How ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ Captures the Many Ways People Grieve

The Haunting of Bly Manor is horror master Mike Flanagan’s second installment to The Haunting franchise. While season 2 might be a different take on a ghost story, many fans celebrate the way The Haunting of Bly Manor examines how people experience loss, grieve, and recover from it.

[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for The Haunting of Bly Manor.]

AMELIE BEA SMITH as FLORA, VICTORIA PEDRETTI as DANI, and AMELIA EVE as JAMIE
AMELIE BEA SMITH, VICTORIA PEDRETTI, and AMELIA EVE | EIKE SCHROTER/NETFLIX © 2020

Hannah Grose refuses to grieve her own death

Caretaker Hannah Grose (T’Nia Miller) seemed to care for the manor and its inhabitants genuinely. However spacey Hannah might appear, she was always rooted in doing right by the Wingrave children. The first time we see Hannah, she appeared to be lost in a daydream. In “The Altar of the Dead,” we learn Hannah’s aloofness was a result of her ghostly status. 

Before she came to terms with her death, Hannah’s mind frequently wandered to memories of when she was alive. By ignoring her reality, Hannah was avoiding the grieving process. It is only when she accepted that Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) possessed by Peter Quint (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) killed her that she was free to move on. 

Dani Clayton carries the blame for the death of her fiancé

In “The Way It Came,” Dani (Victoria Pedretti) called off her engagement to her fiancé, Edmund (Roby Attal). Up until that point, she had been living a lie, denying who she was as a woman attracted to other women. When Dani revealed the truth to Edmund, it killed him. He stepped out of a car and was struck by an oncoming vehicle. 

VICTORIA PEDRETTI as DANI CLAYTON
VICTORIA PEDRETTI | EIKE SCHROTER/NETFLIX © 2020

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Since Edmund’s death, Dani has been haunted by the glowing reflection of the headlights in his glasses. Those glowing eyes followed Dani to Bly until she allowed herself to move on from his death. When she threw Edmund’s glasses into the fire, Dani was freed of guilt, allowing herself to live authentically. 

Flora Wingrave obsesses over talismans to prevent more tragedy 

Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) and her brother Miles both struggled with the loss of their parents. After their untimely and tragic death, Miles began to act out — so much so that he was kicked out of boarding school. 

Flora, on the other hand, invested much of her energy into her faceless dolls. These talismans served as a coping mechanism for Flora, who believed if the dolls were tucked away in her dollhouse — a replica of Bly Manor — the people they symbolize would remain safe. 

Owen denies himself a life because his mother cannot live 

Owen (Rahul Kohli), the resident chef of Bly Manor, was either one of two places — in the kitchen at Bly or his mother’s bedside. Owen’s mother had dementia, a disease slowly eating away at the woman who raised him. Because she lay at home withering away, Owen often deprived himself of having any semblance of fun. 

No matter how much Owen denied himself the freedom to live while his mother was dying, he is one of the only characters in the show to go through the traditional grieving motions when she does pass away. 

Peter Quint selfishly takes the life of another 

After Peter was killed at the hands of the Lady in the Lake (Kate Siegel), he struggled to watch Rebecca Jessel (Tahirah Sharif) carry on without him.

OLIVER JACKSON-COHEN as PETER QUINT in THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR
OLIVER JACKSON-COHEN | EIKE SCHROTER/NETFLIX © 2020

Peter could not be alone in death, so he convinced Rebecca that she should die, too. Peter would stop at nothing to get her to the other, ghostly side — even if that meant taking the lives of the Wingrave children to get what he wanted. Much like Hannah, he completely ignores the idea of grieving or being at peace in death.