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Benedict strikes up a new romance in ‘Bridgerton’ Season 3. How does it compare to his book?

He meets a woman named Tilley Arnold, but is she his end game?
Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton
Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton in Season Three.Netflix
/ Source: TODAY

Warning: This story contains spoilers from part one of "Bridgerton" Season Three and Julia Quinn's novel "An Offer From a Gentleman."

Don't confuse book Benedict with show Benedict.

As Season Three of "Bridgerton" proves, Benedict Bridgerton's journey in the Netflix show is different compared to his arc in Julia Quinn's novels — at least so far.

"Bridgerton," the show, notably changed the order of the books, skipping Benedict's story to pursue Colin's.

That leaves a mystery for viewers of the show: Who does Benedict end up with?

Quinn lays out one option. In the books, Benedict is embroiled in a yearslong relationship inspired by "Cinderella."

The show has Benedict on a different path in Season Three. Following a string of casual romances, Benedict strikes up a dalliance with a woman named Tilley Arnold.

So, has Benedict met his end game yet?

Who does Benedict end up with in the ‘Bridgerton’ books?

Benedict Bridgerton's story unfolds in book three, "An Offer From A Gentleman."

Benedict meets a mystery woman at a ball and becomes instantly entranced. She sets the standard for Perfect Woman in his life, so much so that he never forgets her, even if he doesn't know her name.

Her name, it turns out, is Sophie Beckett, and she is the daughter of of an earl. However, after the death of her father, her stepmother stripped her of her privileges and wealth and forced into working as a maid.

Years later, Benedict is still pining for the masked woman. He meets Sophie and, due to a skew in circumstances, she cares for him when he's sick. Benedict likes Sophie, but he still holds out for the masked lady.

Then he figures out she is the masked lady — gasp! But there's another problem: They are of different social classes. Before they can be together, Benedict faces judgment, disapproval and potential ostracism.

What happens to Benedict in ‘Bridgerton’ Season Three — and who is Tilley Arnold?

Benedict, in the show, seems to be having a ball. As the second son, he reaps the benefits of his family's name without the responsibilities. Seasons One and Two see him having multiple sexual relationships and striving to become an artist.

Showrunner Jess Brownell says by delaying Benedict’s season, the team gets to “play” with the character more.

“Once people have their season, they fall to the background a little bit. But actually, by delaying Benedict’s season, we get to send him on more adventures for a little bit longer,” Brownell says. “And when he eventually gets his season. I’m sure it will be great.”

In part one of Season Three, Benedict strikes up a romance with a woman named Lady Tilley Arnold, played by Hannah New.

New tells TODAY.com that Tilley is essentially a “bad-ass widow.”

“I’ve just learned so much playing her,” New says. “She’s the most wonderful, independent, sex-positive woman that lives her life for herself and also is about finding the other person’s authentic being and connecting with that.”

Brownell tells TODAY.com that Tilley was not inspired by any character from the Bridgerton books.

“Tilley is an invention. We felt like she was a good match for Benedict because he’s someone who really doesn’t fit in anywhere. He doesn’t feel like he fully fits into society. He didn’t feel like he fully fit into the art world," she says.

Tilley is a model for Benedict on how to "straddle multiple worlds."

"She’s of society, but she also doesn’t play by the rules. So Benedict has something to learn from her," Brownell says.

In addition to his relationship with Tilley, "he’s going on a journey this season of figuring out what he wants and where he belongs," Brownell says.

Benedict's struggle to fit into society has been a throughline from the beginning.

Fans have theorized the character is queer after he struck up a friendship and seemed to flirt with artist Henry Granville in Season One.

Brownell and the "Bridgerton" team have remained mum on who will take center stage in Season Four, which was ordered by Netflix in 2021.

However Brownell has confirmed that the show will aim to "foreground queer love" in the future.

"This is a show about love in its many forms and I think that it’s only right for us to foreground queer love and to tell queer stories,” Brownell told Pride. “I want to see more queer joy on my screens and that was definitely a priority for me when I stepped into the showrunner role.”

“How exactly that plays out over this season and the next couple seasons, I can’t say specifically," she added, "but I will say I’m excited for fans to see that."