“The ties that bind”…Claire and Jenny…Outlander in Episode 12

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There is a lot of talk on the web about Outlander episode 12. I’ve addressed the issue of Jamie and his “Laird-ness”, but didn’t really discuss the other hot button issue and that is the portrayal of  Jenny and Claire’s relationship. There seems to be two bones of contention in the Outlander fan world: “Why is Jenny such a bi**ch ?” and “Why on Earth would Claire feel like she might belong at Lallybroch?” From what I can gather, there is concern about how Jenny welcomes (or doesn’t) welcome Claire into the fold.  I think I saw the answer to these questions in the episode. Let’s start with Claire’s first look at Lallybroch.

Thank God for good acting because the subtle performances in this episode were stellar and oh so revealing of what the characters were thinking without the benefit of a voice-over.  At first sight, both Jamie and Claire are awed at the vision of Lallybroch on the horizon (I was too!).  For the first time in years, Jamie sees his estate and you could read the “there’s no place like home” look on his face.  It was a mixture of longing and pride. Claire, who had just made the monumental choice to stay with Jamie and all that means, is seeing what she believes is her new home.  In fact, she is looking at the first real home she has known since childhood.  It must have seemed like a fairy tale castle to her. “It’s just as you described it.”  she breathes with wonder.

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Quickly, however, we see and feel the mood change.  As wonderful as it is to be home, the place currently holds some painful unfinished business for Jamie.  He puts on his “battle face” as he grabs the horse’s reins and his courage and heads down hill to face his fears.

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Claire gives a moment’s look of concern for the change she senses in Jamie, but then gets lost in her own fears.  For the merest of seconds, the camera lets us see her mixed emotions race across her face.  Claire has her own issues to face at Lallybroch.

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They arrive and the first person Claire meets is wee Jamie. Claire’s response is to get down on the child’s level and introduce herself.  I couldn’t help but think what this small gesture reveals about Claire’s character.  She doesn’t look around at the estate she has just inherited instead she gravitates toward what is important to her…the people she inherited.  Claire is a healer and there are people here who need her…Jamies’s people.  She may have to deal with what it means to be “Herself”, but the potential to fulfill her life’s purpose is here.  She has a flock and family to care for.

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And then…Jenny…

Claire being who she is tries to intervene and help make peace between brother and sister.  What she gets for her efforts is her first real taste of what happens when you get between two Frasers when their dander is up.  She got “bit for her efforts”!  I laughed out loud at the “Trollop” comment.

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It wasn’t really meant to hurt Claire (ok, maybe a little), but more to hurt Jamie.  In my opinion, Jenny still grabbed her brother by the balls.  Siblings know what buttons to push and right where to “grab” to get our attention.

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If you watch Claire’s face in the background you can see her concern and then resignation.  When she introduces herself to Ian as the “Trollop”  you can see Jenny stiffen.

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Claire wasn’t crushed…she was amused!  I bet that surprised Jenny, who I think was a little ashamed of her behavior, but it was too late, it was already out there.  Jenny’s stubborn pride is being fueled by anger and guilt.  She might know she’s being unreasonable, but she just can’t seem to stop herself.  God, how true to life! Haven’t we all said things we really didn’t mean or acted a bit passive-aggressive a least once in our lives when we feel hurt?

I think Claire likes Jenny.  If you watch there is constantly either a look of concern, respect , (even though Jenny is being a “pain in the arse stubborn mule”) , or a small smirk of amusement on Claire’s face.  She even sticks up for her sister in law which just irks Jenny. She tries to needle Claire with thinly veiled insults, but Claire will have none of it.

“Well, I guess you have a lot to learn about running a place like this.”

“Yes, but I’m a quick study”

They are testing each other! It might not be the exact words from the book, but the character development is there.

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Need further proof of the mutual respect that is slowly building in this episode?  Rabbie Mc Nabb.  Resentment seems to have taken a backseat to their mutual concern for this young boy. They get each other.

