Laura Haley-McNeil

Bidding Farewell to Downton Abbey

It is with sadness that I accepted this is the last season for Downton Abbey. If you haven’t heard of this series, then I suggest you invest, stream, rent at least the first season. The picturesque countryside and the innocence of the early 20th century should draw you into a world where the beauty on the outside doesn’t always conceal the machinations of human frailties. If you are as I am, you will be hooked.

When I first learned about the series, I knew this wasn’t something that would interest me. What of interest could possibly happen to a rich family with servants? I soon discovered that the wealthy are not without their failings. Below is a very short list of some of the plot lines pursued during the series. Because I’m unfamiliar with aristocratic titles and British punctuation, the below list is very American.

  • Mary’s affair with the Turkish diplomat who died in her bed. Then there was the problem of disposing of the body so as not to incriminate Mary. (I’m pretty sure this is what hooked me on the series.)
  • Edith jilted at the altar.
  • Sybil’s interest in rights for the working class and her affair, and eventual marriage, with the chauffeur.
  • Robert’s poor investment acumen diminishes Cora’s fortune.
  • Matthew learns he has inherited a fortune from his deceased fiancé which saves Downton Abbey from financial ruin.
  • Downton Abbey is converted into an officers’ hospital during WWI.
  • Violet reconciles with an old love for whom she almost deserted her husband.
  • Rose marries a man of the Jewish faith.

The downstairs’ staff also have their stories, some of which intertwine with the family they serve.

  • Bates is accused of killing his former wife and is sent to prison.
  • Thomas is homosexual and though he tries to befriend other men on the staff, so far no one has been interested. He’s not particularly congenial as he spies on the staff looking for ways to get them into trouble. When he sees a doctor that offers medical treatment for his homosexuality, I felt sorry for him. I was glad to see he had a human side to him.
  • Daisy marries a dying man she doesn’t love in order to give his last moments on earth some happiness.
  • Anna is raped by a man she is later accused of murdering.
  • Carson and Mrs. Hughes are engaged and eventually marry.
  • Violet’s maid and butler have a contentious rivalry.

Fortunately, Julian Fellowes, the series’ creator, has other projects to present. The book presented as an app, Belgravia, will portray London’s old money accepting new money in the exclusive district during the 1840s. The Gilded Age, a miniseries, is set in New York in the late 19th century. I’m sure I’ll fall in love with these two projects and will blog about them.

I’d love to know your comments on Downton Abbey. Please feel free to share your feelings about the series or another project that has captured you the way Downton Abbey has enthralled me.

I look forward to hearing from you!


Photograph Credit