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Fanfic / Their Midnight Revels

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Ariel: Why do you humans always seek perfection and then get disappointed when you have it?

Thomas Barrow: I suppose it's something that someone like you would never understand.
Not that I even know what you are. What are you anyway?

Ariel: Our Kind have many names that you humans have given us, sprites, the Good Neighbors, the Wee Folk, pixies. The most common word is fairies.
From Their Midnight Revels Chapter 3: Longing For The Night
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Their Midnight Revels is a Fantasy fanfic by Auburn Red that crosses over Downton Abbey with the world of William Shakespeare, particularly The Tempest. It is obviously an Alternate Universe in which magic exists and the world of Faerie lays just outside in the woods beyond Downton. This story also took shape during S3 of Downton Abbey so certain things are altered that deviated from the canon plot. We also discover some deviations from the plot of The Tempest as well.

The plot is as follows: one stormy October night, two mysterious visitors, Miranda, Lady of Greenwood and her servant, Ari AKA Ariel arrive and attract the eyes of Lady Edith Crawley and Thomas Barrow. It doesn’t take long for the reader, and eventually the characters, to discover that these visitors are fairies and also Miranda, Prospero’s daughter and Ariel, his fairy servant from the Shakespeare play. As Thomas and Edith are lured further into the fairies’ webs and into an intoxicating world of magic, passion, obsession, and madness, Mary Crawley, Sarah O’Brien, John Bates, and a visiting Sybil Crawley-Branson become suspicious of Edith’s and Thomas’ behavior as well as the visitors’ motives. But who comes out the victor? Who is right and who is wrong in this tug-of-war between fantasy and reality? And how much will the lives of Thomas, Edith, and the other Downton residents change after this?

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This 12 chapter fanfic is a Fantasy/Romance series and contains elements of The Fair Folk, Addictive Magic, Driven to Madness, Blue and Orange Morality, Sanity Slippage, as well as The Power of Friendship as members of Downton and Faerie unite to fight each other. There are also various cameos from many fairy sources such as Disney’s Fantasia, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Gargoyles, the work of artist Brian Froud, and others as well as some real world cameos by Sir Roderick Glossop from the Jeeves and Wooster series and a wink-wink nudge-nudge reference to the author’s Maurice fanfics.

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Tropes found in this series include:

  • Addictive Magic: While Edith and Thomas do not show all the signs of a parallel drug addiction, some of the syptoms of this trope still apply: such as expanded thoughts, uncontrollable inhibitions, heightened senses, and rapidly changing emotions, particularly rage, anxiety, and depression. Plus their behavior after they return from Faerie the first night mirrors the behavior of a drug user coming down from a high.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Ariel calls Thomas “Tom Cat” and “Prince of Cats,” and Miranda calls Edith “Sweetling.”
  • A God Am I: Thomas reveals that his encounters with Fairies have given him heightened senses and clairvoyant abilities and thinks that he is like a god. Ariel subverts that by reminding him that he is still human, that he just has a higher perspective trapped inside a human body that is moving too slowly for his mind to comprehend, one that hasn’t slept in two days and desperately needs it.
  • A House Divided: The Downton Four come to disagreement about whether they should have denied their experience with the Faeries to get Thomas and Edith institutionalized and away from Miranda and Ariel’s influence. Mary and O’Brien are for and Sybil and Bates are against.]]
  • A Simple Plan:
    • Both O’Brien and Mary conspire to steal the tokens from Edith and Thomas’ rooms. At first they try to appeal to their sympathy, but when Thomas and Edith catch wind of their true intentions, they attack them. However, the stealing tokens plan does not work and Edith and Thomas are still enchanted so it ends up being for naught.
    • Mary and O’Brien plan to enter Faerie with Bates and Sybil holding onto a rope to pull them and Thomas and Edith out. It works but only after the fairies perform illusions to try to trick them and Mary has to throw a rock at the wedding ceremony to stop it.
  • Alternate Universe Fic:
    • This story began pre S3, so Bates’ trial gets a very brief mention since the author did not know the outcome at the time. Instead he was acquitted after a much shorter wait. (Also S3 and beyond characters like Jimmy, Ivy, Baxter, Rose, and Alfred are MIA leading to the creations of the fic’s servants, Jonathan and Emily). Since this fic ended up taking shape as S3 was being shown, Sybil and Matt are alive and well in the story. Both by the end are even reported to have lived to old ages. Also Sybil’s first child is a boy whom they name, Bobby. Though her second child is the girl, Sybbie. Mary later has a boy named, Patrick and later has a girl named Edith. Bates and Anna have a son named Thomas.
