Director/writer/showrunner Mike Flanagan clearly doesn’t believe in telling his stories in the right order. The Haunting of Bly Manor timeline takes just as roundabout a route to its conclusion as its predecessor, The Haunting of Hill House.
Flanagan’s Netflix shows are all about the steady dripfeed of information, built around strategically planned flashbacks and revelations. As a result, the viewer has to play detective as they piece everything together – and we're here to help. We've sorted all the events of Bly Manor into chronological order in an attempt to help you understand the events of the scary series. But first...
Spoiler warning! If you haven’t watched The Haunting of Bly Manor ending yet, cover your eyes now – big revelations about the show’s secrets lie ahead.
Having started in 2007, where a mysterious narrator recalls a chilling ghost story, The Haunting of Bly Manor timeline quickly heads back to 1987. It then jumps around the mid-’80s and even takes a detour to the 17th century. Along the way there are shocks, big reveals and plenty of hidden ghosts, all of them adding to the story of a bereaved family afflicted by a very creepy haunting.
The key events don't necessarily happen in the right order, however, so we’ve taken all the big moments from the season and rearranged them into chronological order. Some of the dates are approximate – they’re not always specified on-screen – but are based on what we learn in the show.
After the death of their father, two sisters (Viola and Perdita) realise they must marry to keep control of their home, Bly Manor. Viola weds Arthur Lloyd, a distant cousin, and they have a daughter called Isabel. Viola becomes seriously ill, but survives a remarkable six years beyond a priest reading her last rites – in fact, she only dies when Perdita murders her.
Perdita then marries Arthur, and the family fall into financial ruin. Arthur refuses to sell Viola’s dresses and jewels (bequeathed to Isabel) to improve their affairs, but Perdita wants to go sell her possessions anyway. Unfortunately, when she opens Viola’s trunk, Viola’s ghost strangles and kills her.
Arthur and Isabel leave Bly Manor, throwing the trunk into the lake. Viola’s spirit stays behind, cursed to wander the grounds and kill anyone (including a plague doctor, a vicar and a child) unlucky enough to find themselves in her path. (Episode 8)
Dani Clayton and Edwin O’Mara chat on Eddie’s bed, discussing his new glasses. It’s implied this is when they first kissed. The Golden Voyage of Sinbad poster on the wall suggests this scene takes place in 1973 or later. (Episode 4)
Flora Wingrave is born at Bly Manor – significantly earlier than expected, because Henry is the father, and she was conceived while Dominic was away on business. (Episode 6)
Hannah Grose hires Owen Sharma as the cook at Bly Manor – at the time, Miles is seven and Flora is five. (Episode 5)
Flora gives the ghost child a mask as a new face – we know she was five at the time. (Episode 6)
Flora notices Uncle Henry staying over with her mother, Charlotte. Dominic Wingrave works out that Flora wasn’t premature after all – and that Henry was the father. Dominic confronts Henry and tells him that he’s “banished” and will play no further part in his family’s lives. Dominic and Charlotte travel to India to retrace their honeymoon, but are killed in an unspecified accident. We know all this took place two years before the main events of the story. (Episode 6)
Henry Wingrave hires Rebecca Jessel to be Miles and Flora’s new au pair. Peter Quint drives Rebecca to Bly Manor, and the pair start a relationship. (Episode 3)
Hannah catches Quint stealing some of the Wingraves’ belongings. Quint tells Rebecca he’s come into some money (he’s embezzled millions of pounds from the Wingraves) and asks her to move to America with him. Quint is killed by the faceless ghost of Viola on one of her many walks around Bly Manor. (Episode 5)
Rebecca believes Quint has left her, until he appears to her as a ghost. He works out how to possess her body, “tucking away” her consciousness. He convinces her to surrender complete control, but eventually Quint tires of being alone and wanders into the lake, killing Rebecca. Flora and Jamie, the gardener, find Miss Jessel floating in the lake. (Episode 7)
Dani and Eddie have an engagement bash in the US – we’re assuming it’s 1986 because Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” (released that year) is playing at the party. An unspecified time later, Dani ends the relationship, and Eddie is killed when he steps in front of a truck. A grieving Dani leaves for the UK, at least six months before she applies for the au pair job at Bly Manor. (Episode 4)
After returning to school after Christmas, Miles jumps out of a tree and leaves a dead bird on a church altar to get himself expelled from school and get home to Flora. (Episode 2)
Henry hires Dani as au pair to Miles and Flora, some six months after the job ad to replace Miss Jessel first appeared. Owen drives Dani to Bly Manor. (Episode 1)
Just before Dani arrives at the house, Miles (possessed by Quint) pushes Hannah down the well, killing her. Dani meets the children and Hannah, neither Dani nor Hannah realising that she’s a ghost. (Episode 1, Episode 5)
Miles and Flora lock Dani in a cupboard. (Episode 1)
Owen’s mother dies and a funeral is held in the village. Dani, Jamie, Owen and Hannah have a bonfire where they remember the dead. Dani sees Eddie’s ghost for the final time. (Episode 4)
Dani and Jamie get together. Dani sees Flora talking to the ghost of Rebecca Jessel and tries to get the girl out of Bly Manor. Flora leads her to the abandoned wing of the house, where she’s knocked out by Miles (possessed by Quint). (Episode 6)
Quint, Rebecca and the children hold Dani captive. Quint reveals his plan to get the kids to give Rebecca and him permanent control of their minds and bodies. Miles goes along with it, but Rebecca tricks Quint by pretending to possess Flora. Flora frees Dani and they run out of the house. Miles/Quint takes Hannah to the well to reveal her dead body, confirming she’s a ghost. As Dani tries to escape, she’s grabbed by Viola. (Episode 7)
Viola drags Dani into the house, but releases her when she sees Flora, believing – in her mind’s faded state – that Flora is her daughter, Isabel. Viola carries Flora towards the lake. Henry arrives and confronts Viola, but is thrown to the ground and nearly killed. Miss Jessel offers to “handle this part” by tucking Flora away, but Dani saves the day by inviting Viola into her body. Viola takes up her offer, and all of the spirits of the dead are subsequently released from their purgatory. Owen finally learns the truth about Hannah. (Episode 9)
After the events at Bly Manor
Dani and Jamie go travelling, before settling in Vermont to open a flower shop. Henry, Miles and Flora start a new life in the USA. Owen opens a restaurant called A Batter Place. (Episode 9)
1992 – or later
Dani and Jamie have at least five years (possibly more) of peace and happiness together – until Dani starts seeing visions of Viola once more. After she nearly strangles Jamie, Dani realises she can’t go on being possessed, and returns to England. She dies at the bottom of the lake, taking Viola’s place and ensuring no others will suffer from the curse of Bly Manor. (Episode 9)
Jamie travels to northern California for Flora’s wedding, where she meets Owen, Henry and Miles. She retells the story of what happened 20 years earlier at Bly Manor. (Episode 1, Episode 9)