Portrayed by Jared Harris, Absalom Breakspear is an important character in Amazon Prime’s ‘Carnival Row.’ In season 1, he is the head of the Breakspear family, a prominent and affluent clan in the Republic of The Burgue, and the Chancellor or the head of the government in the country. Under his leadership, The Burgue faces a transition period as scores of fae refugees arrive every month. At the start of the season, Absalom’s son, Jonah (Arty Froushan), is seemingly abducted, which eventually leads Absalom to torture his biggest political rival. Unbeknownst to Absalom, he has another son about whom we learn toward the end of the season. If you are wondering about Absalom’s absence in season 2, here is what you need to know. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Is Absalom Breakspear Dead?
Yes, Absalom Breakspear is dead. The Burgue has a two-party Parliamentary system, and Absalom leads the Commonwealth Party in season 1. He is pro-fae immigration as he believes that The Burgue should be a sanctuary for them from the war that human empires brought to their lands. Absalom’s most prominent opponent is Ritter Longerbane (Ronan Vibert), the Leader of the Opposition and the head of the Hardtackers, a nationalist group that has garnered massive support among the human residents of the country due to the sharp rise of fae immigration.
It is implied that the Commonwealth Party started the war with the Pact, a rival empire made up of the alliance between the countries of Quivira and Cibola. After The Burgue endured multiple defeats in the fae continent of Tirnanoc, the Hardtackers ended the war. When the Commonwealth Party regained power under Absalom, they sought to ensure that their fae allies would have a safe home in The Burgue.
Absalom starts to believe that Ritter is behind Jonah’s abduction and sends his people to capture his opponent and subject him to torture. In reality, Piety (Indira Varma), his wife and Jonah’s mother, orchestrate the entire thing to teach her troubled son a lesson. Piety’s family has long been fascinated by fae magic, which is considered blasphemy against the Martyrite Faith, the main religion of the country. Piety has been close to Haruspex Aoife Tsigani (Alice Krige) since she was young and believes that the child of prophecy will be born from her and Absalom.
It is revealed that Jonah’s biological father is Ritter, as the latter courted Piety before Absalom. However, as Piety was obsessed with becoming the mother of the child of the prophecy, she married Absalom and pretended that Jonah was his child. It turns out that Absalom knew the truth and still has loved Jonah as his own son. Piety poisons and kills Ritter to hide the fact that she is the one behind her son’s abduction.
Before the start of the season, Ritter’s daughter, Sophie (Caroline Ford), sent Piety a letter, making the older woman believe that it was from Absalom’s former lover, a fae singer named Aisling Querelle. In the letter, “Aisling” seems to tell Piety about her son and blackmail her. This prompted Piety to act and create a golem-like creature called the Darkasher to target everyone who was involved in the birth of the child.
Toward the end of season 1, Absalom meets his son with Aisling, Rycroft “Philo” Philostrate (Orlando Bloom), whose existence he has known nothing about until that point. Discovering how similar they are, Absalom promises to get Philo’s fae lover, Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevingne), out of police custody. However, once he gets home, he is attacked by Quill, a disgruntled former member of his house staff, who, after getting fired, joins a faun cult and is tasked to kill the Chancellor. Absalom survives the attack, but Piety later suffocates him with a pillow after he figures out that his wife is behind the killings and refuses to tell her anything about Philo.
Did Jared Harris Leave Carnival Row?
With his character dead, it’s safe to presume that Harris has left ‘Carnival Row’ and will not appear in the second and final season of the show, especially with the prominent entertainment sites not listing him among the cast members of the second season. In an interview with Screen Rant, Harris said that his character “is sort of watching it [the political struggle] slowly, out of the way, I think. I mean, he’s been in control for a long time, and he sees that it’s going to be hard to hang on to it. I think he sees the end coming and doesn’t quite know that it’s coming in the way that it does. But he realizes that the tides are shifting underneath him, and he’s not going to be able to shift with the times. They’re going to change out of favor for him.”
Harris is a renowned character actor who has appeared in a number of projects since ‘Carnival Row’ season 1, including ‘Foundation’ and ‘Morbius.’ He is slated to play various roles in films such as ‘Reawakening’ and ‘Brave the Dark’ and reprise the role of Professor James Moriarty in the third installment of Sherlock films starring Robert Downey Jr.
Read More: How Much Time Has Passed Between Carnival Row Seasons 1 and 2?