    • Both Edith and Thomas are gay, their relationships with the fairies, and the drives for independence are also echoed in their burgeoning sexuality. Also Edith and Thomas spend very little time alone together in the canon, but as outsiders because of their opinions, lonely status, and in the fic their sexuality, they share a great deal in common and share this journey together.
    • It is said in the fic that Thomas had been working at Downton since he was 12 and was friends with O’Brien for over 10 years. The canon said later than the fic was written that he had been working there for 10 years since 1910. Also Mrs. Hughes is reported to have worked longer in Downton than the canon said.
    • Thomas doesn’t have any living family in the fic; The canon later than the fic was written said that he has at least one sister (who is Baxter’s friend) and his father is still alive. Not as many people know Thomas is gay as they do in the canon-Emily, Jonathan, and Anna do not, though Daisy does realize this. Mary is not aware of it until Sybil tells her.
    • The final fates of the characters are as follows:Carson and Mrs. Hughes still lived but retired after the Earl’s death leaving the reins to John and Anna Bates who filled their duties as butler and housekeeper respectively. After going between Ireland and England for many years, Tom and Sybil decided to put up roots and retain their place near Downton where Tom became the Estate Manager and Sybil eventually filled Isobel’s place as Hospital Chair. Matthew and Mary naturally became the Earl and Countess of Grantham doing as much as they could to modernize the Abbey and retaining its sense of tradition keeping the old and new world together. After Cora’s death, O’Brien settled in retirement with Molesley remaining in the village but still kept ties with her old friends in the Abbey.
    • Of course Thomas and Ediths’ fates at the end are very different from the canon’s. They go to Faerie with their fairy spouses Ariel and Miranda and live there for many decades to return to the 21st century England to take up careers as an Information Broker and Investigative Journalist respectively.
    • The Canon Divergence spreads to the Shakespearean side of things. Miranda states that Shakespeare portrayed Ferdinand as a dashing hero when he was a philandering cad and Caliban as a monster when he was really like another brother to Miranda as Ariel was.
    • In most version of the Tempest, it is implied that Miranda cannot see nor interact with Ariel. In the fic she has plenty of interactions with him and the two are like a brother and sister often verbally sparring but fiercely loyal to each other.
    • The island that Prospero and Miranda remain in, instead of being abandoned, was a part of Faerie and was home to her mother. The plays, Prospero and the 2010 movie, Lady Prospera are said to be Miranda’s human sorceror father and fairy priestess mother.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: When Miranda who had been speaking of Edith says that she intended to invite “her” to the Revels. Ariel asks if the woman Miranda is referring to is Lady Edith. Miranda answers sarcastically, “No Countess Violet. Yes, Lady Edith, you fool!”
  • Babies Ever After: Sybil and Tom have two children in the end, Bobby and Sybbie; Mary and Matthew have two as well, Patrick and Edith, and Bates and Anna have one son, Thomas.]]
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind:
    • Ariel and Miranda enter Thomas and Edith's minds to aid them in breaking from their madness. Unlike other versions of this battle,Both Thomas and Edith’s psychological prisons are created from their own guilt, insecurities, and fears. Edith is tormented by being inside a glass cave and watching her family talk to each other without knowing of her and events in her life where she could have spoken up and made herself be known but didn’t.
    • Thomas is tortured by sitting in a dark prison in which his past misdeeds and crimes are recalled by earthquakes every time he speaks or thinks of them.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Edith Crawley, the frequently ignored “ugly duckling” middle daughter becomes the focus of much attention from her her family and the servants, when they, except Thomas, work together to get her out of her room as she goes mad.]]
    For once in her life, Lady Edith Crawley was the most important person in the house but the irony was that she was unaware of it.
  • Berserk Button:
    • When Thomas tells Ariel that he’s not fit to lick the late Edward Courtenay’s boots, Ariel makes lightning strike a tree and almost hit Thomas.
    • When Thomas and Edith return to Downton after the first time in Faerie they react near iron by screaming and fighting with their former friends and family. After Thomas and Edith are pulled out of Faerie, first they, then Miranda and Ariel, react with rage and attack Mary, Sybil, O’Brien and Bates only to be stopped by ropes and iron.
