The sinking of the Titanic, World War 1, many romances and a whole lot of drama – there’s no doubt that Downton Abbey took fans on quite a journey. Lord Grantham & Co. became so much like family, fans almost wished they could change their names to Crawley. Engrossed by the stories of the upstairs and downstairs residents alike, who didn’t want the good ones to see their relationships, careers, and life goals come to fruition and the underhanded ones (aka O’Brien) to get their comeuppances?
The audience watched everyone grow and change, and come and go (RIP Matthew and Lady Sybil), and celebrated their successes — even the ones who took the whole six seasons (spanning 14 years) to accomplish them.
10Lady Mary Wanted To Be Heir To Downton
In 1912, a ship hit an iceberg, taking two of Downton’s heirs down with it and the Dowager Countess’s hopes went up that Robert’s eldest daughter Lady Mary would get the title and estate. No such luck. The Earl of Grantham decides it’s a man’s job and summons distant cousin Matthew to Downton.
Right after Robert’s ulcer erupts in the final season, Mary — who lost her husband Matthew in a car accident — begins co-running the estate with brother-in-law, Tom Branson. After her father recovers, Mary and Robert take over and she is on her way to being the boss.
9Mrs. Hughes Wanted A Suitable Suitor
Elsie was reunited with a former sweetheart, farmer Joe Burns, who proposes as to rescue her from her “lowly” servant position, but she declines after Carson reminds her that she is no longer the farm girl she once was, but a valuable member of the prominent household.
It was a long time coming, but the butler and the head housekeeper found each other, married, their way, at the church and celebrated at the village school before moving into their own cottage. Mrs. Hughs remains in service, while Mr. Carson retires but returns, when needed, in a supervisory role.
8John Bates Wanted A Reason To Smile
He’s been accused of stealing as well as murder and spends time in jail. He’s mocked for his limp from and old war wound and is generally tortured by Thomas and O’Brien. Can this man not get a break?
By the end of the series, a woman had confessed to the murder of rapist Mr. Green, putting behind The Bateses any lingering suspicions that John had anything to do with it. His wife, Anna — Mary’s lady’s maid — gives birth to a son (during Edith and Birdie’s wedding).
7Thomas Wanted To Be Valued
This guy, seriously. Was there nothing he wouldn’t do to wreak havoc? Machiavelli could have learned a trick or two from Thomas. But all his acting out came from not fitting in anywhere because he was a gay man during a time when being so could get you sent to jail.
After Mr. Carson’s retirement, Barrow is elevated from footman to butler of Downton Abbey. By the end of the series, the rest of the staff had come to like him and there were congrats all around.
6Anna Wanted A Family
It all began when she got sick and was bedridden. Mr. Bates kindly brought up her tray replete with a flower. Then there were the aforementioned false accusations lobbed at her guy, plus his stretch in prison and her recovery time from the sexual assault which took its toll on their relationship.
After several miscarriages, a sympathetic and determined Lady Mary takes her trusted maid to a doctor in London for a small surgical procedure which will allow Mrs. Bates to carry her child to term.
5Branson Wanted To Find His Place In The World
As though being an Irishman in the land of the British aristocracy wasn’t bad enough, his job was to chauffeur them around. What’s a socialist to do? How about marry one of their daughters and cement the deal with a baby, move from downstairs to upstairs and have the servants hate you, too? But when Sybil died of toxoplasmosis after giving birth, Tom was lost.
He takes little Sybbie with him to Boston, where he has family. But by the end of the show’s run, he returns with her announcing that Downton is their home. He goes into business with Mary’s husband, Henry Talbot.
4Daisy Wanted A Life
When she wasn’t being screamed at by Mrs. Patmore, which was every five minutes, the assistant cook was watching the prettier (and often more pleasant) housemaids garner attention from the young and handsome footmen and valets.
Daisy still helps out in Downton’s kitchen, but has moved to the farm that now belongs to her former father-in-law, Mr. Mason. (Remember, she married William on his deathbed so he could die a married man and collect his soldier’s pension). She is then romantically involved with Andy, the estate’s new footman.
3Lady Edith Wanted To Emerge From Mary’s Shadow
These two took sibling rivalry to the next level, past frenemies to mortal enemies. Edith, the sad sack, could never win when up against her older sister’s beauty and confidence. Even when she got the wherewithal to start the slut-shaming rumor about Mary, the don’t-mess-with-me brunette retaliated and triumphed by ruining the younger sib’s relationship with her older finance.
By the series’ penultimate episode when the sisters reconcile, Edith has left home to become a writer, editor and then magazine publisher. She marries Bertie, who, after a death in his family, assumes the status of Marquis, meaning the Jan Brady of Downton Abbey now outranks not only Mary but the entire Crawley clan.
2Cora Wanted To Believe Robert Really Loved Her
When the Countess of Grantham found out she was pregnant, she was happy because if it turned out to be a boy, she would win Robert’s admiration. (FYI: Thanks to O’Brien’s sabotage, Cora miscarries.) One would think that after raising three daughters together, the wealthy American heiress the Earl married only for her fortune in order to keep his family’s estate afloat would feel he was more than fond of her — but Robert was actually in love with a maid named Jane.
In the fifth episode of the show’s concluding season, Lord Grantham’s ulcer bursts at the dinner party he and Lady Grantham are hosting. After he spews horror movie-esque blood all over their guests and the elegant table setting, and is believed to be dying, Robert turns to Cora and says, “If this is it, know that I have loved you very, very much.”
1Lady Mary Wanted A Husband
Lady Mary was quite the girl-about-town with a number of suitors, the most memorable being Kemal Pamuk, who died in her bed, turning his removal to other quarters into quite the caper. Then she and Matthew married, and had a son. Lady Mary was happy at last, until her husband went for a drive and she was once again looking for love.
By the finale, Mary is pregnant with her second husband’s child. Henry Talbot was a race car driver who gave up his profession for her, but kept his hand in the industry by starting up an auto repair business.