Faceless Ghosts and Tragic Endings: My Thoughts on ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’

When I say I like watching horror, what I actually mean is I like watching anything with a gothic setting. It could just be a period drama or a thriller: if it has huge mansions and cloudy/foggy weather throughout, then I’m definitely watching it. So, when The Haunting of Bly Manor came out, I binge watched the entire season in a night.

It is so beautifully made. The characters and the setting complement each other so well it’s almost poetic. I will not get into the details of the plotline and the characters here. There are tons of reviews on the internet. I am here to talk about one particular sub plot that really touched me. The lady in the lake and the faceless ghosts. For me it was the most tragic part of the whole series. More tragic than the incomplete love story of Hannah and Owen. More tragic than the unfortunate demise of Peter and Rebecca. More tragic than the ending that Jamie and Dani didn’t deserve.

The faceless ghosts evoked grief more than fear because they represent the fear shared by us all. The fear of forgetting and being forgotten. And I think that’s the ultimate tragedy. Not willing to let go. When we do not let go of life, we live long enough to become mere husks of what we used to be. We forget faces, names and eventually we forget ourselves. And we do not let go of loved ones. When death takes them away, we immortalize them in memories. At first it’s anecdotes and stories about them. Soon, the memories are passed on to the next generation- people who haven’t met them- and the memories are enhanced with myths. Eventually, the faces and names fade away. Only the myths remain. I think that’s what ghosts are. Memories.

Of course, some ghosts stand taller than the others. They retain their faces and their anecdotes even after centuries. But then those are the ones who had done great things when they were alive. Great acts of kindness. Unimaginable acts of cruelty. The rest of us are doomed to become faceless ghosts like the lady in the lake. Our insignificant lives forgotten.

Published by The Unreliable Narrator

I don't consider myself a writer, though I am known as one to some. I am just a storyteller and like Nelly Dean, I can offer them from only one perspective- mine. Perhaps that's the beauty of stories. That we are unreliable narrators of our own stories.

2 thoughts on “Faceless Ghosts and Tragic Endings: My Thoughts on ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’

  1. This is a beautifully written blog post.
    I especially love the last two paragraphs and the imagery it evokes. ❤
    I was particularly struck by your 1st sentence in this post, “When I say I like watching horror, what I actually mean is I like watching anything with a gothic setting.”
    I hadn’t really thought of that before but I’m exactly the same way.
    Because I’ve told friends I like horror, they’ll send me links to YouTube horror movies which I hate and usually stop watching after the first 20 minutes if not the first 5 minutes.
    But I suppose what I really love is movies with a gothic setting.
    Thanks for showing in this blog post that this is what I actually love.


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