Before I embark on my first voyage to Scotland, I’ve been reading “Voyager”, the third book of Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” book series. This is not only the first time I’m reading the book but also reading it before I watch the season on Starz TV. I’m sensing a theme of a lot of firsts!
I’m reading the mass-market paperback and I’m about to begin Chapter 20 “Diagnosis”. Many things have happened up until this point and there are a few sticking points I have to gripe about so I can get it off my chest.
For those of you that don’t want spoilers, haven’t read the book and want to wait to see Season 3, then please take a look at some of the other spoiler-free posts I’ve written!
For those of you who have read “Voyager” and perhaps the subsequent books – Please! I beg no spoilers for what may happen later in the book(s) but for now, humor me….
Frank & Claire
I am chomping at the bit to see Tobias Menzies and Caitriona Balfe kill it in Season 3! Book 3 provides a few answers to Frank and Claire’s marriage and so far the strains in their relationship brook no question as to the compromises and sacrifices each of them make. To me it’s clear that both have tried to make the best of it but underneath the veneers of propriety that society expected of marriage at the time, the emotional fissures between them widened and further separated them over the years. Their last moments together at the house left me sad. Is this what it’s come to? After all these years, there’s nothing but resentment and bitterness for the choices each of them made save for the one bright spot that was Brianna. The image of Claire at the hospital with Frank after the accident made me sad for the both of them.
Say what you will but it’s clear to me that Frank supported Claire in her career choice the best he knew how. He wasn’t perfect but neither was she and his infidelities seemed to bother her only a little because maybe (pure speculation) she never allowed herself to open up to someone else and instead held onto a ghost all those years.
Jamie & Geneva
None of us ever want Claire and Jamie to have sex with anyone else but each other! Having said that they are human and therefore have needs and in all the years they’re apart I imagined that at least something would have to happen between Claire and Frank. Jamie? Well I didn’t want to think about it too much.
I accepted when Mary McNabb offers herself to him (she’s so sweet and at this point in her life, why not try to “lay with laird” ya know? Girl, you’re worth it and you deserve it!) and Jamie reluctantly though logically complies. Fine! I get it! I accept it.
What I don’t accept is this nonsense with Geneva. First and foremost, Jamie rapes her and don’t try to change my mind about it! When Geneva was cast, I noticed some online fervor about a scene in “Voyager” that people talked about. I didn’t look too much into it (tried to block out the spoilers) but now that I’ve come across this infamous scene, I can now say oh yes he totally did that! Yet, I wasn’t that surprised. Jamie Fraser has done some other questionable things in the past books (hey how about that moment in Book 3 where he kicks the dog?) that put a slight tarnish on the golden veneer that many fans cast him in but I don’t mind it. Diana has to make her characters infallible otherwise they would not be very interesting and one reason why we read her stories is because of the characters’ complexity.
Was I happy as he climbed through her window at the dead of night to make up his part of the bargain? No. Is she a brat? Of course! Doesn’t mean she deserved anything more than a swift boot to the ass but an octogenarian husband? I can live with that.
But the part that I really don’t like? Willie. I really despise that twist in the plot. I hate the idea that he had a child with someone else particularly with that manipulative brat! I really don’t like it. I can’t say enough about how much I don’t like it. Did I say how much I don’t like it?
Change my mind Diana! Sell it to me! How ya gonna turn that plot twist into something I might like later? How is this going to be something I might change my mind about? I’ll be waiting…
Lord John Grey
If I have to read about another chess match…
I know there are a few novellas dedicated to him but go away John. As you pine away for Jamie in the cold dampness of the prison harboring your own secrets, I have yet to find you compelling. Not even your gesture to relocate Jamie and dedicate him to indentured servitude on a nice English estate makes me fond of your character.
Oh and what a surprise you have a thing for Jamie – We ALL have a thing for Jamie! Line up!!
I understand that any problems I have thus far may only be the beginning or might change later. I am only a quarter of the way through “Voyager” and aside from a few gripes I am enjoying it.
It’s a little strange reading everything before I watch Season 3 though. This will be the first time that I’ll anticipate certain scenes or characters before I see them! After watching Season 1 and 2, I really enjoyed reading “Outlander” and “Dragonfly in Amber”. The books provided more insight into some of the characters or alternate versions of events. Because I work in film and TV, I thoroughly enjoy seeing how the writers adapt the book for the show. It’s fascinating!
I am aware of at least one occurrence in this book that I cannot verbalize nor type. It’s too dreadful. So I’ll let you wonder what that may be as I pretend it won’t happen…cause it won’t.
I’ll be in Scotland in less than 2 weeks! You’re welcome to click & follow me on my Voyage: Twitter @urbanoutlander, Instagram: The Urban Outlander, subscribe on Youtube, Like on Facebook!
