Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the similarity between the O’Haras of Gone With the Wind and the Crawleys of Downton Abbey? Here are just a few similarities.
Both are wealthy families living on large family estates (or plantation as it is called in Gone With the Wind), have three daughters, but no male offspring that have lived to adulthood.
Big difference: The O’Hara daughters can inherit their father’s estate, but the Crawley estate is entailed away from the daughters.
Both stories start prior to a war that eventually shatters their worlds. We’re still waiting to see post-WWI Crawleys, so more comparisons in a year or so.
The stories have large ensembles of characters, but a lot of focus and life of the story is driven by the eldest daughter.
Both have “upstairs” and “downstairs” characters. Oddly, the slaves in Gone With the Wind interact more personally with the family than the most of the servants in Downton Abbey.
American mother (Ellen O’Hara and Cora Crowley) married to estate-owning man from another country (Gerald O’Hara <Irishman living in US> and Robert Crawley <Englishman>).
Neither father is able to fight in the war, and this is a burden to both. Both love their “land” and their daughters. Gerald dies during the course of the story, and Robert basically dies emotionally. Difference: Personality-wise, Gerald and Robert are very different. Also, Gerald is a self-made man, whereas Robert goes to great lengths to explain to his eldest daughter that his is a custodian…carrying on the tradition.
Scarlett O’Hara is described with the following lines from Wikipedia, and I’d say they describe Mary Crawley also:
“She is vain, somewhat spoiled, has a high intellect, and makes surface efforts to live up to the expectations her culture demands, but fears discovery by society of her true self.” This describes both women, however, Scarlett is street smart and literature stupid, where as Mary is literature smart, but not exactly street smart.
“extremely money-conscious and materialistic” Scarlett comes to this attitude after nearly starving to death in the U.S. Civil War and vows that she will never be hungry or poor again. And she goes full force with the grace of a bulldozer to succeed at this vow. Mary gives lip service to this attitude and it plays a small part (I think) in her hesitation over Matthew’s proposal; however, the jury is still out on how far she’ll push materialism over other needs, such as love.
“is only aware of how much she cares for other” when it is too late. Scarlett doesn’t realize how much Melanie means to her till Melanie’s death. Scarlett doesn’t realize she loves Rhett till he leaves her. Mary doesn’t realize the full extent of her love for Matthew until he withdraws his proposal and (SPOILER: he returns engaged to someone else).
Both eldest daughters are haughty, cool, beautiful, flirtatious, and yet, they are the care givers in their family. During the course of the novel, Scarlett is fully or partially financially supporting and caring for 20-30 people…yet she is seen as, and often is, hard and uncaring. Yet she is the backbone of the family and keeps many people alive during and after the war. Mary, not quite up to Scarlett’s care-giving level (it might be coming), is the person that goes to an injured Sybil and, we’re told, is with her mother after Cora’s miscarriage. She is also the only person that makes sure William sees his mother before her death. Nobody expects or calls for Edith in these times of need. Whether Mary in someway ends up a primary care giver is yet to be seen. (S2 spoiler: It is Mary that nurses Matthew in the early stages of his war wounds.)
Scarlett and Mary are both in love with a blond dude who goes off to war and is engaged to another woman. (I’ll make no other comparison between Ashley and Matthew; they are not similar.)
Scarlett protects and cares for Melanie (who is married to Ashley). In fact, Scarlett stays in Atlanta during the Siege to care for Melanie after Melanie’s own blood-relatives abandon her and because of this, Scarlett never sees her mother alive again. Also, Melanie is Scarlett’s biggest supporter (though in a different way) and ally. Mary protects Lavinia (who is engaged to Matthew) from her aunt and grandmother. It will be interesting to see if Mary can become the great care giver and supporter that Scarlett is, but also if Lavinia will be an ally to Mary if the need arises. (Sir Julian Fellowes may not give Mary the opportunity because he’s too busy with other <weaker> story lines.) (S2 spoiler: Lavinia never turns into the wonderful character that Melanie is. Too bad! Lavinia doesn’t have much personality and never does support Mary in any way. In fact, on her death bed, Lavinia takes a jab at Mary claiming she is the better caregiver. HA!)
The comparison list goes on….
There are some differences, I hope. For example, I hope Mary does not end up as hard and mean as Scarlett often is. Scarlett wastes a good part of her life believing she loves Ashley, when it’s really Rhett that she loves and who is man enough to be her equal in a relationship. I think Mary truly is in love with Matthew and he, like Rhett, is man enough to be her partner. I hope Mary doesn’t marry three times and treat her children with great indifference. I hope Mary does end up with her true love.
