Downton-Abbey edith and marigold

Many of us are preparing to say farewell to Downton Abbey characters we’ve loved and loathed, sometimes wanted to seal into a hat box and send it bobbing on the North Atlantic, wept with, groaned and giggled at over the past six years.

March 6 marks the finale of finales for Downton Abbey for us in the United States. I compare this occasion to attending the Captain’s dinner on the final night of a voyage. My RSVP is sent. The main requirement is to find a comfy seat in front of the telly and ensure we are the person in charge of the remote. Everyone ready with pots of tea (or coffee or liquors) and appetizing nibbles at hand. Firmly telling all family members to either watch – or go seek non life-threatening, legal entertainment elsewhere. Quietly.

Formal dress not required, but how fun to don those lovely frocks and suits for a few hours. While waiting, we can ponder on the characters with whom we have shared the voyage.

The uppity, occasionally loving, and oh so forthright Lady Mary Crawley and her grandmama, the Dowager Countess. Ah those Dowager quips. Yes, I realize how dreadfully middle class of me to be remarking on those pointed remarks. Sigh. But what else is a weekend for if not to dwell on things of interest?

And there’s “Poor Edith” who finds it difficult to speak up for herself when we viewers are silently demanding “just say it!” She loves well but not always wisely, is coming into her own as a modern woman, and adores her daughter.

Sometimes mouthy, working so hard to better herself, naive Daisy who wants more fairness – and just more choices – in her life.

Thomas who finds himself sealed in a hat box of his own devising and desperately wants out, and Tom who now realizes the place and system he once loathed is home and for himself and his daughter, little Sibbey.

Mrs. Hughes (Carson) and Carson who after a turtle-paced courtship, discover that sailing the choppy waters of new marriage calls for patience and ingenuity.

Mr. Moseley who possesses kindness and intelligence even as he stumbles over a road filled with potholes that need filling.

The Bates, who share the unappetizing experience of both having occupied jail cells and are presently hoping for a little one of their own.

And so many others.

What can we say as we raise our glasses in toast (no clinking glasses please – remember that is NOT done) – knowing that the voyage is almost over. The resolutions about to be unveiled. We are not promised happy endings for all our favorite characters. That point has already been made quite clear.

But Lord Julian Fellows, we are counting on you to be a good fellow! Especially for Edith. I am adding my plea to that fervent fan who begged you, “Please, please just let Edith be happy!” Lady Mary already has her (hopefully) happy ending in place, possibly armed with knowing there are moments to keep that stiff upper lip and lower lip pressed together! And now it is (in my not so humble opinion) time for the middle daughter to emerge into her own.

Enough said. To the actors who took Julian Fellows’ dialogue and shaped those characters into life, I raise my cup of Darjeeling tea. Thank you – and I will cherish my memories of this show that touched my heart. Such good luck to you all!

© 2016 by Mary Louise Van Dyke. All Rights Reserved.

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