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I believe in the next episode, we are going to see this relationship blossom.  Will Jenny continue to be a pain in the arse stubborn mule? Probably.  But, Claire will tolerate it when she can for several reasons, but the main reason, the tie that truly binds these two women together is their mutual love of one James Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser.

When Claire is standing in the window looking at the “North facing tower”, chuckling about Frasers, the viewer and Jamie recognize something has changed. Claire tells him she is starting to believe she could belong at Lallybroch.  Besides the reasons I’ve stated about having a place and a purpose, I think one of the reasons she feels she belongs here is BECAUSE of Jenny.

What other woman has Claire met that so reflects her own values?  What other woman has she met that is strong despite her surroundings? (I guess you could say Gellis, but her values didn’t really match Claire’s)  What other woman has she met that she could see as an equal? Jenny is smart, quick-witted, caring, loyal, and respected. And…she loves Jamie as much or maybe more than Claire.

Yeah….I think we will see the respect…friendship …and… love grow between Claire and Jenny in Episode 13!

Note: Did you notice Claire finally got her vase?  Gave me the feels!

“I’m the Laird. That’s me”….Jamie and Brian …Outlander Episode 12

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Sometimes when I watch Outlander on Starz, I get an epIphiany.  I’ve read the books… a lot…, but sometimes this visual version helps me understand something from the story better.  There are advantages to seeing emotions on an actual face.

Starz showed us a small scene with Jamie’s father Brian.  That particular scene in the hallway of Ft. William was all that I pictured when reading Outlander and more.  It was right after Brian had just had a session with Black Jack.

Let me repeat that.

BRIAN HAD JUST HAD A SESSION WITH BLACK JACK!

What that means to the story, I am only now truly coming to appreciate.  The panic I heard in Brian’s  voice, the earnest need to have a “moment” with his son written all over his face and the assurance that “whatever happens” he would be there for Jamie,  took on new meaning for me.  What must have happened in that session?! We can only imagine what Black Jack said, but most assuredly, what DID happen was Jamie’s father recognizing what sort of man held his son’s life in his hands.

I get the feeling that Brian knew there was no “way out” for his son.  The Captain was going to give Jamie 100 lashes upon 100 lashes and there was nothing he could do to stop it.  At the very least, Brian had to believe that Randall meant harm that would effect Jamie for the rest of his life; torture, imprisonment.  I believe Brian’s real fear was that his son would die a horrible death right in front of his eyes.  So, he left his “Braw Lad” the only things of value he could give him; his faith in God and his love.  How many times must Jamie have thought of that kiss over last four years…heart-breaking.

In the books, Brian’s character and back story are revealed when Jamie tells Claire the stories of his own childhood. Here is what I know of Brian Fraser:

  • He is a fair man
  • He is a loyal man
  • He is a wise man
  • He is a man of faith
  • He values education
  • He respects women
  • He is a leader
  • He is a family man
  • He has a wry sense of humor
  • He Is a man of honor
  • He is a man of integrity

And…he wants to be a better man than his own father and…he is.  Jamie was lucky to have such a father as a role model, but it’s a lot to live up to.

Like many of us who lose someone close to us without the benefit of closure, Jamie has regrets and feels guilt.  His father died while watching the whipping and at some level Jamie believes it is his fault.  We all know someone who feels this type of guilt and regret. It is one of the common themes in the human condition.  Jamie’s response to these events is understandable and maybe even predictable.  Guilt and regret are feelings that aren’t always rational or accurate, but they still plague us.  We cannot help what we feel when we lose a loved one.

Feelings just are.

Due to circumstances beyond his control, Jamie has been unable to return home.  He has had a loooong time to think and feel.   In a very real way, his ability to deal with his grief has been delayed.  Jamie has been unable to finish his  business with his sister and deal with what the death of his father means to his position at Lallybroch.  Left unaddressed and unexpressed feelings can warp our views and maybe even change how we react or in Jamie’s case overreact, to what we think we see and hear.  I think Jenny’s comment, “No word in four years” speaks volumes.  Jamie is struggling with his feelings to the point that he couldn’t even bring himself to write home. Guilt.

