Downton Abbey: Jessica Brown Findlay on Lady Sybil

Why Sybil isn't jealous of Lady Mary and how she really feels about Branson the chauffeur

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Downton Abbey: Jessica Brown Findlay on Lady Sybil
Written By
Gareth McLean

How old are you, and how old is Lady Sybil?

I'm 22 and Sybil is 21.

How would you describe Sybil?

She is far more complicated than she seems and yet has ideals that demand her to be more logical about the world.

How would you describe her relationship with her sisters?

She loves them both dearly, but Sybil's very internal and actually finds it hard to talk openly to people about her true thoughts and feelings, so she can't always be as honest with them as she wants to be.

Is she closer to Mary or Edith?

Mary, definitely. I can't even tell you why, but they both feel so much, yet keep it all inside and struggle with the expectations people have.

How has that changed over the first two series and why?

Sybil is frustrated by Mary's lecturing, feeling that she is being judgemental, but Sybil doesn't know about what happened with Mr Pamuk. If she did, she might understand why Mary is being so protective. Inevitably, Sybil knows that Mary lectures her out of love.

Edith tried to ruin Mary's reputation by revealing the real circumstances around Pamuk's death. What drove her to do such a thing, and is it something she should ever be forgiven for?

I suppose that Edith was so in love with Patrick that she couldn't bear Mary's attitude towards the whole situation.

How does Sybil feel about Mary's ability to make most men fall for her? She doesn't seem to be jealous like Edith.

She just doesn't look at any of that in the same way.

How would Sybil feel if she found out about Edith's tryst?

I'm not sure. I think she would think it upsetting, but she would also understand. After all, they're family!

Sybil's elder sisters seem to have very pragmatic attitudes to love - how do these compare with Sybil's?

She doesn't seem as interested in men. She's not really. She is so much more interested in how someone is and what they do, or will do, than who they are. She's never been looked at as an object of desire, so has never had to deal with it. I just think she doesn't give it the time of day… until she's struck by it!

Why does Sybil allow herself to fall in love with Branson the chauffeur?

You can't "allow" yourself to fall in love with anyone. It's not something Sybil has a choice over, so when she does fall in love, when she lets her heart have a say, she realises that she's loved him for years.

Do you think it's wiser to follow your heart or your head?

Heart. Always heart. Is doesn't always make the most sense, but love is anything but logical.

How do you think Sybil would cope today?

She'd love it!

Which of the sisters would cope the best?

Edith! She's so cool, Edith.

Do you feel Sybil has ever really been in love?

I think the love she has for Branson is the greatest love she has felt to date.

Will Sybil ever find a happy ending?

Maybe. She needs more independence. She needs to really work out what it is she wants from life, but she'll get there. She's young.

Do you think she feels guilty about pursuing her feelings for Branson? Why does she do it?

He represents everything that will take her away from that house and that life and the restraints placed upon her.

Which one of the sisters' attitudes most closely reflects your own?

Sybil. My head plays no role in my heart. For better, for worse.

Where would you like Sybil's love life to go?

I'll leave that to Julian Fellowes!

Do you believe in happy ever after?

Yes. Or else, what's the point! 

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