Quotable Quotes from Downton Abbey

SEASON 6 Recaps:

SEASON 6 FINALE: Goodbye to All That

SEASON 6 Episode 1, Jan.3, 2016

SEASON 6 Episode 2, Jan. 10, 2016

SEASON 6 Episode 3, Jan. 17, 2016

SEASON 6 Episode 4, Jan. 24, 2016

SEASON 6 Episode 5, Jan. 31, 2016

SEASON 6 Episode 6, Feb. 7, 2016


‘You can’t do very much as an actress unless you have the proper words to say…’ — Penelope Wilton, Isobel Crawley

Four weeks have passed since Downton Abbey Season 2 Finale aired on PBS. How are you holding up? To alleviate Downton Abbey withdrawal symptoms, I’ve been in a perpetual state of re-watching all the episodes from Season 1 and 2. Downton Abbey on Blu-ray is absolutely beautiful.

Downton Abbey film location: Highclere Castle

This Golden Globe, Emmy, and BAFTA award-winning miniseries has many appeals. For me, apart from the sumptuous setting, attention to details, great acting, and inspiring cinematography, the main attraction is the writing. Julian Fellowes’ script gives us intelligent dialogues reminiscent of Oscar Wilde’s wit and satire.

I have compiled a list of quotes from both Seasons. Lucky for 78 year-old Maggie Smith, she gets the best lines as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.

Here they are in chronological order so you can reprise the scene. Enjoy!

Season 1

“O, heavens, girl. You’re building a fire, not inventing it.” — Mrs. Hughes to Daisy, S1E1

“Nothing in life is sure.” — Mrs. Patmore, re. Titanic sinking, S1E1

Mrs. Patmore and Daisy

“Every mountain is unclimbable until someone climbs it. So every ship is unsinkable until it sinks.” — Lord Grantham, S1E1

“We are allies, my dear, which can be a good deal more effective.” Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, in reply to Cora Crawley’s “Are we to be friends, then?” S1E1

Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham

“What is a ‘weekend’?” — Violet Crawley, S1E2

“Daisy, what’s happened to you? I said you could go for a drink of water, not a trip up the Nile.”  — Mrs. Patmore. S1E3

“Are you afraid someone will think you’re American if you speak openly?” — Lord Grantham to Dowager Countess, S1E3

Dowager Countess and Lord Grantham

“But nobody learns anything from a governess, apart from French and how to curtsey.” Lady Sybil, S1E4

“No one ever warns you about bringing up daughters. You think it’s going to be like Little Women. Instead they’re at each other’s throats from dawn till dusk.” — Cora Crawley,  Countess of Grantham, S1E5

The Crawley Sisters

“Mary can be such a child. She thinks that if you put a toy down, it’ll still be sitting there when you want to play with it again.” — Lord Grantham, S1E5

“I love you Mr. Bates. I know it’s not ladylike to say it, but I’m not a lady and I don’t pretend to be.”  — Anna, S1E5
Mr. Bates and Anna
“If she won’t say yes when he might be poor, he won’t want her when he will be rich.” — Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess, S1E7
“First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I were living in an H.G. Wells novel.”  — Violet Crawley, S1E7
Season 2
Mary Crawley seeing Matthew off to war.
 “War has a way of distinguishing between the things that matter and the things that don’t.” — Matthew Crawley, S2E1
Matthew Crawley in the trench

“I’m not a romantic… But even I concede that the heart does not exist solely for the purpose of pumping blood.” Violet Crawley, S2E2

“I’m a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose.” Violet Crawley, S2E4

“Are you like everyone else in thinking that because she’s a countess she has acquired universal knowledge by divine intervention?” Isobel Crawley to Dr. Clarkson re. Cora, Countess of Grantham, S2E4  (And you can substitute the word ‘countess’ with any word you need when quoting it.)

Dr. Clarkson and Isobel Crawley

“I’d rather have the right man, than the right wedding.” — Anna, S2E5

“I’m an American, I don’t share your English hatred of comfort.” Cora Crawley to Lord Grantham, S2E6

Lord Grantham and Cora Crawley

“Don’t be defeatist, dear. It’s very middle class.”  Violet Crawley to Edith, S2E8

“Sir Richard, life is a game in which the player must appear ridiculous.” Violet Crawley, Last Episode, Christmas at Downton Abbey.

“I want a good man for you, a brave man. Find a cowboy in the Middle West and bring him back to shake us up a bit.” Robert Crawley to daughter Mary. Last Episode, Christmas at Downton Abbey.

“1920. Is it to be believed? I feel as old as Methuselah.” Violet Crawley, Last Episode, Christmas at Downton Abbey.



