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What your favorite ‘Downton Abbey’ character says about you

Sam Stryker | Tuesday, January 29, 2013


The British Invasion has extended to our television sets, as in the last year or so “Downton Abbey” has joined the ranks of “Mad Men” and “Homeland” as one of the most popular – and critically-acclaimed – shows on TV. Now in its third season, Americans just can’t seem to get enough of it.

And while the subject material of “Downton Abbey” is distinctly British (for those out of the loop, the show takes place at a fictional estate and deals with the lives of the resident nobility and servants) the ensemble cast of characters is entirely relatable and diverse. 

If you remove all the puffy costumes, tea and biscuits from “Downton,” you are left with an array of characters who display depth and range that rival that of any American TV show. Everyone has a “Downton” character they are most invested in. The real question is, what does your favorite character from the show say about you?

Lady Mary Crawley

She’s beautiful and wealthy, but she’s also the resident drama queen/brat of Downton and always has to have her way. She desperately wants a husband, but won’t settle if he isn’t wealthy or good looking enough. 

If you’re a fan of Lady Mary you probably major in something “sophisticated” like Art History and live in a new fancy dorm like Ryan or Duncan, the closest thing to Downton Abbey on campus. You’re looking for the ring by spring, but any old Domer won’t do. You don’t understand the meaning of the phrase “beggars can’t be choosers.” Also, you wouldn’t dream of leaving your dorm room without your Longchamp bag, Northface jacket and Tory Burch flats. Most of all, you’re a daddy’s girl (even if you’re a dude).

The Dowager Countess

Sassy is your middle name. What you lack for in nobility you make up with witty banter and a fabulous wardrobe. Violet, as she is otherwise known, is played by the beloved Dame Maggie Smith (McGonagall, hey!) and she is a fan-favorite. Always equipped with a one-liner, the Dowager Countess doesn’t put up with riff-raff

If she’s your favorite, you don’t like people wasting your time or getting in your way. You’re probably a second-semester senior who has seen and done it all at Notre Dame, and you are so over dealing with all the peasants (read: freshmen) on campus. That being said, you’re a softy at heart and are always willing to help someone in need, even if he or she is a stranger. You are resistant to technological change and think Twitter is just something birds do. 

Lady Edith Crawley

Just kidding, no one would ever admit to Lady Edith being their favorite character, but after being stranded at the altar earlier this season by Sir Anthony, who was much older and crippled, it’s hard not to feel sympathetic towards her.

But it’s just that she makes it so easy to make fun of her. Lady Edith is the most socially awkward of the Crawley sisters and she drives the rest of her family crazy. She began to write a newspaper column this season, so it’s looking like she may be gaining some independence. If you can sympathize with Lady Edith, you’re probably studying something “cultured” like English and are perennially jealous of your friends in Mendoza who have actual jobs following graduation. 

Lady Sybil Crawley

Where Mary and Edith went wrong, Sybil went right. The youngest Crawley sister is beautiful, down-to-earth and hardworking. Most of all, she marches to the beat of her own drum. She volunteers as a nurse and participates in protests, much to the chagrin of her father. But the most defiant thing she does is marry the family’s Irish driver Branson, who in addition to being quite handsome is a revolutionary (hey, no one is perfect.)

If Sybil is your favorite, you’re probably a free spirit who cares a lot about the world around you. You’ve participated in an SSLP, studied abroad and probably are majoring in something that interests you like Medieval Studies or Film, Television and Theater rather than following the Mendoza path. But you also know how to let your hair down and have a good time – the stage at Finny’s and the Cage at Fever are like your second homes.

Carson and Mrs. Hughes

The head butler and housekeeper of Downton, Carson and Mrs. Hughes can be somewhat stern and crusty, but they are loyal employees with good intentions. 

If you take a liking to either of these characters, you probably really enjoy keeping your room clean. A fun Friday night for you involves stacking your textbooks in a neat pile and dusting every corner of your living space. Extravagant purchases for you are a nice vacuum or a 12-pack of paper towels. You have impeccable attention to detail.

Anna and Bates

Anna and Bates’ love story has to be the most depressing – not sad, depressing – on television. Anna, the beautiful young maid, falls in love with Bates, who is older, already married, crippled and possibly a murderer. Talk about coming with a lot of baggage. But in inspirational fashion, the two defy the odds and not even the separation of prison time for the possibly wrongly-convicted Bates can deny their love.

If you are an Anna and Bates fan, you believe in love at first sight and that romance is real. You probably watch a lot of romantic comedies and aside from “Downton Abbey,” your favorite show on television is “The Bachelor.” Maybe you live in PW and your boyfriend lives in Carroll, or you live in Knott and your girlfriend in McGlinn. No matter, because distance doesn’t matter – only true love does.

Thomas and O’Brien

Picture a diabolically evil Anderson Cooper, and you’ve got Thomas. Imagine if Voldemort was female and had bangs and sideburns, and that’s O’Brien. If any characters on “Downton Abbey” were to be considered villains, it is these two. It’s amazing the plotting and scheming Thomas and O’Brien are able to do considering they’re supposed to be working full-time as servants. In previous seasons the two were always plotting some mischief together, but now, they’re at each other’s throats.

If Thomas and O’Brien are your favorite characters, you’re an opportunist who will stop at nothing to get ahead in life. You’re driven and cutthroat and probably plan on working at somewhere like Goldman Sachs following graduation. You would backstab even your best friend to get what you want. Things that matter to you: #winning, being evil and rolling your eyes really well. Things that don’t matter: bad hair, friendships and use of your left hand.

Mrs. Patmore and Daisy

The resident kitchen All-Stars of Downton Abbey also provide some much-needed humor on the program. If you like Mrs. Patmore and Daisy, you spend most of your time in the kitchen cooking elaborate recipes. You have trouble relating to your friends sometimes, like the time they weren’t as excited as you about getting a kitchen torch to make flan.

Daisy is also known for marrying William, another servant, on his deathbed, despite the fact she didn’t love him. This bothered her for a while before she came to accept she did the right thing. In a similar manner, you’ve probably been to your fair share of SYR’s with boys or girls you didn’t fancy, but let’s be honest, if it weren’t for you they would being going solo (and not the cup type). You’re willing to sacrifice a bit of yourself to help others not necessarily because it is the right thing, but because you were guilted into doing it.

Contact Sam Stryker at sstryke1@nd.edu