- Insider spoke with Julia Quinn about Shondaland’s adaptation of her second Bridgerton novel.
- The show’s writers decided Anthony would propose to Edwina, a departure from the source material.
- Quinn was surprised when she found out but considered it a way to “bulk up” Edwina’s character.
When Anthony Bridgerton proposes to Edwina Sharma on “Bridgerton” season two, it’s one of the Regency romance series’ most seismic departures from Julia Quinn’s books to date.
In her 2000 novel “The Viscount Who Loved Me,” the eldest Bridgerton child briefly pursues Edwina, but the courtship doesn’t progress past public promenades and formal social calls before he acts upon his feelings for her older sister, Kate.
But in the Shondaland adaptation, which released its second season on
in late March, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) and Edwina (Charithra Chandran) make it all the way to the altar.
“I knew that they were actually going to get all the way to a wedding scene before I saw the scripts. I had been talking with a writer and she was like, ‘Oh yeah, no, we’re getting all the way there.'” Quinn told Insider while promoting her forthcoming graphic novel, “Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron,” out May 10.
She added, “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. We’ll see what they’re going to do.'”
Quinn believes the proposal benefited Edwina’s character arc
The spur-of-the-moment betrothal arrives at the end of episode four, and it causes a ripple effect of text-to-screen changes throughout the season: Anthony reacts differently to Kate’s bee sting so that they aren’t caught in a compromising position. And because no one discovers them behaving untowardly, they aren’t forced into a union, meaning Anthony is free to marry Edwina.
But in Quinn’s eyes, “what it did was it enabled them to build Edwina up,” something she’s felt was important since she wrote “The Viscount Who Loved Me.”
“In the book, I did work very hard. I didn’t want her to be two-dimensional. I didn’t want her just to be the good sister. I didn’t want it to be a competition, but I think they were able to bulk up her character,” she told Insider.
The proposal added more complexity to Edwina and Kate’s relationship
The engagement heightens the stakes between Anthony and Edwina, especially considering Queen Charlotte’s insistence on hosting their nuptials, but it also adds several layers to Edwina’s relationship with Kate (Simone Ashley), who is secretly in love with her sister’s fiancé.
Quinn said the show writers made “more of this sisterly relationship than was in the book” and applauded their focus on “different types of love and friendship.”
“I love that it’s not just romantic love,” Quinn told Insider, later adding, “That was a choice they made: ‘Alright, we’re going to put more focus on this sororal relationship and make it a little bit more complicated than it was in the book too.'”
Quinn hopes people have a hard time choosing between her books and the show
From the time Quinn signed away the rights to her novels, she took a backseat approach.
As a creative consultant on set, she gets the scripts ahead of time and answers any questions that arise (many are technical and specific to the characters, she told Insider). She’s more or less detached from the writers’ room and ideation process.
“I don’t expect them to be word-for-word and I don’t want them to be carbon copies. It’s really neat, you have these two things that complement each other really well. You can watch the show and read the books and have two separate experiences and one big experience,” she told Insider.
When Quinn comes across online debates about whether the show or the books are better, she considers it a win.
“That means we’re all doing a great job,” she told Insider continuing, “I’ve had people say to me, ‘Don’t you want everyone to say that the book’s better?’ And I was like, ‘No, I want the show to be awesome.'”
As Quinn looks ahead at the next two seasons, which Netflix has already greenlit, she said she wants people to continue having “trouble deciding.”
Read Insider’s full Q&A with Quinn here.