Downton Abbey has been one of the most celebrated and beloved British period dramas from the past decade, with the Crawleys and their staff becoming a household name around the world. And with a second movie recently released, fans can expect more drama from the beloved characters who work within the house.
Among the cast of iconic characters played by some brilliant actors, viewers have seen some of the most emotional and fulfilling story arcs across the series. From their engagement in world conflicts to personal loss, these are some of the main characters’ greatest moments.
Robert Saluting The Fallen Soldiers
In season 2, the famous estate became a hospital for the wounded soldiers during the Great War and saw some of the characters playing important roles to help the cause. But, as Robert was so eager to return to the army and serve his country, he was refused due to both his status and age, which left him disappointed and feeling useless.
When the Great War finally ended, he gathered all the family and staff in the hall to pay their respects to the soldiers who had fallen. What made this scene so important for the character was his unity to bring everyone involved equally for a moment that would help to bring the characters closer. This also served as a reminder to all those people who had both returned and died, making this scene that much more powerful.
Edith Runs The Sketch Magazine
Throughout the series, Edith had many struggles and tribulations that she faced more than anyone else. From being stitched up on her wedding day to giving up her daughter, she always seemed to run into bad luck no matter where she went.
But after Michael Gregson reportedly goes missing, she inherits his magazine, The Sketch. And while she goes through her own troubles at the time, Edith comes out on the other side and ran the magazine, giving her a new and productive purpose where she got the opportunity to make herself and work hard to make it a success.
Tom Dances With Violet
Introduced as the chauffeur in season 1, Tom Branson soon became a member of the family after marrying Sybil and having a child together, before her untimely death. Struggling to cope with his new life in a wealthy family and raising his daughter, Tom saw himself as the rebellious outsider of the family.
However, this all changed during the Christmas Special from 2013 when Tom invites Violet to dance with him after conversing about how he should accept that he is part of the upper-class people. This public action by Tom shows that even if he may not accept everyone in the room, he does have loyalty to his new family.
Sybil Becomes A Trained Nurse
As the end of season 1 concluded with the announcement of the Great War, some members of the household take action to help out with the cause. One of them was Sybil, who decided to become a trained nurse in order to help those impacted by the battles.
While Sybil fought for equal rights and ideals in season 1, her determination to help others saw her eventually train as a nurse and return to Downton Abbey to help the soldiers housed there. Despite unable to bake a cake or boil a kettle at first, it never stopped Sybil from doing what she thought was right.
Mr. Carson Buys Mrs. Hughes A Cottage
Serving as the head housekeeper, Mrs. Hughes became a trusted and loyal employee to the Crawleys as much as she was among the other employees. And throughout the series, she slowly gained the affection for Charles Carson, the butler for the household.
Season 5 saw Carson finally proposing to Mrs. Hughes, but that was not his only surprise for her as he also bought them a cottage to spend the rest of their lives together. While Carson always appeared stoic, seeing him open up and embrace love saw the couple finally have their happy ending.
William Sacrifices Himself For Matthew
Despite appearing for only two seasons of the series, William Mason was among the favorite characters among the staff members for his caring and likable nature. He even joined Matthew and Thomas to serve in the Great War.
But his time on the show would be short-lived as William sacrificed himself in order to protect Matthew. While he would return to Downton Abbey to recover, his injuries were too great and he sadly died. This dramatic arc for the character saw him finally marry Daisy, whom he admired for years, but also would see Matthew live on long enough to marry Mary and have a child with her.
Mary Apologises To Carson
After the shocking death of Matthew, fans were left stunned as Mary found herself a widow just as their baby was born into the world. This left Mary depressed and angry toward everyone around her, especially her supportive butler, Carson, who only tried to comfort her in her time of grief.
Mary has always been one of the brashest and unapologetic characters of the show, playing the opposite role to her caring sisters. So it was a surprise to see her own up to her behavior and apologize to her servant, who only replies by comforting her ladyship and offering some words of advice. This scene is one that shows how much the two care towards one another, with Carson seeing her as a surrogate daughter and Mary finally accepting her loss with someone whom she always respected.
Henry Open Up A Car Shop
Henry Talbot may not have been around the show as long as most of the characters, but he did have a major impact on the story as he married Mary, had a child with her, and had a dramatic character arc.
After the death of his friend Charlie during a motorsport race, Henry becomes depressed and feels no longer to participate in the sport. But with the help of Tom, he rediscovers his love for cars and opens up a car shop, where he can safely work while not daring to go behind the wheel to meet the same fate as his friend.
Daisy Marries William
After William returned from the Great War with serious injuries, Daisy accepts his proposal to marry him on his deathbed. Despite not sharing the same feelings towards him, Daisy chooses to marry him and grant his last wish before his death.
Daisy may have been encouraged by the other staff members to do so, but this moment would prove to be a major arc for the character. As audiences see in the future seasons past this event, Daisy befriended William’s father and the two would remain close.
Thomas Becomes The Head Butler
Throughout the six-season run, viewers have seen some of the most despicable and loyal staff members serve the estate. But never has there been an arc than that of Thomas the butler. From pitting people against one another to wounding himself deliberately to escape the Great War, fans saw Thomas over time become more open and kind towards his co-workers.
In the final episode of the series, Thomas is offered the job of head butler by Robert after decides to resign. Thomas accepts the job and the viewers see everyone celebrating his new position, surprised at the admiration he receives. This conclusion finally sees him being a part of the group, earning the respect he so tried to get. Only with determination and support did we see his character arc conclude on a high note and a great ending of Downton Abbey.