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The year is 1916 and the war is raging throughout Europe, leaving the men fighting for their lives and the women manning the home front. The war has touched Downton deeply and now the Crawley family and their servants are feeling the ramifications. The days of frolicking in the sun and living the life of luxury are over and hardships and turmoil are affecting each and every one of them. Come along and join in – there are main characters still free and plenty of others too. We’re happy to let you fill in the story so far but we’re now running an AU of Series 2. Enjoy!

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 Mr. Bates' past, speculations about his past & secrets
  Posted: Apr 13 2011, 10:14 AM


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Hello everyone!

I think it would interesting to see what your speculations on his past are and include what type of woman his wife was. And is it truly justified all the blame he took to spare his wife jail?

My theory is that he is very self-critical and self-conciuous. I think that it is possible that part of the psychological and emotional effects the Boar war may have had on him is that it lowered his self-esteem and self-worth- he contstantly reminds Anna that he is not worthy of her and that she should “dream of a better man”. In many ways, Bates portrays himself not to be worthy enough of Robert’s kindness or any of the other staff at Downton like Carson & Hughes (except for Thomas and O’Brien). He seems to have a bit of a distorted view of himeself. I think that in the aftermath of the Boar war, Bates would have not coped well with his memories of killing other people ‘the enemy’ and he would have felt hunted by these memories. It is possible that in order to cope with those problems he started drinking excessively to wipe away those memories and he would have become very outspoken and blunt. As a consequence, Bates would have felt that would have put pressure on Vera to steal and change for the worst. Therefore, in order to protect her he confessed to stealing the regimentary silver thus sparing his wife jail.
It is possible that Bates married Vera because she would being very attractive and charming woman, and he would have being looking for confort and pleasure. It is also possible that Vera may have deceived him to believe she was someone that she wasn’t.

Although, Bates’ past is quite misterious we can assume that he would have still being an honourable loyal and good man, otherwise, he would have not formed such a friendship and comramadie with Robert. I don’t think that anyone would want to have a batman whom they may suspect may be a traitor or lacking in the ideal qualities for being a good batman. I think that batmans not only had to be good at their valet roles but they also had to be trustworthy and loyal to their master, since they would also act as their bodyguards.

So what do people think

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Posted: Apr 13 2011, 10:45 AM

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I have so much to say about this... But it's all showing up in the RP over the next few months, I expect, so I won't say too much, except that I think the audience are being led to believe certain things when it's not as black and white. I hope Fellowes is doing this on purpose to make the truth more shocking or something, and that we'll see more shades of grey over the next few seasons. The only people who think he's completely blameless are his mother and Anna... Slightly biased people, I think, so I'd say there's a lot more to it than we've seen.

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Posted: Apr 13 2011, 11:08 AM

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I have to say that I agree, Ruth. I do think that Bates is just TOO noble sometimes - I'd really love to see some more layers to his character next series. I bet you're right, there is much more to what we've seen so far!

I apologise for waffling and hope that I've made sense!!

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Posted: Apr 13 2011, 05:36 PM


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What most likely happened to Bates is what happens to soldiers all the time, even today. There was no recognition of anything like PTSD back then (at least I don't think they did), so these soldiers were just forced to work out the psychological effects of war themselves, to the detriment of those around them. I don't think Vera was a saint, but marriages end all the time due to the PTS of soldiers returning from war.

Bates drank and was harsh, that we do know. Vera probably wasn't a very forbearing person and had a nasty streak in her, so when she had had enough she "saw her opportunity and took it".

Of course there may be some shocking twists, but I'd prefer it, especially with the backdrop of WWI, if they would delve into Bates struggles with PTSD, it's consequences, and how he eventually overcame it.

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Posted: Apr 13 2011, 07:38 PM


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I agree in many ways that Bates’ nobility can become a little tiresome, especially by episode 7 however I think there is so much more we are yet to see or know about him.

I think we’ve been given just a taster of the real truth regarding him and his past, I think more of this past will be revealed by Vera and maybe then his nobility may seem more justified. It seems to me he is trying hard to be a man that in the past he clearly wasn’t, almost trying too hard hence the deep sense of nobility that almost becomes too much.

I think season 2 will be make or break for him and certainly make or break for him and Anna. Surely there can only be so much more she can take before she just walks away? This has been going on for years (if we follow the show’s timeline) and although she may love him and accept his past (even the bits she doesn’t know) surely she can’t continue loving him but getting nothing back from him?

As for what do I think his past entails, well clearly alcohol...possibly violence (despite his mother saying not) and I would think there may have been womanising as well, clearly something bad happened between him and Vera for her to disappear and leave him without any word.

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Posted: Mar 27 2012, 01:52 AM

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A boar is a pig.

Bates fought in the BOER WAR (1899-1902).

I like Bates. He's a quiet, happy, cheerful guy. I suspect that one reason why he's employed at Downton is to keep away from that horrible wife of his.

I hated the fact that all the other servants looked down on him in the first series, because of his limp.
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