Both Suellen O’Hara and Edith Crawley are jealous of their prettier and more vivacious elder sister. Their relationship with their elder sister is full of strife and animosity; with the middle sister usually coming out of the “battles” worse for wear.
Suellen loves and wants to marry Frank Kennedy, but he marries the eldest daughter. Edith loves Patrick Crawley, but he is engaged to the eldest daughter at the time of his death. (S2 spoiler: Or is he dead??? Snort.)
Both middle daughters cause serious damage to their family with selfish, poorly thought-out actions. Suellen’s desire for money and social standing led to rash decisions that cause her father’s reckless behavior and his death. Edith writes a letter exposing misdeeds of her eldest sister and the consequences are still piling up.
Differences: (SPOILER: Suellen hates working the land, Edith seems to enjoy it. Of course, Edith mostly just drove a tractor and Suellen was picking cotton in a field in the heat of the south as she was practically starving.)
Carreen O’Hara and Sybil Crawley are both prettier than the middle sister, but not as pretty as the eldest daughter.
The age gap between youngest is greater than the age gap between the two elder sisters.
These youngest daughters get along with both their sisters, but seem closer to the eldest sister at beginning of story. Oldest sister is kinder to the younger sister, not middle sister, in both cases too.
Youngest daughter enters service: Carreen enters a convent to serve the church, Sybil serves as a nurse during WWI. (Note: Scarlett serves as a nurse during the U.S. Civil War, but not very happily.)
Differences: (SPOILER: The man Carreen loves dies while fighting during the war, Sybil isn’t sure yet that she loves Branson and since he can’t go to war, he isn’t going to die on the battle field.)
They even chose actresses with similar appearances! I expect Downton Abbey S2 and S3 will unfold with even more similarities between the families. For example, typhoid hits and kills some of the characters in Gone With the Wind. Surely the Spanish flu epidemic will play a similar roll in Downton Abbey? (S2 spoiler: It did!) High taxes are a threat after the Civil War, and are in Great Britain after the WWI…so surely that too will play a roll in future Downton Abbey episodes.
To be continued as Downton Abbey continues, but in the meantime, your thoughts? (Rip to pieces if you’d like.)
I’m a Mac-Head, what can I say? Truly sorry to hear that Steve Jobs died today. He’s changed the tools we use in our every day lives and touched so many of us with his innovations. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
To the left is an old Mac t-shirt…poor thing is paint splattered…shows how long I’ve been a Mac user. Picture taken with an iPhone with an iPhone app.
I have seven Apple products, including the iPhone that took the picture and the old MacBook Pro I’m typing on right now. I even have an ancient Mac IIci…most of the Apple Store employees have never heard of it or seen it. It still works, but isn’t good for any thing any more.
RIP Steve Jobs and thank you for the tools you brought to our lives.
Coming soon to the UK, a Downton Abbey soundtrack and book.
First, some comments about the soundtrack. I had very, very brief conversation with the Earl of Grantham himself (Hugh Bonneville) on Twitter about the soundtrack (Note: I have removed one person’s name from the conversation.):
missyismsmissyisms to @hughbon <NameRemovedForPrivacySake> But I don’t know who that is, so I can say with all honesty & ignorance: Much more fun to ask U.
<NameRemovedForPrivacySake> to @hughbon@missyisms This is a test, isn’t it? It’s the score from S1, two songs written for S2, & new song based on DA theme music. I think.
missyismsmissyisms to <NameRemovedForPrivacySake> @hughbon You really are The Keeper of Knowledge. And a kind one that is willing to share. Thank you.
The soundtrack will be available in the UK on Sept. 19 and is available via Amazon.co.uk at Amazon http://amzn.to/pxTh3x. I don’t know if this will be available in the U.S., other than by ordering through the UK Amazon website. As noted above, this will mostly be music from the first season/series of Downton Abbey. Two of the new songs are periods songs, and the last vocal number is a new song.
