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  • Was it ever explained where the girls' names came from? It's absolutely bizarre that a man who hates (or at least is extremely suspicious of) Catholicism would name his first daughter Mary, isn't it?
    • It's not bizarre at all — The Virgin Mary is acknowledged as the mother of God by those of the Protestant faith too, and she isn't a solely Catholic figure. Mary has been, throughout history, one of the most popular female names in the UK, and has only declined in popularity in recent generations.
    • Don't forget that the Queen Consort to George V was Mary of Teck, and the UK has had two Queen Marys as well as a number of princesses. Queen Victoria's youngest daughter was Beatrice Mary. It's hardly unusual to name your daughter after the Royal Family.
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    • The British upper class were big on tradition (and still are—hence the continued survival of the monarchy and the House of Lords), and even if the first Crawley girl to be named Mary was born to pre-Reformation Catholic parents, if the name Mary becomes a traditional name in the family it's going to endure no matter what religious developments take place. We've not seen anything suggesting that Mary actually is a Crawley family name, but it certainly was a traditional name for much of early 20th-century Britain, and there's absolutely no reason for that to change.
  • So how on Earth did Mary and Edith manage to figure the exact hotel where Sybil and Branson were staying? Especially once they'd figured out that they likely hadn't made it all the way to Gretna Green yet.
    • Bear in mind that they are A: out in a relatively remote area, so there are few roads and therefore inns and B: in circa 1917, where cars were still extremely rare; Mary and Edith are specifically looking for places with a car out front, which is how they find them.
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    • Also, where did the extra car come from? Branson says he'll return the car in the morning, so it seems he was driving the Crawleys' car (and it's unlikely he could afford one of his own), but the Crawleys didn't have two cars, so what were Edith and Mary driving?
      • Who says the Crawleys don't have two cars? In all likelihood, they do.
      • The Crawleys do have two cars. You can often see them parked side by side during Sybil's scenes with Branson in the garage.
      • There is also at least one mention of "the other car", in Season 2. Unclear on who would drive it if Branson is out with the first car, though. (Edith can drive, but it's extremely unlikely her parents would ask her to do so.)
  • Why does the Dowager Countess dislike Edith and Strallan's plans to get married? She grew up in the Victorian era; back then, May-December romances were the norm. Strallan is older, a member of the landed gentry, and a social peer of the Granthams; he is, in fact, the personification of a good match by Victorian standards. Ostensibly, the Countess should have been the marriage's biggest supporter.
    • The issue with him is not just his age, but also his injury. Violet in particular seems to be worried that Edith will spend her life as just a nurse to an ailing man. Note that he wasn't considered quite as undesirable of a suitor for Edith before the war, when his arm was still intact.
      • Even with the injury, her objections make little sense given the social aftermath of WWI. England had a "surplus" of about two million women, and around 30% of Edith's generation never married at all. Strallan was injured, but was able to live independently, and was a far better alternative to staying single.
      • You may be underestimating how people used to feel about cripples. Among the upper class, it was a life-ending deal.
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    • Note also Strallan's oft-professed reluctance the second time around, he repeatedly told Robert and other members of the family (presumably including Violet) about his concerns well before the wedding.
  • Why the hell isn't Matthew helping to support Daisy? He's got the money now, and her then-fiancé was fatally injured saving his life. You'd think he'd feel at least a twinge of I Owe You My Life towards his widow.
    • He may have offered. She wouldn't take her widow's pension on the grounds that her marriage was a sham; no reason to think she'd accept help from Matthew either.
    • Daisy also has a secure job that provides roof and food, and apparently no dependent family members. It's not as if she's in a similar situation to Ethel, on the verge of starvation.
      • And bear in mind that William didn't have any surviving siblings. If he didn't have any cousins the family were close to, his father might leave the farm to Daisy. In fact, if memory serves, he said he would.
  • So when Mary says she had some sort of operation to cure some sort of reproductive disorder that was keeping her from getting pregnant, what exactly was that? She's apparently too repressed to explain it, which sounds like a Hand Wave to me, just to provide an excuse to finish up the subplot about Matthew worrying he's sterile with a bit of a twist. I mean, what reproductive disorder exists which can be fixed with a "small operation" which they were capable of doing back then?
