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Rhondinella

Lady Edith: Sex and the Single Girl

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What can I say?  Umm . . . her wardrobe improved considerably over the last two seasons.  Let's pray they don't bring Anthony Strallen back as a suitor.  (Oh, who are we kidding, they totally will).

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I'm weary of Lady Edith's never-ending bad luck and hope that in Season 5 her lover dude will return from Germany with his divorce papers in hand, they retrieve their baby and move to London.

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I would rather see someone new, like Evelyn Napier.  Napier seems to be the Edith equivalent of Mary's Men -- the routinely overlooked "Jan" of the group.  I could see him viewing Edith in a new light, while Edith at first mistrusts him and assumes he is trying to make Mary jealous.  And of course, it would all culminate in their wedding, which would be ruined last minute by Gregson's sudden appearance.

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From her scheduled-then-cancelled abortion to her breastfeeding her newborn, the calls, however painful, are all on Edith's terms.

"Breastfeeding her newborn"? I have ZERO memory of this. I don't even remember her giving birth to the baby. I guess I'm going to have to rewatch the last episode of this past season.

Edith has, from the very beginning, been my favorite character. Mary can suck it.

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When she was talking to Rosamond she said she nursed the baby in Switzerland before it was adopted, that the doctors said that was best for the child.

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I'm with Kat - I don't remember any of this at all. Did we in the USA miss something? I thought she was still taking refuge with Rosamond and hadn't given birth yet.

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Nope, Edith is back home, having weaned her baby and left it with an adoptive Swiss couple. When the Christmas special ended, she was contemplating going to get her and bring her to live with the pig farming couple, so Edith could be nearer to her. Questions abound as to whether that's a good idea.

 

You might not remember any of this, because the actual birth, late stages of pregnancy, and breastfeeding all happened off-screen, like a "Greek drama".

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Yes, Lady Edith! I was always on her team, so to speak, since the very beginning but she's definitely become more awesome since WWI and Sybil's death. She went from "Look! I can follow all of the rules of society! I will marry whomever the heir is and save the family! Won't someone just love me?" to making her own rules and giving exactly zero fucks over what society said that she should do. Lady Edith might be the number one bad ass.

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Thanks Obviously! I remember the conversation with Rosamund now. And of course I remembered her setting up her secret plan with the farmer dude; I just thought that this had happened before the birth, but it did indeed happen after the baby had already been placed with the Swiss couple. Man, it's amazing what details can fly right out of your brain.

ANYWAY...Edith's story line (and maybe Tom's) is seriously the only one I care about for season 5. Mary and whichever suitor she chooses can go away and eat bees.

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I hope Edith has had enough of taking Mary's hand me downs.

Sir Anthony liked Mary first and was coming around acting like an overgrown, love sick nerd, always asking Mary to go for a ride in his snazzy motor car. One day, after another cold brush off, Edith invited herself for the ride. I cringed for Edith at the time but they had fun together and Sir Anthony warmed to her enough to plan a proposal. However, he was easily discouraged by Mary lying to him, saying Edith had been making fun of him. Then, years later, he jilted Edith after getting discouragement from Robert.

IMO, Mary and Robert were very much to blame for theses two disasters, but in both cases, if Anthony had really loved Edith, he wouldn't have let the opinions of her family get in the way. Compare with the love of a certain chauffeur for a daughter of the house.

I'll never forget Mary, in one of the first episodes of DA, showing Edith how she could take any man away from her if she wanted to. Mary and her parents have always acted as though it was a forgone conclusion that Mary had a hundred times more "advantages," then Edith.

No, I want Edith to win over Mary one time. I would love to see a handsome, eligible young man come to the house, Mary be quite smitten -- and the man go right past her to Edith. After all, it's not unheard of for some men to prefer blondes with a bit of curve over brunette stick figures. I'm not saying that Mary's cool demeanor and porcelain skin isn't appealing, just that the show's insistence that it's the ideal of every single gentleman and butler in England is a bit much.

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I would love that storyline. All last season, I thought that they completely missed the boat with the Mary and all of her smitten suitors storyline because it would have been far more interesting if she found herself having feelings for someone who did not return them. In addition to forcing her to experience being on Edith's side of the dance floor, she would have had to deal with the guilt of "betraying" Matthew.

