Defending Lavinia Swire

(Warning: There be spoilers.)

Here's a post I've been wanting to write for a long time now; a post which defends Lavinia Swire - one of the most famous third wheels in cinema history. People almost sighed a sigh of relief when she died, and many fans just see her as "that annoying obstacle in Matthew and Mary's love story." 

For those of you who have never seen Downton, I'm sure you know Matthew and Mary end together. (Come'on, that's HARDLY a spoiler. Everyone knows this. M&M's. We know we're there for the m&m's and not for the raisins and the nuts. (Blimeycow reference. Shutting up.)) However, their love story is anything BUT swift - because Matthew introduces his 'fiancé', Lavinia Swire in season two. Now, we all hurl and make up our minds to hate her, because hey obviously Matthew and Mary are still mad about each other. Shoo, Lavinia. Go. Shoo. Buzz off. Booboo. After a while she does just that - and dies from a broken heart. A few episodes later on, everyone's forgotten about her - ladida, ladida. Lavinia is gone; and life is well.

Isn't that terrible?!

Now, I love Lavinia. I think she's a darling girl and I think people hate on her much to much. Just because she's a bit shy and introverted doesn't mean she doesn't have a heart, you know. People say she never smiles - but there are reasons. She isn't the kind of girl that goes 'heyyyy how are you?!!" and smiles at strangers. She's shy and she's reserved - and hey, her fiancé who she loves to bits is off to war and finds himself reattached towards a beautiful Crawley girl. She shouldn't be smiling very much.

Now firstly, I must say this: I AM A HUGE MATTHEW AND MARY SHIPPER. I don't ship Matthew and Lavinia. I say this because I know some people do (I mean reeeeaaaally?! Matthew and Mary belong together; it's plain as clear sky!) and because I don't want people to attack me with that argument against Lavinia in the comment box, haha. I want Matthew to be with Mary as much as the next person - but - but I love Lavinia too. (Yes, this is humanly possible!)

Look here, draw close, and I'll tell you the secret.

Why, you ask, do so many people dislike Lavinia? (Well, maybe you didn't ask, but hushup.) Well, because WE ARE LAVINIA.

No really; think about it - a lot of us are Lavinia. I know I am. In love with Matthew. Check. Sometimes believes he is too; in my dreams. Check. Knows he actually isn't. Check. He loves Mary instead of me. Check. (I might as well be dead. Check. Okay, maybe not, but you get the point.)

And THAT, dear people of the Internet (which nowadays includes toddlers from preschool and World War veterans), is why so many people dislike Lavinia. Because they relate to her so much! Isn't that ridiculous? Why on earth would you hate someone who you can relate to? Stop that! It's childish behaviour. Stoppit. Instead of hating on someone you can relate to, how about emphasizing and wallowing in her sad story? Because there ain't no-one with such a sad tale as hers.* (That's why she doesn't smile very much. Not because she's a depressive spirit with no lust for life.)

* (Well maybe. Anna Bates.)

What I also don't like is that people hate on Matthew because of Lavinia. "He should stay true to his fiancé!" "He shouldn't have fallen in 'love' with Lavinia!" "He shouldn't have fallen in love with Mary again!" BLAHDEBLAH.


I admit, this is slightly different than the Edward-and-Lucy situation. Edward fell in love with Lucy when he was young (and foolish) and now Lucy is terribly annoying and he knows it. Matthew never hates Lavinia - he thinks she's a sweet girl; he's willing to sacrifice his love for her and marry her. He 'fell in love' with her after his break-up with Mary (this sounds like teenage drama, but it's so much more, believe me) and when he returned to Downton, he realised, "Wow. Mary really is mine still." His hiatus from Mary with Lavinia even led to an engagement, but when he spent time with the Crawley's again, he realised it was perhaps a mistake.

So don't hate on Matthew. Please. He's having hard enough time as it is. (And he was going. to. marry. her.) Also, when she dies, did you see how utterly guilty Matthew feels???!!! Did you see how sad and heart-broken he looked? HE IS EVERY INCH THE GENTLEMAN. OKAY?!?!?!

It really annoys me too, when people say she's ugly. ImeanREALLY?!!!! Just look at her face up there and see how beautiful this girl is! How can people say she's ugly?!

My heart aches for Lavinia, because she really does LOVE Matthew. Like, I'd-die-for-him-love. It might seem shallow and soppy for us viewers, because we don't want to believe she loves Matthew with deep love, like Mary - but really, she loves Matthew just as much as Mary does. She cries when he leaves, and she wants to marry him even though she knows he won't ever be able to give her children or be able to walk again. She loves him so much she doesn't care a jot. And Mary; poor thing, sees that all happen.

And Lavinia, poor thing, sees Mary and Matthew's thing all happen. She sees them DANCE together. AND KISS.

(Gosh, this is a complicated story. Because my heart burns for all three people. I feel desperately sorry for Matthew. I feel DESPERATELY sorry for Mary (I mean really - and she's so kind towards Lavinia; I'm SO proud of her in Season Two) and I feel desperately sorry for Lavinia, as well.)

(Seriously, if you don't feel bad for her; where is your heart, Elinor?!)

