Downton Abbey: the first episodes

I cannot believe I have only just got around to watching Downton Abbey, I got it for Christmas from my Grandma and I want to watch it all day long. I love period dramas like this and I am seriously hooked on the three episodes I have currently watched. I wanted to write a few thoughts down on what my first reactions are, also some funnies in there too.

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My first thought was on how different life was back then, for familes of wealth, I am not sure how life differs to families with this kind of money these days but the fact that they have servants to do everything for them astonished me. They wake up and ring their bells, then get breakfast brought up to them (in bed), servants get them dressed and do their hair for them and then it must be about 11am by this time. They have just about enough time to read their mail, write a letter or read a book before its lunchtime. I was amazed. How would I feel if that was me, now? I know I am comparing it to the modern day, but still, I think I would have been bored out of my mind to not do anything for myself. It made me laugh when we were introduced to Matthew Crawley, he acted as I think I would have towards his servant, Molesley, almost in a comical manner as if to say “I’ve got this”.

My favourite quote that summed up this way of life was one of the Dowager Countess of Grantham, when she said “what’s a weekend?“. I am sorry, what? What is a weekend? How must that feel to literally have all week as a weekend.

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I really like the way you see what goes on in the servants quarters and the main house. I think it is really clever how they combine the two, by following servants walking into the hidden servant doors and things like that. It made me want to go to a big house and search for all it’s hidden doors and hallways. I love the opening scenes for the first episode when you see all the maids running around making the house look clean and tidy, ready for when the family awoke and removing dirty glasses from the night before. I am still learning the terms for all the staff, maids and footmen. I had never heard of a footman before I watched this program. It gives me a lot to research and Google. I had to look up Dowager too as I had no idea that that meant widower. So far I think my favourite moment has been when Carson said thank you to Mr Bates for not spreading the word about his “different” past. I felt sorry for Mr Bates when he was introduced to the house, I didn’t like it that the other servants were almost picking on him and that Thomas was being awful.

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Mary strikes me as one of the more important characters, because she is the eldest daughter I suppose, my first impressions of her are that she is a little brat and rude with it. She is quite vile sometimes, abrupt and I felt quite cold towards people. Almost like she was expecting everything to be about her and for her. She is a little harsh towards her sisters too, was sibling life always like this in large wealthy families? I suppose if I was the youngest and not going to inherit anything I may be a little miffed too, perhaps. This was all until the incident with Kemal Pamuk happened of course! Then I felt a little sorry for Mary and now I wonder if Matthew will win her affections after all. I suppose I will have to keep watching and find out.

Matthew reminds me of Commodore James Norrington from the Pirates of the Carribean, Jack Davenport is his real name, they speak the same and look a little similar too. I thought it was really lovely when Matthew made Molesey’s day by being nice to him and getting him to do things, the little pep talk from Lord Grantham really puts things into perspective. Until I saw that moment I really did think that I would have hated to have servants around me and I would tell them to go, but after hearing the pep talk about “servants needing jobs too”, it made me think a lot that maybe I wouldn’t be so harsh and I was so pleased when Matthew praised Molesey’s decisions on the cufflinks.

This program really sucks you in, it has set my mind running into overdrive and I am looking forward to getting up to speed with the latest Christmas special as I believe that was set in 1923, when my late Grandad was born. I love having a look into what life was like back then. So different 90 years on.

So far my favourite characters are:

  • Staff – Mr Bates, Anna and Molesey.
  • Family – Cora, Mary and Sybil.

 

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