Tag Archives: Claire Randall

Of Things Dropped and Lost

Outlander  3:1      By: Eleanor TyJamie_and_Black_Jack_1024x680

The third season of Outlander has so far been stunningly wonderful, almost as good as Season 1. My complaint about Season 2 was that, among other things, it lacked the emotional highs of the first book/season, and it was not strongly focused on romance. Season 2 featured lavish Parisian costumes, a lot of Jacobite plotting, but did not have the excitement of Season 1.

Well, so far, Season 3 looks very promising. Perhaps Ron Moore heard his fans’ complaints because even before Episode 5, the famed print shop scene, there is already plenty of scenes of bedroom ardour, though in unexpected places. What works particularly well is the constant juxtaposition between scenes of Claire in the 1940s and 50s with scenes of Jamie in the 1740s and 50s.

2 (Two), 20 (Twenty), 200 (Two Hundred) and 2,000 (Two Thousand)

The first few episodes have concentrated on the 2 (two) people we care most about: Jamie and Claire and how they have spent their nearly 20 (twenty) years apart, even as they are separated by 200 years (2 centuries) of historical time.  The cause of their separation was Claire’s foresight, her knowledge that nearly 2,000 (two thousand) Jacobites would be killed or wounded in the brief battle at Culloden in 1746 and afterwards by British soldiers who shot stragglers. The producers and writers seem to have made the most of twos and pairings, doubles and echoes to remind us not only of the dual time scheme which underpins the whole series, but also of scenes in previous seasons.

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“Of Lost Things” is the title of the fourth episode, but it describes the general tone of the first few episodes of Season 3. Loss becomes an important theme. After all, Voyager, the book and the third season of the show, begins with Jamie buried alive amidst piles of bodies, those of Scottish Jacobites with whom he fought.  Initially, Jamie wakes believing he was in Hell or Purgatory (Voyager Chap 1).  His semi-conscious attempts to remember the fighting shows the horror of the slaughter of men, mowed down by muskets. Apparently, according to Murray Pittock, a scholar of Jacobitism, the battle wasn’t quite a victory of muskets over swords, since the Jacobites also fired many rounds at the British. In any case, it was a devastating loss for the Scots. Most of the Scottish soldiers are dead, and the Redcoats are using their bayonets to kill any still alive.

Things Dropped

When the men come to take Jamie away from the battlefield, the precious piece of amber that was a wedding gift drops from Jamie’s kilt. The loss of the amber, like the dropping of Claire’s wedding ring during her wedding night, is suggestive of the loss of a way of life. For Claire, it meant a new beginning with Jamie, but here, for Jamie, it means the end of his life with Claire (at least for now). The close-up of the amber on the ground signals a profound loss which will last for two decades.

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Purgatory, which is believed to be an intermediate state, is an apt metaphor for the twenty years Jamie and Claire spend apart. When I first read the Outlander series, I thought it was awfully cruel of Diana Gabaldon to not allow the main characters the leisure to enjoy their youth, continue the passion, bring up Brianne, as other couples do. But Gabaldon seems to believe in Catholic punishments and purifications before paradise. There is much suffering, and even ghosts.  The ghost of Claire haunts Jamie in the battlefield, just as Jamie had haunted Claire in Inverness during her second honeymoon with Frank.

Claire and Frank couch

Gabaldon’s Voyager goes from Jamie in the battlefield to Roger, Brianna and Claire searching historical records, but the adaptation opts instead to recreate scenes of domestic life for Claire and Frank which are presented mainly as flashbacks in the book. These domestic scenes flesh out the ways Claire has been living: viewed in one way, it is a pleasant middle-class life with her husband, the professor, but viewed in another way, it has been a kind of tensed, waiting state. Within her, Claire feels an emptiness, a longing that she cannot share with anyone else. Claire and Frank try to carve out an amiable relationship based on their mutual love for Brianna but their marriage and their sex life are strained.  As Frank later remarks, their bedroom is already “crowded.” Claire exists, but rather like in limbo, not fully with Frank yet not with Jamie.


Mirrors in Outlander 2.1: Through a Glass Darkly

By: Eleanor Ty

For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then shall I know, even as also I am known.

I Corinthians 13:12

dark glass

In modern versions of the bible, glass is translated as a mirror. The first episode of the second season of Outlander plays with the two senses of the word “glass.” It is full of mirror images and reflections, as well as veiled and imperfect fragments or parts, as if we can only see through a darkly tinted glass. The reflections remind us of a number of scenes from the past, and highlight the motif of the double.