    • It is absolutely historically accurate that Mary would not want to discuss the finer details with Matthew, especially given her father's attitude about such things (remember how he doesn't even like to think about Cora's ability to get pregnant at this point). You may well be right about there being no real-life condition that could have been resolved as simply as she suggests back then, but it is certainly consistent with Mary's character for her to tell Matthew that whether it's true or not.
    • Hysterosalpingogram most likely, they had that back then albeit crude. Basically she had one or both fallopian tubes blocked. They would have inserted contrast into her uterine cavity via the vagina (why she wouldn't want to giver her husband any details). They would take an x-ray that showed the blockage. Then there was various different ways of fixing it. Because she didn't need a large operation presumably they managed to fix it by pumping in CO2 or something.
  • Season 3. Oh, boy, here we go:
    • Why did Matthew take such a level in dumbass? I get that he's still mourning Lavina's death, but he isn't stupid. Why would he have so much of a moral dilemma in accepting her father's money to save Downton—the home of his in-laws and his future children—and then let go of all of that angst with one letter?
      • I thought he explained himself quite well. He feels like he screwed Lavinia over after she stuck with him through his darkest hour, and thought that the inheritance was assigned to him without any knowledge of his actions. In that context, he thinks keeping Mr. Swire's money after breaking his daughter's heart mere hours before she died is staggeringly crass. But the letter basically says that Mr. Swire understands what happened, and so it acts as his forgiveness from beyond the grave. Note that Matthew doesn't even accept the letter straightaway, he only believes it when Daisy confirms she mailed off Lavinia's last words.
  • After Sybil died, Mary and Matthew had absolutely no emotional hangups about trying to conceive. You'd think one of them would have had at least some nervousness about it. In fact the writers could have driven the whole second half of the season around this—imagine their marriage breaking down and the Succession Crisis rearing its head, because one of them is too frightened to have a child. Nope! They both go right into fertility treatments and the season ends with them going, "Let's make babies!" The best we get is Carson looking a bit worried while Mary is in the hospital during the Special.
    • Values Dissonance? In those days, women were expected to have babies, end of story.
    • I'm not an expert, but I've never heard of a higher risk of death in childbirth running in families. Anyone else know something about it?
      • In fact, a tendency towards eclampsia *does* run in families, with women who have had a mother or sister with the condition being at higher risk themselves. In Mary's favor is that eclampsia is more common in younger women; against her, it's more common in first pregnancies. And I agree, it would have been nice to see at least *some* acknowledgement that Mary was afraid the same might happen to her.
    • Besides the fact that women died in childbirth often and this didn't stop other women from having babies, Mary seems the type to regard having a baby as her duty and go through with it even if she had any misgivings. This could also be attributable to the time skips, as they may have had time to cope with the events or may have expressed their fears during one of the many days that aren't shown on-screen.
  • If everyone was so eager for Mary to marry Patrick or Matthew or whoever so that Downton could be secured, why is she unmarried at 22-ish and dragging Matthew along? Yes I understand she has objections, but you'd think someone would have said "Look, you have to do this now so we can have an heir." I mean, it was 6-ish years between Patrick's death and their marriage.
    • The family probably thought that nagging her or pushing her to marry Matthew when he first proposed was the best way to make her turn him down, given how contrary she was. It did take her 2 years to come around to the idea of marrying him in the first place.
    • They should use Reverse Psychology while they were at it like the fathers in The Fantasticks: forbid the children from each other because they wanted to get them together.
  • Did Carlisle publishing the Pamuk scandal actually affect Mary? For two seasons it was the driving point of almost the whole show. Hordes of characters hid what happened, got blackmailed into keeping the secret (Bates and Vera), plotted against her (Edith), were burdened by the secret (Daisy), Mary agreed to marry Carlisle to keep him quiet and lived in fear of it being discovered because Mary's life would be ruined if the story came out. Yet at the beginning of Season 3, no one mentions it and she's still accepted into society and treated with respect. Hell, after Matthew dies, she has hordes of suitors even though they must know what she did. There's no drama or consequences at all and Mary and the Granthams aren't shunned by anyone. Was a diplomat dying in her bed suddenly not a big deal?
