Tomorrow, A Discovery of Witches finally returns to UK screens, and I am just brimming with excitement.
After more than a year of waiting, we will get to see the story continue for Diana and Matthew, following their ambitious attempt at timewalking. Diana and Matthew will be navigating Elizabethan London together and carrying out their missions, while back in their present their allies and enemies will have to deal with their absence.
I’ve read the All Souls book series, and so I know the gist of what to expect in the new season. But I’m still excited to watch the story continue on screen, with the characters I’ve come to know and love them there, as they continue in their journeys through the adapted narrative.
The overall story might remain the same, but I can still look forward to seeing the characters deal with the challenges ahead. These challenges might be unique to the show, or they might not, and the differences in how the character address them could be subtle or obvious. Seeing what has been changed and what has been kept the same, is something to look forward to in itself.
In the new season, I can also look forward to new, exciting, and elaborate settings and costumes, new visuals and effects, as well as an array of new characters bringing with them new intrigue.
That’s a lot to be excited for, and the return of the series really is a great relief.
Ahead is a recap of the last season. If, like me, you’ve seen the first season multiple times since it ended, or you caught up recently, feel free to skip this section. Just make sure to read the spoiler warning before continuing to the next section.
Where season 1 left off
In the final moments of episode 8, we watched as Diana and Matthew were about to time walk (on All Souls’ Night) into the past, to escape the Congregation.
The Congregation is the committee which governs creatures ie demons, vampires, and witches, comprising three creatures of each species. The committee was trying to find Diana as it believed that she could access a highly desired and lost magical manuscript, Ashmole 782. It’s worth noting that the committee also has rules against cross-species relationships, but that’s really just a footnote in their issues with Diana and Matthew at this point.
As Diana and Matthew were stepping into the past, Congregation members Satu, Gerbert, and Peter, were seemingly hot on their heels. While the three of them are Congregation members, they have separate agendas for hunting Diana. They want to get the manuscript themselves, they want Diana for her powerful magic, and they want her away from Matthew.
Throughout the season Matthew’s brother Baldwin, who also sits on the Congregation, worked with him to help keep Diana from the Congregation. As a result, Baldwin found himself in a precarious position and almost lost his head. He now owes a debt to the demons on the Congregation and the self-serving Congregation member Domenico, for voting for him to keep it.
In addition to having Baldwin’s help, Diana and Matthew were also aided in their ability to escape by their discovery of Diana’s ability to timewalk. It’s an ability she inherited from her father, one she had only just learned of when they decided to use it to escape the Congregation.
Using it, Diana and Matthew not only aimed to hide but by travelling into the past, where magic is supposedly more potent than in the present, they also hoped to find Diana a suitable magic teacher. And Matthew speculated to his friend Hamish, that in the past he and Diana might also find Ashmole 782 whole, while in the present it’s broken.
Ashmole 782, also known to as the Book of Life, is thought by creatures to hold the secret of their origins. For that reason, each of the species wants to get hold of it and, more importantly, to keep it from the others. Early on it was speculated that Diana could access the book because of some secrets of her own but it was later revealed that the reason might actually be something to do with her father.
The final episode of season 1 also saw the departure of the creatures that had gathered at Diana’s family home. These creatures included Diana’s aunt’s (witches), Matthew’s son Marcus (vampire) and his friends Miriam (vampire) and Hamish (demon), and demon couple Nathan and Sophie. Including Diana and Matthew that made three demons, three witches, and three vampires. “Almost a “Shadow Congregation,” Hamish commented.
The creatures at the house all had their reasons for acting against the Congregation by helping Diana and Matthew. The reasons being that they care about Diana and Matthew because they are friends or family, or that they fear or oppose the Congregation and its rules and rule. Sophie, for example, worries because of her cross-species family. She is a demon, born of witches, with a baby on the way that could be a witch. She is living proof that the “mixing” that the Congregation is so strongly against is inevitable.
To help protect Sophie and others out there that may be in similar situations, Matthew enlisted Hamish into the Knights of Lazarus – traditionally a brotherhood of vampires. The order, according to Baldwin, exists to “protect those that can’t protect themselves”. It was started by Philippe de Clermont and his sons, who include Matthew and Baldwin. Current Grandmaster of the Knights, Matthew, handed the position over to Marcus, trusting his son to lead in the case that Diana is unable to timewalk them back into the present.
Marcus, along with Miriam, was the last to leave the house. Before them, Emily and Sarah left to stay with Matthew’s mother, Ysabeau, in France. Nathan, Sophie, and Hamish left prior, with the former two being told they would also be welcome at the de Clermont home, where they might be safe.
And after spending some time at the house alone, Diana and Matthew made their escape.
