Nell and Dani Are Actually Similar in 1 Way, According To Victoria Pedretti of 'The Haunting of Bly Manor'

Going into The Haunting of Bly Manor, there was a lot of speculation about how similar it could be to The Haunting of Hill House. It is an anthology series now, with the story of the Crain family far in the past. However, would be just as scary? Scarier? Will the themes of trauma and fear be portrayed in a similar way this time around?

All of those questions were answered in this second season, and it was nothing like Hill House at all. The tone was different, the scares changed, and emphasis was put on different aspects. However, Victoria Pedretti did find some commonalities between her two characters. Even if it’s not right on the surface. [Spoiler alert: Spoilers ahead for The Haunting of Bly Manor]. 

Dani and Nell are similar in that they both are silenced in their lives

In an interview with Elle on Oct. 14, Pedretti touched on one similarity between Nell Crain and Dani Clayton: they’re both silenced in some way. 

“For very different reasons, they both had to be very careful in who they chose to speak to, because they had a tendency to not be believed,” Pedretti said. 

Pedretti explained that Nell is a very outwardly feeling person; she “wears her heart on her sleeve.” But even with that, she “tries to silence herself” with her family because of that aspect of them not respecting her enough to hear her out. She doesn’t open up about her trouble sleeping, her visions in adulthood, and everything else she goes through because of the way they’ve reacted in the past. 

However, she still “can’t help” trying to get her family to see the “truth” of Hill House. Of course, it’s unfortunately too late by the time they do realize. Dani, on the other hand, is silenced in a more internal way. 

“But in the case of Dani, she silences herself because she knows very well what it is to be a queer person in the 1980s,” Pedretti said. “She doesn’t want to be silenced or cast aside, so she does it to herself, I guess.”

But the two characters still have loads of differences

Of course, there are a lot more differences between the two characters as well. For instance, even though Nell and Dani end up silencing themselves, they both had different experiences that shut them up. 

For Nell, it was just years of being belittled for her “overactive imagination” or sleep paralysis, as they suspected that’s all it was. Not the sinister air of Hill House haunting her into adulthood. 

For Dani, though, it’s her ex-fiancé, Eddie’s, death. And, of course, societal homophobia.

“The one time she decides to express herself to her confidant, the person she loves the most in the world, he dropped f*cking dead!” Pedretti told Elle. “So she takes that as a message that, hey, maybe you should just lock that up and throw away the key.”

And as far as personalities go, Nell is more reserved. She has that open book quality with her emotions, but she’s not as fearless as Dani is. At least not as obviously fearless. 

From the getgo, Dani is confident in her skills. Sure, she might be a little emboldened by beer, but she still struts up to Henry Wingrave to put her foot down about that interview. She also doesn’t let the kids walk all over her and she knows her place as a good caretaker.

Both characters are brave in their own way, but Dani’s selflessness really brings her bravery to the forefront, especially when she’s caring for the Wingrave children. 

Dani was also a unique hero, navigating the horrors of ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ despite her anxiety

One more difference between the two is Dani’s constant anxiety that she fights through and overcomes at different points in The Haunting of Bly Manor. Nell does overcome her own demons and in the end, has peace in what happens to her. However, Dani fights through it all. And Pedretti thinks it’s “a really valuable thing to show” a “heroine with anxiety.”

“There’s many people that are extremely sensitive, do extremely difficult things, and make large impacts on the world,” Pedretti said. “They do not need to be cast aside. She is capable of so much, clearly. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to portray that. Especially in relation to a character like Dani, who eventually really, really confronts it.”

Pedretti points to when Eddie “haunted’ Dani, and how it “sends her off.” She’s specifically referring to the part where Dani’s getting closer and closer to Jamie and “Eddie” freaks her out. She remembers the times when she couldn’t feel like herself, couldn’t embrace her sexuality and true feelings. 

“All of a sudden she’s thrust back into memories of why she doesn’t deserve to feel that way, and she has this deep fear,” Pedretti said. “He throws her off into a spiral. But when it comes to real things to be afraid of, she’s always right there, ready to go.”

Of course, Dani stops seeing Eddie’s ghost, and that’s because she finally decides she does deserve to feel those feelings. Plus, without Dani’s tenacity, she wouldn’t have saved Flora — and the day — at all. 

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