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Downton Abbey’s Matthew Crawley Is Judging the Man Booker Prize

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11:  (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED)  Harvey Weinstein (L) and actor Dan Stevens attend a VIP Screening of 'The Artist' hosted by the Weinstein Company at Charlotte Street Hotel on December 11, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

It's so wonderful when actors behave exactly the way you imagine one of their characters would, inadvertently encouraging you to go on deluding yourself that the character actually exists in real life. So a big thank-you this morning to Dan Stevens, who plays the upstanding, serious dreamboat Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey, for agreeing to be a judge for next year's Man Booker Prize, something it is very easy to imagine Matthew Crawley wanting to do. Matthew totally wants to read lots of novels and then talk seriously about them! (Even if the people he wants to talk to will be a bunch of aristocrats amused by his bourgeois interest in the novel, and put off by the confident and slightly condescending way he patiently explains to them that they are wrong.) Obviously, the odds just got a lot better for all books written by anyone named "Mary."

Photo: Dave M. Benett/Getty Images