Today we're pleased to welcome author Amanda Hocking here to talk about her wishes for the fourth season of Downton Abbey. The third book in Amanda's Watersong series, Tidal, releases this week, and also might include some unlikely pairings, similar the one she's suggesting below. Thanks for being here, Amanda!
I am a huge Downton Abbey fan. I’m British (by way of my grandparents on both sides of my family, not by birthplace), so I think that I finally understand the way some Italian Americans feel about The Sopranos.
Not only is the show brilliantly written, exquisitely designed and costumed, but it has Maggie Smith. Really, everything else could be terrible, and Dowager Countess of Grantham’s wit could still carry the whole thing. Fortunately, though, the show is amazing and insanely addictive. Who knew the goings on of the household staff in a turn-of-the-century manor could be so exciting?
But onto the heart of the matter—I am totally shipping Mary Crawley and Tom Branson for the next season of Downton Abbey.
Before Season 3 of Downton started, I was looking up a few things about the show, and I accidentally made a grisly discovery. Namely that two beloved characters weren’t going to survive onto the next season (though, no SPOILERS can actually prepare you for the abrupt devastation of either of their deaths, or the onslaught of tears).
So I started watching the season in the unique position of knowing that both Tom Branson and Mary Crawley would soon be single again. I’d always liked both of them, but as Mary began to stand up for Tom and help him with his daughter, and Tom began to stand up for Downton and help with the running of the grounds, I saw the glimmers of an amazing pairing.
I know how strongly many of you feel about the Matthew and Mary pairing, and you may still be too broken-hearted over that to consider Mary ever loving again. But there is something really beautiful and wonderful about the idea of Mary and Tom.
Mary’s weakest qualities are that she can be vain and shallow, and Tom’s are that he can be unrefined and uncultured at times. Mary would elevate Tom, and Tom would give her more depth. Plus, they’re both so stubborn, they wouldn’t let each other get away with anything except their absolute best.
In a way, both Matthew and Sybil were both already like a cross between Mary and Tom, taking the best qualities from either of them. They both already chose partners that challenged them and pushed them to do better, to be more, and now they’re both missing the same people, as Mary obviously loved her sister Sybil, and Tom’s only real friend was Matthew.
I don’t know if that’s how the story will play out in future seasons, but I’m definitely rooting for it. Even if it doesn’t, I hope that Tom continues to be an integral part of Downton Abbey. Especially with the absence of Matthew and Sybil, Downton needs a headstrong heart to help push them along.
Of course, I’m certain that the addition of Lady Rose will throw the house into upheaval, and I have a fearful suspicion that she may develop an infatuation with Tom. But I don’t see that pairing being nearly as fruitful or satisfying as Tom and Mary.
I am also interested to see how some of the characters’ love lives play out, particularly the footman/valet Thomas, who seems to be turning over a more sympathetic leaf, and now that he’s “out,” he should be a bit more free to pursue romantic interests.
With the nefarious lady’s maid Mrs. O’Brien gone (Siobhan Finneran said she won’t be returning for future seasons), hopefully Thomas will have a chance to move beyond scheming and plotting, much like he did when he and Sybil worked together helping the injured soldiers during the war.
The fact that Bates’ trial and prison time is over is a huge relief too. I like Bates and Anna, but the storyline involving his murder trial went on for too long, and I’ll be excited to see how their relationship plays out now that they’re really free to be together.
Season 3 brought tremendous ups-and-downs, and it seemed like there was a wedding, a death, or a birth every episode. So I’m really interested to see how the next season can top all that. But I remain the most excited to see if Mary and Tom’s relationship plays out the way I hope it does. This may be sacrilege, but I think it might even be more exciting than Mary and Matthew. Mary and Tom are both so passionate, I can’t imagine that anything between the two of them wouldn’t be fireworks.
Amanda Hocking is the author of the New York Times bestselling Trylle trilogy and six additional self-published novels. She made international headlines by selling over a million copies of her self-published books, primarily in eBook format. She lives in Minnesota, where she’s at work on the next book in the Watersong series.