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Netflix's Bridgerton gives fans the steamy period drama everyone needs. Too bad Daphne Bridgerton is the worst. It's time to spill the tea as to why.

Here’s why Daphne Bridgerton is the worst Netflix character ever

With the release of Netflix’s long-awaited first Shondaland series Bridgerton, viewers were treated to a Gossip Girl-esque series set in the middle of Regency England. With Lady Whistledown tracking the movements of the members of the town, there were love affairs, break-ups, make-ups, a duel, and general wildness of the first season. Oh boy, things definitely got wild.

At the center of the first season of Netflix’s Bridgerton is the love story of Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) and eldest daughter of the large Bridgerton family, Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), in her first season. The only thing is, however, Daphne is kind of the worst character in the series. Not even Page’s pretty, pretty face could distract from that. 

Let’s talk about THAT scene

Before we get into the other reasons on the list as to why Daphne is the worst, we should discuss the scene that turned a lot of people off to her character. In both the book & the Netflix series, there’s a rape scene that’s not outright called a rape scene. Daphne forces Simon to ejaculate inside of her while they have sex, even though he does not want to and gives a clear verbal dissent to it. 

More aggravatingly, after the act and Simon’s desire not to have children comes to light, Daphne acts as the aggrieved party, even though she majorly violated her new husband’s trust in a big way as well. It has a lot of icky connotations both in the book and in Bridgerton as a whole. With Daphne making it all about her pain, you kind of just want Simon to leave her.

Sure, things are worked out and they have a kid. But Daphne’s own heinous act is never addressed again. Simon has more than enough reason to be angry with her because, again, it’s a major violation physically, mentally, and sexually. At the end, it just feels like Simon is essentially gaslighted into staying in the relationship with Daphne. And it’s just gross that nothing is ever said.

Changes from the books make her less interesting

If you read the first novel in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, then you’ve noticed that the Netflix adaptation changed things from The Duke and I. Most notably, the reason why Daphne and Simon partnered up for their scheme. In the novel, Daphne Bridgerton is in her second season in London, very much not the diamond she is in the series. And the reason why she hasn’t snagged a husband? She’s too normal and pragmatic for them.

Due to her unwillingness to play games with the gentlemen of London, she hatches a plan with the Duke of Hastings in order to seem more desirable. It’s a far cry from the Daphne of the television series, who is well-versed in these games and plays them well. Her obstacle is her brother rather than the opinions of the men around her. Unfortunately? It loses some of what made her interesting as a character in the books. 

Because have you really seen a Regency series where the flaw of the main female character was being too normal for the men around her? Daphne is not beguiling and uninterested in playing the courtly games. It would be much more fascinating to see her in her second season, having failed. With her being informed as the diamond and perfect, it just makes her character more boring. 

Speaking of boring

Daphne Bridgerton, in the Netflix series, is a character that is surrounded by people more interesting than her. From the broody love interest Duke to her own siblings, Daphne is just a boring character over all. She’s not chafing at societal expectations like her sister Eloise or dealing with family secrets like Penelope or part of an underground art society like Benedict. 

Daphne wants to get married and have children with a man that made it clear that he doesn’t want either. It’s a series of circumstances that lead to such things happening. When she gets her happy ending at the end of the season, it doesn’t feel like Daphne went through any character growth or change. She has what she wanted: a husband and a child. 

And it’s just not interesting. 

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  • THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. Everything I thought. And I gave up watching because Daphne bored me to tears before I got to the rape scene, but my friend told me and I can’t believe NOBODY IS SAYING anything about that! My god!
    Bless you for this lovely article.

    January 2, 2021
  • Thank you for this! I completely agree. Daphne Bridgeton is a horrible character. Definitely makes the Netflix series hard to watch and at time unbearable. She went into the marriage knowing Simon can not (will not, same difference) have children with her. She wanted to marry him any ways. She can not blame him for agreeing to this arrangement before they were. She plays the victim role well and is sabotaging the lives of those around her. I also agree that she completely gaslights Simon. Despicable.

    January 14, 2021
  • I’ve read this so often, about the “rape scene” and it just shows how much people do not understand this historical era — it wasn’t rape at the TIME. it’s only rape as filtered through our modern PC culture, which emphasizes “consent” even in marriage.

    In the 19th century…marriage ITSELF meant you had consented to sex with your spouse forevermore. There was no rape in marriage. You OWED your spouse sexual congress AND children. There was no birth control (no, withdrawal really does not work!). To marry, was to have sex and children.

    Simon LIED to Daphne, so his “sin” was worth than her merely wanted to have “regular sex” with her husband. He said he was sterile. If so, he could have ejaculated inside her without consequence.

    If he genuinely did not want children, or to continue his Dukedom and power….he should have resigned his title, decamped to America and never married. Or been celibate. Or had a celibate marriage by arrangement.

    He didn’t, he wanted “to have his cake and eat it too” — boink his 17 year old (super fertile) bride every which way and STILL never conceive a child! LOL! it’s almost too funny that ANYBODY takes this seriously as a strategy!

    In real life, if ANYTHING this dumb had occurred….Daphne would have confided in her mom or a married friend, and they would have told her “just wait him out…withdrawal won’t work…he’ll mess up and you’ll be pregnant inside a year”. At 17, she could be quite patient.

    NOTE: as stated here, this is not the true plot of the novel as that Daphne is much older and smarter.

    January 25, 2021
  • Agree Lola. And tired of this acting like rape is the same for men and women. If Simon didn’t want to nut inside Daphne, all it would have taken is one good shove to send her flying across the room. This is supposed to be a man who works out with a professional boxer but can’t free himself from a 100 pound girl? If you understand the point of the story, Simon liked kids and did want to be part of a family but grew up alone and could only focus on his revenge on his father. Lady Danbury wouldn’t be around forever. By making Simon confront his true feelings, she helped him let go of his senseless vow and become a part of something bigger. Really, to make her some kind of villain is just a discredit to the central theme of the story.

    February 22, 2021
  • Finally some sense Lola and Lady D! So sick of the Justice warriors who can’t focus this misplaced anger on real rape cases like the Eastern part of the DRC! But then that would mean getting off one’s soapbox but more likely carry on pretending that they’re entitled developed world wusses!

    Won’t add much more to what Lola said and fun fact : in many countries in 2021, women still don’t have the agency to decide when or how many children they will have and being married, means being available for sex whenever for either partner.

    March 8, 2021
  • Fortunately, 82M+ ignored your opinion. Watched and loved Bridgerton. What a happy escape in this crumbling world.

    June 9, 2021
  • The whole show is cringe. Everything about it. From the boring to the ludicrous. CRINGE

    November 24, 2021

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