    • Carlisle never went through with it — he threatened it, but by the time they call quits on their relationship in the Series 2 Christmas Special, he has calmed down a lot and leaves Downton with a fairly triumphant comment about he how will re-sell Haxby Park (the house he bought for he and Mary) at a profit. As a man motivated by money, this softens the blow of losing Mary.
    • To add, Carlisle's motivation for most of his behaviour/threats was desperately trying to keep Mary one way or another - he admits that he did really love her and want her to be happy. Once he knew she was gone, it almost seemed to be a weight off his shoulders.
    • However, in the season 2 Christmas special, Carlisle does say to Mary that even though he's not mad at her anymore, he still plans to publish the story, as he's a businessman and the scandal will sell the papers. So if he later on changes his mind, it's never explained why, as he doesn't appear again after seasons 2.
  • In Season 3, episode 8, Thomas (or really Bates on his behalf) blackmails O'Brien with his knowledge that she caused Cora's miscarriage. However, in Season 2, episode 3, set three years earlier, it is all but spelled out that he doesn't know anything about that: he expresses surprise at how loyal O'Brien is to her boss when she used to hate her, and she acknowledges her change of heart but refuses to tell him why. (All she says is "I've got my reasons!") Is there any indication that she told him about it in the interim? I don't recall any, and it's rather unlikely given that they're no longer close friends by then. It CAN'T be that a third person witnessed the incident and told Thomas about it (ala Daisy and the dead Turk): given how unpopular O'Brien was among the other servants, they surely would have ratted her out to the Crawleys immediately, or at least certainly before they told Thomas, who was even more unpopular (and was away at war for part of the time anyway). Also, we know for certain that Bates and Anna don't know what happened, as neither of them knows why saying "Her ladyship's soap" was enough to get O'Brien to do their bidding.
    • O'Brien and Thomas only fell out in the beginning of the third season which takes place three years after Season 2, episode 3. They were on friendly terms before that, so there's plenty of time for her to tell him her secret offscreen.
  • Why was there any doubt whether Mary and George would inherit Matthew's share of the estate etc? She was his legal wife and he was his legal, recognised heir, even if Matthew hadn't made a will, they'd still be first in line to receive any inheritance. No, Mary doesn't inherit Downton Abbey itself, the money tied up with the estate from Cora's wealth or get the title, but all his personal wealth and worldly goods (eg, if he still owned any property back in Manchester, or had any stakes in a solicitors business from his working days, as well as his clothes, books, etc) should go straight to her as next of kin - and George should get the estate and the associated bits (the title, the money, etc) as the now next heir of Downton.
    • Mary was not Matthew’s next of kin, and not his automatic legal heir. British inheritance law received a major overhaul in 1925. Before that time, if a man died intestate, all his property went to his firstborn son. (If there was no son, property was distributed equally among all daughters. If there were no children, it got complicated.)
    • George's inheritance was never at stake. What was at stake was the degree of Mary's involvement with the management of Downton Abbey as the mother and guardian of the future heir. Robert felt that Mary shouldn't be burdened with this and wanted to keep for himself Matthew's share in the estate in order to have more control over it. After Matthew's will was found, Mary had a solid legal standing to get involved with running Downton. Mary's future wasn't in any real risk outside of that because as the mother of the legal heir she would be allowed to remain around. Matthew's assets aside from the estate and the title are never mentioned, so they may just not be significant to the plot.
  • What was the problem with Richard Carlisle calling Lady Rosamund "Lady Painswick"?
    • In simple terms, Rosamund would only be "Lady Painswick" if her husband was knighted or had a title; he wasn't knighted - rich, very rich, but only a mere banker - so she is just known as "Lady Rosamund" instead. You call a British lord or lady "Lord/Lady First Name" unless they're the Earl or Countess or Marquess of something, in which case it's "Lord/Lady Grantham/Flintshire" etc
    • Not quite the whole story. Lady Rosamund is a Lady in her own right, as the daughter of an Earl. Even if Mr Painswick had had a title, if it was lower in rank than hers it would still be insulting her to call her Lady Painswick and not Lady Rosamund. Hence Lady Edith would have been Lady Edith Strallan, not Lady Strallan, had she married Sir Anthony - his title is less important than hers and does not override it.
