The identity of Bly Manor’s narrator is one of the show’s most heartbreaking reveals — here’s every the show dropped about her identity along the way.
The identity of The Haunting of Bly Manor‘s narrator (Carla Gugino) is revealed in an emotional twist in the horror series’ finale. The mystery of the narrator’s identity across the span of the show’s nine episodes. But Bly Manor had subtly dropped hints that it was Jamie early on.
The Haunting of Bly Manor kicks off at a wedding. An unnamed woman shares a ghost story with the crowd. She takes the audience through the entirety of everything that happened at Bly Manor, from Rebecca and Peter’s relationship to the defeat of the Lady in the Lake. While it was never explicitly stated until the reveal of her identity, it was clear that the narrator had some kind of emotional investment in the story all along.
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Jamie’s identity as the narrator was a well-thought-out twist and Bly Manor dropped subtle hints all along that she was the narrator, but that doesn’t mean that the reveal didn’t come with a punch to the audience’s gut. Here’s every way the show foreshadowed the twist of the identity of the ghost story’s narrator.
Carla Gugino’s Casting In The Haunting of Bly Manor
As The Haunting of Bly Manor is part of an anthology series, the show utilized actors from its predecessor The Haunting of Hill House. Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and Henry Thomas were heavily promoted as part of the new season of The Haunting while Kate Siegel was announced to be part of the show as well but in a secret role. But Gugino’s involvement in Bly Manor was a complete surprise.
As soon as Gugino appeared on screen, it was a hint to the audience that her presence on the show meant something. She is arguably the most well-known of the core cast of The Haunting and it was evident that Bly Manor‘s creator Mike Flanagan wouldn’t use her on the show unless the role was crucial to the show. The death of her character Olivia in Hill House acted as the catalyst for the events of the show and her role as the narrator in Bly Manor is what allows the audience to experience the events of the show.
Because of that, the audience was immediately – if subconsciously – clued into the fact that her role was not just that of an anonymous narrator. She was intimately familiar with the events of the story she was telling, even down to the way events made other people feel, so it was clear that the narrator had a connection to everything that happened. Gugino’s narrator was clearly an important piece of the puzzle.
The Process Of Elimination Pointed To Jamie As The Narrator
Fundamentally, the narrator shared details about the story that was too specific for someone who had just heard the story from someone else. She knew about the ghosts of Bly Manor and every detail about Dani and thus it was clear that she was present at the house during the events of her story. Gugino was the biggest star in the cast, so there’s no way she would’ve been cast as an insignificant member of the Bly Manor staff. She was clearly one of the main characters in the flashback.
The Haunting of Bly Manor makes a point to inform the audience that the narrator’s story took place 20 years in the past. Gugino’s narrator was given grey hair, proving that she would have had to be an adult in the 1980s, which is when the bulk of the story took place. Four adults worked at Bly Manor in the 1980s – Owen, Hannah, Dani, and Jamie. As Hannah is Black, the narrator could only be Jamie or Dani. Bly Manor drops a major hint proving the narrator to be Jamie.
Gugino is an American actress, but her character is British and that’s the key difference between Jamie and Dani — Dani is American and Jamie is British. Given the narrator’s physical appearance and accent, the only option for the narrator is Jamie. Selecting her to tell the story was an interesting sleight of hand: while she was absolutely a main character of the show, Bly Manor chose to focus more on other characters, such as Dani and Hannah. By default, the audience becomes more attached and sympathetic to the characters they see more, but Jamie is the one who has to live with the events of the show for the rest of her life. Owen may have survived, but he found a way to carry on with his life. Jamie never really did, which drives home Bly Manor‘s theme of emotional trauma.
Jamie’s Necklace In The Haunting Of Bly Manor
The very first episode of The Haunting of Bly Manor subtly confirms Jamie’s identity as the narrator. When Gugino first appears on-screen, she is shown wearing a simple gold chain around her neck. And when younger Jamie (Amelia Eve) is later introduced, she is wearing the same gold chain and is, in fact, shown wearing it throughout the whole show. There’s no special significance to that necklace, and Jamie never acknowledges its presence. It’s simply a piece of jewelry that the character always wears.
It’s an incredibly easy detail to miss, and that was likely by design. If Flanagan and his team had both versions of Jamie wear a more distinctive necklace, it would’ve been an obvious giveaway that she is the narrator of the story. The selection of a simple gold chain is a subtle wink to the audience that Jamie is telling the story. Even an eagle-eyed viewer who caught that detail could have easily dismissed two characters wearing gold chains as a coincidence.
That’s a reflection of the many elements that make The Haunting of Bly Manor such an effective drama. The show is subtle and restrained in all the right ways, even with the inclusion of its many ghosts. Dani and Jamie’s relationship on the show is a quiet kind of love and while they’re a part of something bigger and supernatural, there’s nothing overly dramatic about their story. They met on the job, fell in love, and led a simple life in Vermont. So naturally, Jamie would not make a big show out of her involvement in the story to the wedding guests she tells it to. That’s what makes her reveal as the narrator of The Haunting of Bly Manor the most gut-wrenching of the show’s many heartbreaking twists and turns.
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