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Series / The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself

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The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself is a 2022 YA Fantasy series, distributed by Netflix, and created by Joe Barton. The series is an adaptation of the novel Half Bad, by Sally Green.

The story follows Nathan, a boy caught up in the war between two groups of witches: the Blood Witches and the Fairborn Witches. He is the bastard son of Marcus Edge, a Blood Witch considered one of the most powerful and dangerous, having single-handedly killed many of the diplomats involved in peace talks. Growing up under the heavy watching of the witches' council, things go awry right before his coming of age ceremony, when he becomes a pawn in another move of the conflict.

The show was cancelled with only one season in December of 2022.


  • Accidental Murder: Annalise's powers are incredibly deadly. She murders a man that is stopping Nathan from fleeing completely by accident, as she didn't know how to control it.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Black and white witches from the book become Blood and Fairborn Witches respectively.
  • Betty and Veronica: A bisexual version as noted below in Bisexual Love Triangle. Nathan is the Archie to Annalise's Betty (sweet, gentle and Fairborn) and Gabriel's Veronica (edgy, snarky and a Blood Witch). A little unusual in that Annalise has the far more lethal powerset of Decimation while Gabriel is an Alchemist, a soft power that is used more for support and doesn't have many offensive capabilities.
  • Bisexual Love Triangle: Nathan is in love with Annalise at the beginning of the story, with her being the first witch to be kind to him outside his grandma. That said, when he is given time to spend with Gabriel, it is clear something starts brewing between them. Adding another layer to this, while Annalise is a Fairborn, Gabriel is a Blood Witch, and the more Nathan grows accustomed to this trait of his own identity, the more he grows fond of Gabriel.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Given that Nathan is evidently going to be a powerful Blood Witch, not to mention that the Fairborn's hope he is going to defeat Marcus for them, the fact that they continually mistreat and antagonise him seems rather short-sighted on their part.
  • Cain and Abel: Jessica is the sociopathic and violent Cain to Nathan's much kinder Abel.
  • Cliffhanger: A hurt and defeated Jessica is taken in by Mercury, who intends to use her to enact revenge on Nathan and his friends. Nathan seemingly wants to eat Soul's heart in order to get his powers.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The Ozannes do this to a captured Fairborn Witch, crushing him to death in a shrinking cage.
  • Closet Key: Gabriel for Nathan.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Hunter raid on the Ozanne clan is largely this, due to the Hunters being significantly better armed.
  • Cycle of Revenge: This is the essence of the conflict between the Fairborn and Blood Witches. The Fairborns are trying to use Nathan as a weapon to use to kill Marcus and avenge the Wolfhagen Massacre. Marcus slaughtered the Fairborns at Wolfhagen as payback for all the atrocities the Faiborns committed on the Bloods. We never hear how long the conflict has been going on and what started it in the first place.
  • The Dark Arts: Soul uses a dark, forbidden spell called "Witch's Bottle", which allows him to take power from the target. The requirements include killing his own brother and Nathan's grandmother.
  • Enfant Terrible: Jessica was fairly creepy as a child, taking the opportunity to taunt Nathan with horror stories about his father. This has continued into her late teens where she shows numerous sociopathic tendencies.
  • Fatal Flaw: Jessica's sadism. Her over-the-top tendency to inflict pain on people she dislikes quickly puts people off and puts others against her. Soul's team is so upset at her and Soul making her his Number Two that they eventually try to mutiny, her boyfriend is so disgusted by what she did to a Blood Witch that he warned Nathan of her plans, and her plan to have Annalise killed by her own father to hurt Nathan backfires when the opposite happens.
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: Neither the Fairborn nor the Blood Witches have the moral high ground. While the Blood Witches have a tendency to even ritualistically sacrifice the Fairborn (which is unclear whether that was before or after the conflict began) and are pretty gung-ho about violence, the Fairborn Witches have developed systems and groups specifically to also hunt them down, attack them, and make them feel unwelcome when they can't. The peace talks demanded of the Blood Witches to give up all of their independence to become second class citizens among Fairborn Witches.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Soul is a hunter who has a massive complex about how little his power is suited for battle, being simply capable of manipulating plants. He is willing to kill innocents, including his own brother, to get Nathan's heart eater power.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: Beating down a group or person will eventually cause them to lash out back, most likely with violence, and at that point, the people who did the beating down to begin with are likely to take that pushback as confirmation of the reason why they need to keep doing it in a vicious cycle.