    • OP here. So does that mean that because - if I understand correctly - Bertie Pelham as the Marquess of Hexham who outranks her, she is Lady Hexham and not Lady Edith?
    • No, she would be Marchioness Hexham because a Marquess, who she is marrying, outranks an Earl, who she is the daughter of. The higher ranked title takes precedence. However, she would be addressed as Lady Hexham in conversation. Because British titles are weird and like to call everyone Lord/Lady in many circumstances, whatever their actual rank.

  • Why, if Mrs. Hughes thought that Green got what he deserved, did she tell Mary about the ticket stub?
    • Duty? She's a very loyal member of staff, so likely thought she was duty-bound to tell her employers. Plus, although she may feel that he got what he deserved, she's probably still highly uncomfortable that said comeuppance was meeted out by someone under her authority.

  • In S06E08, Carson refers to Thomas as a "suicidal footman in the attic". Only he hasn't been a footman in... forever. He's an underbutler. Did Carson just forget, is an underbutler so similar to a footman as to make not much of a difference, or what?
    • Carson doesn't like Thomas very much (or at all), and has wanted to fire him several times, but has ultimately been unable to. So it's easy to imagine it's just Carson being derogatory about an employee he doesn't like and barely tolerates. Also it's never made entirely clear what separates an underbutler from a footman, or the butler himself (this trooper had always assumed it was a footman who was being trained as a butler for when the existing one left, and took on certain duties that a normal footman didn't).
      • It feels to me as though an "underbutler" is a name the Crawleys pulled out of their top hat to be able to give a job back to Thomas without going back on their previous decision to reduce themselves to only one foot
      • You guys should know that underbutler is a real term, and just means assistant butler.

  • In the season 5 Christmas special, Lord Sinderby rudely barks at Thomas to bring him milk for his tea, but I thought Jewish people weren't supposed to mix dairy with other food? Like, I understand that not every Jewish person keeps kosher, but Sinderby is so vociferous in his defense of his faith and traditions it seems like he would. Is it just an oversight on the part of the writers?
    • Tea with milk is kosher as kosher is about separating meat and dairy. It's also very likely that Lord Sinderby isn't very strict as Jews who are strict about keeping kosher generally don't accept the hospitality of non-Jews. This is due to the unavoidable contamination of dairy and meat in not just food preparation but with the china, silverware etc.
    • Purely anecdotal, but in my experience Jews who don't keep kosher are just as proud of their faith as those who do. Given the amount of persecution they've been through, they kind of have to be.

  • Did Anthony Strallan reimburse the Crawleys the cost of the wedding after he jilted Edith at the altar?
    • I'm quite sure the show never actually addressed this, but my guess is Robert would just as soon eat the cost if it meant never having anything to do with Anthony again. (Remember he found out immediately after Edith was jilted - literally minutes after - that Matthew was going to accept Lavinia's inheritance and they wouldn't have to sell after all. With that weight lifted off his shoulders, what's so bad about a wedding breakfast that ended up going to the servants?)

  • If Robert was an Earl, presumably he would have been entitled to sit in the House of Lords. Why did he never do so?
    • He does, it’s just never shown onscreen. O’Brien mentions at one point that he and Bates go to London occasionally for just that reason.

  • It strikes me as odd and pretty historically inaccurate that Mary would have no less than four suitors (Evelyn Napier, Charles Black, Tony Gillingham, and Henry Talbot) pursue her at different points over the last three seasons of the show. Given that the high death toll caused by World War I, the general dearth of eligible men roughly the same age as Mary and Edith should have drastically lowered this number. Though she did come into a lot of money after Matthew's death, it seems wholly unreasonable that a widowed woman with a young son (regardless of her connections to the British aristocracy) would wind up with multiple men vying for her hand. Did Mary get so lucky because she happened to have a lot of money, a decent amount of charm and beauty, and her father's name to draw people in? Or did she wind up with that many because she was Fellowes' favorite and Creator's Pet? Further, doesn't it seem wholly insincere to the Matthew/Mary relationship, carefully established over the first three season, that Mary started fending off suitors partway through Season 4, less than a year after the death of a husband she claims to have loved so deeply?