 

Back to Edith - yes, I don't see why there wouldn't be a single and very eligible bachelor that would be smitten with Edith. It's been established that she has a knack for writing and is a pretty witty conversationalist. She's far more fashionable than Mary (as their wedding dresses attest to). Here's a woman who can drive a tractor and play the piano. And she now has the air of mystery (vis-a-vie, her secret child) that Mary claims she's been lacking. Personally, I'd like to see the sisters get over their animosity towards each other and a love triangle that makes Mary sympathetic to what Edith went through with Patrick could help to mend their fences.

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Well, Edith had Michael smitten with her, and with her mind as well as looks.  And IMO he was attractive and interesting.  Not single, but willing to become so for her sake.

 

I actually found Gregson a lot more interesting than any of Mary's current suitors.  He's self-made, he's a newspaper man, he has a fabulous flat in London and literary friends, he can make his own food (!), and he has a "past" that allowed him to trick a card shark to get everyone's cash back.  He was a keeper.

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I totally agree with JudyObscure. Once, just once, I'd like for Edith to be someone's first choice when Mary is also an option. Because so far...

 

  • Mary is Robert and Cora's favorite daughter
  • Mary is Carson's favorite of the family
  • Anna is closest to Mary out of the three girls
  • Every eligible bachelor that comes into the abbey brushes right past Edith for Mary

 

I get that Edith is half underdog, half convenient whipping boy for the show, but enough is enough. She doesn't really have anybody that's always been there for her, and that was extremely apparent in Season 4 and will continue to be so in Season 5. I remember being so heartbroken by the scene where she's sitting by the fire in the library after finding out about the pregnancy, the one where Robert comes in and calls her "[his] most darling girl," because her alone-ness really stood out. Sure, she's had Rosamund (and, to a lesser extent, the DC) to help her through her latest tragedy, but neither of them have shown particular interest in her problems until the family's reputation was at stake (though I do credit Rosamund for actually caring about Edith's feelings while also trying to deal with the situation quietly).

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Rosamund has been a better mother to her than Cora.  A better family member than any of them, really.  Sybil was nice to her but then Sybil was nice to everybody and was shown being closer to Mary (maybe so Mary wouldn't seem like an all-round bad sister).

 

Rosamund did care about the family's reputation but IMO she was taking Edith's future and well-being into account too.  She thought it was best if she gave the baby  away, so that she could have "other loves and children" in the future.  The DC really only cared about propriety and was awkward as Hell when she even tried to address Edith's grief.  She had to make a quip about her French having improved.

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I'll never forget Mary, in one of the first episodes of DA, showing Edith how she could take any man away from her if she wanted to. Mary and her parents have always acted as though it was a forgone conclusion that Mary had a hundred times more "advantages," then Edith.

No, I want Edith to win over Mary one time. I would love to see a handsome, eligible young man come to the house, Mary be quite smitten -- and the man go right past her to Edith. After all, it's not unheard of for some men to prefer blondes with a bit of curve over brunette stick figures. I'm not saying that Mary's cool demeanor and porcelain skin isn't appealing, just that the show's insistence that it's the ideal of every single gentleman and butler in England is a bit much.

 

Sometimes I think it would have been more interesting if Matthew had been more attracted to Edith in Season 1.  When they went on their church tour, Edith seemed interested not just in Matthew but the history and architecture of the buildings.  In contrast Mary never showed any interest in anything for its own sake, ever.  For that matter, he showed no interest in Sybil, who was interested in politics and social causes.  Instead he heads straight for the bitch goddess which, admittedly, is a type that some men, though hardly all, find appealing.

 

Also, given how competitive Mary & Edith are, I would have thought Edith would have tried to be less frumpy (given how pretty the actress is, the idea of frumpy Edith is a bit absurd).  Sybil could have given her some pointers.

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Sometimes I think it would have been more interesting if Matthew had been more attracted to Edith in Season 1.  When they went on their church tour, Edith seemed interested not just in Matthew but the history and architecture of the buildings.  In contrast Mary never showed any interest in anything for its own sake, ever.  For that matter, he showed no interest in Sybil, who was interested in politics and social causes.  Instead he heads straight for the bitch goddess which, admittedly, is a type that some men, though hardly all, find appealing.

 

To be fair - and I might stray off Edith solely - I never really understood why it was always Mary being pressured to marry Matthew when all three daughters were of a reasonable age and Matthew marrying any of them would have put Robert's children in control (sorta) of the family money. I can see why they weren't told to fling themselves at him, but it was just odd.

