Given that it’s a period drama created by Julian Fellowes, most famous for being the creator behind the hugely successful Downton Abbey, it’s not surprising that The Gilded Age has already begun to be seen as one of the better costume dramas of recent years. It’s also not surprising that many of those who enjoy the series are particularly pleased with the characters, men and women who are all doing what they can to thrive in the changing world of the Gilded Age.
Looking at them through the lens of the zodiac allows for a more nuanced appreciation of their various characteristics.
Aries – Bertha Russell
There are few signs more dynamic and determined than the Aries, for once they decide that they want something they won’t let anything stand in their way. Bertha Russell is one of the series’ most important characters (plauyed by Carrie Coon, famous for portraying one of the best characters in Fargo), so it makes sense that she would be an Aries. Nothing is going to stop her from becoming a part of New York’s high society.
Taurus – Bannister
Part of what makes a series like The Gilded Age such a great period drama is its emphasis on the lives of the servants as much as the employers. Bannister is one of these and, like Carson of Downton, he has a very strict way of looking at things. As a Taurus, he believes in an orderly life and an orderly house, and he does not like it when anyone within the household offers an opinion about their employers.
Gemini – Oscar van Rhijn
One of the most noteworthy traits of the Gemini is their ability to craft two different personalities, which they show to the world at different times. Oscar, as the son of one of New York’s most famous and powerful people, feels the pressure to marry well. At the same time, however, he is also carrying on a very physical and passionate affair with another man, showing that, in true Gemini fashion, he is able to be different things to different people.
Cancer – Gladys Russell
There are few signs more sensitive than the Cancer. This zodiac sign tends to have a strong attachment to their feelings and those of others. However, they are also very loving and compassionate toward others. These are all traits that can be seen in the character of Gladys Russell, who has a softer side than her mother and is particularly prone to showing her brother the love that he clearly desires.
Leo – Larry Russell
Unlike his parents, who are both very domineering personalities, Larry Russell tends to be a bit more self-effacing. However, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t also have many of the traits that are associated with the Leo, arguably one of the most powerful and compelling signs in the zodiac.
In particular, he has an easy charm in his attitude that allows him to cast a spell over almost anyone that he meets, even on occasion one of the members of the powerful New York aristocracy.
Virgo – Agnes van Rhijn
Just like the Dowager Countess of Downton, who had many great episodes of Downton Abbey, Agnes is the type of person who believes in doing things the old-fashioned way. She hates the thought of change, and she has an orderly mind and approach to her household and life in general. In all of these senses, she is cut from the mold of the typical Virgo, which is a zodiac sign that likes things done in a certain way and can be quite intolerant of changes or challenges from others that don’t agree with them.
Libra – Marian Brook
Given that they are symbolized by the scale, Libras tend to be the type of people that yearn to bring justice into the world. From the moment that she appears, Marian Brook makes it clear that she is just this type of person, and she chafes in particular at the types of limits that Agnes tries to impose upon her. In particular, she shows Libra’s passion for justice in her treatment of Peggy Scott and the Russells next door.
Scorpio – Tom Raikes
Though Scorpios are sometimes seen as being one of the most sinister signs of the zodiac, it is also the case that they can be very loyal and loving people. Once they decide that someone is the object of their affection, they will do all that they can to protect them.
Tom Raikes, the lawyer who sees to Marian’s father’s estate, shows many of these particular Scorpio traits, and it’s clear that he will do everything that he can to help her and to gain her trust and affection.
Sagittarius – George Russell
Morgan Spector is an imposing presence as George Russell, a railroad baron who is determined, like his wife, to attain what he wants no matter the cost. He has many traits that are associated with the Sagittarius, particularly that sign’s fierce commitment to their goals. At the same time, he also shows that sign’s tenderness and empathy, particularly toward his wife, whose own social ambitions he steadfastly supports.
Capricorn – Peggy Scott
Determination is one of the key watchwords for Capricorns, who are one of the most stubborn of the zodiac signs. From the moment that she appears, Peggy Scott shows that she has those traits in abundance. As a Black woman trying to make her way in an America that still has very few options for people of color, these traits will come in useful for her as she attempts to build her career as a writer.
Aquarius – Sylvia Chamberlain
Aquarians have a well-deserved reputation for being some of the most enigmatic and mysterious signs in the zodiac, and it is sometimes difficult to tell just what they think about anything. In The Gilded Age, there are few characters that show this trait more than Sylvia Chamberlain, who always seems to hover at the edge of the frame, the truth about her background never quite coming into focus. At the same time, it’s also true that she has a mind of her own, another noted trait of the sign.
Pisces – Ada Brook
Obviously, Cynthia Nixon best known for playing Miranda in Sex and the City (arguably Sex and the City’s best character), but she has a powerful presence as Ada, Agnes’ spinster sister. While Agnes has all of Virgo’s coldness, Ada is very much the Pisces. She is a person who cares deeply and passionately about others, whether that’s her sister or her niece. As a result, she is often far more willing than other members of her class to offer a welcoming hand to anyone who shows a sign of needing something.
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