If you are done with your The Haunting of Bly’s Mansion frenzy, then most of your burning questions have probably been answered. You know why Dani was haunted by the specter of a man with shining eyes. You know why Hannah Grose has been feeling so distracted and disoriented lately. You know why the Lady of the Lake haunts Bly Manor, and why Rebecca Jessel died, and why Miles acted like a creeper. But there is one major issue that remains unanswered at the end of the season, and that is the fate of Charlotte and Dominic Wingrave.
We know early on that Flora and Miles are recently orphans, which is why their uncle, Henry Wingrave, is advertising an au pair. It soon becomes apparent that the Wingraves died while traveling in India, and Flora notes that the family must have buried two empty coffins. Beyond that, all we know is that they died in “an accident”. We don’t know if the bodies were ever found or if it was simply not possible to bring them back to the UK from India – but since this family appears to be extremely rich, it’s hard to imagine that the latter is true.
Episode 6, “The Jolly Corner,” explores Henry’s demons and reveals more details about the Wingraves’ ill-fated journey. Henry appears to live primarily in his London office and has buried himself in his work, drinking compulsively and refusing to take calls from Bly Manor. It is because he is consumed by the guilt of the death of his brother, whom he betrayed, and of the mourning of his sister-in-law, with whom he was in love. Henry and Charlotte had been dating for years – so long, in fact, that Henry is Flora’s real father. A few years before the show, Dominic discovered the truth and banished Henry from Bly Manor (and Flora’s life). Charlotte visited Henry at his office and told him that she was traveling to India with Dominic in an attempt to save their marriage by recreating their honeymoon. None of them returned alive from the trip.
So, is there any reason to believe that the death of the Wingraves was something more important than a freak accident? The show is based on Henry James Turn the screw, which follows a housekeeper hired to care for two orphans, so the parents must die for the inciting incident of the story to work. But the The Haunting of Bly’s Mansion the writers give a big clue that there is more to the story than its source material. During Episode 6, Henry is tormented by his alter ego, who responds with this line when Henry announces that he is returning to Bly Manor: “They will be so happy to see you. And maybe you can tell these little kids exactly. how their parents died. And you can tell them why they made this trip in the first place. “
Hmmmmm. It’s possible that this whole line is simply referring to Henry’s guilty secret – that he was having an affair with Charlotte, which prompted the Wingraves to make the journey that killed them both. But “exactly how their parents died” is a pretty specific twist, especially since we never hear any details about the cause of their deaths. On a show that is so about characters who come to terms with their own mortality, it sounds like a deliberate choice.
We don’t get any clues beyond this scene. Henry receives a phone call to inform him that the Wingraves are dead, but the content of the call remains off-screen, so there isn’t much to be done about the theories. It’s strange that Viola, aka the Lady of the Lake, never killed Dominic and Charlotte, even though they apparently slept in her bed. In Episode 8, Viola is shown killing several unfortunate people who have fallen to her only room over the years, but she left Dominic and Charlotte to live for reasons that are never clear. But Viola is unable to leave Bly Manor or her lands, so there is no way she could have killed the Wingraves in India.
All in all, it looks like the Wingraves were really unlucky enough to live in a haunted mansion and then die suddenly and prematurely from an unrelated cause.
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