Downton Abbey fans are not in good humor this morning. Actually, most were upset after last night’s airing of the season 3 finale. And understandably so. After all, a main character has been killed off. A character all Downton Abbey fans have loved since his first appearance. Matthew Crawley is no more. Which surprised many since only a couple of weeks ago another beloved character exited Downton Abbey: Lady Sybil Crawley.
It has become known that the two actors portraying these characters did not want to renew their contracts in order to pursue other acting roles. That is their choice no matter how angry Downton Abbey fans get regarding the demise of those delightful characters. But what is more important here is why are we upset in the first place? What has driven us to be so vocal towards the unfavorable decision of the series writer?
Two words: Emotional Connection.
And isn’t that what we want from any fiction novel we read? And hope to achieve with any poem, short story, or novel we write? Yes, perhaps the characters could have been sent away on a trip, only to be brought back at a later time should the actors decide to return to the series. However, doing so would not have moved the story forward; the characters of Tom Branson and Mary Crawley would somehow have remained stagnant. Julian Fellowes took a risk, but a risk that I believe will create a new depth to Downton Abbey.
A retired English professor had let me read an interview clipping he kept from many years ago of William Faulkner. To sum up the article, this Nobel Prize-winning novelist stated that a writer must keep the reader wanting to turn the page to see what happens next. He used the word suspense. When you think about it, it goes hand in hand with achieving that emotional connection.
I hope I achieved that myself with my novel, Saving Alessandra; and I am working diligently to do the same with the sequels. Only time, and readers, will tell.
What are your thoughts? Please share them, whether about Downton Abbey or your own writing goals. I would love to read them.
Christine Maria Jahn