    • Thomas attacks Bates and O’Brien when they deny meeting Miranda and Ariel instead say that he and Edith have gone mad.
    • When Edith is locked in her room, she destroys the walls and mirror in an attempt to get back to Faerie. When Mary calls Miranda, a demon and a monster, Edith slaps her across the face and tells her never to call her anything like that again.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Miranda isn’t as sweet and naïve as she is usually portrayed in the Shakespeare play. But one supposes many centuries among mortals, having her heart broken and taking on her parents’ attributes surely gives her a bit more of a domineering personality. Ariel doesn’t take too kindly to Thomas saying that he’s not fit to lick Edward’s boots.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Miranda and Ariel have no qualms about using their abilities to trick Thomas, Edith, and everyone else such as impersonating Edward Courtenay and creating fears of some of the characters in the house. While they are sympathetic towards the madness that has come with Thomas and Edith’s newfound abilities, they allow it to happen in the first place. Some may question that they had to make the majority of the Crawleys and the Downton servants believe that Thomas and Edith were dead when they in reality decided to remain in Faerie. Many of the Downton residents go to their graves believing that Thomas and Edith are deceased.
  • Call-Back:
    • Edith calls back to many of the things said about her such as the line that Mary says about having “hardly any advantages” and her own remark about the dependable sisters arranging parties and gifts for her “prettier relations.” When Ariel entices Thomas to join the Fairy Revel, he says “One swallow can make another summer after all” recalling the Duke’s words when he broke up with him.
    • Thomas quotes Clarkson’s exact words about Edward “don’t have time to deal with a soldier whose depressed” when Clarkson examines him. Also Sybil’s nursing career is referred to that she was working in a hospital in Ireland and later when she insists on helping in Edith’s treatment.
    • Miranda and Ariel quote lines from the various Shakespearean plays, Miranda says “Approach my Ariel come” to summon her friend like Prospero does in the play. Ariel and Puck do Puck’s opening lines from Midsummer Night’s Dream but Ariel recites Puck’s lines and Puck quotes the Serving Fairy’s lines; Ariel also sings “Full Fathoms Five” but substitutes the line “father” for “lover” to refer to Edward Courtenay instead of Antonio.
    • When O’Brien confronts Thomas, Thomas guesses accurately that she is atoning for causing Cora’s miscarriage. Miranda and Ariel use O’Brien’s guilt about the miscarriage and Bates and Mary’s adversity towards Vera Bates and Kemal Pamuck to create illusions of them.
  • Character Death: Several characters are reported to have died in the final chapters; Violet and Isobel in 1927, Cora in 1929, and Robert in 1931. We also in the final chapter learn that O’Brien died in 1944 of emphysema, Mary and Sybil died in 1957 and 1958 respectively of natural causes and that Mary and Matthew’s daughter Edith died in 1952 in an auto accident and Bates and Anna’s son, Thomas was killed in WWII.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Ariel particularly when he describes himself and Miranda as the Lord and Lady of Misrule. Also when they are in Faerie, Ariel breaks intense conversations with Thomas first by engaging in a game of “Tag/Hide and Seek” then by inviting him to dance with him.
  • Crossover: The fic is a crossover between Downton Abbey and The Tempest by William Shakespeare involving romances between Thomas Barrow and Ariel and Edith Crawley and Miranda.
    • Other characters make an appearance or are referred to in the fic including Caliban, Prospera (from the film version), and references to Prospero and Ferdinand from the Tempest, Puck, Oberon, and Titania from Midsummer Night’s Dream (even further crossed over in that Puck is modeled after his portrayal from Gargoyles and Oberon and Titania are modeled after their portrayals from the 1998 film with Rupert Everett and Michelle Pfeiffer), The Weird Sisters and a reference to Macbeth from Macbeth, The Gossips from Labyrinth, The Lady of the Harvest, Topsy Turvets, the Pook/Shapeshifter and the Oak Man from the World of Faerie Oracle Deck by Bryan Froud, the Autumn Fairies from Fantasia, a parade that includes characters such as King Arthur, Queen Guenivere, the Knights of the Round Table, Robin Hood, Lady Godiva, Jack Frost, the Snow Queen and her sisters (clearly modeled after their portrayal in the 1998 miniseries starring Bridget Fonda because it mentions the other three representing the seasons), Santa Claus, and Thomas the Rhymer and his fairy lover (though it’s changed to be a male character instead of a female).
