Sybil Branson nee Crawley
“It’s doing nothing that’s the enemy.“
I thought Sybil was by far the most interesting member of the Crawley family. She was vibrant, and challenged the ideas of the times that she was supposed to be in. I admired her for her passion in getting women to be equal with men, and her steadfast belief that women should be able to follow their own paths through life.
She was portrayed as being generous and liberal, but not conscending, as some of the landed gentry could be at times. I particularly enjoyed the relationship that developed between her and Gwen Dawson, as Sybil encouraged and helped Gwen to leave service and follow her preferred career choice as a secretary.
It was the warmth that really set her apart from her sisters, though. I found Lady Mary to be cold, and I didn’t particularly care about Edith either. Sybil was funny, determined and possessed no real airs despite the family that she was born into. She trained as a nurse, was a suffragette, and learnt how to cook for herself.
The relationship that develops between Sybil and Branson seemed to be realistic to me, as it wasn’t the stuff of fantasies, in that the rich woman and the working man marry, and don’t experience any negativity from their relatives or friends.
Sybil deliberated, despite the obvious affection she held for Branson, and the fact that her feelings were returned. In the end though, she followed her heart, something that rang true with the character. It wasn’t a easy thing afterwards either, as some of the family took a while to come to terms with her decision.
When they wrote her out, I did lose a lot of interest in the series. I watched the end of that series, but then gave up. The fact that Thomas, one of the most emotionally repressed characters, who didn’t seem to care about any of the other characters, was visibly upset after her death, served to show that Sybil was extremely well loved. He even confesses In my life, not many have been kind to me. She was one of the few.