Monday, August 2, 2010

Black Jack Randall is the Devil

Spoiler Alert: Dinna read unless you have read Dragonfly in Amber.

After a particularly busy weekend that involved a wedding, weekend guests and an invitation to a party at a local yacht club (dahhhling) - I finally got a quiet moment to sit down and blog this AM. Only problem - I'm having a really hard time. Why? Because I just got through the horrendous stretch of Jamie being kidnapped, tortured, raped, seasick and finally horrendously dazed and confused at the abbey. How do you banter about that? It was not easy to read - even a second time. Oh no it wasn't. And I knew it wouldn't be. As I've said so many times before in this series, I felt like Jesus at the Garden of Olives; Lord, please let this cup pass over me...

Here's the thing. As hard as it was to read all of that (well, listen to all of that) I keep thinking about Dragonfly. I keep wondering how Claire could have had a problem in the least with Jamie wanting to kill Jack Randall after all the things he did to Jamie - Frank or no Frank. But at the same time - I wonder how Jamie could have not have fallen at Claire's feet and begged for forgiveness at the country home in France when she had lost Faith and almost died. After everything SHE has been through - saving his life at the abbey - she deserved more than she got. Yes, yes, he told her how much he loved her and was so sad and blah blah blah - but come on now. I don't even see where conversation was needed. Only "Claire. I. Was. Wrong."

Now - do you see what a perplexing paradox this is for me?! I'm annoyed at HER for stopping him from killing Jack Randall - and I'm annoyed at HIM for not kissing her ass enough over him almost killing Jack Randall! Holy hell - I've confused the crap out of myself!

I will leave you with this thought, sassenachs: I'm headed to the sulfur spring. I feel like it's a fantastic dessert I have earned after long hours of hard work slaying dragons.

Let the swimming begin...

23 comments:

  1. And yet, as we all know, (SPOILER...), Frank's existence didn't even depend on Black Jack's life - well, maybe his name - Randall, but not his life. Near as I can figure, it's DGs way of confusing us all with the whole time-traveling issue of can your actions in the past really change the future as you know it question. But, I'm totally with you about the whole Claire wanting Jamie to not kill BJR - in fact, I was wondering why he didn't just kill him as soon as he came back from showing Claire the way out of Wentworth. I mean, come on, as far as Jamie knew he was gonna be hangit in the morning - might as well be really guilty of the crime he had been accused of. If I was Claire I think I would have been like, "Hell, yeah, kill the bastard. In fact, stand back, I gotta get my turn with this dirk I keep hidden in my sock! After all, I already told Frank 'so long, dude!' Why should I care if he's never born?" ... On the other hand - no Frank, no marriage, no second honeymoon, no trip through the stones, no Jamie... See what I mean? That DG can sure twist us up in a knot, can't she. Jeez - my head hurts!

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  2. You're coming up to my most favoritist scene in the whole series. Jamie is examining his right hand, every finger broken and swollen, the scars and stitches, and begins to cry over it. Then Claire walks in and... sorry, I must find a handkerchief in my reticule. Sniff.
    How different his life would have been if she'd amputated.. like Fergus.

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  3. Terry, I agree. That is one of my favorite scenes where Jamie is crying over having his hand saved. A beautiful, subtle way of showing the reader how Jamie and Claire, for all of the their love for each other, really are in different "times." Claire: modern medicine wasn't enough, Jamie: amazed by Claire's skill to save his hand.

    Carol: If Jamie had killed BJR early on in the books, then who would dg set up to be the antagonist? Stephen Bonnet proved to be pretty evil, but BJR filled the role nicely, especially because of his tie with Frank. As a writer, I understand why dg did what she did. As a reader, I'm with you - I wanted the satisfaction of vindication on Jamie's part.

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  4. Christie--the fact that Jamie didn't kill BJR after Claire left shows everything about his honor and integrity--he made a promise to save Claire's life, and there was no way he was going to go back on that promise, no matter how horrible the consequences to himself were. For me, the tough part came later in D in A, when


    SPOILER


    Claire did the SAME thing for him (by getting him out of the Bastille and sleeping with Louis). So it's ok for HIM to sacrifice something to save the one he loves, but not her? Sigh--that's Jamie's stubborn pride at work, I guess.

