From here on in I call SPOILER ALERT. This limited series of posts will be about the remaining episodes of A Discovery of Witches and how they compare to the book.
Episode 2 picks up with a vampire in Venice stalking and killing a human called Matthew. We do not know who she is but it is clear she is obsessed with Matthew. In this episode the viewer is going to be introduced to a few characters that appear much later in the books; they are Juliette Durand, Gerbert D’Aurillac and Domenico Michele.
The early introduction actually makes sense because it gives us time to better understand the motivation of the characters for what will come. In the book they show up as a menacing threat but with little context. While it works in the book, it would be less engaging on film to have someone show up for one scene and then be gone.
Juliette is clearly obsessed with Matthew and Gerbert created and groomed her to be his weapon against Matthew. There is a hint at a past relationship but it will be some time until we find out what that past was. Meanwhile, Domenico is investigating the death of the human in Venice. There is a hint that he is a creature of some influence but we won’t know right away the role he will play.
Flash back to Diana and Matthew. He has gone to Scotland to be with his friend Hamish to work out the feelings he is starting to have for Diana. Meanwhile, Diana is still studying at the Bodleian in Oxford. A witch approaches Diana to get more information about the infamous Ashmole 782. When playing nice does not work he resorts to veiled threats.
I am all for creative license in shows; they do not have to be exactly the same as the book. But the one mistake I think they make in this case is in the book Matthew has one of his vampire family, Miriam, keep an eye on Diana while he is gone. In the show this does not happen. The reason I think this is a mistake is because the character of Matthew in both versions would never leave Diana unprotected; open to the threat of Peter Knox and others like him.
As the show continues the threat to Diana continues. If she will not give Peter Knox what he wants he will unleash Satu on Diana. The threat culminates in Diana using a level of power she did not even know she had access too. This will be a theme through the rest of the show and first book.
The show brings Matthew and Diana back together when she is feeling overwhelmed by everything going on and goes to Matthew. Now that their storyline is back together the viewer and Diana will start to understand why the book is so important, why people will hunt Diana, to use her to gain access to the book.
The big secret is, creatures are staring to become weaker, die out. Matthew and his colleagues are analyzing DNA to try and find the reason, but Ashmore 782 just might have the answers that science has not provided.
The show skips some details the book provides, offers others the book does not. But overall the core story is well represented. I enjoyed the second episode so much, I decided to splurge on the streaming service that will allow me to watch them all.