I WAS prepared. The scenes at Wentworth unfolded much as they had in the book. The menace was there. The eerie certainty that Black Jack Randall would have his way was there from the moment he rode in to ” save” Jamie from the noose. He could barely contain his relief and excitement. His masterpiece lives and is his. Tobias’ portrayal of Jack’s sick fascination with Jamie was perfectly executed in shades of reverent respect and barely contained sadistic lust. He would have his surrender. I was horrified and moved.
I’ve tried to boil down what exactly it is that moves me so much about the scenes between Claire, Jamie and Black Jack in that dungeon in Wentworth Prison. I think it has to do with this piece of dialogue from the book;
” You can’t,” I whispered. “You can’t. I won’t let you.” His mouth was warm against my ear. “Claire, I’m to hang in the morning,. What happens to me between now and then doesna matter to anyone.” I drew back and stared at him. “It matters to me !” The strained lips quivered in what was almost a smile, and he raised his free hand and laid it against my wet cheek. “I know it does, mo moduinne . And that’s why you’ll go now. So I’ll know there is someone still who minds for me.”
The gut-wrenching knowledge that this could truly be the last time she saw him, knowing she had to leave him battered and in pain and in the fiendish hands of Black Jack Randall was painful to watch. Her only chance to save him was to leave him …but… she knew she was leaving him to face his last few hours on Earth in a nightmare. Jamie was sacrificing his life to save hers… his compliance was being assured with a threat to his wife’s life. He is keeping his word to give Claire time to get away, He thought he was going to die, so what did it matter… her decision… his decision… both rooted in their love for the other. This is what moves me so much.
Cait’s tears of pain and grief gutted me. But, Sam’s silent tears and eyes wide with pain shook me …beyond words. It took me a moment’s reflection to understand what I was feeling and to understand those tears silently falling down his cheek. I saw the agony visited on his heart. He was doing what he never thought he’d do…he was giving in …and suddenly he could still feel his father’s kiss, but now it was forever linked with the revolting kisses on his back and the taste of his wife’s salty tears of anguish on his lips. Yeah…I was moved and horrified.
The sacrifice was bigger than either of them could imagine. The deliberate infliction of pain and humiliation by the rapist and sadist named Black Jack Randall, a man who finds his pleasure in the total domination of another, could not have been imagined despite the evidence before them both. Jamie naively believed that he would be able to remain unaffected by Black Jack Randall’s advances. He knew there would be pain involved and he would feel repulsed, but he believed he could remain emotionally distant. His illusions will be shattered within minutes.
What will we see in Episode 16 and the Aftermath of Wentworth
Later, In the book, Jamie feels the need to tell Claire what he experienced. He tells her that anyone can be broken if you work hard enough at it and Black Jack worked hard at it. He wanted Jamie’s surrender, he wanted him broken and begging. His dark appetites for control and power over this seemingly unbreakable man were satisfied.
BJR will rape Jamie. The damage done physically would heal. What is more difficult to heal, of course, are the wounds that cannot be seen. Like many who suffer such trauma, once the shock fades and he has had time to process what has happened, Jamie feels distraught to the point of wanting to die. It is his own belief that suicide is a “mortal sin” that prevents him from taking his own life to end his despair. That and a desire not to give Black Jack Randall one more moment of his life, “…he has damned me in life. He willna damn me in death”. .
What we haven’t talked about is the part a lot of rape victims don’t talk about, physical arousal during a rape. This seems to be the aspect of the rape that causes Jamie the greatest mental conflict. This is the part that causes him to cry out in anguish,
“… he hurt me -hurt me badly- while he did it, but it was an act of love to him. And he made me answer him- damn his soul! He made me rouse to him!” The hand bunched into a fist and struck the bedframe with an impotent rage that made the whole bed tremble.”