  • Hate Sink: Jessica is a vicious sociopath and a Smug Snake. This is to the point where even most in-universe characters either despise or fear her. The only characters who seem to want her around by the end of series 1 are Soul, who has been Jumping Off the Slippery Slope throughout most of the season, and Mercury, who sees her as a useful tool for revenge on the Nathan.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Jessica's boyfriend attempts to warn Nathan and Gabriel of the plan Jessica is coming up with. However, he gets brained by Nathan in his attempt, and while he manages to warn them, he doesn't live much longer.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Happens to Soul as he turns to dark magic and eventually heart-eating in order to become powerful enough to defeat Marcus.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Jessica's plan to bring Annalise into the fight at Wolfhagen. She intended to get Annalise's power to Soul by convincing him to kill her, but not only does that backfire, since Annalise's presence attracts Nathan, and by extension Gabriel, to save her, throwing a wrench into those plans, but Annalise is directly responsible for causing the most damage to her and Soul, almost killing Jessica before backing down but still permanently messing up her powers to shapeshift and killing Soul, giving his heart to Nathan, making the target of her hatred incredibly powerful.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: An amnesia-inducing dust, blown in the face of the target, is commonly used by witches in the series, to deal with everything from police to ex-boyfriends.
  • Hypocrite: Soul constantly claims that Nathan's status as a Blood Witch makes him dangerous but he himself commits numerous immoral acts and invokes dark powers under the pretence of working for the greater good.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: What Decimation results in when used on living things. The first time Annalise uses it accidentally she causes her pet mouse to explode into a pile of gore and viscera.
  • Queer Colors: A scene where Nathan is surrounded by Annalise and Gabriel has them surrounded in purplish-pink (as they're surrounded by colored smoke), an early hint of Nathan's sexuality.
  • Note to Self: Gabriel writes down important names in the cover of a children's book he cherishes. Later revealed as a mechanism against Mercury's liberal use of amnesia dust.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Soul goes to extremes to defeat Marcus after the bloodbath he caused, even appealing to dark magic with steep prices. However, it's clear that most of his actions come from a complex about his power being weak compared to even his own underlings, let alone Marcus.
  • One-Hit Kill: Annalise's power grants her the ability to unravel anything in pieces, with her being capable of separating people into their composing parts in an explosion of gore.
  • Prophecy Twist: Twofold. After a ritual that involves Soul taking in Nathan's powers, he believes he now refers to the "his own blood" of the prophecy that will kill Marcus, as now he has the blood of his son. Soul then realizes at the very end that the prophecy about the wolf being killed by his own blood referred to himself being killed by his daughter Annalise, not to Marcus being killed by his son Nathan.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Gabriel is a major character of the story, with the role of Nathan's second Love Interest, but he only appears towards the middle of the first season, no hint of his existence happens until the third episode.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Jessica abuses her shapeshifting abilities to morph into Nathan's dead mother, and accuse him of being responsible for her death.
  • Smug Snake: Jessica’s default expression seems to be a self-satisfied smirk, and she takes great delight in abusing any authority she is given over others.
  • The Sociopath: Jessica, Nathan's sister, is a violent psychopath who joins the hunter partly with a clear desire to have an excuse to kill Blood Witches and hurt her brother. She can also be seen smiling whenever something awful happens, reacting with glee to the opportunity and the action of causing pain to others, not even just the Blood Witches.
  • Superpower Lottery: The Heart Eater power that Marcus has is something of a ceremonial and very important thing for Blood Witches, but it also makes him incredibly powerful, as he can now collect the powers of various witch bloodlines whereas most only get one. Among the Blood Witches, that power is considered somewhat sacred because it is used among them for the Heart Eater to stop a bloodline ability from ending, as they can carry on their powers.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Soul clearly has this opinion about his own plant manipulation powers and has a major complex about how useless they seem to be in combat.