As a lot of you already know, I had a rough week. I’ve been in the hospital with a bilateral pulmonary embolism. I’m on the mend and told I’m pretty lucky to be here. I am feeling pretty lucky, but I’ve also been here five days and I’m feeling pretty bored too. I’ve got a lot of time and that leads me to think and …that leads me to write.
Yesterday, it was announced that Outlander had received the go ahead for a second season. This was very exciting news and it started me thinking about what the viewers were going to see next season. I thought of Claire’s decision and where that will lead them. I thought of the adventure and heart-break they will be facing. But, mostly… I thought of them, Jamie and Claire. I thought of their relationship and the depth of their love for one another. I know I bristle at the idea that the series is a romance, but the truth of the matter is that the story is anchored by the love between these two people.
At Comic-Con this year, Diana was asked if Jamie and Claire’s relationship reflected her own parents’ relationship ( I’m thinking this sounds like a story I would like to read). She responded that everything a writer experiences is some how reflected in their work. She shared that her parents were her first example of a passionate committed relationship and that she was lucky enough to find one of her own. She then went on to remind me of one of the main reasons I love these books. I love these books because they are about people who stay in love.
To me there is a difference between falling in love and being in love. In my opinion, so much of what we see, hear and read today is about the falling part. The media is currently all a buzz about the show’s “slow burn” build up to Jamie and Claire’s falling in love. Falling in love is exhilarating! The emotions that are stirred leave us feeling special and as if we have found the meaning of life! Overall, a great experience. But, as we all know, this feeling must mature and ripen if it is to last. Being “in love” is that more permanent state of being. Jamie and Claire falling in love is exhilarating, but the maturing of their love is intoxicating and inspiring. Believe me folks the best is yet to come. Their love spans impossibilities, heart-break, centuries and even time. Their love and attraction for one another is passionate, committed and mutual. Their lives are never easy, but their love never fails. This mutual love is rare and few of us are ever lucky enough to find it.
Once again, I am in awe of Diana Gabaldon’s innate ability to craft a story. She juxtaposes the love between Claire and Frank and Claire and Jamie. Brilliantly, this comparison doesn’t point out the flaws in Claire and Frank’s relationship. No, Diana is much more subtle than that, she shows us a loving relationship. Claire loves Frank. Frank loves Claire. What her juxtaposition does show us is the difference between great and something …more.
I’ve been reading and watching some of the interviews of the cast. Several of the questions being posed are about Jamie and Claire’s relationship. I’m thinking the actors get it and that makes me so happy. I’ve heard them say things like;”I think they recognize a kindred soul”. This is what I think about when I think of Jamie and Claire. Maybe more than kindred souls, I think of the idea of soul-mates. I hesitate to use those two words because I fear they have become cliche. But, I do believe they are connected on the level of the soul. One is not complete, not whole, not themselves without the other.
I’m not sure I could pin-point a particular scene or line of dialogue to prove my point. I’m not sure I have my own words to express the rarity and difference in their love, but I recognize it when I see it and Diana lets me feel it. I think that the books and the relationship is all the more fascinating because of this intangibility. For Jamie, and Claire for that matter, the difference is often found in the intimacy of each other’s arms. Early in their relationship Jamie recognizes there is something different when he asks;
“….What I mean to ask is, is this…usual? What it is between us when I touch you, when you…lie with me? Is it always so between a man and woman?”
Claire, as baffled as he is, admits that what they have seems different.
They seem to wholly own one another. They later recognize that it is a bit frightening to know that any one person could hold this much power over you. “It seems I cannot master your soul without losing my own”. Before you start thinking that this sounds a bit unhealthy, let me reassure you that they never lose their own identity in this relationship. In fact, there is a mutual admiration club going on here. I don’t think they _ever_ fail to appreciate who they are separately and the books are full of examples of them supporting and encouraging each other’s interests and endeavors. They are always foremost concerned for the other’s happiness and well-being. Do they argue? Yes. Do they drive each other crazy, at times? Yes. Are they fulfilled by their relationship…yes.
I don’t want to spoil things for those new to the books and TV series, so I won’t spoil it by telling details about Jamie and Claire’s future. What I will say is that I’m hoping the show will get a chance to show how truly remarkable and rare is the love between these two people.