  • How exactly did the prosecutors know specifically which servants had been eavesdropping on Mr. Bates?
    • The prosecutor mentioned Mr. Bates gave reports to police. It's unlikely he'd have been anything other than honest and thorough. He likely mentioned that Mrs. Hughes and Miss O'Brien knew things about the situation.
    • Handing them that information, though, does seem to have put Bates into Too Dumb to Live territory-almost literally.

  • Referring to the quote on the main page ("we all have different parts,etc."): What a load of crock. If you don't have a need for someone, stop paying them and fire them. But later, when the Crawley family goes through yet more financial difficulty, it becomes clear that this "everyone is entitled to a job" mentality may have been causing this unstoppable decline.
    • Except that Robert firmly believes it's the duty of a lord to make sure his people are taken care of, i.e. employed. That's almost exactly what he says to Matthew regarding Molesly: yes, Matthew might find him superfluous, but getting rid of him would deprive Molesly of his livelihood.
    • Yes, but Matthew pretending he can't dress up on his own doesn't make much of a difference about Molesley's livelihood. Standing there idly may be frustrating, but Robert makes it sound like Matthew at least wants to throw him into a dungeon and starve him to death. Even assuming their house is his only chance to get a job, and he couldn't do anything really useful, like helping out in Downton Abbey where there is too much work to do, or in some charity action of Isobel's, or doing errands in Matthew's office. This was rather guilt-tripping Matthew into a lifestyle he was uncomfortable in. Not to mention not Matthew is the lord yet. Why would he have to do Robert's job? And if he has to take the responsibility, where is the power with it? Has he no say in reforming the system, changing the "roles"? He didn't even want to be a Feudal Overlord, ever and despised the mannerisms of the highborn, and now he suddenly will be the next lord and has a dresser forced on him without his consent, which is another thing - has a valet nothing else to do in a household?
    • Aside from maintaining his employer's clothes, a valet really didn't. Servant roles were very strictly delineated, unless you were a scullery maid like Daisy. Taking care of Matthew's clothes wouldn't have occupied all of Molsely's time, and doing other, non-valet tasks would have been seen as beneath him — not just by Molsely himself, but by everyone. Servants had just as rigid a caste system as the people who employed them, and while it was silly and wasteful, it was the way society was. Doing the work of a footman or gardener, or even office aide, would have been considered horribly shameful by Molesly and everybody who knew him. Not until World War I would anyone have even dreamed of trying to shake the system up.
    • Just look what happened to Molesley after Matthew died! He lived at the Abbey for six months after Matthew died, trying to find a position as valet, under-butler or butler in another household, and eventually had to take a job mending the village roads until circumstances finally came together for him to get a job at the Abbey again. Even then, it was a demotion for him and it took being forced to work as a manual laborer for him to be able to accept it. Servants took pride in their work, in their ability to seamlessly and tirelessly cater to the needs of the peerage; and the more prestigious the title of the peer for whom they worked, the more precedence they were given below stairs. The movie Gosford Park, which is a spiritual cousin of this series, lays this out pretty explicitly. For Matthew to say that, as the future Earl of Grantham, he didn't want or need a valet and therefore wanted to dismiss Molesley was the 1910s equivalent of a new managing partner at a major law firm telling an administrative assistant inherited from the former managing partner that he prefers to write his own letters and make his own appointments, so said assistant can either go work in the fast food industry or, at best, join the rest of the general secretarial pool that helps out the junior associates and paralegals.