 

That said, Edith was just trying way too hard with the gayest seeming straight man on the show. Season one Matthew was this weird hot mess - he seems to be a successful lawyer, he's reasonably good looking, and he lives with his mom, and seems appalled at the idea that the Earl's three attractive daughters will be thrown at him, thereby ruining his... swinging bachelor life where he has tea with his mom and rides a bicycle. Everything about the church visit screamed Matthew thinking "eww girl cooties" at Edith.

 

I'm being a little facetious, because I think you're otherwise correct - the story would have been more interesting if Edith and Matthew had sparked a little bit - and it frankly would have made the whole competitive thing between Edith and Mary not look so unpleasantly one sided.

 

I also admit, watching season one, to wondering why Sybil and Matthew never were even suggested. The rare times they were in scenes - thinking specifically of the "political riot", the actors really played well off each other. Well, I know, the story was always Mary and Matthew but....

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I would love for Edith to pick up writing again and get invited to Paris to hang out with the Lost Generation and then come back with suitors at her heels who don't give Mary the time of day.  I fear she may be too conventional for this though.

 

Regarding Sybil and Matthew, I thought they would be a good couple considering he was middle class and she was not a snob, but then we would not have gotten the love that transcends class barriers with her and Tom.

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Also, given how competitive Mary & Edith are, I would have thought Edith would have tried to be less frumpy (given how pretty the actress is, the idea of frumpy Edith is a bit absurd).  Sybil could have given her some pointers.

 

Lol, I didn't realize what a frump Edith was in S1 until I rewatched it, after having watched S2-4 where she's stylin' pretty much every episode. Sometimes I think in S1 she almost...not enjoyed, but kind of accepted without much resistance that she would always be second to Mary, so she didn't try to improve her situation. Then the Pamuk scandal fell into her lap and she could finally get back at her asshole sister, only for the whole thing to backfire on her in the end. After that, I think she gave up on the whole rivalry and just decided to do her, and dressing better was part of that.

 

You know, Edith may always get shit on story-wise, but at least Laura Carmichael has the best wardrobe on the show.

 

I would love for Edith to pick up writing again and get invited to Paris to hang out with the Lost Generation and then come back with suitors at her heels who don't give Mary the time of day.  I fear she may be too conventional for this though.

 

Man, I would love this to death. The thing about Edith is that I think she wants to be conventional, and to live the normal life of an earl's daughter, but the universe keeps throwing these unconventional situations her way. I'm hoping by the time the show is over she embraces an unconventional lifestyle. Make Sybil proud!

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Laura Carmichael did say that Edith becomes somewhat more involved in her professional life, such as it is, and focuses less on the search for love in S5.  I'm happy to hear that but I hope she's not just making more of it than it is.

 

ZoloftBlob, I never thought of Matthew that way, but damn if you don't have a point.  He was clever and decent but kind of a prig, or something.  Before his wedding to Mary he was acting like a total virgin about the anticipated sex. I remember reading one review of S3 that said Mary and Matthew had so little chemistry in bed that he wasn't convinced they were even heterosexual.  LOL.

 

Sorry, OT but that made me laugh….and got me thinking.

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Zola may, it's one of those things that once you think about it, you kinda keep thinking about it. :)

I can also make a convincing argument that Mary and Matthew both had leanings, she was a little overly against marriage.

Back to Edith... She not a favorite of mine but there's a point where her getting the shit end of the stick isn't entertaining.

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Sybil was always my favorite by far, but Edith has really matured and is a good-hearted and well-intentioned person, for the most part.  She deserves to be happy and the sadistic treatment of her (by her sister and the writer) is irritating and depressing.  I think most viewers just accept it but I doubt many actually enjoy watching it all the time.  The only upside is Laura's acting which has been excellent at times over the past two seasons.

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helenamonster, actually Laura said in a recent interview that Edith misses Sybil and wants to do something useful in her life as Sybil encouraged her to.  Which I was so happy to hear, that Edith is honoring her sister's memory in such a way.  It's more than I can say for her stupid father, whose idea of "cherishing her memory and her child" (as Violet told him to do) was denigrating Tom's decisions regarding Sybbie while simultaneously wanting them both out of the house ASAP.

Edited by ZulaMay
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If I was Matthew I would have gone for Edith. She is by far the most interesting sister of the three.

I think she became interesting, but early on she was written as a sad, bitter, wet blanket. You might feel sorry for her because she was widely regarded as the uggo of the Crawley girls, but she brought it on herself by being so hectoring and desperate. She latched onto any guy (Patrick, Matthew, and Sir Anthony) just so she could have a boyfriend, even without getting to know them as people. That was played up by having her dress in unflattering, frumpy clothes, even though Laura Carmichael isn't actually unattractive. She made her play for Matthew by showing him old churches, for heaven's sake. The show was making it pretty clear that Edith was a sad try-hard with no game.

