Like many in the fandom, I’m experiencing an Outlander hangover. So much to see and watch in the last few days! My pre-occupation has been ratcheted up to walking-zombie status! My head hurts from excessive goodness imbibing. I’m thinking, my sister-in-law might have had the smarter and more sensible approach. She just didn’t watch anything! A moratorium on all things Outlander till August 9th and then they will feast! Literally. That girl has a great pre-premier Scottish/Outlander spread planned! I’m sort of envious of her restraint, but…I…can’t…stop…watching….and…listening. Sigh.
Fans have been soooo generous with their pics and tweets! I’m grateful to them! Really. You guys were great! In addition to the fan reports, I watched everything Starz posted and linked. How cute was Sam taking over Instagram and Graham’s Scotch Talk (loved the laid out on the floor pic)! But, per usual for me, there is one tidbit I can’t stop thinking about. It’s toward the end of the Comic-Con panel and Diana is discussing writing the books. There seems to be a lot of discussion about the book’s romantic elements. Is it a romance? Is it an adventure? Will men like it? I loved Ron’s response that he thinks PEOPLE will like it because it’s a ripping good yarn! In addressing this issue, Diana comments that there are a lot of story lines about falling in love, so SHE decided to write about staying in love…for 50 years. God, I love that woman.
Unlike a Romance novel, Jamie and Claire’s love story doesn’t stay in the falling in love honeymoon phase. Thank The Lord. As some of us were discussing on Twitter, if they had, the stories would have held our interest for no longer than the time it took to read them. Instead, many of us re-read the books over and over and never seem to tire of what is revealed between those pages. Herself writes about what happens after people fall in love. She writes about the dynamics of enduring love, complicated relationships and the irony of life. This is what truly engages her readers. She gets deeper. As a fan tweeted, ” She gets that life doesn’t end at 20″.
I chuckle when I think how little luck she might have had if the books had started at Voyager. What would the pitch have sounded like? “Well, it’s the story of a couple in their mid to late 40’s who reunite after 20 years of longing for each other”. Knowing our youth-obsessed culture not sure how much interest that would have riled up! But, those of us who love these books know Claire and Jamie’s age won’t matter to the reader. They won’t notice how old Jamie and Claire are because of “who” they are when they are together. That is what attracts us. It’s fascinating.
Diana has given us a look at a committed loving long-term relationship. If you’ve read my blog before you know how much I appreciate Ms. Gabaldon’s ability to write a poignant scene. Claire’s trip to the printer’s shop is full of those scenes. Let’s start with the scene after Jamie realizes Claire has truly returned to him. They are holding each other and Claire notices they are both trembling with,”…longing of twenty years streaming down our faces”. They touch each other’s features in wonder. I believe I could barely breathe when I read this scene. The intensity of their need of each other was palpable. Not the intensity of lust, but of need. Deeper. She writes about depth.
I love that they do not fall into bed right away. We get to see the delicate dance of their becoming reacquainted with their lost other half. They are shy with one another; she lets us feel their insecurity, “…Will ye take me__and risk the man that I am, for the sake of the man ye knew…” Deeper.
And even when they do at last come together physically Jamie lets us know that this romance isn’t just sex,
“…to have you with me again_ to talk wi’ you, to know I can say anything, not guard my words or hide my thoughts_God Sassenach” he said, ” The Lord knows I’m as lust-crazed as a lad and I canna keep my hands from you _ or anything else_ ” he added wryly, ” but I would count that all well lost, had I no more than the pleasure of havin’ ye by me, and to tell ye all my heart”. And she replies, “ It was lonely without you, ” I whispered,” so lonely.”
Sigh…. Definitely one of my favorites. The product of an almost 39-year-old marriage, I can relate. In my husband’s presence, I become me. I can be me because of the trust and care I know exists. My own Jamie once said, “I know everything isn’t perfect, but people would kill to have a relationship like ours”. I get deeper.
The rest of Jamie and Claire’s story is no less engaging. Diana continues to write about their struggles with the big things in life. She also had the foresight to know that enduring love reveals itself in the everyday. The reader doesn’t only see Jamie and Claire in the big crisis-filled moments. The reader can come along as they build a life together in the seemly mundane activities that make up the bulk of most of our lives. In my opinion, this is where true love gets revealed. It’s easier to step up to the plate in the big moments because there’s not much choice in the matter. However, to choose to act out of love every day? A hero’s work. These books are more than romance; they are a monument to real love.