Netflix’s The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself is the gory queer fantasy you’ve been waiting for

Annalise (L), Nathan and Gabriel (R) in The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself. (Netflix)

Netflix’s new fantasy series The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself, based on the Half Bad series by Sally Green, is a tale of magic, gore and urban fantasy. 

As Nathan (Jay Lycurgo), illegitimate son of the world’s most dangerous witch, approaches his 17th birthday, the clock begins ticking.

He must find his father and drink his blood – or suffer the most severe consequences. 

Set in a world where magical creatures, witches and fains live among mortals, Nathan goes on a quest that finds him caught in the middle of warring clans and the shadow of his father – notorious for murder. 

On Nathan’s travels he picks up two companions, Fairblood witch, Annalise (Nadia Parkes) and Blood witch Gabriel (Emilien Vekemans). He soon finds himself tangled up in an affair with them both.

“Gabriel is really comfortable with his sexuality,” Vekemans tells PinkNews about his boisterous character, “he likes to party and to have fun and to enjoy life.”

Emilien Vekemans as Gabriel in The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself. (Netflix)

Emilien Vekemans as Gabriel in The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself. (Netflix/Teddy Cavendish)

The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself isn’t a coming out story

We first meet Gabriel  just before he collides with Nathan and Annalise, and soon get to know him as someone who leaves a long string of broken hearts. 

Unable to commit to any relationship and still processing past traumas, there is a lot more Gabriel than the queer party boy – as he takes Nathan and Annalise under his wing. 

Vekemans wants Half Bad fans to know that Gabriel on the screen is not the same Gabriel they’ve seen in the books. 

“In the books, Gabriel is a little bit less sarcastic and a little bit less cynical. Whereas in the show he is a more party hard, hedonist kind of character.”

“Being queer is not the central point of the character, it is about the fantasy and any relationships develop on the side,” he adds.

In The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself, Blood witches like Gabriel are initially portrayed as volatile, violent and outcast, but we soon see (as always), the truth is slightly more complicated than that. 

“Blood witches are really free and open and not too restricted,” Vekemans explains – and for him, Gabriel finds his confidence in his sexuality and community. 

Nathan (L) and Gabriel (R). (Netflix)

Nathan (L) and Gabriel (R). (Netflix)

Spoilers follow.

As he bonds with Nathan, opening giving him a new perspective, Nathan in turn helps Gabriel reconnect with his emotions.

“He shows Nathan ‘you can be whoever you want, you are not the man you think you are or who other people think you are.'”

When Nathan and Gabriel are left alone toward the end of the season, the tension between them boils over into intimacy.

Vekemans reflects on filming romantic scenes with Jay Lycurgo and how an intimacy coordinator helped shape them.

“It was the first time I have worked with an intimacy coordinator and it changed everything,” he says, “an actor’s body is taken seriously and it makes you way more comfortable.”

Of filming with Lycurgo, he adds: “We were such close friends at that point, that it was really easy to become intimate together. It wasn’t a one day job. We were built to that moment. So that was quite easy.”

Nathan (L) and Gabriel (R). (Netflix)

Nathan (L) and Gabriel (R). (Netflix)

As for what he hopes audiences learn from his character and the growth Gabriel goes on, he says: “Don’t judge people. Be open about the world and be open about yourself. 

“Every character thinks they have it figured out and by the end they discover more about themselves.”

Although there is no news yet as to whether Netflix will order a season two, Vekemans believes there is so much more to explore between Nathan and Gabriel. 

He says: “At the end of season one, a real love story starts. We have seen Gabriel being this one night stand kind of guy. 

“But it could be interesting to see how Gabriel is when he’s in love. What would he be like in a relationship because it’s such a specific lifestyle. And so I think that could be something interesting about my character to be developed.”
The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself season one is now available to stream on Netflix.