Books as: Downton Abbey characters

Hi everyone,

This might be the start of a new, regular post featuring books as…well pretty much anything! Maybe food, perhaps animals, even TV characters! We’ll see if I manage to keep it up. My first post in this (possible) series is going to look at one of my favourite TV shows of all time: Downton Abbey!

During our current time trapped inside, I have discovered that every season of Downton is on Amazon Prime, so of course I immediately signed up to the 30 day free trial and have spent the past few days binge-watching it all. Now obviously the first thing I thought when I started watching was who would these characters be as books (duh). And that’s how we got here, where I will tour around my favourite Downton characters and match them to books! So check out your favourite character and see what book I think they would be and see if you agree with my reasoning (and hopefully pick up a new book recommendation or two to read!)

Please note this post will contain spoilers for all seasons of Downton Abbey. Don’t read on unless you’re okay finding out who dies!!

Mary Crawley

Gosh how I love Lady Mary. My love for her is nearly as strong as Carson’s. With vicious wit and cunning charm, she cuts down any who stand against her. But underneath that cutting exterior is an innocence and passion that makes her throw away all her charms and graces when she’s in love. Mary has always been my favourite character. I just love that she seems like such a stoic, unbreakable character and then small scenes will show her breaking down silently with no one around and it just breaks my heart as well.

I chose The City of Brass for Mary because much like Lady Mary, Nahri is also a QUEEN who at first glance is a tough and confident individual, able to withstand all who come at her. But we see her exterior crack as she grows close to Dara and Ali. She stands so strong in the face of her enemies but that doesn’t stop her from loving fiercely and freely.

Matthew Crawley

When I think of Matthew, I think of That Episode, the one I watched and never forget that feeling of utter and gutrenching pain, I will never get over the shock of that moment – and on Christmas Day no less! For that reason, Matthew Crawley is The Fever King, a book which to this day shocks me and destroys me in all the best ways a book can.

Anna Smith

Anna is another of my favourite characters! She’s one of the lovliest, nicest characters in Downton, always ready to help out her friends (even if it means carrying a dead body through the house…) But she’s also so determined when she wants something and refuses to have someone (cough Mr Bates cough) try to exclude her to “protect her”. Her sweetness and her fire reminded me of both Rachel and Sana from Tell Me How You Really Feel. They are both so determined and fierce and yet, when they finally admit their feelings, are so soft and gentle. Just like Anna.

John Bates

Steadfast, protective Mr Bates, he’s another one of my favourite characters (wow, it’s like they’re all my favourites…) I fully admit, I’m pretty sure he’s one of those characters like marmite: you either love him, or you hate him. But forgive the terrible, shitty writing on his storyline which makes him so dispensable! It isn’t his fault! I adore his strength in the wake of the others’ hatred of him, the sweetness of his relationship with Anna, the fact we see such a strong man crying in the very first episode, I love it!!

Mr Bates is such a strong character to me, yes he acts a bit like a martyr sometimes, determined to take the fall and protect everyone around him. But, that takes so much strength and he reminds me of the strength seen in Jade City. This book follows one family who are pretty much the strongest people in fantasy ever. And not just because they can wield jade. They go through so much, everyone is constantly trying to take them down, but they survive.

The Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley

For Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, the pinnacle of class and poise, so in control of everything and everyone around her, who else could I see her as than Erin Morgenstern, the author of some of the most perfect works of art. The Starless Sea always felt so in control, each word and line so perfectly arranged and thought about. Morgenstern is a cut above the rest, just like Violet.

Edith Crawley

I’ll admit, Edith was never my favourite Crawley. It’s difficult to like her when you’re rooting for Mary. But that doesn’t mean I won’t give her one of the best YA fantasies around. Because though Edith might not be my favourite, she’s the one I understand the most. She has always felt second best to her sister Mary, who can be cruel and unkind to her. But Edith can be just as cruel back. There is a spark of viciousness in her, she gives Mary everything she’s got, even if she doesn’t always plan things well (like constantly forgetting the fact that Mary will always, always react back.) She reminds me of Dani and Carmen from We Set the Dark on Fire. Society tells them they are second best, and they will do everything in their power to fight to be seen beyond their beginnings. In later seasons, Edith begins to fight against the expectations of society, as she finds a job and works, in addition to raising a child by herself. Whilst it’s nowhere the revolution Dani and Carmen lead, Edith leads the revolution from Downton’s traditional and conservative standards.

Thomas Barrow

How could I not choose If We Were Villains for Thomas? Thomas is made for this book!! From his disheveled collars, the gutrenching pain of hiding his sexuality, his control over everything until that moment when suddenly he has none… I could so imagine Thomas fitting it with the cast of If We Were Villains, those beautiful messes so in control of their every move as they act their way through life, until the moment when suddenly they aren’t and everything changes.

Charles Carson

Is it weird that Carson kinda (totally, 100%) reminds me of Claire in The Library of the Unwritten? Claire has the same no nonsense approach to life as Carson, she is so put together and dignified even when chasing down demons and lost characters, always seeming in complete control even when very much not – just like Carson! Plus, I can totally imagine Claire hurruphing the same way Carson does if anyone dares to mess with her library.

Tom Branson

This one might be a tenuous connection, but it was the first thing I thought of and I could not get it out of my head. Tom Branson is the unwilling social climber, the chauffeur who accidentally fell in love with a Crawley sister and finds himself marrying into the family. But he’s Irish. Political. And, as he says many times across the seasons, he wishes he could do away with the lot of them. This reminded me of We are the Ants, a story very much about, well, doing away with the whole human race. But We Are the Ants is also about hope, about seeing the good in humanity, just like Branson comes to see there is some good in the Crawleys.

Sybil Crawley

Sybil Crawley is the only person on this list getting two books to her name. And that’s because I could see no way of joining both her hopeful, kindhearted nature with the psychological awfulness of her death!! One of the most horrific and shocking scenes on TV, I felt she needed two books to convey both her innocent nature and the horror of her parting. Sybil Crawley is known as the sweetest Crawley, liked by everyone. She is firm and strong in her political opinions, and in her love, when she runs off to Ireland with Tom. Her hopefulness and kindness reminds me of I Hope You Get This Message, a quiet sci-fi about the end of the world filled with hope. And of course since Sybil is such a kind, lighthearted person, they gave her one of the most traumatic death scenes ever. I remember first watching that episode, mouth wide open, unable to comprehend what I was seeing. And that pretty much explains my reaction to The Luminous Dead, a terror filled novel that I found astounding. Downton always managed to pair such quiet day to day life with huge moments of suffering in a way I don’t think many other shows manage to do. Which is why I love it so much.

I hope you enjoyed my tour around Downton Abbey characters as books. If you’ve watched Downton Abbey, do let me know in the comments who you favourite character is, and if you agree with my choices!