Claire stones

“Through a Glass Darkly” begins with Claire lying dazed and confused in the midst of the standing stones, a scene which recalls the very first episode in Season One. This time, however, Claire has come back to her own time, something she so desired when she was first transported to 18th century Scotland. She finds Inverness in 1948 as disconcerting as she first found the Highlands of 1743. She is bothered by the radio and the street noises outside her room. When her husband Frank approaches her, she flinches, which is later echoed when Jamie, too, flinches at the touch of Claire. Though now two hundred years apart, Claire and Jamie are both troubled by memories of Jack Randall.

Claire hospital

The other very deliberate echo (noted also by Erin Conrad) is the hand reaching for Frank / Jamie which is featured in some of the covers of Season One DVD and soundtrack. This image of the hand has always been about choice, about Claire’s divided loyalties and her reaching for newly discovered desires. In this episode, Claire reaches out her hand to Frank as they step out of the airplane into their new lives in Boston. The scene cuts to a flashback of the time when she and Jamie step out of the ship to begin their new adventures in France. Season Two promises to be about both sets of adventures.

Reaching out

Claire airplane

           The biblical quotation of the “glass darkly” is followed by one of the most famous passages in the bible. Often used in weddings, 1 Corinthians 13 reads: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.” Before this verse, Paul talks about the importance of love in this epistle: “love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy…. bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 4, 7). Claire has two husbands, and both of them love her in the way that Paul describes. Jamie sacrifices himself to save her, and Frank is willing to take her, in spite of the fact that she is pregnant with another man’s child. Both men, mirrors of each other, are willing to believe, hope and endure.

In Season One, especially in the last two episodes, many fans were unhappy with the producers because there was too much Tobias Menzies as Jack Randall. I, too, felt that more time could have been devoted to the Claire and Jamie love story. But here, in this first episode, I was completely enthralled by the depiction of the tension and relationship between Claire and Frank when they reunite. Ron D. Moore managed to write a script that filled in some of the gaps left by the twenty-year leap in Diana Gabaldon’s opening scene in Dragonfly in Amber. In her book A Theory of Adaptation, Linda Hutcheon notes that, “as a process of creation, the act of adaptation always involves both (re-)interpretation and then (re-)creation” (8). As Becky Lea writes, “The opening episode belongs to Menzies, enduring just about every emotion required in that initial forty minutes” (Outlander Season 2, Episodes 1-2 Review). Beth Wesson says, Moore’s adaptation “connected the dots and fleshed out Frank’s character.”

Frank tears

Among other fragments of his life that Frank reveals in this episode is his desperation, doubt, and confusion about Claire’s disappearance. He wonders whether she has been kidnapped or whether she has run off with another man. But most poignant of all is his revelation that he had himself tested, and has discovered that he is infertile. The possibility of infertility was discussed by Claire and Jamie earlier in Lallybroch, when Jamie accepts that he might not have natural heirs. In both scenes, the question of lineage is fraught with emotion and heartbreak. After all, the whole adventure would started with Frank Randall’s interest in his family history, and with his interest in his ancestor, Black Jack Randall.

Diana Gabaldon has said that she is not interested in writing a modern romance, but that her books “deal with an ongoing relationship between two decent people who already love each other – there’s no falling in love, getting acquainted, now we like each other, now we don’t kind of conflict” (Diana Gabaldon FAQ). While her comments apply primarily to Claire and Jamie, this episode, with its focus on Frank and Claire, promises to show the “mirror” relationship, the story not developed in the novels by Gabaldon.  In his adaptation, Ron D. Moore re-interpreted and re-created husband and wife relationship, showing the ways a couple has to deal with the surprises and pain that life often brings. There are rich possibilities to come.

In Season Two, Claire, Jamie, Frank, and Black Jack Randall will all find that they only know parts of the story, and that it is only with time that history will come to reveal itself. The doubles and the mirrors show the link between the past and the present, the blurred boundaries between romance and the everyday, the messiness of what we like to see as truth and falsehood, good and evil.

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Claire & Jamie harbour

Works Cited:

Gabaldon, Diana. Dragonfly in Amber. 1993.

Hutcheon, Linda. A Theory of Adaptation. New York: Routledge, 2006.