You summed up the relationship between Claire and Frank very well. After what they each experienced following Claire’s fall through the stones there couldn’t have been a in a walk in the roses reunion. Frank had to have been angry underneath as much as mostly sad, even normal bereavement includes anger, and this would have brought that part of his feelings out. He still did a wonderful, and very much in character thing, in the way he tried with Claire and succeeded with Briana. I think its realistic that they each did their best, some think Frank more than Claire but, as you say, all characters are human and once the writer committed Claire to Jamie to the extent she did – more in the clearly in the books than in the show so that will be interesting – it would have been unrealistic to have had things go more smoothly. On the other hand, who knows how Frank would have reacted even if Claire had been able to fully recommit, would he have gotten over his anger? I like their complexity and I like both characters for the fact that they each and accept each other the best they can.
Jamie and Geneva. Boy was I yelling at my book through that. On one side, the power conflict between them summed up everything in the books in that regard, all the pain Jamie has suffered from each aspect: class, imprisonment, as well as danger to family and Jacobites in Scotland and France from English, Jamie’s need to protect them at any cost. The cost wouldn’t have been from having sex with Geneva but being hung for it if caught – with letters found as well. I’m a big one for consensual sex, at all points in the proceedings, but it was never consensual. Would I have preferred that she was just a brat and struggled at the last minute instead of actually screaming take it out? Yes. But, as written it was rape. Jamie repents not having figured out another way, as the adult, but his life was not that simple and I had to accept his reaction of “ef” it, what if he stopped and she claimed he reneged and the deal was off. As a reader, I wish I hadn’t had to make that stretch.
One thing that gets me in trouble is saying that there are moments between Jamie and Claire when consent is questionable and why. It is in the context of a marriage in which Claire has made it clear – since their honeymoon – that she likes a bit of roughness, and can return it, and also likes that Jamie takes the lead as she can when she wants. But the bit of bodice ripping, that author and readers deny, is there. Jamie and Claire are by far my favorite fictional couple by a long shot, I love love love them, and have read the books countless time, enjoying them thoroughly in each, but I still call a bodice a bodice.
William, lots to come, as always with these books agony and ecstasy, and you’ll have to decide if the character is worth it in the long run. When he appeared, my heart did break for Claire.
Lord John Grey. I am going to follow to see what you think as the series progresses. I love your conclusion that we all have a thing for Jamie! Line up!
Thank you Diane for your wonderful comments and for being reasonable! I wish we didn’t have to make that stretch for the Jamie/Geneva scene as well. Ho hum…I’m glad that you also see the questionable consent that sometimes happens between Jamie and Claire. Sometimes I am never sure if Diana is purposely “stoking the fire” for us readers to have these heated discussions about their consent or ethics etc. Probably not but sometimes I wonder how much are her characters mouthpieces for her true opinions/thoughts. This may not be entirely fair since I can ask this question about any fiction writer but I only wonder because it’s a theme that continually pops up so far and I know there’s more to come. I’ll google her opinions about this scene in particular at some point. And you’re right about the “bodice ripper” element. Sometimes the books can have elements of a “bodice ripper” but still rip off other things as well
William…yes my heart broke too for Claire and I think that’s why I don’t like the child! Lol! He was supposed to be hers! Not that brat’s!
The Voyage continues! Thanks again.
I’m glad you linked to this on the OL Cast Clan page because I’m enjoying discovering your past posts as well! I joined in on the discussion on the Clan page (where I use my middle name, Bella) and added a related iffy point, the whole couldn’t stop if he wanted to theme. I take it as creative license in the rest of the books but in the case of Geneva, I would have preferred Jamie to have been too pissed at being constantly ordered and toyed with to stop, than the bit about he couldn’t have stopped if he wanted to.
A little bit like “bodice ripping,” he can’t stop is another trope common romance novels that permitted sex (I think Harlequin didn’t allow it until the 1990’s.) I’m sure you know the theory that it was liberating for some female readers who only allowed themselves to enjoy the sex scenes when the woman did not make the sinful choice. If she was overpowered by a man – preferably if he could not control himself because he was so passionately in love with her – it was okay to enjoy reading on. If that’s a way that someone is able to enjoy reading about sex, then I might call it a public service to reach that audience. In any case Diana Gabaldon is a prodigious reader. I’m sure that before she started the series she had been influenced by all genres. She says she included as many as possible in the first book since it was an experiment she never thought would be published. From her interviews, I’m not sure how much she consciously plants, you can already see that she has broad themes that fascinate her. There’s just so much, I’m sure it makes her think and that any author would be happy to make readers think. I’m interested in her POV but, for example, whether she thinks Geneva isn’t raped or that BJR isn’t gay doesn’t mean that she wasn’t or that he isn’t.
Sorry to have gone on so long, hope it made sense. And, yes, very excited for S3!
No apologies for going on! Makes total sense.Thanks for stopping by Diane! So interesting your point about romance novels and their tropes that are reflected a little in the books. Yes if that’s how one is to enjoy reading about sex (women not making the choice and being overtaken by a man) than it was a public service in the beginning but I hope romance novels have evolved! I don’t read them so my knowledge of the genre is out of my depth. I imagine there are some that have but others perhaps haven’t. Also, I keep going back to what was the author’s intent and is it clear in the text? I haven’t googled yet but it appears by your message that Diana didn’t think she was raped? I just don’t see that in the text and granted, my interpretation is colored by my own bias and prejudice but alas this is what sparks all of our debates and discussions of these books! <3