    • But he didn't even want to fire him! At least as I remember. He would have been in a nominal position at worst. Or even promoted to a housekeeper or something like Carson is. Doing nothing can be frustrating, but is it better to be humiliated with pity errands? Isn't it counterproductive to be someone's burden to feel useful? Why couldn't Robert send someone practical into a relatively small house, like a housekeeper, secretary or gardener? Especially when Molesley got delusional enough to ask why Matthew wanted a valet if he doesn't use him. Matthew never promised caretaking for him, it's unfair to act like he begged for him or promised him anything. Robert should do his own job and be generous at his own expense. Not to mention he shouldn't be sexist enough to dump the land on someone who doesn't want it, try to shoehorn him into a role which isn't him while he has Mary who does want to be his heir and would manage the land the way he wants his heir to.
      • First, Matthew asked Robert if he could “dispense with Mr. Molesley’s services”. That was posh 1910s speak for wanting to fire him. Matthew came from a middle-class lifestyle and wanted to maintain that, not accounting for or understanding that the peerage used valets because the clothing they were expected to maintain & wear for formal occasions was also a status symbol. Everything was for the Victorians & Edwardians, which is the era the series is set in. Not only that, but formal attire of the period wasn’t like it is today even for men, and getting into/out of those rigs that the peerage wore was often easier when you had someone to help. Matthew was objecting as part of his resistance to becoming a member of the peerage, which his mother rightly pointed out to him in S 1 E 2 he had exactly no choice about under English law.
      • Second, Carson wasn’t a housekeeper; he was the butler, which means he was the primary person responsible for the management of the household in general. He was also directly responsible for the hiring/firing/supervision of the male servants. Mrs. Hughes was the housekeeper: essentially Carson’s second in command, and directly responsible for the hiring/firing/supervision of the female servants, although Carson could overrule her in that regard because he outranked her. Mrs. Patmore, as the cook, was technically responsible for the hiring & firing of the kitchen staff, but Mrs. Hughes & Carson both technically outrank her.
      • Molesley served as butler for Matthew’s household as well as valet while he was the heir because the heir’s household & needs were separate. If Matthew had lived, and eventually outlived Robert, Molesley would have moved up to the Abbey with him when he became the Earl & would have been only a valet, as Carson or Thomas would have been the Abbey’s butler. There are two reasons why Matthew firing him because he didn’t want a valet anymore would’ve been such a problem:
        • The social faux pas of a peer shifting for himself, which would’ve become known very quickly because of the nature of their social sphere, would’ve affected the way other peers treated the entire Crawley family, not just Matthew. Whether he liked it or not, Matthew being the heir meant that his behavior in society no longer affected just him or his mother: something Isobel tried to impress on him in S 1 E 2 as well.
        • Matthew firing Molesley because he didn’t want a valet/butler for his household would’ve had the same effect on Molesley’s life as Matthew’s death did later: since his attachment to the Abbey was only via Matthew’s position as the heir apparent, and the Abbey’s serving staff was already at maximum capacity, there was neither any position for him to be moved into at the Abbey if Matthew had fired him nor any obligation for Robert to find him a position anywhere else. The only reason Molesley ended up back at the Abbey was because both of their footmen left (Jimmy & Alfred) and Molesley was, while overqualified, someone familiar with the family & the Abbey that was able to step into the position on short notice.
      • Robert ‘’did’’ bring in a housekeeper and gardener for Matthew’s household. We didn’t see the gardener because he wasn’t plot relevant, but Mrs. Bird was both cook and housekeeper for Matthew’s household just like Molesley was pulling double-duty as butler & valet. The maid that came in from the village, who was also briefly mentioned, was likely asked to serve as a ladies’ maid to Isobel when she needed to dress for formal occasions, just like Anna did for the Crawley daughters in the first few series.

    • Did you not watch the same series we did? Robert did not have any choice about who would inherit his title or his property. That was rather a large and important part of the plot!
    • I don't know, but in what I watched, Robert was blamed for passing Mary over, and Matthew was suddenly able to leave it to Mary, not even George. Not like being a powerless figurehead would justify guilt-tripping the heir to do things his way because that's the only right way, times don't change and Robert isn't slowly but surely ruining the holding with his financial EpicFails.