Injured Bodies, Unbroken Spirits, and the Ethos of Care in Outlander

“You learn it when you become a doctor…. There are so many there, beyond your reach. So many you can never touch, so many whose essence you can’t find, so many who slip through your fingers. But you can’t think about them. The only thing you can do – the only thing– is to try for the one who’s in front of you…. One at a time, that’s all you can do.”

Diana Gabaldon. Dragonfly in Amber. Chapter 47 “Loose Ends”

 “We are not connected with one or two percipient beings, but with a society, a nation, and in some sense with the whole family of mankind.”

William Godwin. Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793). II.ii. “Of Justice”

         It is not accidental that the heroine of Gabaldon’s Outlander book series is a nurse, a healer, later, a doctor, and a wise woman. For one of the themes that weaves through all the books is that of care: the care of one’s self, of one’s family and loved ones, as well as the care of the community. Claire’s first impulse is always to help those who are hurt, even at the expense of her own safety and comfort. Several times in Outlander, Claire puts herself at risk because of her wish to help others: she tries to save an abandoned baby, believed by the 18th century society to be a changeling;” she rushes to Geillis thinking that Geillis is ill in “By the Prickling of My Thumbs;” and defied Friar Bain when she heals Mrs. FitzGibbons’ nephew from poisoning.



Diana Gabaldon has stated that she has read hundreds of romance novels, but that her books are not like the “modern romance” because they “deal with an ongoing relationship between two decent people who already love each other” and that she does not guarantee “happy endings” (“Genre Labels”). As readers and television viewers have seen in the first book/season, the characters are tested again and again in difficult situations, and Jamie and Claire are never left to just enjoy their life in peace for more than a chapter or a few minutes on screen. Outlander is not an ordinary romance. One reason for the constant battles, with the English redcoats, with Black Jack, with superstitious townspeople, with illness, with jealous lovers, is the need to infuse the plot with excitement and adventures. But what we love about our protagonists is that they rise to the challenges and show themselves to be capable, generous and noble beings.

Jaime & Ian

One way they become heroic is through their ability to care for others and to show selfless love. Early on, Jamie reveals his chivalry by taking the punishment for Laoghaire, Mrs. FitzGibbons’ granddaughter (“Castle Leoch”) when she is charged with loose behavior. Like Claire, Jamie is a man who cares deeply and puts others before himself. He tells Claire that four years ago, he was willing to be whipped by Jack Randall in the hopes of saving his sister Jenny from rape. When he marries, he and his men risk their lives to save Claire from Jack Randall at Fort William (“The Reckoning”), and his ultimate sacrifice is to allow Jack Randall to use his body sexually in exchange for Claire’s freedom (“Wentworth Prison”).



What is interesting about Outlander, however, is that it is not only the main characters who care much for others, who suffer and then triumph, but that there are a host of other characters who are tried and tested. We see many people with injured bodies, with missing limbs, who cannot speak or sing, but who are still able to function and act with goodness. Through this succession of broken bodies, Gabaldon suggests that life often presents us with a series of trials to be endured and overcome. One example is the minor character Hugh Munroe, who appears briefly to give Jamie the name of the English deserter who might clear Jamie’s name. Munroe has an extraordinary story of endurance: captured at sea by the Turks, he was tortured and had hot oil poured on his legs. As a slave in Algiers, his tongue was cut out. Yet in spite of his disabilities, he appears stoic, if not happy, and is able to bestow a gift of the “dragonfly in amber” to the newlyweds. Munroe’s story also reveals the consequences of 18th century imperialism and colonialism. Too often, we hear grand stories of wars and empire, but not the stories of those soldiers who do the fighting, whose lives were irrevocably changed by these wars. Their valor and injuries are not recorded in history books.

Hugh Munroe

Similarly, another character who is injured and disabled is Ian Murray, who lost his leg below the knee in a battle in France. Ian has a wooden leg, but is able to love and be loved by Jenny. His friendship and loyalty to Jamie have not changed and he is capable of running Lallybroch in spite of this physical limitations. Another character, Colum MacKenzie, Jamie’s maternal uncle, suffers from Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome, a degenerative disease that renders his legs immobile and his body painful. However, he is still able to reign over the MacKenzie clan and rises to the occasion at Gatherings and when needed. These are heartening stories of people who suffer physically, but whose spirit remains unbroken.