 

(She was Mary Bennet, in other words).

 

That changed in the later seasons. Michael Gregson was a real relationship (and a catch by any definition) and she's started taking control of her own life. We even saw it by how she dealt with Mr. Drewe the farmer. And now even though she's in a victimy situation (unwed mother with her boyfriend probably dead) she's not acting like a victim and no one's treating her as such. She's probably shown the most growth of any character.

Edited by Obviously
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I don't think Edith brought her family's treatment of her on herself.  It was clear she was always ignored in favor of her prettier sisters.  She was desperate for attention because she never got it.  And at least she tried to get it in positive ways sometimes:  trying to better her mind by reading the papers, for example.  And what's wrong with showing an interest in the architecture of churches?  It's not sexy, but it isn't stupid either.  A lot of people are interested in that sort of thing.  It's better than sitting around crying and griping that you can't inherit your family's whole fortune, which is what Mary did all of S1.  She was demanding and bratty as Hell in S1.

 

I don't think either was mature or decent or likable in S1.  They had good moments but Sybil was the only truly lovable and nice one.  But as you said, Edith has grown and become, IMO, a better person than Mary, who continues to be self-absorbed, as well as petty and mean to her sister.  And Mary also thrives on male attention.  She doesn't have to work for it because the writer has made her Helen of Troy or something.  But in the S4 CS she told Blake to "let battle commence" (the battle for her hand) and you could tell she was relishing it.  Not at first, but by the end she was ready and eager to watch them duke it out for her.

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And what's wrong with showing an interest in the architecture of churches?  It's not sexy, but it isn't stupid either.  A lot of people are interested in that sort of thing.

I don't think she was interested, though. Remember how she was trying to flirt with Matthew, he said something about seeing one more church while the light was good, and she got all pouty? The impression was it was her clumsy way of trying to land Matthew, which was a total failure. Not to mention until the character growth after getting left at the altar, I don't think Edith was particularly characterised as smart. She was the only one to, wholly and completely, buy the story that Patrick had returned after having amnesia and living in Canada. You can't get much dumber than that.

 

 

I never really understood why it was always Mary being pressured to marry Matthew when all three daughters were of a reasonable age and Matthew marrying any of them would have put Robert's children in control (sorta) of the family money.

Sybil hadn't had her coming out yet, and so was off-limits as a possible wife. Plus she was "political" and wouldn't be inclined to marry someone just to keep the estate in the family in the first place. And of course Edith, as established, was a hideous gorgon whom no eligible man would ever want. So that leaves Mary.

Edited by Obviously

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I think Edith's belief that the soldier was really Patrick had more to do with wishful thinking than it did with intelligence. She loved Patrick, and here he supposedly was, alive and admitting to loving her back. After all she'd endured since his death (and prior to it, I suppose), I can't blame her for wanting to believe that things might be looking up. Yes, on an intellectual level, it made her look dumber than a box of rocks, but on an emotional level, I can't blame her.

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Sybil hadn't had her coming out yet, and so was off-limits as a possible wife. Plus she was "political" and wouldn't be inclined to marry someone just to keep the estate in the family in the first place. And of course Edith, as established, was a hideous gorgon whom no eligible man would ever want. So that leaves Mary.

 

Well, Sybil had her coming out in 1913 or 1914 (I remember her being praised and Edith getting annoyed by it). I wouldn't have necessarily felt the family would *force* her to marry Matthew, but really she was 18-20, and he was 25-27, thats not crazy age difference and it's not like if interest had sparked that it would have been scandalous. I just found it odd that it was never on the table that they could let Matthew pick one of the daughters, instead of pretty openly plotting to force Mary into wedlock with him.

 

I mean, hell, if the point was to keep the money in the family - and it seemed to be in season one, why not throw Edith (who was at least willing to consider him) at him? Edith unlike Mary, wasn't throwing a fit over Daddy and Mama telling her to marry someone. She would have probably been flattered to be told to make nice with the new heir since Mary clearly wasn't on board

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I think it really comes down to Mary being the specialist snowflake there ever was. Because was Edith ever even considered as a wife for Patrick? It just seemed like an unspoken rule among the family that if Mary couldn't be the next Lady Grantham, then none of the sisters could.

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It may be that Mary is the special snowflake, but also I think the family may have realized if not for the entail she would be the one to inherit so it made sense that she be the one thrown at Patrick.  

