There are few period dramas as beloved as Downton Abbey which in addition to running for several seasons has also spawned two movies. Though many enjoy it for its costumes and its evocation of a past era theres no denying that a major part of the series appeal also stems from its characters, the men and women who constantly have to deal with the challenges of modernity as well as their own personal dramas.In some fascinating and unexpected ways they also bear a striking resemblance to characters from the hit fantasy series Game of Thrones.
Throughout the series, Mary Crawley is one of those who struggles the most, for though she is the eldest child, she can’t inherit because of the terms of her grandfather’s will. For the most part, she responds to this with a cold and ironic approach to the world, though she also shows that she has a heart. However like Sansa, she slowly grows and changes as the series progresses, learning how to deal with the challenges that she endures. Also like Sansa, she becomes a powerful character in her own right, determined to claim her own happiness.
Sybil is widely regarded as one of the best characters in Downton Abbey, and she truly does seem to have the best interests of everyone at heart. She is, in other words, the noblest member of the Crawley family and she doesn’t take her position for granted. This aligns her very much with Jon Snow. Throughout his time on Game of Thrones Jon always tried to do what was best for others, even if, at times, that put his own life and well-being at significant risk which it often did.
As the middle daughter of the Crawley family, Edith has a bit of a chip on her shoulders and she largely exists in the shadow of her elder sister Mary whom she schemes against. A similar dynamic is at work among the Stark siblings Arya and Sansa. Arya has little patience for her sister’s daydreams and, like Edith, she is always looking for a new way to seek out her own happiness, whether that is training to be an assassin or setting sail at the end of the series in search of new lands.
Violet Lady Olenna Tyrell
Dame Maggie Smith has been in many great movies and TV shows but Lady Violent is arguably one of her best roles. Acerbic and witty, she represents a different generation than her son and grandchildren. She is, however, steadfastly loyal to her family, and will never stand for anyone trying to attack them.In both her acid tongue and in her family loyalty, she bears a striking resemblance to Olenna Tyrell the Queen of Thorns who was willing to poison a king in order to protect her granddaughter from being married to a monster.
Robert Ned Stark
Robert Crawley takes his position as the head of the family very seriously, and he cares deeply for both the family and for the estate of Downton even though those two things are sometimes at odds. However, his sense of nobility and honor sometimes are his own worst enemy as he can be very inflexible and resistant to any kind of change. Ned Stark, like his supposed son Jon is a similar type of person prone to believing that his own vision of what’s right and wrong is the only one sometimes with deadly consequences.
Robert isn’t the only Crawley who has a rather stiff-necked vision of nobility, for the same can be said of Matthew, who is poised to inherit the estate. Though he is a good man, Matthew can at times be a bit stubborn, as when he wants to disrupt the way that things are at Downton, without thinking about how it impacts those who work there. His nearest counterpart in Game of Thrones is Robb Stark, who seeks to fill his father’s shoes, a desire that leads him to make some very foolish and dangerous decisions.
Cora Catelyn Stark
Cora wearing a headpiece and pearls in Downton Abbey and Catelyn looking over her shoulder in Game of Thrones
Cora is, next to Violet, the most powerful female presence at Downton, and though she doesn’t exactly rule with an iron fist she has a very clear sense of propriety and how things should be done. While she is generally a very wise person, there are times when she lets her own ego get in the way.Catelyn Stark may be one of the better female characters in Game of Thrones, but she also suffers from a similar sense that her beliefs should govern everyone else’s actions, even when this leads to disaster.
Carson Rodrick Cassel
The Crawleys are very fortunate in that they are served by a very loyal set of downstairs staff, the best of whom is Mr. Carson, the butler. Like almost everyone else at Downton, he has a very firm sense of his own importance and the proper running of the household no matter what anyone else might say.In his loyalty and in his old fashioned outlook on life, he is matched with Rodrick Cassel of Game of Thrones who is similarly loyal to House Stark and, like many in the North very conservative.
Mrs. Hughes Septa Mordane
Though Mr. Carson thinks he rules the house, he is often matched by Mrs. Hughes, who has a very strong sense of her own power and authority. They are, as it turns out, very well matched, and they ultimately get married. She has a gentler edge than Carson and though she’s very prim and proper she is very willing to offer a more generous persona to the women under her.She is also loyal to the Crawley children, a trait that she shares with Septa Mordane, whose loyalty to Sansa extended to her giving up her life so that her young charge would have a chance to get to safety.
Thomas Loras Tyrell
Thomas is one of the series’ few LGBTQ characters and he often struggles a great deal because of this aspect of his life. He is, after all, living in a world where being gay is seen as either a crime or a disease, and this leads him to be quite cruel to his fellow staff. Gradually, though, he comes out of his shell and becomes a better and more noble person. In his vexed social position, he resembles Loras Tyrell, who endured a great deal of punishment at the hands of the High Sparrow and others, gradually growing more bitter because of his terrible experiences.