There’s been a certain sinking ship, dead relatives, a dead Turkish diplomat, a war, a dead footman, the Spanish flu, a dead fiancé, an almost-dead countess, a lost fortune, a burnt-down castle in Ireland, a woman dying in childbirth, a divorce, a father dying minutes after his son was born, a disappearing lover, an out-of-wedlock child …
You get the picture.
And of course, to accompany these dark and depressing moments, there’s been a heartbreakingly beautiful score, composed by John Lunn and performed by the London Chamber Orchestra.
But of all the songs that can make your eyes water, there are a few that stand out from the rest – and we’ve ranked them by just how much they’ll make you cry, from a few sniffles (Mary and Matthew’s wedding) to full-on can’t-breathe sobs (the season 3 Christmas special, anyone?). Obviously, many spoilers ahead:
10. “End of an Era”
All right, based on the title, you’d think this one would be waterworks central, right? We can assume it’s a song that will play throughout the show’s final episode, and obviously, there’s no way any true Downton fan could make it through that without shedding a few tears. While we Americans have yet to hear it in action, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be the sob fest that the name implies. It’s really just a shorter rehash of the classic Downton opener. Yes, it’s in a lower key, so it’s a bit deeper sounding, but it’s not weep-worthy.
Downton moment cry comparison: When William’s mother died. Sure, you were sad, but you didn’t know her, so you’re not shedding many tears over it.
9. “Downton Abbey – The Suite”
The show’s opener isn’t necessarily sad (hence the No. 10 spot), but it is synonymous with the show unlike any other track on the score. And as the list above reminds us, anything Downton is bound to inspire a lot of feelings.
Downton moment cry comparison: Mary and Matthew’s wedding – it made you a little teary, but in a happy way, too.
8. “Nothing to Forgive”
Like No. 9, “Nothing to Forgive” isn’t technically a depressing song – at least, if you’ve only watched the first two seasons of the show. This is the tune that plays when Matthew (finally) gets down on one knee and asks Mary to marry him in the snow – so it was pretty much as happy as you could get when it came to Downton. That was, up until the last minute of season 3, when Matthew was killed in a car crash. Now, it’s just a reminder that they were only married for two years on-screen – but it takes you back to a happier time, too.
Downton moment cry comparison: As expected, when Mary and Matthew get engaged – you cried quite a bit, but they were (somewhat) happy tears so it didn’t make your heart feel like it got sucker-punched (just a little beaten up).
Way back in season 1, youngest Crawley daughter Sybil (R.I.P.) caused some serious commotion at the Abbey when she showed up to dinner wearing a pair of – wait for it – pants (my, how times have changed). Like “Nothing to Forgive,” it wasn’t the moment itself that induced sadness, it was knowing that sweet, envelope-pushing Sybil died in childbirth in one of the show’s most painful-to-watch scenes that makes listening to this song all the harder.
Downton moment cry comparison: After fleeing Ireland with a warrant out for Branson’s arrest, a pregnant Sybil and a very apologetic Tom reunited in an epically romantic scene that made you feel all the feels.
The title alone tells you this song won’t be a “happy” one. Plus, it was the theme for Anna and Bates, a couple that made it out of Downton alive, but had to deal with a lot of trauma to get there. Just a few bars of “Damaged” will take you right back to the moment when Bates had to leave Anna after being blackmailed by his wife, or when Anna was arrested for the murder of her rapist. Translation? Pure heartache.
Downton moment cry comparison: When Anna let out that strangled cry after Bates was wrongfully sentenced to death for the murder of his first wife.
As an audience, we didn’t get nearly enough time with Sybil and Branson as a married couple. Part of this was due to their relocation to Ireland, but it’s mostly because Sybil died in childbirth halfway through season 3. Their theme, “Elopement,” took us back to the moment when Sybil and Branson decide to run away together – and reminded us that after all they went through to be together, they barely got a year of marriage.
Downton moment cry comparison: When Sybil finally told Branson she was ready to run away with him, after two seasons of lingering looks, chauffeur pleas and sexual tension.
4. “Life After Death”
This is the song that played when Mary visited Matthew’s grave to tell him that she’d decided to get married again – and that she’d always love him. That’s really the only explanation needed here.
Downton moment cry comparison: When Mary finally broke down in Carson’s arms in the season 4 opener, showing the true depth of her devastation at the loss of her husband. (Wow, even just writing that one got us a little teary-eyed.)
3. “The Butler and the Housekeeper”
They may have just tied the knot this season, but there was always something between Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes. As the title indicates, this is the tune that played during their heart-to-hearts in Mrs. Hughes’s sitting room. There’s something that sounds so sweet and sentimental about it, and reminded us of what rocks these two have been throughout the show’s run.
Downton moment cry comparison: When Mr. Carson finally asked Mrs. Hughes to marry him – it’s something we didn’t even know we wanted until it made us weep for a good 15 minutes.
2. “Such Good Luck”
In the season 2 opener, Mary rose early to meet Matthew, who was bound for the front in France. She was showing much more emotion than the normally stoic Lady Mary ever did, and he clearly didn’t think he’d be coming back. She gave him a childhood good luck charm of hers – a small stuffed dog – and wished him “such good luck,” hence the title. It’s perhaps the most emotionally charged romantic moment of the series to date – and it was this sweeping song playing against it.
Downton moment cry comparison: Well, really, the best comparison is this exact moment. You were crying, you were frustrated that these two couldn’t seem to get it together and you were worried Matthew was going to die in the war. And now, you’re crying even harder, because after all that, why did Matthew have to die?!
1. “Two Sisters”
Downton may be known for its heart-wrenching romances, but none of the couple’s themes snag the top spot for tearing up. Instead, in the show’s penultimate episode, we witness a long awaited truce between Mary and Edith. And it’s this tune that played in the background when Edith told Mary, “Because in the end, you’re my sister. And one day, only we will remember Sybil. Or Mama, or Papa, or Matthew, or Michael, or Granny, or Carson, or any of the others who have peopled our youth. Until at last, our shared memories will mean more than our mutual dislike.” With that one line, it was like every emotion you’ve ever felt throughout Downton‘s six-season run came rushing back in full force. Couple that with the simple piano melody in the background, and you’re made of stone if this one doesn’t make you cry buckets.
Downton moment cry comparison: Lots and lots of tears, so that can only mean one of two things: Sybil dying in childbirth sobs or Matthew getting hit by a car within hours of his son’s birth-level bawling.
Listen to Downton‘s saddest songs below:
Whichever devastating Downton tune suits you and your feelings most, cry it out. After the show wraps up its six seasons (Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on PBS Masterpiece), we all deserve it.