The guilt, rage and shame that Jamie expresses over his physical arousal and orgasms at the hands of his rapist causes Jamie to question his identity. I’m not saying that he questions his sexuality; he is hetero. However, I do believe for the first time, Jamie isn’t sure he can trust himself. He feels betrayed by his own body and mind. Adding to the confusion is BJR’s use of pain and mental gamesmanship. We know that Jamie does recover enough to be with Claire and they go on to live their lives. But, the fact that he was able to have a functioning relationship with Claire? A miracle
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe there was some sound scientific theory behind Claire’s rescue attempt. She used his own weakened and traumatized mind to set him free. It was sort of like a version of aversion therapy. She exposed him to what he feared, but this time…he got to fight back. His Highland Warrior spirit fought its way home. It makes sense, but the fact that it worked? A miracle.
Like so many of us who journey through this world with the baggage of our past, Jamie must find a way to carry his knowledge and pain. He was going to die…so, now how does he live? The aftermath of Wentworth is living a life with a self-image, a core, that has been torn apart and patched back together. The scars are always there. Jamie is not the same man he once was. And… he discovered things about himself in that dungeon he didn’t know and now regrets knowing.
Jamie came to his wedding bed a virgin. His experience of sex up until Wentworth was found in the arms of his loving wife. Like many men, I believe Jamie closely relates sex to love. In fact, in one of the later books, Claire makes a comment to Jamie that love and sex are actually two different things. Jamie’s reply is that for him …they are very close. He associates sex with love. How confused must he be by his own body and its traitorous response to Black Jack’s “acts of love” .
In Dragonfly in Amber, Jamie has returned home from a night observing and resisting debauchery. He and Claire fight and he admits it was a near thing;
“Too close,” he repeated, moving back a bit. “It was too damn close, Sassenach, and it scared me.” …”…it was … well, those women. What I felt like with them. I didna want them, truly not …” … “But the … the lusting, I suppose ye’d call it … that was … too close to what I feel sometimes for you, and it … well, it doesna seem right to me.” …“I always thought it would be a simple matter to lie wi’ a woman,” he said softly. “And yet … I want to fall on my face at your feet and worship you”— he dropped the towel and reached out, taking me by the shoulders— “and still I want to force ye to your knees before me, and hold ye there wi’ my hands tangled in your hair, and your mouth at my service … and I want both things at the same time , Sassenach.” He ran his hands up under my hair and gripped my face between them, hard. “I dinna understand myself at all, Sassenach! Or maybe I do.” …“Such things— the knowledge of them, I mean— it came to me soon after … after Wentworth.”… “I thought at the first that Jack Randall had stolen a bit of my soul, and then I knew it was worse than that. All of it was my own, and had been all along; it was only he’d shown it to me, and made me know it for myself. That’s what he did that I canna forgive, and may his own soul rot forever in hell”…“You’ll lie wi’ me now,” he said quietly. “And I shall use ye as I must. And if you’ll have your revenge for it, then take it and welcome, for my soul is yours, in all the black corners of it.”
This story of a woman and the man that she loves is so much more than a romance or an adventure. To me, the books and show are a monument to what it means to be human and … to the power of true love.
“Blessed is the influence of one true loving soul on another” Unknown
122 thoughts on “He Thought He Was Going to Die… now… how does he live… Outlander Episode 15 & 16”
Thank you so much!
Wow. This is an incredible post, on an incredible blog. your sensitivity and your ability to convey your thoughts always touch me.
Thank you! Grateful to all of you who read!
Wow. Thank you for putting into words what I was thinking. 20+ years ago I read these books, and seeing them brought to life, is nothing short of spectacular. I was a young bride and headstrong. I remember reading these books and seeing such a parallel with Jamie’s thought processes to my husbands. These books really made me step back and appreciate my husband, The reminder of that revelation 20 years later was much needed, and the best thing is he watches the show with me, and doesn’t even make the connection. I look forward to seeing how they deal with the finale, and the flashbacks, and I am even more excited to watching this for years to come.
I love it! I’ve been telling my DH for years he would love Jamie because their values were so similar! He’s watching too! TY!
Thank you so much. I have read the books also and Wentworth Prison was hard to watch. However, I knew what came after so there was a little peace in my heart.
