While Downton Abbey is an ensemble in the truest sense (not like these shows and films that get nominated for the Best Ensemble SAG Award even though they have only two and a half characters), Lady Mary is our protagonist. She is the audience’s point of understanding in the house, the deepest character, the saddest character, and the character with entirely unparalleled levels of eyebrow acting. Her eyebrows are basically their own person.
Too often in period pieces with values and traditions that we don’t merit today, the protagonist is the bleeding heart, enlightened rebel who holds modern attitudes completely unrealistic for the time period in order to make her somehow relatable. Lady Mary is not that person. She is a true product of her time and station, with an icily pragmatic, raw, calculating side to go along with her dismissive wit. Her most appealing qualities are her seemingly unflattering but completely embraceable contradictions: unfeeling yet sensitive, headstrong yet conservative.
She values her money and status and throws Matthew over on several occasions because she doesn’t want to marry poor. She viscerally fears for her reputation after her death sex with that Turkish delicacy Mr. Pamuk. She can’t not care what people think, which ends up making her infinitely more compelling than some bright idealist. She is all edges and corners and mistakes and excellence.
“ We need more bisexual girls in fiction. Happy out and proud. Sad and closeted and scared. Bi girls of color. Trans and genderqueer and two-spirit bi characters. Bi characters who don’t know they’re bi until someone tells them bisexuality is real. Bi girls pretending to be straight. Bi girls pretending to be lesbians. Immigrant bi girls who have got bigger issues to worry about than being bi. With more diversity in our bi girls in fiction, one bi girl character with internalized biphobia won’t stick out so terribly. ”
“ But what I wanted to say is this: After the period of melancholy is over you will be stronger than before, you will recover your health, and you will find the scenery round you so beautiful, that you will want nothing but paint. ”
A DIREWOLF is a close relative of the wolf, but larger and stronger. They are named after the real world direwolves, Pleistocene megafauna, which were larger than modern wolves (but not as large as portrayed in the books). Direwolves are extinct north of the wall, as they are a very large and dangerous predator, and people have probably hunted them out. A grey direwolf in a white field is the sigil of House Stark.