Downton Abbey

Are any of you hooked on Downton Abbey?

This is one of those shows I stumbled across one night with my husband. He loves Netflix. He especially loves looking for different series and, since we both love period pieces, this one caught his attention.  To say the least, I am so glad it did. I have become a huge fan of the show.

I am not afraid to admit I am a Downton Abbey fanatic!

The estate, the real Highclere Castle in Hampshire, is stunning to behold. I want to travel to England just to stroll across the estate.  Don't you agree?

The show is an interesting peak into the aristocratic family of the Earl of Grantham and his wife, the Countess of Grantham.  Of course, one of my favorite characters is the Dowager Countess, played by Maggie Smith, who delivers her lines with just the right amount of smugness and wit that you cannot help but laugh out loud.

The attention to detail in the show with the characters, the settings, and the historical events is fabulous.  From the start of the show which highlights what happens to the family when the Titanic sinks and the heir presumptive dies.  Of course, the heir was supposed to marry the eldest daughter, but all of this changes now and an unknown cousin is brought into the family fold.

What I enjoy most about the show is the interplay between the aristocracy and the servants.  I love the way they all manipulate each other in such polite ways.  The servants who have their secret agendas and speak privately with the family in their attempts to wheedle things they want.  Of course, there's always the evil servants - the ones you love to hate like O'Brien or Thomas, who makes no bones about his machinations.

Being a historical author, allows me to look at the smaller details like the clothing, the furniture, and even the mannerisms with an eye of appreciation. I applaud the actors for their commitment in bringing this show to fans like me which such love. As a fan, I can see the actors truly love what they are doing.

If you have not seen the show, you have to check out Masterpiece Theater's Downton Abbey.

I really do not want to give too much away, because I want you to watch the show and see what I mean. Yet, at the same time, I cannot help but give you a few tidbits.

When World War I breaks out, even the aristocracy is touched by the tragedy.  The heir, Matthew, enlists in the war and, much to the surprise of the family feels strongly about his role.  Not being born to privilege, he sees no reason why he should not see battle like the men around him. He has fallen in love with Mary, the eldest daughter, even though she does not love him.  She has an arrogance about her which makes one wonder why anyone would fall in love with her, and yet, she is considered the great beauty of the three sisters, and men constantly fall in love with her.  She holds her feelings inside and does not realize until it is too late how she really feels about Matthew.  By that time, Matthew has accepted she does not love him and has moved on with his life.  OR has he really?  This is the stuff of a great romance.

But let's get back to the war.  Downton Abbey becomes a convalescent home for officers (because of course they cannot open their doors to the common man to recuperate).  Matthew's mother suggests the home be used for the officers - since there are so many empty rooms.  The earl of Grantham agrees, but Matthew's mother is quite the administrator, which rubs the Countess of Grantham the wrong way.  What I found fascinating, was how quickly the countess managed to secure control of her home away from Isobel Crawley (Matthew's mother).  She does it in such a way that even a general would applaud her delicate subterfuge.

Watch the show!!!  See how politely everything is done.  Watch the emotions on the actors' faces as they manipulate the scenes to their best advantage.  I think you will agree - Downton Abbey is the show to see.

Vivienne (who feels she must have, at some time in her "other life" been around to see Highclere Castle)

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