OPEN LETTER TO JULIAN FELLOWES
January 18, 2013
The Rt. Hon. Lord
Fellowes of West Stafford DL
c/o Julian Fellowes
76 Oxford Street
London W1D 1BS
We are writing as avid fans of Downton Abbey who are
disillusioned with the show and the direction in which it seems to be headed in
its upcoming fourth series. From recent press interviews, publicity photos and
hints/spoilers about future plotlines for certain characters, it appears that
for the characters Mary Crawley and Tom Branson
will involve their pursuing new love interests too quickly (possibly
even with each other). While Mary and Tom cannot be in mourning forever, we
think a potential romance between these two characters would be a terrible
mistake that would alienate a good portion of the show's considerable audience.
Though the Matthew/Mary and Sybil/Tom stories were cut
tragically short, their respective romances drew in a large portion of viewers.
Therefore, the idea of a Mary/Tom pairing, considering they both loved the same
people, is particularly uncomfortable. Some might even call it “incestuous”
– given the dynamics of a close-knit
family where they were both romantically involved with other members. It is
akin to the idea of not wanting to “poison the well.” Moreover, we do not
understand the logic of Mary, on one hand, buying so fully into aristocratic
hierarchy and tradition -- which she must continue to do to preserve Downton
and their way of life for her son -- and, on the other, marrying someone who
represents the antithesis of it.
After the tragedy of Series 3, many of us are on the fence
about whether to stick with the show. We assure you that we will be much less
inclined to watch future series of Downton if you decide to pair Mary with Tom.
Of course, we are not suggesting that Mary and Tom never remarry or find love
again. Tom, in fact, has had a year longer than Mary to grieve, so perhaps a
new love interest for him in the next series is not outside the realm of
credibility. Even Mary should move on with the passage of time – perhaps in
four or five years in Downton time (and preferably not until Series 5 if there
is one). We simply want to see the next chapter unfold in a way that honors the
original narrative vision, the loss of Matthew and Sybil and the beauty of two
love stories which can never be outdone or recreated.
While it may appear presumptuous of us to write such a
letter, we believe our views are representative of the audience at large. One
of our ranks conducted an (unscientific) online poll of over 100 people about
the prospect of a Mary Crawley/Tom Branson romance, and 66% of participants
were against the idea. Comments and reactions of viewers on various
entertainment and newspaper sites about any Series 4 romance(s) for Mary are
overwhelmingly negative, as well. In addition, many people from Facebook,
Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media sites have signed this open letter (to
view signatures, visit www.petitiononline.com).
As social media enthusiasts and avid Downton Abbey viewers,
we have worked hard to keep Downton in the zeitgeist, discussing it and
promoting it enthusiastically on our blogs and amongst our friends and
followers. We understand the necessity of having such key characters as Mary
Crawley and Tom Branson eventually move on from their respective grief, and
find that second, "sadder but wiser" love. In large measure, it was
the romance that initially drew us to Downton, but if the show insists upon
pursuing a Mary/Tom pairing (or any new romance that is rushed in the name of
convenience), romance may be the very thing that drives us away.
Downton Abbey Fandom and Community of Bloggers
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