Though Netflix's Bridgerton sticks quite closely to the main plot points of the series of romance novels that inspired the show, one of the biggest scandals of the first season didn't appear at all in the corresponding book by Julia Quinn. That would be the sad story of Miss Marina Thompson, played by Ruby Barker, who does eventually show up in Quinn's books, but much later on down the line and only in the past tense.
To recap: In the show, Marina is sent to live with her cousins the Featheringtons after coming down with a scandalous "condition"—a.k.a. pregnancy out of wedlock with a soldier named George Crane, who has stopped responding to her letters by the time she arrives in Mayfair. Throughout the season, we see Marina and her cousins plot out a scheme to arrange a hasty marriage to Colin Bridgerton or another nobleman that would cover up her condition, and Marina also tries to induce an abortion with a homemade mixture of herbs. When neither of those works out as planned, she's all but forced to take a third, much safer option that crops up just in the nick of time.
Here's how Marina's future pans out in both the series and the books. Beware: Spoilers ahead for the first two seasons of Bridgerton and for To Sir Philip, With Love, the fifth book in Quinn's series.
What happens to Marina in the show?
At the end of season one, the extremely down-on-her-luck Marina finds out the tragic reason George hasn't been writing her back: He died in battle. That news comes courtesy of his brother, Philip Crane, who knows about Marina's pregnancy and so offers her his own hand in marriage to uphold his family's honor. With her condition now well-known throughout the Ton due to Lady Whistledown's jealous pen, Marina pretty much has no choice but to accept, and away she goes with Philip.
Do we see Marina in season two?
Marina does indeed make an appearance in season two. Upon his return from his worldly travels, Colin Bridgerton decides to pay his former flame a visit. Though seemingly not thrilled with the course of her life, Marina is nonetheless resigned to it and sends away Colin and his fantasies of running away together to pursue the happy ending that they were robbed of by Lady Whistledown's influential hand.
We also find out that Marina gave birth to twins, and we see Philip and Colin form a bit of a bromance, much to her annoyance. TBD on whether she'll crop back up in a certain other season down the line...
What happens to Marina in the books?
Very little of the above occurs in Quinn's series, and even those parts of Marina's story that do show up are told only in flashbacks. We first meet her in the prologue of To Sir Philip, With Love, which follows Eloise Bridgerton's path to finding love (here are more details on that, if you're so inclined).
The book opens with Philip mourning the death of Marina, by then his wife of eight years, who died of a fever following an attempt to die by suicide. He remembers Marina as having been in a constant sense of "melancholy" throughout their time together, claiming that she "did not laugh or joke."
She's also described as having been the fiancée of George Crane before his death—rather than merely his secret lover, as portrayed in the show—and there's no mention of her carrying his children. Instead, she shares twins with Philip, even though he confesses that "he didn’t love her, had never really loved her."
It's a very sad ending for a character who simply can't seem to catch a break, so here's hoping that Netflix takes some creative liberties with the source material to get Marina the (onscreen) happily ever after she deserves.
Andrea Park is a Chicago-based writer and reporter with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the extended Kardashian-Jenner kingdom, early 2000s rom-coms and celebrity book club selections. She graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2017 and has also written for W, Brides, Glamour, Women's Health, People and more.
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