I’ve seen some social media posts that have suggested that Jamie becomes an instant “arsehole” when he goes through the gates of Lallybroch and that it was just too big of a change in his personality for them to believe.  I’ve even seen folks write that the change was so extreme that Claire didn’t “recognize” the man she married.  I don’t think this is the case at all! I think Claire knew exactly what was happening to Jamie.  She just didn’t know exactly what to do about it!  The subtle and significant looks on Claire and Ian’s faces during the uncomfortable exchanges between the siblings told the viewer that EVERYONE knew!  My God,  the tension was so thick you could have cut it!

It really wasn’t hard to understand.  Jamie feels guilty about Jenny and that makes him misinterpret situations and act defensively.  Jenny is angry and secretly blames her brother for her father’s death. Her brother brought home a Sassenach to be lady of Lallybroch. A Sassenach who has never run an estate or home…like she has…for four years.  She’s coming out sideways too!

Jamie doesn’t want to let his father down.  He wants to be the Laird his father was.  He has a new wife and tenants he wants to impress.  So, maybe….he tries too hard at playing the “Laird”. Understandable. In my opinion, Jamie becomes the more loveable for his misguided attempts to be the man his father would be proud of. The fact that his sister called him on his shite was so true to sibling form that it made me laugh out loud!  He isn’t perfect. He is stubborn and at times brash, but he is willing to admit when he is wrong and move on. I loved Ian’s advice and Claire’s “dealing” with her “I’m the Laird” husband. She dumped his ass on the floor to get his attention! Wonderful.

I think Brian would have been proud of his children as he looked down at them embracing in the graveyard dealing with their grief and their love for one another.

“Frasers, their hearts are as big and soft as their heads are thick and strong” Ian Murray, Jamies’s best friend and Jenny’s husband.

Jenny…the heart and soul of Lallybroch

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When Laura Donnelly joined Twitter, the fans of course welcomed her with open arms and gratitude for her part in bringing another of our favorite characters to life.  We’ve had a small sample of her portrayal of Jenny in Outlander on Starz and we are anxious for more!

Jenny.

A ten gallon woman in a pint size package.

Jenny’s personality has always seemed to be bigger than life. Jamie might be the laird of Lallybroch, but Jenny is its heart and soul. I’ll admit there were times I was angry at Jenny (her part in the whole “leghaire” fiasco comes to mind), but mostly I was in awe of her capacity to love. One of the most revealing scenes about Jenny I’ve ever read was when Jamie describes her taking over the kitchen the day her mother died.  He describes Jenny delaying her own grief because she was needed by her family. Her mother was gone and Jenny knew someone needed to care for her father, Jamie and Lallybroch, so she did. I can just see her in a too big apron standing on a chair ordering her world to continue on. Even as a young girl her strength of purpose and character made her a force to be reckoned with. It seems to me that one of the best things that could happen to a person would be to be loved by Jenny Fraser Murray. The woman loves hard and long and with passion.

I just reread the Lallybroch homecoming scene and found myself laughing out loud at the domestic squabble between brother and sister. I’m going to love seeing Jamie and Jenny nose to nose over that day in October!  What a great scene! Who didn’t absolutely crack up when Jenny grabbed her brother by the balls…literally!  Only a sibling could dare to embarrass a person that much!  Most people with siblings have learned through experience, that brothers and sisters seem to know right where to “grab” to get your attention!  

To me, the relationship between the Fraser siblings rang pretty true to form.  They are in each other’s face fighting at the top of their lungs one minute and holding each other close the next. During the great “speak a word” parlor debate, Jamie asks Jenny if she knew Randall would not harm her when she went into the house with him. Her response was gut-wrenching and heart-warming,

“and if your life is a suitable exchange for my honor, tell me why my honor is not a suitable exchange for your life?’ …”Or are you telling me that I may not love you as much as you love me? Because if ye are, Jamie Fraser, I’ll tell ye right now, it’s not true!”

