Thursday, February 18, 2010

Part 4 - Part 1

SPOILER ALERT: Dinna read until you have finished chapter 29 in A Breath of Snow and Ashes.

Weeeel....I've done it. I've read chapters 27 - 29. I'm somewhere in chapter 30 right now. I have a ton to say - but I expect it to come out in dribs and drabs over multiple blog entries. Thus, the "part 1".

The first thing that comes to mind is the debate about why Jamie wanted to have sex with Claire so soon after she was raped. (My god that sounds straight out of As the World Turns, does it not?!)

I did not have a problem with this for multiple reasons.

1) Jamie was worrit about Claire being pregnant. My 21st century mind wants to say "snicker" at that. But his 18th century mind doesna understand women's fertility in their 50s, much less the fact that Claire is clearly already experiencing Menopause (hot flash, anyone?)

What I don't get is why Claire is subscribing to this line of thinking. Not only does she know she has only the slightest chance of conceiving at child at this stage of her life, she also knows where she is in her cycle. Well that is, if she had a cycle. I believe she has said she's already started having very erratic and sometimes non-existent periods. So why is she buying into this 18th century bunk?

Which leads me to point #2.

2) Jamie has been raped and knows how one can totally withdraw from the world afterward. I don't think he is consciously thinking it's because of that so much... but I think it truly is a huge reason in the back of his mind. And in the front of Claire's. I think she knows only too well what can happen after seeing Jamie suffer through that.

3) Neither of them knows what the hell to do. They're just standing there - looking at each other - looking for answers that are not going to come. Not right away at least. They needed to be together. Would I have rathered a nice night of Jamie holding Claire in his arms while she cried? (a la Edward Cullen when Bella sends Jacob packing in Eclipse) Oh absolutely. Although I absolutely LOVED that Jamie understood Claire's rage once he turned the situation around in his mind...and knew she had to get it out to overcome it. That was just a beautiful thing to watch unfold...within such an ugly situation.

OK more later. Have to get my thoughts together on this one...


  1. An excerpt from an email exchange Carol and I had discussing this subject. (BTW, Carol, point 3 is right on the money...)

    It took a lot of reflection to be on board with everything and why he felt that they HAD to have sex right away. And I will say that to some degree, he did take care of her, given that his objective was to make the (required, in his mind) act of having sex as easy as possible. The whole "give me the penicillin shot as a precaution" part. The "we're not going to do this sober" part. Re: not being gentle about it--did he realize--even subconsciously--that she needed to relive and reclaim the experience in the same way he did?

    I just think the whole experience was so traumatic for the both of them, and neither one really knew what was the right thing to do. It was the first time since Faith died that I really worried, "Are they going to get past this?"

  2. I also just have to say reiterate that this whole section took a LOT of processing on my part. I reread the two chapters the next day. And I think it took a full day for the impact of everything that had happened to hit me full-on in a wave of post-traumatic stress. I was in NYC walking to Penn Station the day after reading everything, when all of a sudden It hit me like a ton of bricks--OH MY GOD CLAIRE WAS RAPED!! She was BEATEN TO A BLOODY PULP!! OMG JAMIE SLAUGHTERED A BILLION GUYS!! OMG WHAT IF THEY'RE NOT OK???? Huge panic attack--and the "scared for J/C" feeling stayed with me for quite a while.

  3. Oh, I think they both know she's not pregnant, but Jamie needs an excuse to pull her out of her shocked withdrawn state and added some booze to help things along. She has PTSD, but that won't become a diagnosis until modern times.
    I think Roger played along, too, for he knows Claire's age and the unlikelihood of pregnancy.
    I see you couldna wait longer to read the next section, lass.

  4. The best advice I got on this section was form Tracy - to read it all in one sitting. By the end of it, I was so tense and heartstruck at Claire's predicament I was actually afraid for the animals who took Claire! When he finally arrived, it was more spectacular and fierce than anything I could have imagined.
    I loved that her faith that Jamie would come never wavered, and I love that he never wavered in exacting the ultimate revenge for the crime.
    I was a little annoyed that Claire seems so clueless about her impending menopause! She's so spot on and intuitive in other medical/bodily matters. Maybe it speaks to the heart's yearning to have another child...
    What a heart wrenching scene! From page 1, this book has been unrelentingly action packed.

