Wom[e]n Crush Wednesday: The Crawley Sisters

*Spoilers ahoy for Downton Abbey*

As I’m currently watching the sixth and final season of Downton Abbey (on TV rather than DVD!! Which is a first for me!!), I started reflecting on how the characters have changed over the last few years. So, for the first Woman Crush Wednesday of 2016, I’m going to talk about three of the strongest women on the series: the Crawley sisters.

Mary (Michelle Dockery)

Mary can be snobby, but girl knows her own mind. Whether she’s seducing (and accidentally killing) Turkish ambassadors, marrying (and then losing) the love of her life who is also technically a cousin (I still miss you, Matthew!), having a secret affair with a viscount who married someone else, or stringing along about three different dudes at any given time, Mary is not afraid to use her feminine wiles. You kinda have to respect her for it. And despite her disdainful attitude, particularly toward her sister Edith, her relationships with certain servants - Carson (Jim Carter) and her maid Anna (Joanne Froggatt) - are surprisingly sweet and show a softer side of someone who can only be described as “icy”. 

Edith (Laura Carmichael)

Poor Edith. The most unlucky of the sisters, she’s had more than her fair share of misery from being generally disliked, to being left at the altar, and eventually losing the father of her illegitimate child. Still, Edith comes out stronger for it, making plans to raise her child in secret (and eventually coming clean to her not entirely approving parents), and taking over Michael Gregson’s magazine as publisher, even if it means dealing with a demanding editor. First season Edith was hard to like because she tended to be more vindictive than anything else, but by the latter half of the second season, you couldn’t help feeling sorry for her. Her arc, while being somewhat depressing (will she ever get her happy ending??), shows the biggest change and character development out of the entire Crawley family.

Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay)

Sybil was my favourite of the sisters and I was so sad when she died after giving birth. She was the sweetest of the three, endearing herself to the family and servants alike (even cold-hearted Thomas!), but was also the most daring. She was the first to wear pants (harem pants, no less!), got involved in politics, took up nursing during the war, and didn’t let something as silly as social class get in the way of love when she married Downton’s chauffeur/resident Irishman Tom Branson (Allen Leech). It would have been interesting to see how Sybil’s character would have developed as the family was thrown into the twenties (plus, if she was around, we would have been spared the loud-mouthed, trouble-making teacher Sarah Bunting (Daisy Lewis). But I'm not bitter or anything.