DOWNTON Season 5 Finale, March 2, 2015: A Moorland Holiday


Season 4 Episode 8 (PBS): London 

Season 4 Episode 7 (PBS) 

Season 4 Episode 6 (PBS)

Season 4 Episode 5 (PBS)

Season 4 Episode 4 (PBS)

Season 4 Episode 3 (PBS)

Season 4 Episode 2 (PBS)

Downton Abbey Season 4 Opening (2 Hour) Special 


CLICK HERE to Quotable Quotes from Season 3: New List




SEASON 3: EPISODES 4 & 5 (More Downton Quotes)

SEASON 3: EPISODES 6 & 7 Finale

CLICK HERE to visit the Highclere Castle website. An absolute must-see.


Other posts you might like:

Quotable Quotes from Downton Abbey Season 3

Downton Abbey The Complete Scripts: Season 1

The Downton Ripples

Lady Almina and the real Downton Abbey: Facts that Give Rise to Fiction


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

30 thoughts on “Quotable Quotes from Downton Abbey”

  1. I really enjoyed Seasons 1 and 2 and am looking forward to the next season. Love all these quotes!


    A long time to wait for sure. Somebody should start a support group.



  2. Great read, loved the series and cannot wait for more. However, it sure did cover a lot of ground and many years in Season 1 and 2. May I ask what sparks your post ideas the most?


    Welcome! All posts are expressions of my interest and passion. So, not hard to think of an idea really. Whatever I like… one leads to another. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment!



  3. I’ve only seen Season 1, on DVD courtesy of a friend in France. As soon as I get back there, I’ll be onto Season 2 – and can’t wait! It’s immensely appealing and has many similarities with ‘upstairs, Downstairs’ the gentry-domestics series that ran on PBS in the early 80s or thereabouts. i watched a bit of USDS a while back but it looks dated now.
    You went to a lot of trouble to collect all those marvellous quotes – I think half the reason people watch the show is to see what Maggie Smith’s character says. And wouldn’t it be nice to have such a watchable, reasonable, wise and supportive family head like Lord Grantham? Such a nice guy, and perhaps we’re all taking subconscious notes on how to be as good as he is.


    1. Deborah,

      I’m glad you like DA too. You must see S2. You’ll love it more. I didn’t see USDS. For some reasons, it didn’t attract my attention. But DA does. Despite it being a historical, period drama, it feels very contemporary. Have you seen Julian Fellowes’ Oscar winning Gosford Park? I must say, I enjoy DA more. Unlike DA, GP has nobody whom I can root for. But there are many noble characters in DA, albeit they are not perfect, not even Lord Grantham (you’ll see in S2) But that’s the complexity of characterization, which I can appreciate. Even O’Brien has a conscience. 😉


  4. I’m holding up all right. I love the quotes you chose! I especially love “What’s a weekend?” which we seem to quote every time we’re together with our kids.

    One way I’m getting through the long wait until next season is to watch other BBC series. We watched “Little Dorrit” and now we are on “Lark Rise to Candleford” — just finished Season 1 (there are 4). It’s wonderful. Have you seen it? One reason we love it so much is that Robert Timmins is in a prominent role, and we just adore him as Mr. Bates in Downton Abbey.


    1. Ruth,

      Thanks for your recommendations! No, I just don’t understand why I’ve missed all these BBC series. I remember I’ve seen a few, like Bleak House, which I really liked and turned to read the book afterwards. Upon your suggestion, I’ve put a hold on the DVD’s of “Lark Rise to Candleford”. I really appreciate Brendon Coyle (Mr. Bates). So I’ll look forward to that. As a matter of fact, there are many characters in DA whom I really admire, Bates and Anna, Lord Grantham, and yes, don’t we all wish Mary and Matthew would get together. Long wait till S3, but in the mean time, I have these other ones to explore. Thanks again!


  5. I don’t know why I wrote “Robert Timmins” instead of “Brendon Coyle.” 🙂 Ha! Just shows I should check my comments after typing. I do love Bates and Anna too, and Lord Grantham. And yes, Mary and Matthew … is it too late?


  6. Outstanding, Arti! I’m posting a link to this on my FB page! I love everything about this show — was headed to a Downton I marathon Saturday (complete with English brunch) till a funeral came up — but hopefully can stop by late in the day! Happy smiles!


    Thanks for the mention on your FB page. There are more great quotes of course, and brilliant dialogues. More reasons to keep watching and waiting. 😉



  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This post made my morning. We’re in the process of watching season 2 again.


    It’s my pleasure watching the series again and collecting these memorable quotes. Thanks for stopping by!



  8. Oh, Arti – thank you for this! I’m saving it as a discrete favorite.
    The quotes are so good and I DO remember the one about “bringing home a cowboy from the midwest to shake us up a bit” – but then all that worked out anyway, didn’t it?
    I am going to take the advice you left on my blog and get both seasons and watch them in order and entirely.
    Julian Fellowes rocks.
    As does the Countess.
    more later


    They all rock. It’s rare to come by a TV production so well-written and performed. I mean, I like DA more than Gosford Park, Julian Fellowes’ Oscar winning screenplay.



