real downton

anonymous asked:

I love MG to pieces but do you think it's just a lack of chemistry between him & MD? Truthfully, I'm not sure Mary x Henry's writing was all that much worse than Mary x Matthew and Tom x Sybil post S2e1 but the couples had chemistry. Although maybe we were all bought in because of the groundwork in Series 1 and when the writing started to go south we overlooked it...

Goddammit I just lost half my reply. Here goes rewriting it!

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I think the lack of chemistry is part of the problem. I didn’t “feel” it even in the first introduction in the CS though I really wanted to. However, plenty of people do find chemistry there and the reviews I’ve seen (though I haven’t seen any for the latest episode yet) have talked about how good they are together, so I think perception and appreciation of chemistry is pretty subjective. If it wasn’t, there’d never be shipping wars! (And wouldn’t that be nice…)

However, I think there’s more to it than that. I 100% take on board what you say about the writing both of their scenes and past romance. (I thought M/M in S03 was terrible, I was never much of a T/S shipper and I was so bothered about gaps in M/M’s story in S01 that I wrote Consolation Prize to try to explain it!) In fact, I like a lot of their scenes. And I quite like Henry. Barring the oddness of how that staircase scene came across, I like his confidence, his wit, how open he is about his feelings, his drive. We get as much of him as we do of any of the rest of Mary’s suitors really and there was just as much that was problematic about their interactions. And yet I fell for Charles Blake and not for Henry.

The problem for me was the construction of the story. It wasn’t what Henry said or didn’t say in any one scene because everyone says bad things occasionally (remember Matthew basically telling Mary it was their fault Lavinia died, right?), it wasn’t Mary choosing to move on, it was the way the whole thing was put together.

I’ve said it before but - Mary was never so convincing as when she said she didn’t want something. Now, I know Mary. She’s absolutely excellent at saying the opposite of what she means. She has been since S01. But what has always made her such a nuanced and sympathetic character has been that even when she’s saying something biting or shocking or emotionally reductive, there have been signs so that the viewer knows what’s going on under the surface. This has always been a strength of Michelle Dockery’s acting and it has been helped out by the direction of her scenes. Think of how many times all the emotion was conveyed by one shot of something behind her eyes, a glance down, a particularly deep breath - these are the things that tell us that even though Mary is waspish and snappy and dismissive, there is so much going on under the surface. This is why I spent years of my life writing her and trying to understand her! If we’d seen any of that at all going on during her scenes with Henry or when other people are talking to her, then I’d be able to believe the inner conflict we’re meant to assume was going on. But I saw none of it. All I saw was a miserable, bad tempered woman being harassed by literally everyone in her life to marry a man she continually denied she cared about more than finding him attractive and a decent human being. I got nothing else. Perhaps it’s me; perhaps I should rewatch and I would then find all these hidden signals of Mary-ness that I’m missing and all would be well. Then again, I can’t be bothered. There have always been gaps in the narrative in Downton Abbey but previously we’ve had material with which to plug them imaginatively. My imagination after episode 8 can be represented as, “????????????” So there’s that. 

Then there’s the issue of how little substance the relationship has. Like, I genuinely don’t know where it’s meant to go (perhaps that’s for the CS, IDK) or what it’s based on. With Tony, I understood that he represented somebody who understood Mary’s status and way of life, would provide a safe pair of hands to bring up George and would fit in easily at Downton at a time when Mary needed that stability and to find her feet as part owner. With Charles, I understood that his modern ideas challenged and matched Mary’s hopes for the estate moving forwards into the future and we saw this in practice on numerous occasions and we also saw that he was engaged and interested in George. I shouldn’t even count Evelyn on this list because I don’t believe he was ever in the running, but even with him, I got the appeal of a long-standing friendship. With Henry there is… he’s attractive and they talk about their feelings in a witty way. But, like, seriously, what else is there? That we are shown in their scenes and in how he presents himself. His passion is something she despises and fears. He has shown no interest in her son and while I don’t doubt someone with his levels of drive and intelligence could take an active part in running the estate, we have no on-screen evidence that he has an interest or aptitude for doing it. Blake we could believe could be a good father and a good partner on the estate because he was shown clearly in those roles. (I’m not saying this to push a Team Blake agenda which is irrelevant anyway, believe it or not, but the facts are self-evident!) The only thing Mary and Henry seem to have in common is, well, Tom. And that’s a bit of a problem. (I know I’m going to alienate people here, but I realise I feel for Henry/Mary similarly to how I feel about Ron/Hermione. I don’t dislike them as a couple who dates for a bit but I am really struggling to see them last as an end-game romance. Anyway, that’s just me.) And 90% of their conversations are about their feelings. Which isn’t actually very interesting if it isn’t supported by shared values and mutual interests and good chemistry. I just end up going, “BUT WHAT IS THIS GREAT LOVE YOU KEEP TELLING ME YOU SHARE?” Which leads on to…

