I’ve been re-reading The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon and I forgot how many of my favorite scenes were in this book! I think I forget because the focus when people talk about The Fiery Cross is usually about the pages (and more pages) devoted to the gathering that I jokingly (and affectionately) call the longest day ever written. To tell the truth, it was a bit of a slough the first time I read it, but true to almost everything Diana has written, over time, I have grown to appreciate those chapters more and more. She has become my favorite writer and as a person who fancies herself a writer, I’m always eager to read anything about Diana’s writing process or what she thinks about her own characters. I want a keek at her brain! So, I was thrilled when I recently got a delightful glimpse into her thoughts about her well beloved character James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser… who talks in bed.
Erin Conrad, of Three If By Space, tweeted from an EW fan convention that Diana, responding to a fan question, said the reason women love Jamie is “because he talks in bed”. I giggle-snorted when I read this and then thought, “Why yes,..yes, he does and it is definitely swoon worthy”. In fact, some of my favorite Jamie moments are found in their bed.
There has been a lot of discussion in the fandom about what we hope to see in season 3 of Outlander on Starz. One of the biggest things fans hope to see is more time in bed with Jamie and Claire. Some want to see them make love because let’s face it , Diana wrote some fantastic love scenes and as one of my readers put it, “I’m not paying Starz to use my imagination!” Yep. Another reason some fans lament the lack of sex in season 2 is that they miss the communication that happens when those two are in bed together. Sex is an integral part of how they communicate with each other, it is often how they connect when words just aren’t sufficient or there are no words. However, the things Jamie does say in bed…sigh…are funny, playful, moving, tender words that really could move a heart to love him.
I tried to think of my favorite moments and to tell the truth it just isn’t possible! Each time I would think I’d narrowed my choice down another heart warming or pounding moment would leap to mind. From Outlander to Written in My Heart’s Own Blood, the relationship between the two is both revealed and shaped in their bed and choosing a favorite seems impossible because each moment is a part of the whole, each moment important.
During their honeymoon, Claire muses about finding herself the sexually experienced one in the relationship and thinks “…there are in fact only a limited number of ways in which two bodies can meet, and we had not yet established that territory of intimacy in which the act of love takes infinite variety.” Diana has always maintained that writing a good sex scene isn’t about the exchange of body fluids, but about the emotional connection. Jamie and Claire’s sex life moves into the territory of “infinite variety” because of what is said in their bed and each “coming together” becomes unique and important. It is the words that are said between the two that make the physical act meaningful. When Jamie and Claire are in bed it is as if the world goes away and he speaks to her as we all wish our men would speak to us, open and vulnerable because they trust us to be gentle with their hearts.
JAMIE THE COMIC
Many of the moments in Jamie and Claire’s bed are funny; what animals have you seen, hedgehogs, and the King of Ireland come to mind. When Claire returns to him in Voyager the importance of these moments becomes clear when Jamie tells Claire he never thought he would laugh in a woman’s bed again. Being able to laugh together in bed is rare gift of intimacy and comfortableness.
“Aye, well,” he said. “I dinna recall Adam’s asking God to take back Eve—and look what she did to him.” He leaned forward and kissed my forehead as I laughed, then drew the blanket up over my bare shoulders. “Go to sleep, my wee rib. I shall be needin’ a helpmeet in the morning.”
OUTLANDER Chapter 36:
Their laughter often makes me as teary eyed as their more serious moments. But, the serious moments are so revealing and represent the many different levels of intimacy.
One of my favorite things about Jamie is his gratefulness and I’m always moved by his expressions of gratitude for what God has given him and that most certainly includes his relationship with Claire.
“And yet”—he turned me toward him, hand closing gently over one breast—“yet when I think of you wi’ my child at your breast….then I feel as though I’ve gone hollow as a soap bubble, and perhaps I shall burst with joy.”
He pressed me tight against his chest, and I hugged him with all my might.
“Oh, Claire, ye do break my heart wi’ loving you.”
