The Resurrection of the Abbey

downton abbey 1701

In the aftermath of the holiday season and all of its accompanying madness and mayhem, I resort to quieter practices and habits. There is no better way to do that than to indulge in a binge of ‘Downtown Abbey’ DVDs, courtesy of a fancy Collector’s Edition of the entire series, a Christmas gift from Andy. We’ve made it through the first two seasons already, and despite the World War that runs through its timeframe, it’s still so much more peaceful than whats on the news today. There is a meditative quality to the period aspect of the production, with its tranquil soundtrack and focus on manners and tradition over coarse realism.

Everyone has their favorite ‘Abbey’ character, and it should come as no surprise that the Dowager Countess, cunningly portrayed by Dame Maggie Smith, is mine. That said, I find myself relating more to Lady Mary, for other obvious reasons. As the oldest child of the Crawley family, she has a love-hate relationship with herself that is mirrored in all her interactions. Some love her unreservedly (Carson and Anna) – others think she is the devil incarnate (Edith and Mrs. Hughes). The truth is she’s a little of both. We all are.

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