daphne. Although the show doesn’t center around Simon Bassett, it does around the Bridgerton family. The first season is based on the book “The Duke and I” by Julia Quinn, who also wrote 8 books that followed, with each one focusing on a different Bridgerton sibling, and the 9th book focusing on the family as a whole.
As it usually occurs, there are differences between the book and the adaptation. Major spoilers ahead if you have not watched the TV show or read the book. Now sit back, relax, and let’s get on to it.
1. The Color of Simon’s Eyes
Without even reaching the first chapter, we find out the first difference: the color of Simon’s eyes. The prologue covers the birth of the future Duke of Hastings and what he experienced growing up. While that was accurately portrayed in the show, one of the key differences in him was that he had blue eyes, not brown. Can you imagine 8 hours of Regé-Jean Page with blue eyes? I think brown eyes suit him just fine.
2. Marina Thompson’s Storyline
One of the biggest surprises for me was that there was no Marina Thompson. Marina played a big role as a distant cousin of the Featheringtons and eventually brought their name down since Lady Whistledown revealed she was pregnant while still on the marriage market. In the books, however, Marina isn’t mentioned at all until book 5, “To Sir Phillip, With Love,” and even by then, she is a figure of the past. I won’t go into great detail about what happened to her, but what happened in the Netflix adaptation provides great foreshadowing. Her storyline was also a way to introduce a Bridgerton sibling’s future love interest.
3. Daphne is Not “The Diamond of the First Water”
Despite Lady Whistledown describing Daphne as a “Diamond of the First Water” and the Queen kissing her forehead and calling her flawless in the TV show, she struggles quite a bit to find love in the book. Although she did struggle a bit in the TV show as well, it’s nothing compared to what it was in the book. Daphne is already married by the end of her first season in the marriage market, but in “The Duke and I,” Daphne spends her first season unmarried. It isn’t until her second season that she becomes the Duchess of Hastings, and even then, there are some differences in their love story. She isn’t the attention-grabbing, ruse-conspiring woman we meet her as in the show, rather she prefers to not be seen as much, which might be why the men in the town see her as more of a friend rather than a potential wife.
4. No Queen Charlotte or Prince Friederich
That’s right. There is no Queen Charlotte or Prince Friederich in the book, meaning that the flawless comment and fan drop are thrown out the window. Turns out, showrunner Chris Van Dusen wrote them into the story for historical background, since it is set in 1800s London. Queen Charlotte, however, has an additional reason for being written in. Her existence was to help combat the racial inequality that can be seen in many TV shows. As we can see in the show, there are many black Dukes, Duchesses, Ladies, Lords, and even a Queen, which were all a way to bring representation to the show, something Rhimes is well known for. Rhimes doesn’t shy away from talking about race issues, diversity, and other human rights issues, as is seen in her other shows like “Grey’s Anatomy.”
5. Anthony Knows Their Secret
Unlike the show where Daphne and Simon don’t let anyone know their courtship’s intentions, Anthony knows the behind-the-scenes of their ruse in the book. He isn’t as overprotective of Daphne in the book as he is in the show. He is still her older brother, which comes with protective instincts over his younger sister, so he does give them rules for their ruse after passing through his initial emotion of anger. Anthony only gives them three rules: the first being that they can’t tell anyone else, the second that they cannot be alone together, and the third that Simon absolutely cannot compromise Daphne’s honor, which the second and third are broken, as seen in the book and TV show. Both stories end up with Simon and Anthony heading for a duel after the Duke and Daphne are seen in a garden together, all alone.
In my lifetime, I’ve never seen a period piece take the world by storm like “Bridgerton” did. From TikTok’s “POV’s” (points of view, typically made-up situations) of people acting like they were in the show, to trending hashtags and magazine covers, it truly is a one-of-a-kind show. On the show’s Instagram page, they announced a second season using Lady Whistledown’s newspaper to give us the confirmation. In the meantime, we can wait for season 2 or read “The Viscount Who Loved Me” to get a head start on Viscount Anthony Bridgerton’s love story.