The Downton Abbey book, named THE WORLD OF DOWNTON ABBEY, will be released in the UK on Sept. 15 and in the U.S. on Dec. 6. The book is described as: Downton Abbey has captured the imagination of the nation. Written by Oscar-winning writer Julian Fellowes the show has become the benchmark for quality drama, and a commentary on all things British. Downton Abbey portrays a world of elegance and decadence, a world of duty and obedience and a world of romance and rivalry: this companion book, full of rich historical detail, takes fans deeper into that period than ever before. Step inside one of the most beautiful houses in Britain, past Carson the butler at the front door and into the grand hallway. Catch a glimpse of the family having drinks in the drawing room before dinner, dressed in their evening finery, whilst Lord Grantham finishes writing a letter in his study. Then climb the grand sweeping staircase to the maze of rooms upstairs and peak through Lady Mary’s open door to see Anna, her maid, tidying scent bottles and jewellery on the ornate dressing table. Follow Anna down the servants’ stairs and into the kitchens to watch Mrs Patmore frantically preparing dinner. Mrs Hughes keeps a watchful eye from her study and the world of Downton comes alive before you. Experience the inner workings of the downstairs life and be dazzled by the glamour of upstairs life with profiles of all the major characters, interviews with the actors, behind the scenes insights and in-depth information on costumes and props.
Since we’re discussing Mary’s dress in the previous post, let’s chat about this one.
The Crawley Sisters. Copyright ITV.
I think Mary’s dress is the prettiest of the three, but its style is so different than the other two dresses in the picture…and from other pictures we’ve seen for S1 and S2. The waist line and fitted bodice just don’t seem to be the right period. It looks almost late Victorian, not Edwardian progressing into WWI followed by the flappers of post WWI. I said somewhere I think she looks a little matronly here and it’s the older style of the dress. Somebody correct me on this…what year was this dress in fashion for a young woman?
Most of the media has been trying to avoid many spoilers (but liberal with hints), but TV Guide a spilled few secrets I think. So proceed with caution in this post.
First, they quote Elizabeth McGovern who reveals her character, Cora, Countess of Grantham, does not adapt well to the war at first and takes a little while to get active.
But the biggest news are the quotes from Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary Crawley:
According to the previews, Mary will do a lot of weeping, and for good reason. Dockery explains, “You first meet Lady Mary in the second series when she returns from London, having done one of the seasons. It’s very obvious from the very beginning that she’s still in love with Matthew. She finds out quite spitefully through her sister Edith that he’s engaged. He has moved on, so Mary very quickly moves on herself and she brings home someone she met in London. He’s a media mogul, Sir Richard Carlisle played by Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), who you may be familiar with. She tries to move on and make a life with him. But it’s not easy. There are complications. It’s not completely resolved with Matthew so don’t lose hope. As far as her war effort goes, she’s reluctant to get her hands dirty in the beginning when Downton becomes a convalescent home. She’s not quite as productive as the other girls because she is a snob in some ways. She does roll with it and she goes with the changes and she does wear an apron at one point.”
There’s a lot to absorb here:
Mary attends a season in London during the war? Wow.
Edith is the one to reveal that Matthew is engaged. (We were debating about what the line was in the temporarily available teaser. Makes me think the news must be delivered over one of those new newfangled telephones.)
Nice to hear the Mary and Edith do eventually soften their relationship some (but we’d heard that before somewhere).
Mary actually brings Carlisle home with her from London, so he isn’t a walking-wounded convalescing at Downton. (Suspected the latter, but not really the first part of that).
Not surprising that she’s the last of the three Crawley sisters to get more involved in the war effort. (I always sort of envisioned her teaching local children once the men where gone, alas, no.)
And most critical to all the shippers, “It’s not completely resolved with Matthew so don’t lose hope.” This actually puts more dampers than hope on them getting together. Just like them to tease about something that won’t happen.
There’s more in the article, including lorry driving. Enjoy and comment!
UPDATED per one of the Comments:
A reporter for the Independent visited the set of Downton Abbey during filming. And though he says his purpose is not to reveal secrets about S2, but instead is to justify S1, he does in fact give a possible leak. He writes:
…shoot a supper scene from the eighth and final episode (not counting a Christmas special) of the forthcoming series…Seated around the table, waiting for the call to action while peering into plates of what looks like Brown Windsor soup, are Bonneville; Elizabeth McGovern (Lady Cora, the American heiress married to the Earl); Maggie Smith (Violet, Cora’s mother-in-law from hell – the Dowager Duchess of Grantham); Penelope Wilton (Violet’s sparring partner, Isobel Crawley); Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary); and Dan Stevens (Lady Mary’s true love, Matthew Crawley).
Let’s break this down (such fun and a picture to boot):
The eighth episode in the UK is apparently going the sixth episode in the US (we’re getting the exact same number of minutes, but a different number of episodes).
