The feeling is mutual….the rare love between Jamie and Claire.

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imageAs 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.

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57 thoughts on “The feeling is mutual….the rare love between Jamie and Claire.

  1. jomarie54

    I am so sorry, I did not know you were (still are?) in the hospital. That is such a scary thing; it’s always difficult to deal with any kind of health issue. I hope you make a full recovery, and I will keep you in my thoughts.

    This is another excellent post, as usual. The key to the Jamie and Claire story is of course, their lasting committed relationship. They get put through the ringer to be sure, but those tests just underscore the strength of their bond.

  2. Em

    Perfectly said! Neither one of them is perfect, and Jamie is a magnet for trouble, willingly and unwillingly. Diana has such an amazing way with words – how she wrote the way Jamie convey his feelings for Claire. She made him a wee wordy. 🙂 We’ve come to love her by way of Jamie and Claire’s love story and hardships.

  3. Midge L.

    Yes! This is the difference between a romance and a love story. Once more you’ve provided a great insight into why this story works so well. Thank you and I wish you a speedy recovery and a return to good health.

  4. Kat Decker

    I agree with you wholeheartedly! I love how the relationship between Jamie and Claire isn’t full of cliched arguments and instead, is full of love, humor, and admiration for one another. This is so unusual in books! And yes… I absolutely love that it isn’t just about them falling in love, but sustaining that love, building a home and a family and a life together. Once in a lifetime series of books!

  5. Mary Lou

    So glad you’re feeling better, Beth! Can’t imagine how scary that must have been for you.
    Beautifully written as always. The love they share has always been the heart of the books for me. The passionate scenes are wonderful of course, but it’s the quiet times, conversations and mutual respect that touch me the most. So often I’ve had to close the book because the scenes are so real, I feel I’m intruding. As Claire said, watching the dancers…”I have a feeling I’m not supposed to be here.”
    Diana, with her words, has shown us what being in love truly is. Soul-mates. Not cliche at all.

  6. GREAT JOB! These books have been dear to me for 20 years, kind a private, secret world…just my own. No idea, seriously, anyone else saw what I did! How enlightening so many of you have been sharing it me. Thanks, Diana, you have made many times in my life better and given me much food for thought. Beth, feel better, dear, you captured my own feelings beautifully.

  7. If interviewers and other auditors really LISTEN to Diana, they will hear her say, time and again, why this book is not a “Romance”. Romance is about the meeting, the yearning and longing, the courtship, the wildly exhilirating feelings and rushing hormonal surges that often accompany the onset of a relationship between two people.

    Diana has written (and continues to write, thank goodness!) what is, at its core, a profound LOVE story – a story of a long, enduring marriage where each sacrifices for the other, with passion and obstacles and misunderstandings and sorrows and disappointments and joys that are shared as part of a long life together. Each has foibles and strengths, but together they comprise one glorious whole – a new creation, Jamie & Claire.

    We all want the Ideal Mate to love beyond all boundaries of space and time, and we want to be loved in the same way. Perhaps unfortunately for mere mortals, Diana has set a new bar by writing the words she gives to the King of Men to say, and the noble way he behaves. But even if we don’t have a “Jamie Fraser” or a “Claire” in our lives, we can pursue the intimacy in our real lives that Jamie and Claire manifest so beautifully, through Diana’s writing.

  8. Amber

    Beth- thank you so much for the review. Very beautfully done ! I am new to the books and can’t put them down. I love the tv series as well!

  9. Anita G

    Hi Beth, I’m glad you are feeling better. You have a fantastic way with words and I have just signed up to receive your blog; I look forward to reading more. 🙂 … But for now – could you please tell me the source for the photo you used here? It is DG and her husband -I think?

  10. Glad you’re on the mend. I love what you wrote. So often the story ends when the two parties declare their love for each other. These books are so wonderful because the love between Jamie and Claire is constant, and it shows that a committed relationship can be just as interesting as newly expressed love.

    • “Just as interesting…” Yes, more than in my opinion. I’ve discussed this subject a lot. Many of us agree that if this was just a story about falling in love it would of held our interest for the time it took to read it. Instead, we read and reread because we find so much to enjoy, learn and admire.

  11. Rita

    Lovingly stated capturing a relationship that is both simple and complex as I see it. Great job.

    DG’s craft, her capacity as a writer is a gift from God. She’s so great. DG’s ability to tell a story is something I can’t ever imagine possessing nor can I get my head around such a gift.

    SPOILER ALERT

    I believe Claire didn’t go back because she thought Jamie dead…belief fed to her by Frank as I recall. Was it not Bree’s beau who digs into old records finding Jamie is, in fact, still alive?

    I believe Frank didn’t tell Claire the truth out of jealousy, out of fear and out of selfishness. Had Claire known sooner that Jamie was alive she would have gone back with Bree. Maybe that’s selfish of her but I believe her love for Jamie would have forced her to go back setting Frank free to pursue his own life and love.

    On a more personal note, I’m so sorry to hear of your recent serious illness. Wishing you a total recovery!!! Hope you’re feeling better.

  12. Tina

    Reading this post almost a year later…and it is still relevant and thought provoking. i love reading Diana’s series because of Jamie’s and Claire’s love story, i am so thankful that she wrote this series because she wanted to write about a relationship that shows love enduring time (and separation). i am one of the lucky ones. i met my husband on a starlit night when i was 16 and he was 24, and it was love at first sight. my James recognized i was way too young and waited over a year to see me again, and it was as if we had never been separated. we married when i was 18, well 3 weeks later, and he was 26. we have been blessed and have been together for over 41 years. he is truly my soul mate and i am his, i still fall more in love with him each day. there is nothing he wouldn’t sacrifice to make my dreams come true and i feel the same way about his dreams. we traded off being in school for over 20 so that each of us could earn degrees and have the careers we love, while raising our precious children and ensuring that their dreams also came true. he is a strong father and his children adore him. i understand Jamie’s belief that he must die before Claire because he is not strong enough to live in this world without him, i feel the same way about my James. i love reading about their mutual love and then recognizing how fortunate i am to have this type of relationship, i am so thankful that Diana has shared her awesome marriage when she writes of Jamie and Claire. your blogs are so beautifully written and i have enjoyed reading them. i hope you are now completely healthy and enjoying life.

  13. Beth,

    I was prompted to re-read your article today, a year later. My feeling about the story of Jamie and Claire’s marriage hasn’t not changed in that year. A year ago, I had just finished The Fiery Cross, which remains my favorite story for the reasons you write about. After that, I decided to slow down my reading, so that I could savor the story being told to me by Diana. One year later, I’m only halfway through ECHO!

    I, too, am drawn to the story of a long term marriage, complete with separation, sorrows and joys. It truly is about a love that chooses to stay. It mirrors our own marriage in enough ways that reading the story has benefited ours.

    One year later, I am in the middle of writing my memoirs of marriage and writing a fictional story based on my husband. I would not be writing, I believe, if it weren’t for Diana.

    Thank you for this article. You pulled it from my own heart.

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