 

Back to Edith though, If it weren't for hoping to catch glimpses of her daughter, it would be best for her to leave.  She does best when she is not constantly compared to Mary.

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Realistically speaking, Edith would have left permanently. I'm sure she could have come up with a way to keep her daughter with her as well. Grandma Shirley McClaine could have helped. But, the show is keeping everyone at Downton so she's probably stuck there for God knows how long.

 

I never understood why Mary had to be the one married to the heir. Yes, she's the oldest but any one of the sisters would have kept the money in the family. Everyone knew Edith was the one who was in love with Patrick. In a deleted scene from the first episode, which I wish they had kept in, Robert and Edith discuss Patrick and though it is unspoken, it is obvious he knew about her feelings. It was pretty cruel of everyone to want to force the sister who didn't love him to marry him while leaving the other heartbroken. Robert and Cora made the crack about Edith being their nurse but given that they were willing to marry off the love of her life to her older sister, they were pretty instrumental in dooming her to spinsterhood.

Edited by Cameltoes
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I don't think it was necessarily Mary who was to be married to the heir, but obviously Edith's love to Patrick was one sided. He could certainly have married Edith if he wanted to.

 

When Mary doesn't want to marry Matthew, Edith tries her luck, but unfortunately Matthew is already gone on Mary anyway and she has no chance. Of course her parents wouldn't have minded her marrying Matthew either.

 

I think their first thought is always Mary, because she's the eldest, so traditionally she has to marry first. Then she is considered the "Beauty" of the family so they assume every eligible man will look at her first and also Mary is the most interested in Downton. She has been raised with the prospect of marrying the heir and being the next Countess of Grantham. Marriage among the upper class is not about love, it is about perserving status, power and money.

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Marriage among the upper class is not about love, it is about perserving status, power and money.

 

Perhaps but my impression from the show was that that was changing or, at least, Mary herself wanted love in addition to position and/or money. She said she would have married Patrick "if nothing better came along". Anna knows her very well and in speaking with Gwen, she made it clear that she didn't think Mary would have married Patrick. She told Sir Richard that "tradition demands some mention of love". Evelyn Napier was a perfectly respectable option for her but he didn't do it for her. She followed her passions. Maybe it's because of her family expectations that she was always longing for more but love has been scripted as an ideal. Certainly for Mary and I think as a theme of the show in general. The great loves of the show all have involved overcoming great barriers - Anna/Bates, Sybil/Tom, Mary/Matthew.

 

I don't think it was necessarily Mary who was to be married to the heir, but obviously Edith's love to Patrick was one sided. He could certainly have married Edith if he wanted to.

 

Of course it's hard to say since we only have mentions in the past tense, but I've not been convinced by anything we've seen that it was absolutely one-sided. We don't know anything about Patrick's personality. He may have been resigned to "doing the right thing". The thing that everyone wanted. His father was apparently not very nice so I can imagine pressure coming from Patrick's family as well. Maybe in an alternative universe where Patrick survives, we would have seen a true, and complex triangle with love conflicting with duty.

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Mary didn't want to do it but was going to anyway if she didn't drop him for someone better.  So we don't know if he wanted to or was just doing his duty too.  For all we know he got along better with Edith.  But we'll never learn the truth.

 

As for Mary being eldest and "The Beauty" and therefore expected to marry first?  I can see that was true before Pamuk but after that they considered her damaged goods.  She was no longer as desirable as she had been, in the eyes of Cora and Violet.  So it doesn't make sense that they were so dead-set on "getting" Matthew for Mary.  

 

She had refused him.  She had a scandalous secret anyway, one that they all debated whether she had to tell him.  He had refused Edith.  So who's next?  Sybil.  The situation with Matthew looked bad.  So why not consider her equally beautiful and still  virginal sister?  Especially since she and Matthew really had more in common anyway?  They could have at least tried or thought of it. It would have made sense.  No, she hadn't been raised to run Downton but it's not like Mary knew how to ring the estate or ever had either.  Not even the house.  Sybil was equally well-bred and she could have learned the ropes as fast as Mary could.

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This is exactly the reason why I am and will always be Team Edith. The girl gets shat on by her family her whole life, left at the altar, her boyfriend dies, and now she has to give up her baby because...reasons? I get that social mores of the 1920s frowned on single mothers, to put it very lightly. But Edith's family is loaded. She has options. But no one is letting her exercise those options and instead are ripping her child away from her. So fuck it, I hope she manages to take back Marigold and raise her at Downton, whatever the cost to anyone else.

