D&D Soup at 165 Eaton Place

Dec 18th, 2014 | By | Category: Columns

If there are two accomplishments I would credit myself for right now, I would cite the following:

1. After over a year of Netflix, I have finally reached the end of all five seasons of Upstairs, Downstairs: the original (and much better!) Downtown Abbey .

2. After years of nerdly retirement, I’ve joined a Dungeons & Dragons group and my character kicks major butt. HA!

Of course, one might ask why I would choose to pair these two things together. What could a classic British TV series and total geekery have in common? To that, I say, “Moral Ambiguity.” Both rely on casts of characters who are built on archetypes who then have to respond and act based on circumstance.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Get ready. This is probably the geekiest things I’ve ever done:

Alignment Chart

Lawful GoodSir Richard Bellamy
As a member of British Parliament and patriarch of the Bellamy household, Richard served as the moral fabric of the entire series. While not the most interesting character, he was the most consistent. He was a firm believer in virtue, law and tradition – which meant Richard was about as spicy as a block of cheddar. But he did have a few surprising moments! When his first wife, Marjorie, was having an affair with a younger man, he managed to sweep it all under the rug and only after her death did we discover his erotic fixation on lady shoulders. (Your guess is as good as mine.)

Neutral GoodRose Buck
Dearest Rose serves as a maid throughout the entire series and is a loyal confident for almost all of the ladies of the house. She’s highly principled, on the verge of snobbish, and yet maintains an independent streak, one of the few characters who openly questions hypocrisy without any personal motive. There’s even a few times where she’s two seconds away from taking off one of Lady’s Elizabeth’s fancy gloves and smacking her across the face with it. Heh,heh,heh.

(Let us also not forget that actress, Jean Marsh, would later turn to the dark side as the evil Queen Bavmorda and that’s just awesome.)

Chaotic GoodEdward Barnes
Everybody loves Edward. He’s good-natured, goofy and as about as deep as a wading pool. Essentially, he’s everything that Downton’s evil servant, Thomas, is not – likable! Eddie’s goodness comes from his own naivety, with little regard for social class or tradition.

Lawful NeutralMr. Angus Hudson
This guy was the worst. The head butler of the Bellamy household, Mr. Hudson’s priority was maintaining the standards of service and living up to societal expectations in their most literal sense. In Hudson’s ideal world: men are proper, women are chaste, servants are always grateful, the government is always right and nobody ever poops because that would be undignified.

True NeutralSarah Moffet
Ha! This was what a lady of the night looks like in the morning. This eccentric character kept popping in and out of the series. Sarah wasn’t quite sure if she was going to be good or evil, if she wanted to obey the rules or break them. Throughout the series, she served as a household maid, a stage actress, a nude model, a mistress and eventually a nanny. Oh, and she totally got pregnant by not-so-prodigal-son James Bellamy before eloping with the roguish chauffeur.

Chaotic NeutralLady Georgina Stockbridge
Ok, so remember when Downton’s youngest daughter, Sybil, stole our hearts by being all down to earth and becoming a war nurse? Yeah, well, Georgina did it first. And she actually worked in a real hospital, getting grossed out by used bedpans and bedsores. But all that public service didn’t stop her from being a raging flapper chick and running over some guy with a car! Georgina, never change. Keep being you and drinking every drop of champagne you didn’t earn.

Lawful EvilSir Geoffrey Dillon
Sir Dillon was the family’s solicitor, a strange combination of lawyer, financial advisor and voodoo witch doctor called in to handle all of the family scandals. Well-versed in the ways of the law, there was something sinister about him, as if at any moment, they’d catch him stroking a white cat while declaring, “the Bellamy fortune shall be mine!” Ok, that part did not happen. But still, this man was almost too good at his job and seemed to know how to bend laws about to his own use. He was kind of like an Edwardian Justice Scalia, only he didn’t look like an overcooked pot-roast with legs.

Chaotic EvilMrs. Kate Bridges
The family cook never wanted any part of drama, but damn you if you didn’t tell her every juicy detail. Obviously very loyal to the family (upstairs and downstairs), she still seemed to crave as much authority as she could muster and was quick to dish out her own menacing harsh words and evilly delicious desserts. As for the poor scullery maids under her, one was driven to suicide and the other was a dull-witted masochist. Plus, there was an episode where she stole a baby!

In an alternative ending, Mrs. Bridges was slated to poison the entire family, steal their dwindling fortune and open a lingerie shop in the countryside. God I love her.

Neutral EvilMajor James Bellamy
Ohmygoodness, this guy was the worst! James was the self-righteous, egomaniacal son of Richard and Marjorie Bellamy and heir to his mother’s fortune. He was also a philandering never-do-well who had a lot of affairs and whose moustache just looked grimy. Let’s not forget his creepy infatuation with his cousin.
“But James! We’re related.”
“Only by blood, my dearest…”

Ugh. James, I want to smack you so hard your mouth will fall off your face.



Defenestration-Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper’s short story collection Daydreamers will be published by Lethe Press in March 2015. This is his first book so show him some love, people!


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