Harper Family In ‘The Burning Girls,’ Explained: Did Rosie Kill Reverend Fletcher?

I have come across so many families in many films and series, but never have I come across such a vile family as that of the Harpers in series, The Burning Girls. There are many secrets that are buried in the chest of Simon Harper, the current descendant of the family. He is menacing to anyone who would try to unveil the real face of his ancestors. Family fame and wealth are greater to him than anyone or anything else. Charles Martin has been successful in showcasing a truly vile family in The Burning Girls series, with generations of evil being passed down. The new vicar, Jack, manages to unveil many family secrets, which is a clear motive for them to try to hurt her and her daughter. What are the deadly secrets that the family hides? Let us find out!


Spoilers Ahead

Was Rosie Harper Inherently Evil Or Mentally Disturbed?

Rosie Harper is shown to be extremely wicked, gaining sadistic pleasures in torturing her younger sister Poppy. Poppy is made to play sick games by Rosie by wearing the ears and nose of dead animals on her face as a mask. Rosie’s mother, Emma, finds out about this and confides in Jack about how evil her elder daughter was. Jack then tells her that she is not necessarily evil but needs help. Rosie had been supported by her father, Simon, in all her wrongdoings, and this had caused her to believe that she could do whatever she wanted. She had tried to attack Florence many times, out of nowhere. She initially tried becoming friends with her, but her ego was so hurt that she tried murdering her. She also hatched a plan, with Wrigley putting up an act of friendship with Florence to gain her trust and then intending to murder her. After being caught in the act, she later shifted the blame to Wrigley, saying that she was controlled by him, however it was later proven through the texts between them that Wrigley had actually been influenced by her and was under her thumb. This proves her narcissistic behavior of putting herself above everyone in an act of trying to defend herself. She was vengeful, just like her father, and wanted to avenge the investigations against her ancestors by Jack in the chapel. Rosie’s actions had made her own mother go against her in the end and turn her to the police, proving Emma’s innocence and her will to stand by the truth rather than supporting her own family blindly, unlike Simon.


What Was The Secret Of The Chapel Vault?

The murderous history of the Harper family comes up when Jack digs up the secrets after arriving at Chapel Croft. Simon had tried warning her of the consequences of trying to dig too deep into his family history. Jack had speculated that the death of the previous vicar, Fletcher, was not a result of suicide, but the Harpers had something to do with it. Fletcher, like Jack, had tried digging into the history of the family and had been put to rest by them. There are a lot of documents that are found by Jack in the Chapel, proving that there was a monetary transaction between one of the ancestors of the Harper family and the royal family in seeking information about two girls, Maggie and Abigail. Centuries ago, the blind superstitious beliefs of the villagers made them think that the two girls were involved in witchcraft. They were frantically searching for the girls to burn them, and an ancestor of the Harper family had helped them locate the hiding place of the girls. Eventually, they were found out, burned to death, and then buried inside the chapel vault. The money that was attained by the Harper family from the king in exchange for the information helped them buy land and start their farming business, garnering them greater wealth over the years. The family’s wealth and power were built on the dead bodies of the two little girls.

Simon, the current descendent of the Harper family did not want the villagers to know about the dirty history of his family. Therefore, he warned Jack of the consequences of trying to defame his family. He was called a murderer by many others, and his power is shown to subsist when he is called a murderer by Joan Harman, an old lady from the village. She was convinced that Simon was behind the death of her once-close friend, Fletcher, the previous vicar. It is, however, later revealed that Simon had nothing to do with the murders, but his daughter Rosie was responsible for the death of Fletcher. Simon was also oblivious to the murder of Grady and his body being present in the vault. He was actually murdered by Merrie and Jacob for physically abusing Merrie, and then buried in the vault by Clara and Marsh.


How Did The Death Of Izzy Hamper Poppy Harper Mentally?

Izzy, the daughter of Mike Sudduth, a local journalist, was friends with Poppy, Simon’s younger daughter. She had once gone over to their house to play with her, and an accident happened while Emma had gone out to get some groceries while Rosie was in charge. Izzy had accidentally gotten a noose around her neck from the swinging rope, while Rosie stood there and watched. She did nothing to help the child. Izzy’s family held Emma responsible for not taking care of their child while she was at their home. Emma had thought herself guilty and had expressed her grief on several occasions to Jack. She said that her elder daughter was evil to stand there and watch while everyone was away. This also brings up the question of whether the little child was murdered brutally by Rosie or if it was just an accident. It is possible that the murder was covered up by Simon later to save his daughter. The incident had, however, severely affected Poppy, Simon’s younger daughter. She had totally stopped talking to anyone. When asked by Jack if she had any friends, she said that she did not have anyone. The death of her only friend and the atrocities committed by her elder sister had made her stop talking completely. Poppy’s mental state and the way she is treated by Simon are questionable, as in the very first scene she arrives at the chapel frantically covered in animal blood, bringing out the possibility of her being mentally and physically abused at home. While smothered in blood, she reminds us of the character of Carrie in the film “Carrie” and the scene where animal blood was poured all over her. She was desperate for a helping hand and consolation from someone that she never found.

Final Thoughts

The Harper family was a treasure chest of secrets that were uncovered by the sudden arrival of Jack. The several secrets of the family are what make The Burning Girls series so interesting. As the layers of the family are peeled off, we seem to attain more interest and anticipate the next occurrences in the mini-series. The way director Charles Martin has arranged the unfolding of the events is beyond appreciation. There is not a single scope for any loopholes in the film, making the murder mystery thriller a super hit among audiences. The insecurities of the family are explored, and what the threats to one’s own integrity can make someone do has been depicted through The Burning Girls series.


Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti’s obsession with creativity and travel fervor has helped her branch out into the entertainment genre. Her love for psychological thrillers helps her get a daily dose of adrenaline. A regular caricature of the films and its characters is what keeps her going!


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