Really, she's such a darling, sweet thing - she so does NOT deserve all zee hate. So please, respect her from now on. I know Matthew and Mary's love story is a complicated one, and yes, Lavinia is an obstacle in their love life - but that doesn't mean she's an annoying little person with no heart and no feelings and no importance. :-)

Lavinia, love, you're great.


  1. Aaahh, how SWEET! ♥
    I actually never 'hated' Lavinia, the first time she appeared I was just curious, like, "Who is this (gorgeous) redhead that Matthew has (maybe) fallen in love with?" I really thought, at first, that he's feelings weren't even real, that he was still in love with Mary and that Lavinia was just a substitute. (Silly me.) But then I noticed that it was 100% REAL, and POOR Lavinia! That dance-scene and her dying and EVERYTHING. I can't, I just can't.
    (Matthew should've converted to Islam or Mormonism so that he could've kept both ;-) I know, I'm disgusting XD)

    1. I know, poor girl. :-(
      Ewwww, nooo. :-P FELICITY STOP. :-P

  2. I truly never hated Lavinia. I really like her and she is really beatiful.
    A very lovely post Naomi! And the titel is the best, because Lavinia isn't so bad as people think she is. :-)
    I feel sorry for Lavinia, you know the dance and kiss scene, because she really loved Matthew. And then she dies!*cries* Why must a lovely lady like Lavinia die?? (their are more lovely ladies of DA, but we are talking about Lavinia)
    Of course Matthew can marry Mary, but it's sad.

  3. *whispers*

    Okay, so I still read this because I'm a bit of a rebel. ;P (And hush. It's 3 years till I'm 18 and I don't have THAT great a memory.)

    I think Lavinia looks sweet. And also, she is VERY PRETTY. I mean, if people think she looks ugly, then I'm off the radar. ;P Hahaha.
    Only one thing... I don't really like her name (merely, though, because that's the name of a bully girl in the story "A Little Princess" and I can never not associate her with the name anymore.)

    ~Miss Meg

    1. Hahahaha. THOU REBEL.
      Right?!! She's so beautiful.
      Hahaha, I know, the girl in A Little Princess. I know who you mean. I sort of like the name though. It's so ELEGANT.

  4. I never hated Lavinia? Is this an actual thing? She's a sweet person. She's kind to both Matthew and Mary, and when she realizes they should be together, she pulls back and gives her blessing.

    Also, I agree she's really beautiful... She looks like a porcelain doll. Her silence a lot of the time just suggests she's observant and thinks before she speaks. That's all I ever thought of her, beyond feeling sad that it's inevitable Matthew cannot be with her, though she is so kind. With her he is courteous and deferring. With Mary he is agitated and full of life. If course he must pick Mary. That he cannot because of a promise makes Lavinia all that more strong: she knows all of this, and sets him free.

    1. I think it is an actual thing. :-P
      She's a very strong character, and many people just can't see it.

  5. Lavinia, love, you're great.

    (Eeeeeh you finally did this! After all these years! It needed to be written. You did such a good job.)

    Basically AMEN. And oh, Lavinia dear, I'll always think of you fondly. I like what you said, Naomi, about how we ARE Lavinia -- I never thought about it that way but it's so true!

    Nobody can say that girl isn't beautiful. Look at her SKIN. And, nevermind her looks, she's so adorably sweet, how could you say one bad thing about her???

    Well done, Naomi!

    1. (Thanks!!!)
      We are Lavinia, hahaha. HER SKIN THOUGH.

  6. It's kinda silly for people to hate on Lavinia for 'not smiling very much' . . . because . . .

    Lady Mary doesn't smile very much either.

    So there's that.


    But seriously, you've got a really great point; it's not right for people to dislike Lavinia just because she's an "obstacle" to Mary and Matthew's relationship. Ummmmmmmmmmm . . . no, she's not. She's a HUMAN BEING, folks. Start treating her like one.

    (Sorry for the rant. :-p )

    1. TRUE MARY DOESN'T EITHER. (She does more than Lavinia though I think, but never mind. :-P)
      Thanks for the rant! :-)

  7. Good for you to write a post defending her:)

    You're right! We ARE Lavinia. That's sobering.

    And she seriously died in a strange house knowing her fiancè was in love with someone else. POOR LAVINIA.

    Oh, and the thing with Matthew dancing with and kissing Mary while he was engaged to Lavinia, is the one thing he did that made me really mad.

    But yes, let's love Lavinia. :D

    1. "That's sobering", hahaha. :-P (Sorry, shouldn't laugh.)
      It doesn't make me angry with Matthew though... I don't know why. But I do get what you mean. :-)

  8. Thank you! I loved Lavinia, and wholeheartedly agree with this entire post. It needed to be written.


  9. Amen! I stopped DA after season two or season three (I can't remember which it was, but I thiiiiink seasons three), but I remember liking Lavinia, I think. She's a sweetheart and LIFE IS UNFAIR.

  10. I don't even know the story, but your post has made me feel so bad for Lavinia. Poor thing. :( She is certainly beautiful! How could people think her ugly?
    And oh, I loved your "where is your heart, Elinor?" reference. ;)

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  12. Just finished season 2, towards the end of which Lavinia dies. I cried like a baby, I was broken. BTW It's been years since I'd shed actual tears. And I'm a guy. So there's that. I ADORED Lavinia in all her sincerity and kindness and grace. RIP Lavinia Swire <3


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