Before I finish up with this recap of the final episode, I wanted to mention Juliette’s death. Yes, she was Matthew’s annoying ex-lover, and yes, she had it coming after trying to kill him. But she seemed to have had a rather sad life, which she had little control over before leaving her father, Gerbert. When I first saw the scene where she left him behind in what I will call the “church scene” (in episode 7) I had hoped she might go and find her happiness somewhere. Instead, she left to meet a painful end. It was a shame to see.
Matthew luckily didn’t meet his end, a fact which now means that Diana owes the Goddess. What she owes, the Goddess didn’t disclose. Maybe more will be revealed in season 2.
Beware, spoilers ahead for book two in the All Souls series, Shadow of the Night, and as a result season 2 of the show.
Below, I discuss some of the incoming characters and their relation to and relationships with Diana and/or Matthew. In the process, I reveal some of what may be the plot of season 2.
What I most look forward to in season 2
What’s likely added fuel to the fire of my excitement for season 2 is that it will be based on, perhaps, my favourite book of the All Souls series, Shadow of Night.
I loved the personal and relationship growth that Diana and Matthew experienced in the book. I also enjoyed Diana coming into her own as she learned about her powers and became a stronger partner in her relationship. This was also the book in which we really started to get to know Matthew, who he was, and who he had been. From the looks of the trailers, I can also look forward to seeing these developments in season 2.
Shadow of Night was also fast paced, and there was plenty of excitement and action. I look forward to seeing the same from season 2.
As in Shadow of Night, season 2 will feature multiple new and interesting characters that are, perhaps, the aspect of season 2 I look forward to most. The new characters were intriguing in themselves but, more importantly, impacted Diana and Matthew in ways I enjoyed which felt vital to them as a couple, and as people.
The new character I’m probably anticipating most is Philippe, Matthew’s father.
In Shadow of Night, Philippe is the classic patriarchal figure. He is a calculating, thoughtful, and successful leader, and even shows that he can be caring where his family is concerned. His relationship with Matthew is somewhat difficult (as parent-child relationships are wont to be) but the love between them is evident. Their relationship was one of the things in the book series that helped to make facets of Matthew’s character clearer and even made him more likeable.
The latter development isn’t so much of an issue when it comes to the show as I already liked Matthew in season 1. (The same can’t be said for Matthew in book one.) Still, I look forward to seeing his interactions with Philippe in the coming season.
I also look forward to seeing how Philippe and Diana get along and how the relationship they form with each other. The bond that Diana and Philippe formed was one of the things I loved about the book, and about Philippe. It was nice seeing that stern, father figure open his home and heart to a new person. I look forward to seeing how that storyline plays out on screen.
Other characters that I’m looking forward to seeing in season 2 include Gallowglass, the loyal, easy-going, Viking warrior, and Jack, who sort of becomes a son to Diana and Matthew. I also look forward to the more adversarial characters, like the jealous Kit and all the drama he’ll stir up. And, if you can consider a magical familiar to be a character, then I also can’t wait to see Corra.
I was really excited when I heard that Corra, Diana’s familiar, would be appearing in season 2. When I read the books, I did my best, but I probably fell short of imagining the firedrake in all her glory. Seeing her in the show will be a chance for me to see her realised properly. She was quite impressive sounding in the books, and I really hope the show does her justice.
Finally, I look forward to seeing more of the present timeline in this second series than was revealed in the corresponding book. Shadow of Night primarily focussed on Diana and Matthew. We hardly found out anything about what happened to their family, friends, and allies in the present until book three. I can be patient – I read through the books after all – but looking at the trailers it looks like I won’t have to be.
Diana and Matthew in season 2
Based on what happens in the book, there’s a lot I’m anticipating in season 2 when it comes to Diana and Matthew, and their relationship.
In Shadow of Night, Diana and Matthew started to become partners more than just star-crossed lovers. Being in the past, Diana inevitably finds out more about Matthew’s past, and he reveals some it to her more directly and lets her start to see him. For her part, Diana becomes less passive and develops some backbone. These changes addressed the majority of the criticisms I had about the characters and their relationship in book one, so I was more than pleased to see them.
I’m enthusiastic to see the screen equivalents on this growth in the characters and the relationship. Diana and Matthew in the show start ahead in terms of how strong and likeable I consider them to be as a couple, and as individuals. But there’s still room for improvement, as there always is when it comes to people and their interactions with their loved ones.
I can hardly wait to see how they grow and change together, and separately, in the upcoming season.
Luckily for me, I don’t have much of a wait left. Just one day to go.
If you made it to the end of this relatively long post, thanks for sticking with it. I hope you enjoyed it.
Don’t forget to leave a like and comment. Tell me what you think about the post, or what you look forward to in season 2.
For those of you that are interested, I’ve previously reviewed all of the books in the All Souls series. Check them out if you have yet to read the books and are thinking about it, or if you just want to read someone else’s take on them. You could also want to share them with any friends that you think might enjoy the books and haven’t come around yet. The links are all below. I’ve also linked my full spoiler review of the entire All Souls trilogy.