I have always pictured her on her toes in her brother’s face looking him dead in the eye as she said this.  Her brother’s reply becomes lost in her logic of love. She then proceeds to call him a ” thick-headed, slack-witted, lack-brained gomerel” in front of his wife. As a good sister should! What follows  is one of most moving moments in any of Diana’s books.  Jenny makes her brother take off his shirt so she can look at his scarred back.  As she gently lays her hands on the horrifying proof of her brother’s suffering , the siblings have this conversation:

“It looks as though it hurt.”

“It did.”

“Did you cry?’

His fists clenched involuntarily at his sides, “Yes!’

Jenny walked back around to face him, pointed chin lifted and slanted eyes wide and bright. “So did I, ” she said softly. “Every day since they took ye away.”

The resulting moment between the two is so poignant that Claire feels like she is intruding and steps from the room as the two embrace.  Despite the anger or disappointment Jenny often directs toward him, even Claire admits that Jenny is the one person who may love Jamie more than she does.

I’ve also always believed that no one knew Jamie better than Jenny  because of my own experience as a sibling. Once again, their relationship seems true to form. My brothers and sisters and I share a special bond. It is one forged by the shared happy and sad experiences of our childhood. No one else can truly know what it meant for us to laugh together over silly family card games nor how it felt to cry over the death of our mother. In a very real way, my brothers and sisters are the only people who can truly understand where I’m coming from and why I make the choices I do. The same can be said of the brother and sister duo of Jamie and Jenny Fraser.

Some of the most meaningful conversations of Jamie’s life were spent in conference with his sister.  I think of that day he returns to Lallybroch, the conversation with Wee Ian in his arms and the time he and Jenny spent in the priest hole. She knows his heart as he does hers. He loves Claire, but I’m not sure anyone understands Jamie better than his sister. Their shared experiences of joy and loss bind them together just as my experiences bind me to my siblings.

One of the great things about Ms.Gabaldon’s Outlander series is the depth with which the characters are written. She continually builds upon the foundations of previous books and deepens our understanding of the characters’ relationships. From Outlander to MOBY, the reader can follow the development of Jamie and Jenny’s relationship. Once again, she lets us see a truth about real life in her pages.

I’m looking forward to the Laird’s return to Lalleybroch and to meeting his sister on Saturday night.  I’m sure Laura will make a wonderful Jenny and that we will love seeing the siblings together working out their issues just like all siblings do.  If this picture of Jamie reacting to his sister interrupting him is any indication then it’s gonna be great!

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The look on his face! I think I’ve seen that look before! On MY brother!

P.S.  Episode 12 wasn’t exactly like the book, but I’ve grown to kinda enjoy seeing how they meld and move things around! The relationship I saw on screen was just what I had pictured in my head and the scenes between Jenny and Claire even better!  Laura’s performance embodied the Jenny we have all grown to love and appreciate!  And… Who the heck were the people holding a gun to Jamie? 

Outlander and all the wonderful and…odd…things it has inspired.

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This morning, I made my cuppa and then sat down to say good morning to all my Tweeps and Facebook friends. I was just strolling through pics of my friends’ kids doing wonderful kid things when suddenly I saw this

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and promptly spit my latest sip of coffee all over the dogs sitting on my lap who then promptly gave me a  “what the what the?” look. Having heard Diana talk about this very issue and the whole added “Devil’s Mark” thing, I, of course, screen shot the post and sent it off to Herself.

Now, my curiosity was piqued and I went looking for the best and most odd things this Outlander phenomenon has inspired.

Things I’d love to buy

If I had budgeted funds for Outlander fandom purchases besides books these things would be on my shopping list.

Beautiful jewlery like this:

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and…

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and clothing like this…

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and…

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and cute stuff like

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and…

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and…(anyone noticing a color scheme going on here?)

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Things I probably wouldn’t buy

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and…

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and…

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But these might be the things you’re looking for! There are 100s of pages on Etsy and Pinterest and  100s of items to choose from!