    • Other references include a cameo by Sir Roderick Glossop from Jeeves and Wooster and references to Bertie Wooster and Bertie’s Aunt Agatha and also references to Maurice Hall and Alec Scudder from Maurice by E.M. Forster (as well as the author’s fanfic series from Maurice “Child of the Greenwood” referring to a child who was looked after by fairies including Puck, until he was found by Maurice and Alec, their adopted son in the Child series, Georgie Hall-Scudder!). In Thomas’ new life in the 21st century as an Information Broker, he receives Sherlock’s Mycroft Holmes as a client.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • With Thomas and Bates as important characters in this story we are going to get a few of these. Bates comes back on Anna’s question about why poor people are thought of as mad while rich are thought of as eccentric with, “Because the rich can afford to be eccentric.” When O’Brien confronts Thomas first by offering him food, he says “You don’t have to stand around looking like the Bride of Death unless you really want to.”
    • Violet is on hand to deliver some of her one-liners like “If I were you, I would hide the silver” about Miranda’s arrival.
  • Dead Guy Junior: The deceased that are honored with children named for them include Isobel Crawley, Lavinia Swire (both in Matthew and Mary’s daughter, Edith), Patrick Crawley (in Mary and Matthew’s son). Since many believe Edith and Thomas are dead, Mary and Matthew name their daughter Edith for her and Bates and Anna name their son, Thomas for him.]]
  • Defrosting the Ice Queen:
    • And king! Both Miranda and Ariel warn each other not to have feelings for the mortals. However, they eventually fall in love with and want to spend the rest of their lives with Edith and Thomas.
      Ariel: It was bound to happen once or twice a century.
    • When Edith and Thomas break free from their mental prison, they involve Edith breaking the glass of her own insecurities and Thomas bringing light into his darkness by admitting that they care for their fairy lovers.
  • Driven to Madness: While Ariel and Miranda state that Edith and Thomas were mentally ill before they arrived and would have gotten worse if they had not arrived the Downton Duo show signs of being driven there also by their involvement with magic. Both are exhausted from dancing all night and have the urge to continue dancing. They have heightened senses and their brains are overwhelmed by the clairvoyant abilities that they receive. They also have stronger emotions such as rage against their friends and family, and sexuality particularly when Edith attempts to seduce Emily.
  • Exact Words: Mary makes Ariel and Miranda swear that they will not enter Downton, that they will remove any hold on Edith and Thomas, that they will remove all spells, and that they will sever ties with them and never encounter them in Downton or anywhere else. She forgot to have them swear to do so in the mortal world and the Faerie world which Miranda and Ariel are able to use that loophole in the vow to rescue Edith and Thomas from their asylums by having them sent to Faerie via gargoyle.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Thomas hears the fairy’s music, Bates suggests that one of the symptoms could be that his senses are heightened because of his war experiences. His and Edith’s senses do become heightened later but not because of the war, because of their trips into Faerie.
    • Puck asks Thomas sarcastically, “So Tommy do you play a mean pinball.” When Thomas doesn’t understand the reference, Puck tells him “Never mind, you’ll get it one day” foreshadowing that Thomas would opt to live in Faerie with Ariel as well as his return to England in the 21st century.
    • Sybil’s dire prediction for Thomas that he will be given no employment and remain a mad beggar for the rest of his life foreshadows what Ariel says would have been a possibility if he and Miranda had not entered his and Edith’s lives.
  • Gaslighting: While not as sinister as the usual motives, Mary, Sybil, Bates, and O’Brien’s plan to have Thomas and Edith institutionalized by making Sir Roderick and the others think that they are delusional drives Thomas and Edith even more insane. Thomas even attacks Bates and O’Brien for denying the previous evening’s events of encountering Miranda and Ariel’s spells.]]
  • Gaydar: Subverted when O’Brien is surprised that Thomas didn’t guess Edith was a lesbian. Thomas sarcastically says “We don’t all meet in the same places and instantly know each other by sight, O’Brien.”