DRAGONFLY IN AMBER Chapter 6:
“Does it ever stop? The wanting you?” “Even when I’ve just left ye, I want you so much my chest feels tight and my fingers ache with wanting to touch ye again.” OUTLANDER, Chapter 17
I loved this scene because of the awe and wonder he expresses. To me this is the moment when he begins to understand that sex is more than the physical act. Every woman wants to hear that a man cannot stop feeling desire for her and that he aches for her.
JAMIE IN CHARGE
“Not yet. We’ve time. And I mean to hear ye groan like that again. And to moan and sob, even though you dinna wish to, for ye canna help it. I mean to make you sigh as though your heart would break, and scream with the wanting, and at last to cry out in my arms, and I shall know that I’ve served ye well.” OUTLANDER, Chapter 41
This scene signaled that Jamie has come into his own as a lover and that Claire is no longer the teacher and he the pupil. He has become aware that he has the power to make her feel and he revels in it. She, I’m sure, revels in his power, as well. Take charge Jamie is hot.
Jamie is a very emotionally mature man, a man who takes ownership of his perceived failings. His honesty is startling and endearing and gives Claire permission to reveal her own confusion and weaknesses. He makes her feel emotionally safe with his openess.
“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 you 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.” DRAGONFLY IN AMBER Chapter 17
“All right,” he whispered. His eyes bored into mine, daring me to close them, forcing me to hold his gaze. “All right. And ye wish it, I shall punish you.” He moved his hips against me in imperious command, and I felt my legs open for him, my gates thrown wide to welcome ravishment.
“Never,” he whispered to me. “Never. Never another but me! Look at me! Tell me! Look at me, Claire!” He moved in me, strongly, and I moaned and would have turned my head, but he held my face between his hands, forcing me to meet his eyes, to see his wide, sweet mouth, twisted in pain.
“Never,” he said, more softly. “For you are mine. My wife, my heart, my soul.”
Sometimes jealousy is okay and sexy. Who wouldn’t want to be this man’s wife, heart, and soul?
I’ve often told my husband those moments when he is gentle are extremely meaningful to me. When he looks tenderly into my eyes and touches my face gently with his big hands, I feel cherished. Jamie has so many of those moments when his gentleness lets Claire know she is cherished. This scene when she wakes and finds he is watching her sleep and murmuring his love to her makes me tearful everytime.
“What is it, love?” I whispered. “Jamie, I do love you.”
“I know it,” he said quietly. “I do know it, my own. Let me tell ye in your sleep how much I love you. For there’s no so much I can be saying to ye while ye wake, but the same poor words, again and again. While ye sleep in my arms, I can say things to ye that would be daft and silly waking, and your dreams will know the truth of them. Go back to sleep, mo duinne.”
I turned my head, enough that my lips brushed the base of his throat, where his pulse beat slow beneath the small three-cornered scar. Then I laid my head upon his chest and gave my dreams up to his keeping. OUTLANDER CHAPT 45
JAMIE A LOVE FOR ALL TIME
Every woman wants to find a mutually passionate relationship. She hopes to find someone she feels free to love with all her heart . Jamie’s ability to express his love for Claire is nothing short of poetic.
“I was dead, my Sassenach–and yet all that time, I loved you.”
I closed my eyes, feeling the tickle of the grass on my lips, light as the touch of sun and air.
“I loved you, too,” I whispered. “I always will.”
The grass fell away. Eyes still closed, I felt him lean toward me, and his mouth on mine, warm as sun, light as air.
“So long as my body lives, and yours–we are one flesh,” he whispered. His fingers touched me, hair and chin and neck and breast, and I breathed his breath and felt him solid under my hand. Then I lay with my head on his shoulder, the strength of him supporting me, the words deep and soft in his chest.
“And when my body shall cease, my soul will still be yours. Claire–I swear by my hope of heaven, I will not be parted from you.”
DRUMS OF AUTUMN, chapter 16
Jamie has raised talking in bed to an art form and we readers find ourselves appreciating his talent…a lot. I know that Jamie is a fictional man and perhaps ideal, but I can’t help but believe that real men could learn a thing or two about talking in bed from him. Diana has created a man who makes us love pillow talk and him.