    Also--I still find it sort of strange that (as far as I remember anyway), there's no "Frank will never be born" regret from Claire when she thinks BJR has been trampled to death in Outlander. Or am I just not remembering it? It becomes a little strange then, in D in A, when that regret completely controls Claire's motivations re: Jamie getting revenge. Maybe it's just a function of DG writing Outlander in isolation, without a plan for future books--once she knew that a #2 was a possibility, the Frank regret became the basis for a good conflict...

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  5. SPOILER CONVERSATION (All 7 BOOKS) ....

    I never felt like Jamie really got revenge. Throughout 7 books I kept waiting to hear what really happened at Culloden but we only got glimpses. We never really got to see his dual with BJR (in Dragonfly) it was just in the back ground so I never felt like it was resolved. Do any of you know if DG is planning on showing us more?

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  6. Elizabeth--good point. I don't know for sure what DG is planning in that regard, but we've seen that Jamie's memories of what happened have been slowly coming back, so I would think that it's likely that we'll find out at some point before the series is done...

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  7. Elizabeth and Tracey, for some reason I thought as Jamie met BJR on the fields of Colloden, Murtagh came in with the coup de gras, therefor keeping the oath he made to Ellen to always watch over Jamie. I don't know why I think this but if it is true Jamie never does get revenge.

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  8. I don't know why my memory is so hazy with the memories of Culloden, maybe because Jamies are hazy but I remember Muragh being there and saving Jamie (right?) but we don't get the whole story. Only that Jamie took off after BJR and Murtagh. Could someone remind me of those scenes? Also, what is the coup de gras again? Wow maybe I should just reread the whole series! :)

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  9. coup de gras = the killing blow (I think)

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  10. Yeah, you know... I think we - the reader - deserve to know exactly what took place between Jamie and Jack Randall at Culloden. Then again - I kindof got the feeling Diana was working toward it... and I figured she will reveal more about it eventually. What REALLY bugged the crap out of me was the kindness Jamie showed BJR when his brother died and Jamie led him out by the arm and helped him to his room.

    EW EW EW EW EW EW EW and EW!!!!!!

    After having read these horrendous scenes again.. I am ten times more shocked than I was when I read that in Dragonfly. I get the whole "being kind to someone who just lost a family member" thing but COME THE EFF ON, MAN!!!!! Hell I'd have killed him with my bare hands right in front of his dying brother - if I were CLAIRE - let alone Jamie.

    And as for the time travel thing - this is what I have concluded after having read 7 of these books: Claire is where she is. Even if she arranged it so Frank was never born (by killing BJR's bro, let's say) that gold ring was never going to disappear a la George McFly's picture in Back to the Future. Whatever is with you - is with you.

    Just my opinion. :)

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  11. I'm on vacation, but the beach house has free wi-fi, and I just had to chime in! I'm up to this exact part in Dragonfly when Jamie cuts off his hair and then Claire begs him not to kill BJR. I must say that at this exact moment, I don't like Claire very much. She's sneaky and goes behind Jamie's back just to save BJR's private parts! And then she hides the fact that Dougal was there and helped her w/ the police (btw, totally forgot he showed up.) I dunno, it's really bothering me right now. And the funny thing is, I kept saying to myself, the gold ring is still there...it didn't disappear like George McFly's brother. LOL! Very dark beach reading, I had to put it aside for a bit.

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  12. Carol, I agree with you about it being paradoxical. I really wanted to say to Claire, "Um, hello?? Do you not remember exactly what BJR did to the love of your life?! Let him kill the bastard!" But at the same time, Jaime was being a stubborn clotheid and needed to beg for forgiveness over Faith and the near loss of Claire's life. (Even though it may or may not have been because of the duel...but if there is any chance, apologize, yo!)

    As far as the readings go--even thought I find it very hard to read through the rape scene with BJR and of course the frustrating "please, please don't kill BJR," dueling and miscarriage scenes, I actually have found myself reading them several times over. Not because I enjoy them, but I think I'm fascinated with the details. That's some craziness, after all!

    And for time travel--I don't think the death of BJR (even if he was actually Frank's direct ancestor) would have affected the "here and now" with Jamie. Assuming a person can only exist at one point in time, what happened in the actual future is essentially Claire's past and therefore done and over with--and real. So, the ring wouldn't have disappeared and Claire would still be in the 18th century. At least that's how I see it.

