The Haunting Of Bly Manor ends on a bittersweet note. For those of you who've watched it, you know what I'm talking about. For those who haven't yet watched it. Stop here because there are spoilers ahead (unless you don't care in which case, go ahead).
In the Netflix series' adaptation of the popular dark novella The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James, the series ends with both the children, Flora and Miles, finally out of harm's way, and away from Bly Manor and the tragedy that befell the property. They have no memory of the ghosts that had possessed them or the hauntings that preceded even before the deaths of Peter Quint and Miss Rebecca Jessel – their former au pair.
In the last three episodes, we learn that Quint and Miss Jessel had been manipulating the kids through means of possession, taking control of their actions and twisting their thoughts in a way that would result in the couple finally being together again, in flesh. While Miss Jessel has a change of heart and saves Flora without letting Quint know, Miles appears to be possessed by Quint's ghost apparently, for good.
But the twist in the second last episode caused due to Dani, the au pair, saving Flora from the Lady in The Lake, a.k.a the ghost of Viola Lloyd, results in the tragic curse being lifted from the house, and with it, all spirits are instantly freed from forever having to haunt the grounds of Bly Manor. This means, Miss Jessel and Peter Quint move on from their earthly abode, for good, leaving both Flora and Miles unscathed.
Thanks to Dani, both the kids are saved and rescued from Bly Manor, never to return and go on to live happy and full lives with little to no memory of the ill events that had happened at their summer home, Bly Manor.
It's a relatively sad ending no doubt because Dani, in the bargain, ends up paying a large price that comes to collect years later, in the form of the Lady in the Lake. Ultimately ending with Dani going back to Bly Manor, to walk into the lake and stay there, the same way the ghost of Lady Viola Lloyd once did.
But, if you thought that the series' ending was sad; be warned because the book ending will break you .
In Henry James' 1898 novella, The Turn Of The Screw, the ending plays out a bit differently. On discovering that the kids – Flora and Miles are possessed by the spirits of Miss Jessel and Peter Quint respectively, the governess sends Flora away with Mrs Grose after she develops a fever. She stays behind at Bly Manor alone with Miles who is by now possessed by the ghost of Quint.
When Quint reappears in the window, the governess shouts at him to leave Miles alone. Miles, who is at this point unaware of Quint's presence begins to call out his name, in eagerness and rushes to the window to confront the ghost of Quint. The governess instantly holds Miles back, assuring him that everything is going to be alright.
In this moment, Quint begins to fall away from their view, as if he's disappearing into nothingness. And in that same moment, the governess realises that Miles – who she's holding in her arms – is dead. He is no longer possessed by the ghost of Quint. And his heart no longer beats.