  5. "I loved that her faith that Jamie would come never wavered, and I love that he never wavered in exacting the ultimate revenge for the crime. "

    SOOOOOO well said, Sirena!!!!

  6. I think Claire was more in shock and not really thinking clearly to correctly process the information if she could possibly get pregnant or not. After all it was Jamie who brought up the thought not Claire.

    I felt that Jamie and Claire handled everything the best they could.

  7. I've been struggling with it in my mind all day. I'll find myself wishing he'd been more nurturing... but then I'll remember that she didn't really want to be touched after an experience like that. (Shannon pointed out that she kept holding the towel up in front of her this AM at our weekly Outlander coffee.)

    I have to chalk it up to: Is there ever really an appropriate way to act when someone goes through something like that? And two people from two different centuries are going to react totally differently. I just hope we get some tender moments down the road from Jamie. I need that after witnessing everything that has gone on lately between the rape - and the stuff I was bitching about last week with the Indian women. I just need some reminders of Jamie's undying love for Claire (besides killing everyone in sight LOL). Remember in DIA after Faith died... the intensity of him making Claire say she'd never be with anyone but him? Remember him crawling into bed with her in Outlander after she brought him back from the brink of death at the Abbey? Remember him telling her he'd wait 200 years in DIA? I need more of those moments. Stat.

  8. I agree with Shannon: I think Claire was in so much shock that she wasn't processing or thinking clearly.

    My roommate and I had a looooooong discussion about this after she read it, and we basically agree with Carol: they did the best they could, and Jamie did what he needed to (I, surprisingly, thought he handled Claire's fragility/emotional state very well)

  9. Good point, Shannon. She was in so much shock, she forgot to put in a good word for Tebbe and Donner. She didn't remember Donner until they got back to the Ridge.

    I feel so bad for Claire. I have to blog again RIGHT NOW. LOL

  10. I did think that it was so weird of Jamie--practically the first thing out of his mouth after rescuing Claire was, "RogerMac, what's it like to not know if a kid's really your son, and how d'ye handle it," and I was like, whaaaaa???? It took a while for me to come to terms with Jamie's viewpoint, which was that 1) like Carol said, given his 18th century background, he really didn't have a huge clue as to the fact that Claire's fertility was at an end (remember where's he's coming from--probably still giving merit to what'shername from the bible--Abraham's wife--who was knocked up at, like, 85), and 2) he saw firsthand how devastating the whole rape-of-Brianna-possibly-producing-a-child happenings were to Bree/Rog, and wanted to prevent that possibility at all costs for Claire.

  11. Carol said: "I have to chalk it up to: Is there ever really an appropriate way to act when someone goes through something like that?"

    Good point--and something I've thought of more than once. I can say all I want that Claire is crazy for even considering that she's pregnant at her age, but the fact is that she's not through with menopause YET, and if something like that were to happen to me during the same point in my life--even being the modern 21st century gal that I am--I MYSELF might have exactly the same panicked "what if I'm pregnant" reaction. You just never know.

  12. The timing might not have been great, but I did appreciate Jamie being honest enough to admit that he would have trouble (at least he thinks) loving a child that might not be his biologically. Nothing but honest is our Jamie!

  13. The Edward/Bella scenario would´ve been heartwrenching to read but then again we´re talking about Jamie here. I think he handled the whole thing in true Jamie fashion, always one step ahead of everything , for example the pregnancy possibility. It seems like he felt like he had to reclaim what was his (Claire´s body), he doesn´t really know all the details so in my mind he must think it was even worse than it actually was.

  14. Congratulations on making it through this part! The rescue and the aftermath are some of the most powerful and emotionally wrenching scenes of the whole series, in my opinion.

    As for Claire possibly being pregnant, well, Diana commented on this the other day on Compuserve:

    "And neither Claire nor Jamie think there is any real possibility of her being pregnant; that's a convenient fiction that allows Jamie to take her to bed, in hopes of keeping her from emotionally withdrawing from him as a result of trauma and perhaps never coming back."