Funny stuff that only Outlander fans would understand

Everyday someone in the fandom posts something that makes me snort and giggle, They post memes, blogs, hastags, like:

#winnerwinnerhaggisdinner

or…

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and…

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and…

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and…

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and…

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and…

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Tutorials!!!!!

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and….

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and….

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and….

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and….

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and….

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Things that make me say ahhh and uhmmm

ahhh…

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uhmmm..

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ahhh…

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uhmmm…

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ahhh…

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uhmmm….

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ahhhhh.,,

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uhmmm…

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ahhh…

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another ahhhhh..

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Obviously,there isn’t enough room to post all the great stuff a love of Outlander has brought into the world. These are just a few that appealed to me. Love to see your picks!

P.S. I’ve been receiving some wonderful responses from folks who have reminded me that the most wonderful thing about Outlander fandom is that because Diana wrote a book they have made real friendships with people from all over the world!

Yep!

Character Counts … A reflection on Outlander Episode 11

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I was perusing Twitter on Saturday before watching Outlander episode 11 the Devil’s Mark when I came across a tweet from someone who had already watched the episode. Aside from being a little pissed that I hadn’t gotten to watch yet, I found the statement intriguing. The author said,
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Because the tweet intrigued me, I re-tweeted it.  I felt my excitement to watch the episode heighten.  Had they really done it? Had they really shown Claire in all her wonderful nerve-wracken-ly principled glory?  I sure hoped so.

The episode was exciting and full of all kinds of wonderful, but per usual there was a theme that stood out for me. Character. In a real-world and TV world full of characters with ambiguous moral character, Outlander has the potential to be something different. Saturday night, I saw some of that potential realized. Our main characters had moral and ethical dilemmas that they solved in ways that have sadly become a-typical. They made selfless decisions. They did the right thing despite knowing the price they would pay would be dear.

I enjoy watching Game of Thrones, a show Outlander has been compared to. In my opinion, this comparison by journalists is weak at best and most often used by writers too lazy to look any deeper.  There seems to be a tendency among these types to latch on to what is the most “pop culture” popular thing to repeat. I have nothing against R.R. Martin or the show based on his works.  They are what they are, but what they are is a far cry from what Outlander is or tries to be.

Last years’ GOT season was full of characters acting out of warped emotions, values and needs. I don’t expect anything different this year. Lots of titillating stuff to discuss around the water cooler, but I must admit the most shocking thing about this show is how hard it is to find a redeeming character. I wish I could say this trend toward pushing the moral and ethical envelope was the exception rather than the rule on TV, but I can’t.  It is all too common.

My reaction to the GOT characters and their actions is very different from what I feel when I watch Outlander.  Folks on social media said they used a box of tissues watching this episode. This is very understandable, there is some tear-jerking stuff!  I cried some tears myself, but I came to examine my feelings a bit closer and realized there was something deeper going on here. When I watched Claire and Jamie and Ned and even Gellis make their choices, I felt a real connection. My eyes filled with tears for the human compassion I was witnessing. Our characters made unselfish choices. They made me feel proud to be human.

My Twitter author Lady Jane commented that Claire was principled to a fault. I think I understand what she means, if she meant that Claire puts herself in danger by stubbornly remaining a person who cares about others ..then yes…I agree, she does. It’s the “to a fault” part that I find myself still thinking about today. The kind of choices Claire has to make come with risk to herself and others, to say the least.  But…I resist the idea that her ethical and moral center is somehow flawed because she chose to be unselfish. I’m pretty sure Lady Jane agrees with me because she loves Claire for it. These are the character traits of the everyday hero who saves a child from drowning, pulls people from a burning car or donates an organ to a stranger.  These are the kind of people we should be admiring and celebrating.

Claire would not give false witness, even against a woman who admitted to killing her husband and even if it would save her own life. I cried bittersweet tears for Claire. Under extreme distress and pressure, betrayed by those who should have represented innocence and mercy (Leery and Father Bain) , surrounded by a sea of faces that desired to see her burn, she stayed true to herself.

Sad, but wonderful too.