 

 

I constantly see these claims that Edith is treated like crap by her family and it often feels like people ignore the family members who are good to Edith. I rewatched all of the fourth season when they reaired it on PBS and literally in every single episode we have Cora taking interest in Edith and being a concerned and loving mother. The problem is that Edith would lie, hide, and push away when it would come to the efforts of her parents. A perfect example is when Cora is asking about why Gregson went to Germany. Here's the perfect time for Edith to tell her mom that he's going there because he wants to marry Edith but needs to get his affairs in order first. Instead Edith lies to her mother and says that Gregson is going away for awhile to see the castles of King Ludwig. Edith is totally downplaying her relationship to Gregson every chance she gets but for some reason her family is supposed to magically know how close are and that this is the great love of Edith's life so far. And even though Cora has no way of knowing just how close Edith and Gregson are/were she still goes out of her way to be sensitive to Edith's feelings and acts interested in the relationship. She's also made it clear that she's supportive of Edith's writing career and makes sure to never miss a column. 

 

Rosamund and Violet have also been incredibly supportive of Edith and while it can be argued that Violet had a hand in sabotaging the relationship with Strallan, I think overall we've seen that Violet loves and cares very much about Edith and this has been demonstrated in words and actions. 

 

We know what the relationship with Mary is like and I have always maintained that this is a two way street and that Edith gives as good as she gets. There are examples of Edith giving it to Mary in every single season so I've always rejected the claim that Edith has matured and moved on from the rivalry because I've seen her indulge in it in every season just as Mary has. 

 

Edith didn't grow up in this family being unloved and I don't think that this can be used as an excuse for why she's made so many unfortunate decisions and choices in her life. I also think it's unfair to blame the family for her current predicament. When Edith tells people what's going on we've seen that they will try to help her. 

 

Also, when I think of Edith's situation and compare it with the housemaid Ethel, I think Edith should count herself among the fortunate. She certainly has more options than poor Ethel did. 

 

As for Edith being inconsiderate to not one but two families--again, these are her choices. I just find it difficult to want to root for her when she seems like she doesn't care much about how her actions end up hurting others. I was blown away by her insensitivity at thinking that it would be preferable to have Mrs Drewe think that Edith has a crush on her husband rather than have the woman suspect that Edith is the child's mother. To me it came across as a selfish reaction but Edith seems to get a pass on behavior like this because of the claim that she's had a difficult life because she's supposedly treated like shit by her family. 

 

Rather than constantly blaming other people for her unhappiness I think that Edith needs to sometimes look to herself when she finds herself in these various situations that make her unhappy. 

 

Also, Edith isn't the only one who has had to deal with suffering. Mary's husband is dead, Tom's wife is dead, they're single parents so it's not like Edith is alone in this boat. 

 

I just don't see Edith as being more deserving of happiness than any other character on this show and certainly not because I feel that she's suffered more than the other characters. 

Edited by Avaleigh
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I constantly see these claims that Edith is treated like crap by her family and it often feels like people ignore the family members who are good to Edith. I rewatched all of the fourth season when they reaired it on PBS and literally in every single episode we have Cora taking interest in Edith and being a concerned and loving mother.

Sure, in Season 4, after her precious Sybil is in the grave and Mary is on the market, again, Cora bothers to remember that she has another daughter.

WELL IT'S TOO LATE COUNTESS STROKEFACE!

You can't just waltz into Season 4, ignore everything that's happened, and expect Edith to be besties.

Not after you laugh with your husband in Season 1 about Edith taking care of you in your old age.

Not after you ignore Edith's obvious cries for help in Season 2 when Edith, desperate for love, believes the Canadian solider is Patrick Crawley

Not after you let your husband bully Strallan into breaking off the engagement. MONSTER!

Then you cry, cry, cry when Sybil dies. AT LEAST SYBIL HAD A MOTHER! All Edith had was an overly botoxed housemate who spent more time agonizing over lady's maids than her own flesh and blood.

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Great post Avaleigh.  I had once posted that Edith lied to her family about Gregson's reason for going to Germany and that she never told them he was married.   I'm glad someone finally brought up Ethel.  I thought JF was subtlely letting us see how women from different classes were treated when in the same predicament.

Also I get annoyed at  people who say her family (usually Violet and/or Rosamund) forced Edith to give up the baby.  Edith herself says she can't face society as a single mother.  I'm a broken record on this but Edith wants her cake and eat it too.  She wants the baby but not the stigma of being a single mother.