Outlander 2014


Lest we become complacent and think that all these scenes of violence and injury only happened in the 18th century, Gabaldon and Ron D. Moore create parallels to show how we have not learned from history. We are still waging wars that kill and injure, only our weapons are now more sophisticated. In the opening episode set in the Second World War, Claire, clothed in a very bloody apron, is shown in a horrific scene where a soldier’s leg has to be amputated. This amputation scene is later repeated in Episode 6 “The Garrison Commander” where an English soldier has to suffer the same fate. The parallels force us to contend with the way history repeats itself, the way we do not heed the lessons from our past.

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Significantly, after the season finale, a number of bloggers wrote about healing and therapy. We, too need comfort after those scenes of suffering at Wentworth. Beth Wesson writes about reader responses and quotes from a fan who commented to Diana Gabaldon that she “expected to be entertained, not healed” by her books. We may not all be able to change the course of history, but like Claire, we can help the person who is right in front of us, one at a time. Bodies may be injured, but spirits do not have to be broken. The end of Outlander gives us hope that there will be a new life ahead for Jamie and Claire.

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Discussing happiness, the best use of time, and the advantages of industry, pragmatic and philosophical English author Samuel Johnson wrote: “To strive with difficulties, and to conquer them, is the highest human felicity; the next is, to strive, and deserve to conquer: but he whose life has passed without a contest, and who can boast neither success nor merit, can survey himself only as a useless filler of existence…” (Adventurer 111). Outlander is inspiring because Gabaldon and Ron Moore’s TV production show that real life is not about a couple riding off into the sunset, but a series of day to day trials. Often, we are hurt and suffer loss, but those who endeavor to move on in spite of disheartening encounters, big or small, are the ones who ultimately gain strength and our admiration. Learning from history, we can, like Claire and Jamie, create a caring and supportive community for the real heroes in our lives.

By: Eleanor Ty

116 Murtagh Jamie

Works Cited

Gabaldon, Diana. “Genre Labels and the big ‘romance’ question, are they or aren’t they?” FAQ: About the Books. http://www.dianagabaldon.com/resources/faq/faq-about-the-books/#romancequestion

Johnson, Samuel. “The Pleasures and Advantages of Industry.” Adventurer 111 Tuesday, November 27, 1753. http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/29985/

Wesson, Beth. “I Expected to be Entertained, Not Healed”: Outlander and Reader Response. 9 June 2015. http://bethwesson.com/2015/06/09/i-expected-to-be-entertained-not-healed-outlander-and-reader-response/

Wentworth: Violence, Death, and the Hell Within

For within him Hell

He brings, … nor from Hell

One step no more than from himself can fly

By change of place.

John Milton. Paradise Lost. Bk. 4


The episode we have all been dreading in Outlander aired and it was as horrible as we imagined it to be (1X15 Wentworth). The image of Jamie clutching his bloody crippled hand was extremely disturbing even though we were prepared for it. Many people, including the Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies, have described the last couple of episodes as “dark” and, as the Wentworth episode coincided with a rape scene on Game of Thrones, a number of writers commented on the violence in both shows (ex. Sara Stewart). Yet we do tolerate the violence on Outlander, gruesome as it was. Why?

Diana Gabaldon has talked about the necessity of putting Jamie through such “pain and suffering” because it’s a “High Stakes” story and how the violence is necessary to show that Jack Randall was “a serious threat” (Gabaldon, “Jamie and the Rule of Three”). She also suggests that the Wentworth scene is part of a triangle of emotional climaxes of the book, which culminates in the Abbey.

Outlander 2014
Outlander 2014 from Starz

The Hell Within

For me, the Wentworth episode is central to the story because it is the moment when Jack Randall and Jamie confront their deepest fears and unconscious desires. In Paradise Lost, John Milton envisioned hell not just as a place, but as a state of mind. After his defeat, Satan leaves hell but talks about the “hell within” him which he carries to the Garden of Eden. Similar to the fiend, Black Jack Randall is a tormented man who takes pleasure in seeing others get hurt. Four years before, Jack Randall tried to break Jamie with sheer brutality and physical force (100 lashes on top of 100 lashes), but that failed to crush Jamie’s spirit. This time, he succeeds in penetrating Jamie’s core through a combination of love and brute strength. Initially, Jamie was unafraid of Jack and refused to surrender, but agreed later to comply with his wishes in exchange for Claire’s safety. Even so, Black Jack’s triumph comes at a cost to himself: he had to admit his desire for Jamie in order to gain the upper hand. Love is risky.