  • Genre Savvy: O’Brien, and to a lesser token, Bates are very knowledgable in the world of fairy lore and are able to use that to work with Mary and Sybil to free Thomas and Edith. For example they know that fairies are vulnerable to iron. O’Brien is aware that they have to get a verbal agreement from the fairies that they will not harm Edith nor Thomas and that eventually someone will have to go into Faerie to pull them out. Thomas mentions that Daisy is also very knowledgable in fairy lore.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid:
    • Miranda and Ariel recruit Caliban and Roslaind, their gargoyle friends to help break Thomas and Edith out of the mental hospitals.
    • Mary, Sybil, Bates, and O’Brien team up to rescue Thomas and Edith from their fairies including using iron to get them out of the Faerie and then going into Faerie itself to lure them out.
  • Henpecked Husband: Caliban slightly in that his mate, Rosalind is able to convince him pretty easily to help Miranda and Ariel free Edith and Thomas. They even deliberately asked Caliban in front of Rosalind because they knew that she would be able to talk him around.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Sir Glossop assures Mary and Sybil that what they say will not shock him in the slightest. When they tell him that they caught up with Edith and Thomas in the nude, the nerve specialist coughs and sputters “Good lord!.”
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Miranda denies her feelings for Edith, insists their affair “never happened” and tells Ariel off for seeing Storthes Hall and viewing Thomas from afar. She then reveals that she knew which floor of the York Retreat that Edith was in and that Thomas has been given electric shocks, neither of which were said by Ariel.
    Ariel: I suppose it happened after all.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: Miranda, Ariel, and Prospera give Edith and Thomas the choice to remain in Faerie with them forever exiled and believed dead by their friends and families or to return to Downton, insane, slaves to their anger, apathy, and paranoia and eventually instutionalized. Thomas immediately chooses the former. Edith at first is uncertain because she would have to leave her family, but finally relents after Miranda rescues her from the York Retreat.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • “Always land on my/your feet”-Ariel (in the guise of Edward Courtenay) plays on the term Tom Cat by calling Thomas “Prince of Cats” and saying Thomas lands on his feet. Later when Thomas defends Ariel from Mary, O’Brien, Bates, and Sybil, he says “that I always land on my feet” to Ariel.;
    • “Stay with me/I’m not going anywhere.”-Thomas and Ariel repeat this dialogue twice when Thomas is begging for Ariel to help him through his madness Thomas says to Ariel stay with me and Ariel replies in the affirmative. Later when Thomas is being pulled out of Faerie, Ariel tells Thomas to stay with him and Thomas responds.
    • “You can’t see them but you know they’re there”-Thomas says this when he enters the kitchen and is speaking of the fairies; Edith says the same thing in her room particularly about the Topsy Turvets.
    • “You know me better than that.”-Ariel says this when Miranda reminds him that their kind was not meant to fall in love with humans. Miranda then repeats the line when Ariel gives her the same warning.
    • Thomas is tortured by sitting in a dark prison in which his past misdeeds and crimes are recalled by earthquakes every time he speaks or thinks of them.
  • No Indoor Voice: When Thomas is suspicious of Edward appearing before him, he asks him questions. The last one is “WHAT DID I SAY?” (about the letter about his brother, Jack “who had his best interests at heart”) When Edith discovers the iron dagger hidden inside her food plate she yells, “I SAID GET IT OUT OF HERE!!”
  • Our Fairies Are Different:
    • There are some differences in Miranda and Ariel’s interactions with Thomas and Edith that are contrary to typical folklore portrayals. For example nothing goes wrong when Edith and Thomas eat the food in Faerie, perhaps because they are enchanted already or because Miranda and Ariel swore that they were under their magical protection, nothing would happen to them.
    • Miranda and Ariel make it clear that nothing is being done with Edith or Thomas’ free will. They ask them to join the Revels and later ask them to remain in Faerie letting them know all of the consequences beforehand.
    • While O’Brien mentions the possibility that Sybil’s child may be a changeling, one look shows that he is not. Perhaps, because Bobby was not taken by either his own free will or his parents.’
    • Miranda and Ariel’s characters evolve when they realize that they love Edith and Thomas.
  • Power of Friendship: Mary, O’Brien, Sybil, and Bates team up to free Thomas and Edith from the fairies’ influence. Mary, their leader, even reminds them that they must put their class distinctions and original animosity aside and act as one if they are to save them.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Edith lays one out to Mary when she defends Miranda and explains why she wants to remain in Faerie with her:]]
      All you have done so far is dismissed me, paid no attention to anything I have ever said or done and I let you. I let all of you treat me like I was less than nothing….These past few days, I have finally shown some independence and some spirit and what have you done in return? You have me locked up as though I was nothing or something to be ashamed of. Well I’m not and I am not ashamed!..Miranda and Ariel have allowed us to see ourselves and everything around us much clearer. They have set us free. We were ill in trying to adjust to that, I will admit but we were only insane when we returned to you. They didn’t drive us mad, all of you did.