The third and probably the major cause of my feeling that this relationship is just bizarrely constructed. It feels like it’s almost entirely based on other people’s opinions. There’s the continual interference of Tom which is… well, ridiculous. The shafting of Tom’s character to “Henry’s biggest cheerleader” even when that puts him over considering Mary’s happiness whom he apparently loves, I mean what. I suppose the kindest reading of it is that he knows Mary better than she knows herself and just wants her to be happy at the expense of, well, himself, herself, consistency and understanding. AND HE BROUGHT VIOLET BACK FROM THE SOUTH OF FRANCE PURPOSEFULLY TO TELL MARY TO MARRY HENRY. I mean. Let’s just let that sink it. IDEK what to say about that. As for the rest of the characters, none of it made sense. One minute they were talking about how Henry was unsuitable because he was a racing driver, the next they were saying Mary ought to marry him because she loved him! I mean, what? What changed? If Mary gave some indication using Dockery’s excellent subtle acting skills (see above) and there was some scene where she dropped her guard and let slip something that suggested she loved Henry and was terribly miserable about it, their turn-around would make some sense. Unfortunately there wasn’t. 

So I’m left with nothing but an entirely superficial reading of the relationship. Mary is attracted to Henry and quite likes him. However, his involvement in cars is an insuperable barrier and as they have nothing in common and his profession really distresses her, she would really rather just get rid of him because it’s never going to work, even though she feels kind of bad about it because, hey, she does like him and he’s super hot. Then everyone in her family keep telling she ought to marry him and how much he loves her and that she loves him too over and over again until she suddenly realises that love conquers all??? Including the fact that Henry’s profession will always remind her of Matthew’s death but she can get over it because love means being hurt over and over again apparently????? So she marries him in five seconds flat without having told him any of her scruples or fears or reached any catharsis. This isn’t just a gap in the narrative, this is the Grand Canyon of narrative holes!

And that’s not even covering the fact that part of the reason everyone seems to want them to marry is because a) Mary is miserable (because she loves Henry IDK); b) miserable Mary is a bully; c) Henry is a bigger bully therefore d) Henry can sort Mary out.  WHICH. IS. GROSS. GROSSSSSS. AND MISOGYNISTIC. AND DISGUSTING. AND A TOTAL AND COMPLETE BETRAYAL OF MARY’S CHARACTER FOR THE PAST FIVE SEASONS. I CAN’T EVEN. I’M REDUCED TO CAPS LOCK ON THE INTERNET.

And I’m a girl who happily ships Richard/Mary and can deal with the blackmail as something that needs to be worked past. 

In fact, you know why that’s okay? Because that is the characters. That is something the characters do and they can work out between them and move past. Just like Henry’s comments on the stairs. If I were a Mary/Henry shipper, I’d write fic in which they deal with that and talk about it and work towards an equal footing. Because these things are always achievable. Saying Mary needs to be stamped on by a bullying husband is 10000000000 times worse because it is the judgement of characters extraneous to the relationship itself making a commentary on the relationship that is proved to be valid because after hearing these comments they get married without them being addressed. This is the opinion of the show! This is the Greek chorus’ closing statement! JESUS CHRIST I CANNOT GET OVER THIS.

And that is why I think that while better chemistry would certainly wipe away some of my objections, I have waaay more problems with this relationship than the fact that their chemistry isn’t as great as it could be.

*drops mic*

8

Yellow Ajah > 5/7 Aes Sedai in Fiction

“Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity. ”
– Hippocrates

Focuses on Healing. They are the fifth largest Ajah, and the leader’s title is First Weaver. Accepted with a Talent for Healing generally join the Yellow upon raising.

  • Juliet Burke, LOST
  • Sybil Crawley, Downton Abbey
  • Lucy Pevensie, The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Primrose Everdeen, The Hunger Games
  • Melissa McCall, Teen Wolf
  • Beverly Crusher, Star Trek: Next Generation
  • Beth Greene, The Walking Dead

All added scenes/line from the PBS version of Downton Abbey 5x03.

Credit to angel-princess-anna and her list of added scenes saving me from doing the hard work myself. Non-dialogue added shots not included in this video.

“And in perhaps the most jarring snippet of footage shown, at least from Carson’s perspective, Robert and Cora sneak into the kitchen, marvel at the new refrigerator, and fix themselves a snack. If the Lord and Lady of Downton Abbey making themselves a midnight snack doesn't signal the end of an era, we're not quite sure what does.”

Cora & Robert’s Midnight Shenanigans in Series 6 (Vanity Fair)

8

“I am not convinced I can be hearing this right?” / “You are if you think I’m asking you to marry me.”

“Of course I’ll marry you, you old booby. I thought you’d never ask.”

Robert introducing his sons-in-law

This is Tom, he helps us so much with the estate I have no idea what we’d do with out him. We’d be lost, I love him, one time I cried when we said goodbye.

This is Bertie, he is a Marquess and lives in a castle and puts on puppet shows for children and we all love him so much and are so glad he makes our family look better, because deep down we’re snobs.

This is Henry…he drives his cars very very fast!