She is saved at the last-minute by the zealot murderess Gellis who sets aside her own desires to help another. I cried for Gellis’ courage, for her self-sacrifice and for her wasted life.  She will not be the last person to give over her thinking and decision-making to a cause nor the last to step over a moral and ethical line for that cause.  Once again, it’s all too common.

The evening’s monumental plot twists weren’t over and neither was Claire’s decision-making.  In fact, a much harder decision awaits her upon her escape from Cranes Muir in the arms of her 18th century husband Jamie.  I’m thankful that the decisions were made back to back.  It helped the viewer understand who Claire is and that is a person who will do the right thing despite the pressure to do otherwise.  It makes her decision at the stones that much more poignant and meaningful.  She did not take the decision to leave or stay lightly. In fact, given her moral center the agonizing choice would have left her shattered. She is married to Frank and finally has an opportunity to return to him and yet,….Jamie.

The other person in this triangle  made a few difficult choices of his own. First, he decides to suspend his disbelief for her sake. If I had any disappointment in this episode it was the fact that they chose to let the audience believe that Jamie never doubted her story.  He was human, of course he did and maybe part of the reason he took her to the stones was to shatter Claire’s delusions.  In the book, when  he grabs her back from the rock it’s because she starts to go right before his eyes.  I wish they would have kept that part.  Despite his extraordinary emotional intelligence this would have seemed the more reasonable reaction to me.

And… then, the audience learns that Jamie has chosen to let Claire go. What this choice reveals about him is nothing short of staggering. This is a man of integrity. Everything he feels tells him to beg her to stay, but he chooses to let her go…why?

He now knows the truth and it cannot be ignored. There is a man…a husband … with a prior claim. Claire is the wife of another man and as a man who honors the vows spoken between two people, he must acknowledge Frank’s claim on Claire. She isn’t his wife because she is still wed to another.
He must acknowledge that Claire doesn’t belong here. Her being here and with him is an unfortunate accident. She had no choice. She did what she needed to do to survive. And, after the witch trial, he knows she is a women out of her time and it will place her in danger again. She will be safer if she goes. He knows she has tried to get back to her husband and life over and over again. He will not add himself and his need of her to the equation. He loves her, so he will let her go.

I know I cried at every agonizing staggering step he took down that hill; my heart was breaking with his.

It’s a wonderful story full of redeeming characters who don’t always have to be right or have their own way.  My husband is a big fan of old TV Westerns and I think I know why. Even though I complain about their predictability the plots usually center around someone making a moral choice and often those character’s choose the self-sacrificing or ethical/moral high road. The characters learn lessons about doing the right thing for your fellow-man and having honor …like the characters in Outlander.

Somewhere, in TV and maybe our real-life culture, the idea of self-sacrifice as being a noble action has fallen away to the need for self-fulfillment at any cost.  Maybe it is because people don’t believe there is anything more to life. If that is so then I guess fulfilling your own desires at whatever the cost to others would make sense. But,  “I have to inform you, I am no of that opinion myself”.  I’m happy there is a production on TV that isn’t afraid to tell a story of people who wrestle with choices and choose kindness, honor, truth and self-sacrifice.

The Heretic

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She was a woman out of time

Kind without caution
Her strengths had made her strange

She was a woman out of time

Passionate with purpose
She battled ignorance and lost

She was a woman out of time

Sensibilities that lacked sense
of a propriety and place

She was a woman out of time

Trapped in time
Now trapped in space

She was a woman out of time

Burn the witch

by Beth Wesson

Thinking about the Outlander Witch Trial

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download (8) You know what I love about the internet? Well, lots of things, but right now I’m loving how easy it is to research a topic. I’m a curious thinker. Today, I was thinking about the Devils’ Mark and witch trials and well…pizza…cuz I was hungry. So, I called Dominos and ordered a thin crust and then got on Google to take care of my intellectual needs. I love learning, especially new things about old things. I learned some really cool stuff about witches today!