  9. There were a couple of quotations here that tickled me – not the least of which, the one about the midwestern cowboy. The one about being mistaken for an American because of speaking one’s mind is pretty good, too.

    I’m holding up just fine, myself, since I’ve never seen a minute of the series. I don’t say that with any kind of pride or apology – just a fact of life.

    However! You will be most amazed to hear what’s on the corner of my desk this very minute: a copy of Edna Ferber’s “Giant”, and a DVD of the movie with Taylor, Hudson and Dean. How did this happen? Well, I got a bit of an idea for a blog – one involving giants of a sort – and I remembered the book, and then discovered there’s a movie, and… well, there we are!

    I have a huge work week ahead of me, but next weekend, I believe I’ll have time to indulge myself!


    That’s a classic indeed. But I must admit one that I haven’t seen, nor have I read the book. I look forward to your post on ‘Giant’. And I’m sure you can find Downton Abbey DVD’s at your local library. I highly recommend you check them out. It’s one of the best TV productions I’ve ever seen. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the dialogues.



  10. So much fun to read these quotes. I wish the season had been longer. I bought the book Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey and read it in 3 evenings. There were many interesting photographs in it. Lady Almina, she certainly knew how to spend money. I would have loved to see all her gowns. As it is, I think the dresses in the series were very beautiful. I shall go to a baptism and then to a wedding later on this year. I think that I’ll try to find a suitable hat to wear.


    Thanks for letting me know about this book. I’ve since put it on hold at the library. I’m also waiting in line for Jessica Fellowes’ The World of Downton Abbey. The website of Highclere Castle is just beautiful. Do click on the link on my post to see it if you haven’t done so.

    Yes, the costumes in DA are just astounding, both women and men. Really impressed by the military uniforms, the red ones. I was watching the Special Features on the Blu-rays and learned the painstaking attention to details they put into the production.



  11. I’ve been completely out of the loop as to Downton Abbey, though I’ve been hearing raves about it everywhere I turn. But my mom is getting the DVD of seasons 1 and 2 (I think)… And then I will revisit your post!


    Oh do watch them when you have the chance. I’m sure as someone with a photographic eye, and a foodie, you’ll enjoy the series. Just the kitchen scenes are themselves enjoyable let alone the formal dining ones… and shot with mesmerizing cinematography.



  12. Well. I’ve finally gotten on board and agree that these are some of my favorite quotes as well. My top favorite is the one about Mary’s toys. A perfect summary. I haven’t quite finished Season One yet. Trying to pace them out…


    1. nikkipolani,

      I’m so glad you finally have the chance to watch DA. I’ve rewatched both Seasons quite a few times already now. Just hope Julian Fellowes can go on with the excellent writing he’d done. Looking forward to Season 3.


  13. I just stumbled across your blog looking for a pic for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel… I’m just now making my way through your other pages/posts and this is my favourite so far! I’m so looking forward to Shirley MacLaine in Season 3 of Downton I can hardly stand it! I’m also a little in love with Mr. Bates. Looking forward to following you from now on… 🙂


    1. Janet Allen,

      Welcome! Yes, long wait till S3. In the mean time, we can see the actors are busy with their other pursuits… like Michelle Dockery gets a role in the upcoming film adaptation of Anna Karenina, (you’re welcome to join our read-along), and Dan Stevens is on Broadway… after finishing his role as a member of the jury for the 2012 Booker Prize.


      1. A read-along is a great idea… I don’t currently have a copy of the book (a large oversight on my part, for sure), but it’s definitely one I’d like to read at some point. Just recently saw the preview for Anna Karenina and it looks amazing! So many movies coming up based on great books – also Life of Pi and The Great Gatsby (although release of Gatsby has now been bumped to the new year… 😦 )


  14. There was also a quote which I liked from O’Brien, “Oh, pardon me for living.” to Thomas in the first episode from season one. 🙂


  15. I love this quick tour of Downton, because it brings back so many happy memories (and some sad ones). Thanks for this! I was so down about Matthew’s death, but now I’m warming up to Mary finding someone new.

    On a different topic, I want to add this link because it’s a creative way to link writers to the big college basketball tournament that’s starting in the U.S.

    Each of the 64 universities in the tournament has its own book by an author from that university, with a link to the book.


    The book for my university, the University of Kansas is “The Chaperone.”


  16. “My dear, all life is a series of problems which we must try and solve, first one, then the next, and the next…until, at last, we die. Why don’t you get us some ice cream?”

    (Violet Crawley to Edith Crawley)


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