    Off to read part 2 of your comments now :-)


  15. Karen said: "As for Claire possibly being pregnant, well, Diana commented on this the other day on Compuserve: 'And neither Claire nor Jamie think there is any real possibility of her being pregnant; that's a convenient fiction that allows Jamie to take her to bed, in hopes of keeping her from emotionally withdrawing from him as a result of trauma and perhaps never coming back.'"

    Which makes TOTAL sense to me....except for one thing: then why does Jamie hit up Roger Mac so quicky for advice on dealing with a child that may or may not be yours? That to me was just weird--it was so out of left field.

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  17. >>except for one thing: then why does Jamie hit up Roger Mac so quicky for advice on dealing with a child that may or may not be yours?<<

    DG was also asked that question. Her response:
    >>Because he hasn't a hope of hiding what he's about to do from Roger and Bree. For him to insist upon having sex with a woman who's just been through what Claire has, in a context where his family will certainly know or find out about it, he has to have an ostensible reason.<<

    I don't know why anyone would know about it. Were they not in the their house alone, at night, with a thunderstorm happening? I can't see either Jamie or Claire telling anyone either. The way DG states it, it seems that Jamie and Claire can't have sex in their own home without someone else knowing. I could see that if there was someone else staying upstairs with them, but I thought they were alone. It didn't work anyway, Roger figured it out on his own what the real reason was.

    I also didn't really see the need for the whole pregnancy rouse. Claire knew she wasn't pregnant. But she did know how Jamie pulled away from her after his rape. He wanted to end the marriage. She was the one who brought him back from the brink and saved him and their marriage. I realize she was traumatized, but she is also very practical. That was why she went for the penicillin.

    I just don't see why she wouldn't have understood Jamie's very real fear that she would do the same thing he did and he wanted to prevent that. Claire knew just as well as Jamie what the consequences could be if the situation was left alone. It seems to me that reason would have made much more sense to her than the possibility of a baby scare at her age.

  18. So this might be an insensitive comment, but I do think that Claire being a modern woman who shepherded Jamie back from the brink after his own rape means that Jamie might feel she "knows" what the aftermath of rape can be - trauma, shame, withdrawal, etc...- and is skipping some of the things he did to help Brianna recover from her own rape. For example, he doesn't have to prove to Claire that she could not fight off her attackers, the way he did to Brianna, because Claire is better equipped to face the harsh reality of life in the wilderness of 1773/74. And whether or not I agree with his way of reconnecting with her, at least it really worked (the way DG wrote it). I love reading Diana's explanation of the reasons behind her scenes, even if they're the opposite of what I thought they would be!

  19. Great comments, Jennet! Now you know HERSELF walks on water, IMO, but I am scratching my head over her comments re: Jamie knowing he can't hide what he's about to do to Roger/Bree. HUH?? DG makes the point that they ARE alone, no? (I think Lizzie/Mr. W are with the McGillverys.) And are you telling me that THIS is what's going through Jamie's mind two seconds after he's rescued Claire: "I'm going to have to lie w' Claire so she doesna withdraw from me, but there's a chance that wee Roger and BREEEEEEana will hear the incredible noise of our swiving, so I'd better make up a wee story for Roger Mac so it doesna look like I'm a total cad that's insisting on lying w' his wife right after she's been sae damaged." Um, no. I'd almost prefer the "she might be pregnant" thinking to THAT!

  20. So aside from DG's explanation that Jamie really did not think pregnancy was a possibility...

    If Jamie truly did think it possible, he also mentions that he wants to give Claire the benefit of the doubt that if there is a child that the child might be Jamie's and not the rapist's child. Esesstially the same "we just don't know" that Brianna has with Jemmy. -- I took it as that Jamie was going to "do it" as much for Claire's piece of mind as for his. - I find that quite thoughtful.

    Does that make sense?

  21. Tracey, when the baby scare was brought up by Jamie, my first reaction was that is felt out of character for Jamie. It sounded selfish and insensitive to me. I also felt what's the rush? It could wait a few days, maybe more, why that night? But once I found out what the true reason was, the hurry made more sense. I think the reason Jamie thought of what needed to be done to help Claire so quickly was because his rape came close to ruining his life.

