TV & Movies

A Bridgerton Season 3 Theory Predicts Lord Debling’s Fate

A thwarted proposal may be the least of his troubles.

Penelope and Debling on 'Bridgerton.' Photo via Netflix
Liam Daniel/Netflix

While Lord Debling isn’t original to Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton books, the eccentric character plays an important role in Season 3 as a potential suitor for Penelope — the possible pairing scares Colin into confessing his feelings to the youngest Featherington. And because his future hasn’t been plotted by Quinn, it’s become a source or rabid speculation online.

According to one viral fan theory on Reddit, a failed courtship with Penelope may not be Debling’s only problem. He could be in serious danger.

In Season 3, Episode 4, Penelope picks up a book about the Northwest Passage, a journey Debling plans to embark on. Debling’s research means he would be away for long stretches of time, which Colin reiterates to Penelope. “I know that already, Colin! It takes a year alone to get where he is going,” she says, angry that he’s thwarting her proposal prospects.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

So, where is Debling going? As the Redditor u/HumbleInterest explained in a May 19 post, the Northwest Passage was a subject of “national fascination” among the British, as the route would provide European explorers a path to the Pacific Ocean by way of Arctic waters.

But, as Debling says, it was a “fabled” route. Many explorers perished in search of it. (AMC’s The Terror dramatized the ill-fated Franklin expedition, for example.)

“Of all of the places to voyage in the Arctic, even at the time, it would have been an immensely dangerous trip to set out on,” the user wrote. “The persistent lack of success for a solid 30 years after this season takes place may reference the fact that this is a voyage that Debling is unlikely to ever return from.”

But don’t write him off just yet. In an interview with the Daily Express, actor Sam Phillips, who plays the character, said that “there's a possibility that Debling could come back in the future.”

Another Potential Path

Liam Daniel/Netflix

This isn’t the only theory about Debling. Several fans have speculated that he’d make a suitable match with Eloise, given her hesitance to marry. If Debling is gone for long periods of time — or, you know, dies — then Eloise could retain her independence and be free from the marriage mart.