Last thing I’ll say about ‘The Blind Assassin’ (and Downton Abbey)

On this blog, I don’t tend to record my random, minute thoughts about books while I’m reading them. But with the second season finale of Downton Abbey all coming to a close last Sunday, I thought this was a mildly-appropriate, blog-like thought.

I’m not going to lie: I have a tendency to become obsessed with things. I like to latch onto things, become way too involved with them, think about them endlessly, talk about them, etc. It’s a little embarrassing. Luckily, my obsessions tend to be literary: book series (what’s up Harry and Frodo), literary-esque television series (ahem, Downton!) and movies made from my favorite books (how many times have I watched the 2005 Pride and Prejudice….let’s say 10,000 to be on the safe side). Sometimes, there is the occasional Bones marathon.

When I find myself spiraling into an obsession, I do all that I can to jerk myself out as soon as possible. It’s not exactly healthy, there’s the whole embarrassment issue, and I tend to distract myself from day-to-day activities (like working and sleeping) by daydreaming.

Starting a new book is usually a good trick, especially if it’s an engaging book. That’s what I had in mind when I started reading The Blind Assassin at the beginning of February. I was thinking of Mary and Matthew Crawley’s tormented relationship way too much, so I thought escaping into Margaret Atwood’s world might help. At the very least, it would remind me that whatever new obsession I had, it’s ultimately — like all my obsessions — based on fiction. It’s a story. And there’s a lot of stories out there, just begging to be read. Practically screaming for my attention. Obsessions can be fun, but we also need to move on.

Unfortunately, for the first half of The Blind Assassin, I had a hard time forgeting the world of Downton because, God damn it, I chose a book that takes place in the first half of the 20th century — just like Downton Abbey! True, it takes place in Canada, not England. And the protagonists aren’t really the same age as the Crawleys, but their stupid faces wouldn’t get out of my head. I kept superimposing what was going on in the BBC series on top of Margaret Atwood’s plot. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like the first quarter of the book.

But I can say, now that The Blind Assassin is over, as is the second season of Downton Abbey (and the third is far off in pre-production land), that the Downton obsession has just about run its course. The Blind Assassin turned out to be way better than a Downton Abbey stand-in, and my absorption in that novel pretty much kicked my obsession’s tushy. It’s a good thing, and maybe a little bit of a bad thing. I mean, I really do like Downton Abbey (seriously, good show people!) and I like talking about it with people. And the drama has just the perfect blend of romance, melodrama, longing, war, death, angst and Maggie Smith — the perfect guilty pleasure for someone who loves period dramas. And the Brits. But, people just might start thinking I’m weird if I continue to obsess too long.

So, I’m putting this obsession away … for now. All bets are off when the third season airs. All bets. Until then, I just couldn’t help it:

Plus! 30 Reasons Why We’ll Miss Downton Abbey, from Pajiba. Oh, how I’ll miss that stupid show. Where will I get my hat fix!?

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