Women Love Jamie Because He Talks In Bed…why yes,…he does and why yes,…I do

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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

IMG_0427Many 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.

EMOTIONAL JAMIE

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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:

VULNERABLE JAMIE

does-it-stop“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

master“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.

HONEST JAMIE

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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

 POSSESSIVE JAMIE

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 “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.”

Outlander chapt.29- 

Sometimes jealousy is okay and sexy.  Who wouldn’t want to be this man’s wife, heart, and soul?

GENTLE JAMIE

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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

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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.

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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.

Diana reminds me again why I love these books…Jamie and Claire love that lasts.

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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 books romantic elements. Is it a romance? Is it an adventure? Will men like it? 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 in to 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 of 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 everyday?  A hero’s work. These books are more than romance; they are a monument to real love.