    • Edith and Thomas’ good-bye letters could be considered a “Reason ‘We’ Suck Speech, though Edith’s is also tempered with some accusations against her family for ignoring and neglecting her all these years.
      I am unable to return to life as nothing more than a handmaiden to the ambitions of my other sisters, believing myself to be as nothing more than a forgotten daughter, a neglected sister, and a maiden aunt. I have spent most of my life longing to be heard and loved and have received nothing but silence and in return gave nothing but silence. I am not laying the blame entirely on all of you. There was blame on all sides particularly on my own head for not being as outwardly courageous as Mary or Sybil to challenge the role that I had played.
  • Road To Hell: Mary, O’Brien, Bates, and Sybil believe that they are helping Thomas and Edith by separating them from Miranda and Ariel. What they end up doing is driving them even more mad by depriving them from those they love and a chance to live in Faerie in complete freedom.
  • Running Gag:
    • When a chained Ariel insults O’Brien or makes some sarcastic quip, he receives a kick from O’Brien or Bates or both. Miranda at one time is kicked by O’Brien for the same offense.
    • Ariel: Don’t you get tired of doing that?
    • Thomas’ wedding costume which consists of a crown of branches and a cloak of feathers underneath a black suit gets a few jokes from his own depreciating comments that he looks like the remains of a “bloody tree” to O’Brien’s “you look like a bird in an upside down nest” and Bates’ pun “alright, alright don’t get your feathers ruffled.”
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Chapter 7-9 is basically this in a nutshell. All of the earlier symptoms of heightened senses, dancing to exhaustion, talking to invisible fairies play out after Mary et al separate Thomas and Edith from the fairies. Edith begins to pound and tear at walls and break mirrors in a silent state making her escape. Thomas sits in the dark paranoid fearing poisoned food and attacks against his enemies. Eventually Edith and Thomas are taken to the York Retreat for a rest cure in complete isolation and Storthes Hall for electroconvulsive therapy respectively.
    • After Miranda and Ariel rescue them, Edith is in a mental glass isolated prison and Thomas is in a dark mental dungeon where his past deeds reverberate through earthquakes.
  • Santa Claus: The “ripe jolly old elf” is part of a fairy procession much to Edith and Thomas’ amazement and slight disappointment.
    Edith: Wonderful now I have to take back telling Sybil that he wasn’t real when we were little.
    Thomas: And Daisy.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One time the fic Shouts Out to another of Auburn Red’s fanfics by Puck describing that a baby he and some earth fairies tended to was left in the care of two men, referring to the “Child of the Greenwood” series of fics from Maurice.
    • The looks and personalities of the Weird Sisters and Puck are based on their interpretations from Gargoyles; Caliban and his mate, Rosalind, are also gargoyles in the tradition of the Disney series. The looks and personalities of Miranda, Ariel, and Caliban as well as the character of Lady Prospera are based on the 2010 film version of the Tempest.
    • There is a Shout Out to the Little Mermaid when Caliban tells his Ariel: “It is like I told you Ariel, the human world it is a mess” in the same manner that Sebastien the crab told his Ariel.
    • It is implied that Ariel and the Bond film’s Q played by Ben Whishaw are one and the same when in the 21st century Thomas muses that Ariel has become interested in human technology and has been aiding the British government. He even admits that “his husband looked rather adorable wearing glasses.”
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Mary interrupts the double Fairy wedding by throwing a rock into the magic circle to get the attention of the attendants.
    Mary: I’m sorry you forgot to ask if there are any objections.
  • Suddenly Sexuality:
    • Edith is a lesbian in the story. Besides her falling in love with a fairy, it becomes more difficult since the fairy is another woman! Edith’s sexuality becomes a parallel to her drive for independence.
    • Miranda is also a lesbian in the story. Her relationship with Ferdinand turns out to be very stormy and unhappy. In liberating Edith’s desires, she also liberates herself from the past.
  • The Atoner
    • Part of why Mary is so determined to help Edith and save her from what she believes is the Faerie’s enchantment is because she feels guilty about how she treated Edith in the past.