I’m re-reading the books again as I watch the series. My emotions at times are raw from the sheer force of what is appearing before me, both on TV and again in the books. Despite having read the books many years ago, I’m still finding they push every button in my heart and mind! I have just read past the part in Voyager where Jamie is forced to be with Geneva (no details here to hopefully avoid spoilers….). Again DG writes the scene with such clarity describing what the characters would be doing and feeling. Her abilities to put emotions on paper just astonishes me! Now with the visual depth of these incredible actors as the characters, in re-reading the books, these scenes just jump from the page to the soul. I can barely breathe at times, much less sleep at night.
As most readers have written before me, your blog speaks to each of my reactions to this TV series so sincerely. I only wish you had been reading the books along with me, when I thought I was the only one who knew about Outlander! To have shared you thoughts 20 plus years ago would have made my discovery of Outlander complete!
What a lovely compliment and what a sincere expression of appreciation for Diana’s work! Thank YOU!
So much of what you wrote I can relate to.. the trauma… lasting effects. I was sexually molested when only eight years old. Maybe that’s why the arousal is something that didn’t happen then. All I remember is fear and pain and later shame.
Your post brought tears as you so beautifully expressed what these books are, not a romance but following a relationship over the years and their continual reaction to each other and what happens to them.
thank you Beth for the beautiful blog. You have expressed so much of what I have felt watching the series.I met Jamie and Claire over 20yrs ago.I have read and read the books.To me they are like family and it tears me up to see Jamie hurt so badly.I feel better knowing that Claire rescues him from the depths of hell. thank you again
Thank you and yes it’s GOOD to know the end of the story! whew!
Incredibly beautiful and well written!
wow, just wow……beautifully said and thank you! I decided that I could NOT watch the Wentworth episode…I decided that what I saw in my mind’s eye when i read it was enough….i did not have to SEE the actual blood and broken bones, and the terror/shame…..DG made it very visceral for me and that was enough….but the scenes in the abbey, and the conversations in DIA helped Jamie and Claire heal and DG made me understand that as well. this is such a great story and I LOVE being able to share it with the Outlander community….I never had anyone I could talk to about the books, or the story or the characters until this series came to life….I am very thankful for the many talented people I have “met” through blogs, etc.
I know what you mean! My family has no idea how immersed I am! LOL!
Thank you for such a beautiful blog. I am a late comer, never new about the books, until the show. Then I rushed out to get them. Theirs is turly a story of love, survival and growth with one another. I cried again as read your blog.
Beautifully written. I watched as I can’t not watch. It was such a defining monent in both their lives. It affects him and them 30 years down the track still. It is never glossed over and forgotten.
Sheer brilliance in acting as will next weeks be. I am sure these books and show hold my heart in its hands.
I have a deep abiding faith in the human spirit especially one that has seen its dark side, survived and returned a more whole person – scarred, but more whole. For the person who hasn’t seen that dark side of themselves, they truly aren’t whole. There are place they are afraid to go; there are things they can not do; and there are thoughts they can not tolerate. The fear of such places governs and rules their lives. Whereas the person who has been to the bottom and dug himself/herself out, is a more complete person. They are not governed by their fears; they meet them head on.
Jamie couldn’t have been the person that he becomes in DiA, Voy, DoA, TFC, Breath, Echo and Moby without having discovered the failings within himself. True, it scared him in the brothel in DiA, but he didn’t follow through with his feelings…he was able to see what they were and that they weren’t what he wanted, even though his body was telling him differently. He knew the difference because he had gone to the dark place courtesy of BJR and with Claire’s help survived.
A lot of people think that folks who haven’t gone through such traumas are more whole than those who have. I disagree. It’s those who have gone through trials/traumas and survive who have more character, firmness of conviction and depth that the others can not even dream of.
Same as my skin shows more wrinkles with time, my voice is lower, my hair is grey (OK, I dye it and it _looks_ blond), my character and soul have cuts and gashes that have healed with time but are scared, but they also make me a much more stable, sound and sure person.
Jamie could never be either comfortable or at ease with the “Himself-ness” that he becomes in the later books without Wentworth. Yeah, in our dreams we wish this would not have happened to him; yeah, our hearts cry out; and we wonder “What in the world was DG thinking?” But having gone through that, he understands so much more not only about himself but of what’s possible with a life and what’s possible for his life.
thank you! I agree with everything you said!
fantastic article, very insightful;