Sarah O'Brien
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Sarah O'Brien

Downton Abbey

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About Her

Living… in the servants’ quarters of Downton Abbey in Yorkshire, England. O’Brien isn’t always happy with her situation, but she knows she could do a lot worse. Downton is a fine, old estate, even if she doesn’t get to enjoy most of its perks.

Profession… lady’s maid to Cora Crawley, the Countess of Grantham. Cora has always been quite fond of Miss O’Brien and thinks of her as a friend. Sarah, however, doesn’t agree: “Friends! Who does she think she’s fooling? We’re not friends.” The disparity between their social statuses is too great. Also, O’Brien isn’t very nice, though she cagily hides that well with the Countess.

Interests… plotting. Concocting malicious schemes is Miss O’Brien’s specialty. She has the brains and the gumption for it. Her favorite co-conspirator is Thomas Barrow, one of the footmen on the staff.  Not that she’s above plotting against him, either.

Relationship Status… single. Miss O’Brien is a bit too stoic for romance. Not to mention that she never makes a good first impression – or second, or third. She’s just too mean.

Challenge… getting John Bates fired. Thomas has been working towards the position of valet for a while now, only to have it taken away by an inexperienced war veteran with a limp. Thomas is well aware of Miss O’Brien’s penchant for conniving and has enlisted her help in sabotaging Mr. Bates. Together, they are quite the force to be reckoned with.     

Personality… proud and cantankerous. Sarah O’Brien is perhaps the prickliest woman you will ever meet. She rubs most of the staff the wrong way and often makes unnecessarily snide remarks. As fellow servant Anna Smith puts it, “We’re all lucky if we get a civil word out of [her].” O’Brien believes that she does a better job than most, and is just as good as any, but that she doesn’t see any of the rewards. This has made her bitter and hostile toward aristocrats and other servants alike.

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