    • O’Brien wants to save Edith’s life even going against Thomas to make up for her causing Cora’s miscarriage.
  • The Fair Folk: They are present in this story in all of their mischeivous, conniving, but surprisingly charming and romantic glory. Two of the lovers are Miranda and Ariel from the Tempest. The fairies are portrayed as magical and amoral in creating illusions to fool mortals, have oracular foresight (though they say things do change), but have limitations.
    • The fairies are still vulnerable to iron, because Ariel burns himself on a pot. They cannot enter Downton unless they are invited by Robert Crawley, the master of the house. Edith is not able to follow the fairies on her own, she must be led by someone she knows and trusts so Ariel enchants Thomas first.
    • The World of Faerie is shown by magical creatures living in rocks, trees, and are in tune with nature such as their homes are built with outdoor views. It is based on various sources particularly Shakespeare’s and the world of artist, Brian Froud. The double wedding between Miranda and Edith and Thomas and Ariel is based upon real-life Handfasting Pagan ceremonies from the costumes, the vows, the tokens exchanged etc.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • John Bates is able to use iron to thwart off Vera Bates’ spirit and then to protect O’Brien and Mary from their own illusions; O’Brien also shows some badass tendencies when she fights off Sybil’s illusions.
    • Thomas is able to share Ariel’s powers and attack O’Brien, Bates, Mary and Sybil with magic by holding them into trees, throwing wind in their direction, and make O’Brien’s heart slow down.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Both Mary and O’Brien are clearly concerned for Edith and Thomas and want to help them through their struggles, which is more than their behavior has shown in the canon. Mary also shows kidness for Sybil and Emily by hugging them and asking them what their problems are when Sybil is concerned about seeing Edith and Thomas and Emily is frightened by Edith’s near seduction and raging emotions towards her.
    • The fairies themselves are kinder than are usually portrayed in many fics as Miranda and Ariel show genuine guilt and concern when Edith and Thomas are driven insane and openly care for them. They also admit that they are really in love with them.
    • Thomas also becomes kinder through his involvement with Ariel particularly after he is able to break free from his mental prison by admitting that he loves Ariel and not wanting him to remain in the prison with him, even though Ariel volunteers to do so. He also shows kindness towards O’Brien, Mary, Bates, and Sybil after he defends Miranda, Edith, and Ariel by attacking the others with magic. He stops attacking them because he shows them that even though he could kill them with a thought, he won’t because he learned about love during his time with Ariel.
  • Verbal Irony: Tom Branson, confused by Thomas and Edith’s behavior says that they are acting like they’ve been pixy-led referring to the old saying where someone is acting oddly. Mrs. Hughes jokes that if this were the old days, she would swear that Edith and Thomas were bewitched. Of course they’re not too far off from the truth, though they don’t realize it.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Miranda hints that this is what Ferdinand actually was and that Shakespeare portrayed him as heroic when he was a philandering cad and that Caliban was another surrogate brother to her along with Ariel.
  • Volleying Insults: Miranda and Ariel often spar with each other like a brother and sister, often referring to each other as such. Some of their sparring is even done in iambic pentameter in the style of their play:
    Ariel: I suppose it was a curse upon us both that I was freed, so you and I could be together for eternity.
    Miranda: More a curse upon me than thee.
  • What Goes Around:
    • Jonathan, the second footman is glad that Thomas is going mad so he can take his place seeing it as just punishment for how he treated everyone else such as William and Bates.
    • Tom Branson too shows little sympathy for Thomas’ condition for the same reason and he and Mary are quick to believe that he deliberately put Edith in danger to drive her and himself into madness.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Tom Branson shows little sympathy for Thomas’ condition of going insane, Sybil reminds him that he forgot one verse while studying his catechism: “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Miranda and Ariel warn Edith and Thomas about what would happen if they stayed with them in Faerie. Through their friends The Rhymer and Aisling, they show a romance between an immortal/mortal in which the mortal has a long extended life, but eventually dies of extreme old age to be cared for by his immortal and eternally young paramour. Thomas and eventually Edith listen to the warning, but agree to live with them anyway.
    Thomas: I can think of worse punishments than a long life with someone who cares about me and I know you can too. I know what’s waiting for me if I go back but I don’t know what’s waiting for me if I stay here and I’m actually looking forward to it.
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