A post by Downton Abbey fan Judy Ackley Brown:
Season 3 of Downton Abbey is ending soon, and I am quietly grieving.
My obsession with the show is strong.
My Sunday nights best not be interrupted during the DA run!
This season I was intrigued with Maggie Smith’s character of the dowager. It prompted me to double check on the exact meaning of this uncommonly used word, which is “a dignified elderly woman”.
Where are the dowagers in our culture now?
Have they lost their purpose?
Do we need to regain this quiet but powerful role?
Do we behave with dignity?
Violet is bold, opinionated, sly, but also witty and wise.
Ever present in the daily lives of the family she is the typical matriarch.
The dowager has dated opinions for sure and appears to struggle with the inevitable arrival of a new and modern world. Edith, her granddaughter, a journalist? Tom Branson to baptize baby Sybil a Catholic?
What struck me this season, in a warm fuzzy way, is that despite Violet’s rigidity, she deeply cares for each family member.
The continuance of the estate and the well- being of the family unit is at the center of her often unsolicited advice.
She embraced Branson when a new great grandchild was in the horizon.
Despite her subtle and manipulative ways, she did play a key role in restoring peace after Lady Sybil’s tragic death.
I hope Violet sticks around for a long while. I look to her with a new sense of awe. She has qualities I might want to embrace.
This stoic but outspoken dowager might just have her priorities in alignment.
After all, as she says, “It seems a pity to miss such a good pudding!”
Lady Violet has some of the wittiest lines in the show. Her clear opinions of Americans, as seen in this video, endear us regardless of our nationality!
Marathon! Don’t miss the Downton Abbey Marathon Sunday on PBS
Judy Ackley Brown lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina and enjoys travel, writing, and photography. A professed anglophile, she hopes to plan another trip to England soon.
The photo below shows Judy as a toddler with her paternal grandmother, Fern Ackley. Fern sits stoically like a dowager!