Until Season 5 I never really had feelings about Edith one way or the other but after season 5 I really really dislike her.    Nothing is ever her fault.  Yes sleeping with a married man was a good idea - who forced her to do that?  Maybe she did what she did because she is so desperate for love which again is a sad sack

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Not after you laugh with your husband in Season 1 about Edith taking care of you in your old age.

 

 

She didn't laugh about it at all. She said she was "afraid" that Edith might end up being the one to take care of them in old age. 

 

Not after you let your husband bully Strallan into breaking off the engagement. MONSTER!

 

 

I don't think that Robert "bullied" Strallan at all. Even if he had I wouldn't hold Cora accountable for Robert's actions. It's Strallan's fault that he chose to humiliate Edith in such a horrible way. Tom faced a lot more opposition than Strallan did and Tom was able to have the courage to stick by Sybil even though he knew her parents weren't in favor of the match. Strallan had acceptance from Cora, Matthew, Isobel, Sybil, etc. Robert was polite just unenthusiastic about the pairing.

 

Then you cry, cry, cry when Sybil dies. AT LEAST SYBIL HAD A MOTHER! All Edith had was an overly botoxed housemate who spent more time agonizing over lady's maids than her own flesh and blood.

 

 

Cora was the person who was holding and comforting a crying Edith after Edith was jilted by Strallan. Cora is the one who we see complimenting Edith and paying attention to what she's up to in seasons 1-3 when Sybil is very much alive and Mary is also getting her share of attention.

 

I think Cora has been a very good mother to Edith based on what I've seen on the show.

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Violet and Rosamund were in fact in her corner regarding the pregnancy, and Cora might have been had she known.  But I feel like there were instances (damn my poor memory and the long months in between seasons) where Violet, and Robert I think, have been openly scornful of Edith, right at the dinner table at least once.  She clearly isn't the favored daughter. 

 

 

As for Edith being inconsiderate to not one but two families--again, these are her choices. I just find it difficult to want to root for her when she seems like she doesn't care much about how her actions end up hurting others. I was blown away by her insensitivity at thinking that it would be preferable to have Mrs Drewe think that Edith has a crush on her husband rather than have the woman suspect that Edith is the child's mother. To me it came across as a selfish reaction but Edith seems to get a pass on behavior like this because of the claim that she's had a difficult life because she's supposedly treated like shit by her family.

 

I totally agree with this.  That was terribly selfish and uncaring.  I do not give her a pass on that or anything.  No excuses.  But I do empathize with her plight, and it may be all (or at least half) her fault that she ended up pregnant, but it is always the woman who pays the much heavier price.  Whether it's Ethel or Edith or any other woman, the man skates, comparatively speaking.  The person I feel the worst for is Marigold, if she is going to somehow be moved around yet again. 

 

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Robert was polite just unenthusiastic about the pairing.

 

I have to disagree. Robert told Strallan to break it off. That's not unenthusiastic, that's being completely against it. He only came around to it because Cora's mother pointed out pretty bluntly that Strallan was everything they wanted for Edith, and Edith genuinely wanted it, and it wasn't like there was anyone waiting in the wings.

 

That said, while I don't think Edith is hated or despised by her relatives, I do think she's clearly neither Robert or Cora's favorite and knows it. However, that's not an abusive home or childhood. She's also hardly the most self aware person  and she brings on a lot of her pain by being wilfully stupid. Look at the scenes in this recent episode where she's doting on her child and ignoring the rest, and clearly making eyes and casual conversation with the Pigman right in front of the Pigman's wife. And when the wife finally says enough to her meddling, Edith will turn on the tears and wonder why everyone is so cruel.

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Then you cry, cry, cry when Sybil dies. AT LEAST SYBIL HAD A MOTHER! All Edith had was an overly botoxed housemate who spent more time agonizing over lady's maids than her own flesh and blood.

 

 

Cora was the person who was holding and comforting a crying Edith after Edith was jilted by Strallan. Cora is the one who we see complimenting Edith and paying attention to what she's up to in seasons 1-3 when Sybil is very much alive and Mary is also getting her share of attention.

 

I think Cora has been a very good mother to Edith based on what I've seen on the show.

To dial back my facetiousness a bit, or actually turn it all the way off, I wouldn't go so far as to say very good mother. Comforting your daughter after she's been jilted at the altar isn't particularly commendable. At best, it's just average. If anything it points out that something absolutely catastrophic must occur before Cora shows up.