We don’t know if the author has listed everyone at the table. We must acknowledge that as a truth.
If he has listed everyone, this seems to be very good news for Mary/Matthew shippers.
He identifies Matthew as “Lady Mary’s true love.” Again, we don’t know if that’s his opinion or something he knows from watching the filming.
If he knows this from something that was said during filming, the Mary/Matthew shippers can begin squee’ing! Maybe, cause it does sound like an engagement dinner, but of course we don’t really know.
Later in the article he talks about “McGovern, in Lady Cora’s black velvet dress.” Look at the picture below. I think we have a match, even though it isn’t in the dining room.
The family chatting before or after dinner? Copyright Daily Mail.
OK, so this picture may have nothing to do with the scene mentioned by the Independent writer, but!!!! We clearly see four of the characters mentioned in the quote (Cora, Robert, Isobel, and Mary). Cora is even wearing black ?velvet.? I can’t tell, but it might be Matthew over Cora’s shoulder in the doorway, but Sybil isn’t mentioned in the article and she might be the person between Isobel and the door. I think William is behind Mary, so maybe he survives the war (yay!). Also, Mary’s outfit is very much trending toward the flapper’s dresses of the 1920s, so this must be late in S2.
The Daily Mail also posted some great pictures. All the images shown on this post are part of their behind-the-scenes montage. There’s an interesting picture of Edith talking to a mystery soldier. And there does seem to be at least two actors whose roles have not been identified yet.
The Telegraph has posted a review of the first episode of S2. They quote Sir Julian Fellowes, “None of them is unaffected by the war. All of them change. And death doesn’t pass Downton Abbey by.” This is the second hint that there will be a death. I think there are a few guess on who might die: The soldier in the image above with Edith or another character introduced in S2 (think Cedric Diggory), William (gets married to Daisy and dies on the front, but really…too typical Hollywood), Thomas or Lang (since they’re at the front), or the bully Carlisle.
The Crawley sisters in Downton Abbey S2. Copyright Daily Mail
The Digital Spy loves the performance of Amy Nuttall as new maid Ethel, who seems to think the class structure is coming to an end. They also report that “The end of the first episode, for example, will probably make you gasp and wince all at once.” Hmm, we know a maid gets in trouble, now we know Ethel tries to topple the class structure…who does she get in trouble with? (Or maybe that isn’t the shocker at the end of the first episode.)
The Life of Wylie has posted many pictures from the actual press event at Highclere Castle/Downton Abbey. One interesting comment here is “Plus one of the most emotional steamy station platform scenes since The Railway Children.” We know two of train scenes: Mary with Matthew and Mary with Carlisle. We don’t know which scene appears in episode 1, but for it to be steamy wouldn’t it have to be the new romance? If the scene were between Matthew and Mary, wouldn’t “angst” be the word, not steamy? Guess we’ll have to wait and see, but…
The Radio Times also chimed in and they say: “the most affecting scenes in episode one concern Mary and Matthew, whose relationship foundered at the end of the first series. With the action having moved on by two years, they both regret the situation: cue longing looks at functions and charged pleasantries at dinner, with Dockery and Stevens at their best when the script bows out and lets them act with their eyes.” So maybe Life of Wylie was talking about Matthew and Mary? But there have also been references to a dinner scene…any way, sounds like lots of great scenes coming! (Why do US audiences have to wait till January or find other avenues of sneak peeks? Argh.) This article also talks about the impact of the war on both those at the front and those still at home.
Family gathering. Copyright Daily Mail
PBS’s MASTERPIECE has posted some pictures of a Downton Abbey S2 press conference in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, July 31, 2011. Downton stars Elizabeth McGovern (“Cora, Countess of Grantham”), Michelle Dockery (“Lady Mary Crawley”), Dan Stevens (“Matthew Crawley”), Siobhan Finneran (“Sarah O’Brien”) attended. Oddly, while the UK media got to see the first episode of S2, the US media did not. But they did get to ask questions. The US media has started posting reports:
Zimbio has also posted pictures of the press conference also. Click on the link and then search on an actor’s name.