      • Robert wasn’t being blamed for passing Mary over. He was being blamed for not being more aggressive in attempting to challenge the entail. If there had been a legal avenue to do so, Robert could have brought a suit to “break” the entail, which would have allowed Mary to inherit Downton & the family fortune while Matthew would still have inherited the title of “Earl of Grantham”. However, there was no legal basis for such a suit; Matthew himself investigated the possibility after being asked by Violet, as it would have been a way for him to no longer inherit the responsibility for an estate he didn’t want on top of a title he didn’t care about or place any value on.
      • Also, YMMV here, but Robert was trying to keep Matthew from doing things that would have materially damaged the family’s reputation & social standing in addition to doing real harm to the people whose livelihoods & incomes depended on having the jobs Matthew tried to dismiss as superfluous. If Matthew felt guilty in the face of Robert asking some Armor-Piercing Questions, it’s because he knew he was only thinking about the effect becoming the heir had on his own life and how to rebel against that in any way he could, without considering the effects doing so would have on the large network of people in the support roles that his new position came with, all of whom had even less control over the situation than he did.
    • The fortune was entailed - they don't give a full explanation of this on the show, they expect you to be able to figure it out from context, but basically that means all holdings associated with the current holder of the title are passed down to the heir to the title. Women, in 1912, couldn't inherit titles. So, because of the entail, Mary could not inherit the house. Mary, Edith and Sybil are NOT titled until they marry, this is why they're called "Lady Mary" or "Lady Edith", as a courtesy address instead of being "Lady Crawley". The only Ladies Crawley are their mother and grandmother, who both are conferred the title by marriage. It's only AFTER marrying Matthew that Mary is allowed to use her husband's title. The rules of English nobility were bonkers, that's the point of the show.
      • Technically, Matthew never got a title. He would’ve had to outlive Robert to become the Earl of Grantham. So because he never became the Earl, Mary never became a Countess. Even as mother of the heir to the earldom, she can’t claim the title of Countess of Grantham, or even Dowager Countess, since “dowager” means the widow of the previous title-holder. She is referred to as Lady Mary because of her birthright through her father and her marriages to two members of the peerage, but she can never claim any title or address connected to the earldom of Grantham.
      • As far as Matthew’s “will” from S 4 E 2, that was a lot of legal hand-waving. Technically, Robert didn’t even have to give ‘’Matthew’’ a say in the running of the earldom; as the Earl, Robert had total control & final say over everything. He involved Patrick & then Matthew out of familial courtesy, and also as a way to get Matthew to engage with the birthright he didn’t want but had no control over being given. It’s never stated whether his father did the same with him as he grew up. Doing so also has the practical effect of teaching the heir what management of an estate like that looks like & giving them both time & experience in the position before they have to assume control when the present title-holder dies, but it’s far from mandatory. But by Matthew essentially making Mary the trustee of George’s inheritance, he put her in the position he would’ve been in if he’d lived. Robert wasn’t inclined to involve her in the running of the estate, and was something of a jerk about it, but he eventually came around and elected to work with his daughter the same way he’d been eager to work with Matthew. If he hadn’t wanted to do that, the only thing Matthew’s letter would’ve done was give her the legal standing to decide what to do with his personal property & money not connected with Downton.
      • It also had the bonus effect of finally putting someone in a position to check Robert’s almost comic ineptitude when it came to making financial decisions. I mean, the man almost went in on the original Ponzi scheme in S3, for crying out loud.

    • The idea of “don’t keep a servant around if you don’t need them” is addressed in a later episode by Violet. She states in that it is the responsibility of the nobility to provide employment for the people around them, and if they didn’t, they were “as useless as a glass hammer.” Basically it didn’t matter how independent you felt like being or whether you thought you really needed a valet. You were expected to have one for their sake more than yours. Long story short: the nobility are what would later be termed “job creators” and they took that responsibility seriously.

  • Whatever happened to Charles Blake? In his final appearance in season 5, it's heavily implied he and Mary might still have feelings for each other, and after Mary breaks up with Tony, there doesn't seem to be anything stopping them from getting together. But after episode 7 of season 5, he isn't seen again, or even mentioned as a potential suitor.


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