Funny, that, to think of a haughty, overly privileged young woman as brave. Lady Mary Crawley, a person who has beyond a doubt been able to get herself into the most outrageous situations, i.e., the Turkish diplomat. Or, Sir Richard Carlisle. Yes. Downton Abbey. Delicious, but ‘course this is a highly stylized soap. Really! Just a soap. With amazing scenery. Convoluted plots. Character twists and stumbles. But still. It took me a while to see the bravery. And figure out how to translate that into my writing. Because, in truth, I usually miss that part. I talked about the ‘cringe factor’ last post. I don’t do reality shows. Or, talk shows. I can’t really believe people are that stupid. Really stupid. So, when Lady Mary came downstairs early to have a word with Sir Richard, well, I was all set. Remote in hand. Finger on the fast forward button. Ready to speed right through it.
It occurred to me I’d really like to meet Michelle Dockery. See her in something else. Because there she was, Michelle/Mary, in all her 1920’s style, talking civilly to Sir Richard. Perhaps it was due to the social contrivances of the time. Perhaps, because, as one reviewer notes, Sir Richard is only 2D in the series. But it was civil. Even though she knew he had the wherewithal to publicly shame her, a serious offense long forgotten these days, she was willing to come down and sort of apologize, as much as an aristocrat can say sorry to a non, and wish him well. I took that as brave.
Now, maybe, you’re saying, that’s the way she was raised. After all, old 2D Sir Richard was not of her class. True. But something stuck with me. I liked that straight back. That lack of humility. That willingness to dress and come down stairs. Regardless of just how soapy this series is, Lady Mary has a bit of fearlessness about her. Perhaps that why we, on this side of the pond, do love the ‘below the salt’, above the stairs stories, soapy or not. Because there is always one character for whom we cheer. The one who is out on the limb. Struggling to keep what is theirs, and yet…recognizes that the past is gone. Forever.