Outlander 2014
Outlander 2014 from Starz

What happened in the dungeon was not just physical torture but an experience that cut through the essence of one’s psyche. Jamie tells Claire later that he could have stood “being hurt, no matter how bad,” but it was the love that got to him. Black Jack aroused a visceral response in Jamie. It was the combination of love and pain, the confusion of anger, sexuality and desire that broke Jamie and made him feel shame and loathing for himself. Later, he becomes reluctant to touch Claire in the abbey because he feels that he would contaminate their relationship (Chapter 39 To Ransom a Man’s Soul).

Parallels Worlds

The Wentworth dungeon represents a hell in more ways than one. Milton had envisioned hell as fiery, in a state of “darkness visible,” and the imagery of fire and darkness permeates Starz’s production. Even the other prisoners all had the look of forsaken souls.

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Significantly, this descent down to hell is introduced by numerous images of death. The episode begins with prisoner after prisoner being hung at the gallows, and the camera pans to a close-up of the noose. Jamie, MacQuarrie, and all the other prisoners are confronting one of our greatest fears in life, the prospect of annihilation.

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In Episode 1X11, “The Devil’s Mark” Claire had faced a similar prospect, and she had also descended into a kind of hell in the thieves’ den. The imagery is suggestively similar: an underground dark, damp place crawling with creepy creatures. With Geillis, she was held prisoner for three days before being rescued by Jamie. After this imprisonment and near death, Claire has an epiphanic moment of revelation. At Craigh Na Dun, she realizes how much her emotions have shifted in the past six months. Having been given the choice by Jamie to return to her own time, she chooses to stay in the 18th century.


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In a similar manner, Jamie also has three days before he is rescued and then redeemed. At one point, the brothers in the abbey give him a sacrament, both to heal and to serve as his last rites (Chapter 39). He is believed to be near death. A nail through the hand, the sacrifice of the self in order to save another, redemption and three days before resurrection are strong biblical echoes, as Gabaldon has remarked. It is the gravity of the scenes and the emotional weight of them that make a profound impact on us. The Wentworth episode is not a gratuitous rape scene. Wentworth is about confronting the limits of one’s self, acknowledging one’s weakness, and being able to find enough courage to come back from the dead, and pursue one’s dreams in spite of the lingering pain and suffering.

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By: Eleanor Ty

Works Cited

Gabaldon, Diana. “Jamie and the Rule of Three.” Dianagabaldon.com 9 December 2010.

Stewart, Sara. “Sexual Violence on Outlander vs. Game of Thrones. Women and Hollywood 21 May 2014. http://blogs.indiewire.com/womenandhollywood/sexual-violence-on-outlander-vs-game-of-thrones-20150521

Why Sassenachs (not just soccer moms) love Outlander

        In a somewhat tongue-in-cheek article in Business Insider, Jethro Nededog writes that Starz’s Outlander is a show mainly watched by women (64%), and more specifically by soccer moms who have become hooked by reading Diana Gabaldon’s novels, who like the characters’ family values, find inspiration in Claire and Jamie’s marriage, the strong female point of view, and the good-looking lead actor, Sam Heughan. These reasons are probably true for some people, but do not adequately explain the obsession readers and more recently, audiences have with the books and the TV series. Gabaldon’s books have sold 26 million worldwide, and the Starz production has averaged 5.1 million viewers each episode in the first half of Season 1.

Gabaldon’s books offer multiple levels of intellectual, emotional, aesthetic psychic engagement, and Ronald D. Moore’s production has been careful to replicate this experience on screen. Here are my five reasons why women (not necessarily just soccer moms) love Outlander:

  1. A strong, competent heroine

Gabaldon presents a strong, intelligent heroine who is able to perform amazing feats of nurturing and healing because she has the advantage of 200 years of science and medicine. During the first encounter of Claire Beauchamp with the Highlanders, her ability to put back Jamie’s dislocated shoulder was the first riveting scene that made us and Jamie fall in love with the heroine. Not since Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe or Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) have we seen such “competence porn,” the enjoyment derived from witnessing impressive feats of human capability” (Dartnell). Starz understood this attraction and made the most of Claire, and later, Jenny representing them as feisty, strong, and capable women, at home in Lallybroch and on the road.