    Wow, that was a long comment. I dinna mean for it. ;-)

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  13. I feel like I have two new best friends! Thank you for your YouTube videos and blog site. Now I have someone in which to talk about Outlander!

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  14. OK, I just listened to Jamie at the Abbey describing his nightmare of being flogged by BJR. And just from hearing that one minute of dialogue....wow. Heartbreaking.

    If I were Claire in Dragonfly, not only would I have encouraged Jamie to go eff up BJR in a duel, I would have thrown on my 18th century cheerleading costume, set up some bleachers, and encouraged the crowd to do the wave whilst the duel was commencing, and then sat down with popcorn to loudly cheer Jamie on. If, that is, I didn't just borrow a pistol and shoot the mofo myself.

    I soooooooooooo loathe BJR.

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  15. first of all, why would the ring disappear in the past even if frank was a direct descedent? The past is operating on its own time loop. Everything that is happening there is happening there, she came with teh rind so nothing is going to make it poof anymore then killing a great great grandmother of claire's would make her poof. no one and no thing is poffing because of changes in the poast effecting the future. There is not future, since it hasnt happened. I think traveling back in time is very believeable and plausible, its hte traveling forward in time that doesnt make any sense at all because that insinutates that everything really has already happened and then you have the poofing problem with anything you change in the past, I think you have to make up your mind, if you can travel back and forward, then you have the george mcfly syndrome, if you can only travel back (the way it should have been if you ask me, she shoudl never have been able to go "back to the future") then everything is fine becuase there is no future, so change anything you damn well please. Just my opinion on this lazy friday morning :)

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  16. Let me make on other comment about the Jamie/claire conflict with BJR and if they shoudl have killed him or not. Claire is a doctor, she has taken a hippocratic oath, she has to save lives regardless if she can, simple as that, she can't let harm come to anyone of she can prevent it. Mind you that doesnt have anything to do with her being able to kill people in self-defense, she can still do that, but after she defended herself and was safe from harm, she would still dr. the person if she could and save them, so you can't expect her to do anything different with BJR regardless. I also think it was really good that it was fuzzy about whether or not jamie killed him at culloden because, thats how it shoudl be, you have to let your demons rest and not let them get the best of you. revenge is for the weak, jamie is above that and needs to get over it and doesnt need to be the one who actually did the killing, dead is dead. Also, I think in the end they both feel sad for BJr, they realize he is a kinky sad little man who can't help himself, and in his own demented way, he couldnt help himself, they feel sorry for him cause they are bigger people then he is.

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  17. You know what, chickstar? You are totally, 100% right. The fact that Jamie is able to progressively forgive BJR throughout the series (and I love how it IS something he works on continuously, almost as if he's a recovering alcoholic or drug addict) is one of the most moving, inspiring aspects of this whole series, IMO. The scene in Drums, for example,


    SPOILER



    right after he has the "chat" with Bree in the barn, when he's looking up at the sky and thinking about BJR and forgiveness--that scene moves me nearly to tears and really shows just what kind of stuff Jamie is made of.

    COMMA HOWEVER...

    When you're experiencing what he went through in the moment--and for me, it's been even more devastating to listen to it than to read it--well, it's just so hard to see beyond wanting to throttle BJR with my bare hands, and so hard to remember how Claire was able to resist taking revenge in the next book.

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  18. Keep in mind Claire's oath dinna have anything to do with what she wanted to happen BJR as she wasna a Dr. yet. Other than that I do agree with what you said.

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  19. Good points one and all! And right L - Claire was a nurse in Outlander and Dragonfly. She didn't take an oath until she went "Back to the Future" (LOL always a fun thing to say). BJR was dead before she took the oath.

    Welcome Chickster! I have to say - I don't think it's even about revenge - I think it's about ridding the world of this evil piece of filth. Revenge would be secondary. He did it to Alex. He did it to Jamie. He'll do it to someone else. Justice, I say.

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  20. A coup de grĂ¢ce is a death blow to end the suffering of a severely wounded person or animal. It may be a mercy killing of civilians or soldiers, friends or enemies, ...

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  21. I just can't get over it. In no way would I have helped BJR, the person who sent my lover to the depths of hell. No way on earch

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  22. BJR is a shadow of his former self in all his appearances after his duel scene. Justice was served and he didn't torture anyone else. I didn't care about Frank but knew DG would come up with some coincidences to make sure the future would be ok.

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