Maureen Ryan (@MoRyan on Twitter) was in the audience at the Beverly Hills conference and has tweeted that PBS will air almost 10 hours (the same as the UK) and that does include the Christmas special, which will air as the last episode of the season on PBS. She also reports Downton Abbey S2 will air over a seven-week period in the US (NOTE: UK episodes 1 & 2 are combined in US, and the Christmas special will be 1 episode in the US). Ms. Ryan posted a very indepth article, but here are a few quotes: “Lavinia may have some hesitation about becoming the lady of the manor in the future.” (Ah, the inheritance is still an issue, but from a different angle.) And Rebecca Eaton, PBS, said “In this series, people will live. People will die. Marriages will be made. Babies will be born.” Hmm, lots of plurals in that statement. We already suspect William and Daisy get married and we know a maid gets in trouble. But will there be other weddings and babies?
As mentioned in my previous post, today was media day at Downton Abbey and in addition to the Press Book, the British media now seems to be chiming in.
The Earl, the Heir, and the Interloper (oops, financee). Copyright ITV
The Guardian, which included the picture to the left of the Earl and the Heir in their scarlet dress uniforms with the interloper fiancee, states: “The first episode will open not with a witty but icy quip from the peerless Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith, but with the massive explosion of a shell in the battle of the Somme, where the heir to Downton, Matthew Crawley (played by Dan Stevens), is fighting.” (But we knew that.)
Lady Sybil may be working as a nurse, but she hasn’t forgotten her past haut ton life, “Sometimes it feels as if all men that I ever danced with are dead.”
Five days of the 23-week shoot were shot in a WW1 Western Front replica…I guess we won’t be at the front too much (again, we knew that).
The story lines will be darker than S1 and the aristocrats will “dressing down” (again, the few pictures that have leaked revealed that).
And preparing for the future, “Julian Fellowes is already storylining scripts for a third series, which will take Downton Abbey into the devil-may-care, swinging 1920s.” (sort of figured that, but nice to know)
Downton Abbey S2 storylines will take place from 1916 to 1918 and a 2-hour Christmas special will be New Year’s Eve 1919.
Note: As I update this post I’ll tweet about it at @Missyisms. Please comment on any news or images you discover.
UPDATE: The Telegraph posted some pictures for our viewing pleasure:
The Earl, the Heir, and the Hair. Copyright ITV
Here a maid, there a maid. Copyright ITV
Lights, action, camera
Why do I suspect these last two pictures from The Telegraph are of the staff waiting outside to greet the returning heir? Ah, because that would mirror S1 and we’ll get to compare their S1 reactions to Matthew and Isobel to their S2 reactions to Lavinia.
Possible wedding of William and Daisy? William's commanding officer attending?
The Sun is chiming in with their coverage and this shocker of a headline:”THE new series of Downton Abbey will feature a wedding, a funeral, a war and a SEX scene, TV Biz can reveal.” However, there is nothing in the article about who has the alluded sex scene. We’ve already learned today that a maid gets in trouble, I suspect William and Daisy get married (see below), Mary is in a control/domineer relationship (more below), Matthew doesn’t really know his new fiancee, and there’s always (YAWN) Bates and Anna…in other words, they’ve loaded the deck for this, but they do like to tease in their teasers.
The Sun also reports that Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley) said: “There is a wedding - but whether it involves me and Lady Mary or not, you’ll just have to wait and see.” I think this will be Willaim and Daisy. There are hints in the Media Book of a big event between them, but also this grainy image to the right. Everyone stands and looks toward the right as though a bride is entering. (Completely speculating.) I don’t think we’ll see a Mary/Matthew wedding, unless it’s in the Christmas Special.
The bully in disguise? AKA Carlisle. Copyright ITV
Lady Edith, the Sun reveals, will take to driving a car. Hmm, Branson, wherefore art thou? Maybe Edith is driving farming equipment that is purchased to replace the men gone off to war? This would certainly endear her to Sir Anthony Strallan…if he’s still around.
Lastly, on the left is an image of Mary’s new romantic interest. He’s a newspaper mogul, so he might know about Mary and Pamuk and use that to blackmail her into bed or marriage…I hope, if that is attempted, it is foiled. Let’s avoid too much soap opera garbage!!!!
What do you think of the picture? What do you think of the storylines mentioned in the press book? Do share!
Updated to add:
Current broadcast release dates for Downton Abbey Season/Series 2: UK September 2011, US January 8, 2012. Don’t know any other air dates at this time.
UK DVD (region 2) and Blu-Ray discs will be released the week after the series completes. Don’t know if that includes the Christmas special, so that release date for the UK discs will probably be November or more likely December. (A long wait, but still prior to US broadcast date.)
A “Making of Dowton Abbey” book will be released in the UK in September and the US in December.