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Outlander Episode 1 x 02
  1. Melodrama

19th century melodrama is characterized by the clash between extremes of good and evil, between strong and weak, rich and poor, but also by its use of archetypal, mythic beliefs. Gabaldon’s novels are full of heart-wrenching scenes of emotional conflicts and drama. The scene of Black Jack Randall flogging Jamie works at a number of levels. The flogging scene, with Jamie’s outstretched arms, is one of goodness and innocence at the hands of the wicked, suggestive of Christ at the hands of Roman soldiers. Diana Gabaldon describes Black Jack as a “pervert” and a “sadist” (Facebook post 28 April 2015), but even David Cameron appreciated the power of such a scene when he requested that Outlander not be shown in Great Britain before the Scottish referendum.

In the eighteenth century, sentimental novels used stock characters and scenes to create affecting scenes for readers: a seduced maiden asking for forgiveness at her father’s feet or the reunion between a father and his long, lost son. Different readers have their own list of gut-wrenching scenes in Outlander but for many it is the scene at the standing stones, when Jamie bids Claire to go back to her “own time on the other side” because “There’s nothing for ye on this side, lass!” (Chapter 25 Thou Shalt Not Suffer). Later, he admits that letting her go was the “hardest thing” he ever did. Instead of replicating the self-sacrifice through dialogue, the Starz production shows Jamie crying himself to sleep, and then weeping for joy when she returns to him at the cottage.

Outlander Episode 1 X 11

In addition, melodramas often feature orphans and emphasize the weak and the unappreciated. Interestingly, Claire and Jamie are both orphans, which intensifies their need for each other. Promises of unconditional care become more critical. Early on, Jamie tells her, “You need not be scairt of me.. Nor of anyone here, so long as I’m with ye” (Chapter 4 I Come to the Castle). Care is also given to Claire by Mistress Fitzgibbons who offers Claire a “kindly” welcome, dresses her and respects her as a healer. These scenes are important because Claire, and to a certain extent, Jamie, have been itinerants, without stable homes, and are emotionally- starved. In the Starz production, when Claire imagines telling someone who she really is, it is to Mistress Fitzgibbons to whom she dreams of confessing.

  1. The Renaissance man as hero

Even though Sam Heughan has become the “alpha male” of 2015, most women would agree that we are in love with the fictional character Jamie Alexander Fraser rather than Sam. As well as being a brawny fighter and soldier, Jamie is a true Renaissance man, cultured and accomplished in the arts and sciences. He speaks English, Gaelic, French, German, and reads Latin. He is good with horses, is emotionally intelligent, often understanding people’s needs before Claire, and is a born leader. He can fix a mill wheel, knows how to run a farm, and later, can build log cabins with only an axe (Drums Of Autumn). He is a tender and passionate lover. The only thing he cannot do is sing. Okay, Jamie’s (and Sam’s) physique and handsome features help.

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  1. Romance and transgressive sexual passion

Contrary to those who see Claire and Jamie’s marriage as the epitome of pure married love, I see their relationship as the embodiment of transgression and desire. All through the first two-thirds of Outlander, Claire’s feelings for Jamie are ambivalently tinged with admiration, love, but also feelings of guilt, worry, and her sense of impropriety. She knows she is married to Frank, and the relationship with Jamie is that much more exciting because it is, in the back of Claire’s mind, a forbidden one. Sure, Jamie and Claire’s relationship has been sanctified by marriage, but was she free to marry? There is nothing quite so exciting romantic as being reluctantly swept up into a passionate love affair, for once, letting one’s body (and soul?) judge what is right instead of following one’s reason.

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  1. Nostalgia and Elegy

Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber are extended elegies for the Scotish clans, their kilts, their grand horses, and the Gaelic language. In the Starz production, Claire and Frank visit the battlefield of Culloden right at the beginning. In the novel, Claire warns Jamie not to participate in the Rising. She remembers “the clan stones, the grey boulders that would lie scattered on the field, each stone bearing the single clan name of he butchered men who lay under it” (Chapt. 25 Thou Shalt not Suffer). We are reminded that the Highlanders and their way of life are doomed, and the impending destruction infuses the story with a sense of melancholia and nostalgia. Even though readers and viewers may not have been to Scotland, we feel nostalgia for the rolling green hills, the craigs, lochs, old castles, majestic mountains, and heather-covered fields. The Starz production makes the most of the pastoral beauty of Scotland by highlighting its magic and mystery. Terry Dresbach’s meticulous and detailed costumes make even the drabbest wool and plaid come alive and look stunning. Is it any wonder that tourism in Scotland has increase by 30% since the show started?

By: Eleanor Ty


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