Webster says a witch is usually a woman who, ” is credited with usually malignant supernatural powers”. Nothing real noteworthy there, it seemed like pretty common knowledge to me. So, I dug a little deeper and I found that the origin of the word was Hebrew “kashaph” which is derived from a root word that means to “whisper”.  Okay, I can see that, I can picture a witch “whispering” a spell. Good info, now what else can I learn?

I Googled the history of witches.  Mother-load! I learned a whole bunch of new stuff! Like the fact that the EARLY Christian Church didn’t believe in witches. St. Augustine (the more I know about that guy the more I like him) circa 420 proposed the idea that only God possessed supernatural powers and anyone who believed mere humans could alter the universe’s natural laws must be a pagan. Hmmmmm…pagans…the Highlands…..what was that Frank said on the honeymoon?

From what I could read, it seemed things started to change around about the 1200s. A Pope named Innocent the III (get ready for the irony) started attacking a group called the Cathars.  The Cathars believed that God and the Devil both possessed supernatural powers and were at war, good versus evil style. The church of course called them heretics and began a smear campaign.  They spread the rumor that the Cathars actually worshiped Satan. And…we still …I live to learn these bits of trivia…allude to these rumors in our everyday speech!  Ever tell someone to kiss your ass?  I always thought we told people that cuz…well..it’s an ass, but NO! The saying is rooted in witchcraft history! The church told folks they caught Cathars kissing the anus of Satan as a way to show their loyalty to him.  You’re  welcome.

Around 1273, Thomas Aquinas added his views on the subject and linked women and sex to the mix. Aquinas was a very popular theologian who greatly influenced orthodox church beliefs. He believed that demons roamed the Earth looking to tempt men into joining the dark side. In Aquinas’s mind, sex and witchcraft were closely related.  He began what would become a long-period of believing that women were Satan’s temptation tools. It seems that over time, these beliefs picked up steam and by the mid-1400s Witch trials began to appear throughout Europe.

With the publication of Malleus Maleficarum “Hammer of Witches” any remnant of the belief that witches were powerless in the face of God seemed to have died and instead it became Christian duty to hunt down witches and kill them. Heinrich Kramer , author of the Hammer of Witches and a papal inquisitor,  became the foremost expert on how to deal with witches. He wrote a list of ways to recognize a witch.  One of those suggestions that becomes important to Claire and Gellis in Outlander is the stripping of suspected witches to look for telltale marks of demonic possession on the skin like moles, birthmarks, vaccine scars (wink wink), etc. In Europe, between 1500 to 1660 between 50,000 and 80,000 suspected witches were tried and executed; 80% were women.

In, 1591 King James authorized the hunt for witches in Scotland, due to some belief that his honeymoon to Princess Anne of Denmark had been marred by rough seas due to witchcraft (here’s a metaphor waiting to happen).  England saw its last recorded witch trial in 1682. The information I could find suggested that the last recorded witch trial held in Scotland was in 1727, twenty-four years before Claire and Gellis were taken out of Fiscal Duncan’s house.

It is not totally out of the realm of possibility that a trial could have happened during 1743 and for the sake of the story, I’m willing to believe that it did.  It would be poor story telling to believe that Claire’s unusual behavior, and Gellis’ for that matter, would continue to go on without remark or repercussion. We have certainly had the shadow of a witch trial playing about the grounds of Castle Leoch for a while now. Father’s Bain’s promise that God would have the last word lingers in my mind and I wanted to reach through the screen and slap Claire for giving “Leery” a potion complete with a Wizard of Oz incantation. I believe I said, “Girl, you just moved from healer to witch. The shite is really gonna hit the fan.”  Which is pretty ironic when I think about it .  She gave the girl a bottle of horse dung (snort). And, my foreshadowing sleuthing skills appear to be on point because on Saturday Outlander is having a witch trial! Squeeeee!  It’s not that I’m not empathetic, but aren’t you just a bit excited to see how they are going to get out of this one?! So, I’m done researching, this is certainly not a history of witches in Europe, just what I found out today and thought I’d share. My curiosity is sated for the moment, but I’m hungry again…left-over pizza!