    If Jamie had been allowed to have his way, he probably would have died (as he seemed to be doing) but if he did survive and he walked away from his marriage, it would have been another kind of death that he would never have been able to resurrect himself from. A living hell I guess you could say.

    If he had not been through his own ordeal, I agree it would be hard to believe he would have come to that conclusion so quickly after he rescued Claire.

  22. Jennet: Great comments. Completely agree--VERRA out of character for Jamie. I was like, what are you worrying about THAT for. And like you, I definitely understand it more now--just not the part about having to contrive some excuse for Roger Mac for what he was about to do.

    And lasses, I must say that in looking for a certain passage a moment ago, I came across this part, where Claire has just asked Jamie how his broken nose was set, and realized that the answer might involve bad Culloden memories more than she'd want it to:

    “I’m sorry,” I said a little weakly. “You probably don’t want to think about that, do you?”

    He seized my free hand, hard, and looked down at me. “You may have it,” he said. His voice was very low, but he met my eyes straight on. “All of it. Anything that was ever done to me. If ye wish it, if it helps ye, I will live it through again.”

    JESUS H. ROOSEVELT M*****F****** CHRIST. Jamie Fraser is nothing less than a god.

  23. Maybe Jamie thought Roger and Bree might be at the house and hear them? That does make me scratch my head, lassies.

    Jennet - I don't know if you were trying to be funny in your first comment but you cracked me up when you said:

    "Were they not in the their house alone, at night, with a thunderstorm happening?"

    And it's such a good point!

    Actually - DG says they might find out about it... so I guess she's thinking maybe Claire might tell Bree? But why would she do that? She doesna share that kind of stuff with Bree.

    Things that make you go "hmmm"...

    Karen - thanks for the DG commentary! You are my source for all things DG! Please keep these answers coming!

    Sirena - good point - you're saying Jamie feels Claire can handle it a little better than Bree did since she went through it with him. Interesting.

    Jennifer - yes - good point - in this instance I think Jamie has been verra thoughtful. The poor soul is walking on eggshells. It's a hard section to read (which is why I left my book and came to the blog!)

    Emmes - le sigh - the mere mention of Edward and Bella - coupled with your lovely avatar - makes my head swoon.

    Jo M - yup. Isn't Jamie like a little kid sometimes? He's so smart and... just slightly clueless... all at the same time!

    Tracey - I just lamented on the phone with you about this like I do most every day so instead I'll give you what you really want to hear:


  24. I'm late to the game, I know. But just, perhaps, another perspective. Notice the previous references to confession in the Catholic sense, ie: the need not only to purge yourself of guilt, but the need to do so aloud to another.

    I think, like many of you, despite the fact that Claire has a remote chance of getting pregnant, Jamie's real concern is the thought of her slipping away. He watches her, already withdrawing down at the stream, and certainly, again, as so many of you have already said, remembers his own personal experience. How frightening, all the implications of that!

    Yet, the fact that he is considering bedding her immediately is also repugnant (given the horror, can he even get it up?!) He chooses Roger to be his (sounding board does not capture it) confessor AND HIS SANCTIONER! He speaks to Roger in innuendo (aka Do I need to eliminate the surety of whose child this is should Claire become pregnant? Could you have loved Jemmy KNOWING he was not your own?) Jamie is looking for justification, for permission, for approval. To gain it, Roger must be able to empathize, so with that purpose in mind, Jamie paints the picture in terms of Roger's own experience. Clever thinker, that Jamie, even under stress.

    Roger, initially stunned at Jamie's illustration, is astute enough to grasp the nature of Jamie's need, innuendo aside. Roger hears this as not just Jamie's request for permission for what he is contemplating, but his need for contrition, and his plea for grace. What a trust! Roger holds Jamie in suspended balance. He has the power to bless him and he grants it all with his simple response, "No." God love our Roger!

    Go in peace, my son and sin no more. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen

    1. I absolutely love this comment. So well said.