It's been a while since I've watched the first two seasons, but my impressions about Cora is that she was largely indifferent towards Edith then. Mary received the predominant share of Cora's motherly attention and Sybil received all the rest. What I mostly recall is "What do we do about Edith" and "OMG - a man might actually be interested in Edith, has the law of gravity suddenly be repealed".

Cora looks good compared to Robert, but that's a pretty low bar.

Which is why I agree

 

That said, while I don't think Edith is hated or despised by her relatives, I do think she's clearly neither Robert or Cora's favorite and knows it.

If the Crawleys were a sports team, Edith would be the third-string daughter.

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As I remember it that scene where Lord and Lady Grantham predict Edith being an old maid, begins with the two of them talking about Mary and Sybil and then Cora says, "Why don't we ever discuss Edith?" (Very telling, I think.) Then they go on to the speculation that she'll be an old maid and end up taking care of them in their old age. Lord Grantham groans at the thought and says something along the lines of "Lord help me," and then they both chuckle. That, plus a scene where Edith talks of her father coming to the nursery and his eyes always seeking out Mary first, added to Carson freely admitting always liking Mary best, gives me a picture of a very sad little girl.

Edith must have always been aware that the people around her weren't often thinking of her and when they did it wasn't in a particularly loving way. The fact that Mary seemed to always delight in rubbing in the fact that she was the favorite wouldn't have helped. We saw that Mary went so far as to look for opportunities to demonstrate how easily she could capture the interest of any man Edith was talking to. It may not add up to abuse, but I expect many a poor child who was occasionally spanked and sent to bed hungry had a happier life if she felt cherished by her family

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 a scene where Edith talks of her father coming to the nursery and his eyes always seeking out Mary first,

 

Do you happen to recall which episode that scene was in? I don't remember seeing it at all - and I'd rather like to, as it seems to capture a lot of the character relationships.

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I don't think that this can be used as an excuse for why she's made so many unfortunate decisions and choices in her life.

 

I'm interested to know what unfortunate decisions/choices you think she's made?  

 

I think there are some - having sex with Gregson and not being more decisive about Marigold.  (Although I find especially the stuff with Marigold incredibly frustrating to watch, I do also have some sympathy with her situation there.) But I don't think she's made a whole load of unfortunate choices or anything, I think - mostly - she's just had incredibly bad luck.  

 

It, frankly, doesn't make any sense that every man who visits Downton falls for Mary and not her - Edith is very pretty and much more well informed and interesting to talk to. I get the impression that she'd be a much better wife - more likely to compromise, communicate, take an interest in her husband's life.  In particular, I find it unbelievable that she didn't get half a dozen proposals during the period where she was looking after the wounded officers.

 

And, of course, it is incredibly unusual to get pregnant from a single one-off sexual encounter.  

Just as Mary (and Robert and, to some extent Tom) are teflon, Edith is a velcro character.

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Do you happen to recall which episode that scene was in?

I'm sorry Tapplum, I don't have the DVD's so I'm just going by memory and not even sure which season.
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I'm interested to know what unfortunate decisions/choices you think she's made?

 

There were some obvious red flags to Greggson that really can't be denied. He was married, his story about the crazy wife he couldn't divorce was really super cheesy, even if it was true. Edith knows what is expected of her as an earl's daughter. Lost in the moment or not, the decision to *date* Michael despite his being married was a bad choice. So was sleeping with him but thats secondary to beginning an impossible relationship.

 

Edith allowed Mary to ruin the first go around with Sir Anthony. You know how that situation clears up? Going to see Sir Anthony and explaining how sister Mary *lied* to him at the party. Instead, she made the choice to let Mary have her petty way, and lost out on getting Sir Anthony before he was crippled. 

 

She made the choice to flirt pretty openly with the farmer guy she was helping. She knew he was married and did it anyway, and then got all sad when his wife finally put her foot down on the Earl's not exactly homely daughter coming over to drive tractor and smooch her husband.

 

Edith chooses to stay at home. She's miserably unhappy seperated from her daughter... but while yes, the alternative is a much harder life, she is *choosing* the current life she has. Yes, Violet and Roslind pressured her to give up the child for adoption - and didn't out her or stop her when she retrieved the child and planked it in the Pigman's house, so yes, she is free to do things.

 

And hey, she didn't go for Mary's throat when she could have - instead of dancing around the Pamuk situation, you know what she could have done? She could have told her daddy that precious perfect Mary had sex with Pamuk out of wedlock and killed him. Things would have been a LOT different in that house if Edith had dropped the hammer on Mary.

 

These are just my examples.

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