Outlander Read-Along: Week 4

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Outlander Read-Along Button

I am a complete and utter numpty and I didn’t visit ANYBODY’S posts last week, despite my best intentions. And of course, this week I’ll be gone all Monday (we’re getting up at 5 am! EEEP!) BUT! I promise to try harder to get to everyone’s posts this week! You can find the rest of the posts, and this week’s questions here.

1. How do you feel about Claire disobeying Jamie and the resulting punishment he brings forth on her for this? Do you feel that Jamie’s punishment was justified by the fact that everyone was put in danger by Claire’s actions? Finally, did Jamie’s vow with Claire’s dagger do anything to sway your thoughts or change your mind on how you initially feel/felt about his punishment?

Despite the problems with adultery, violence and rape that could have arisen from the previous chapters, Jamie’s punishment was actually the hardest section for me to deal with so far. I do not believe there is EVER a good enough reason for corporal punishment. Excuse it how you like, promise you’ll never do it again all you want, but it is NEVER okay for a man to beat his wife. I hated it when he told her he’d do it if she disobeyed, but I didn’t think he’d really follow through. When he actually did it, I honestly hated him for it. Despite every other good thing about him, I cannot love him as the romantic interest anymore.

All that said, I think, as an author, it was really bold to have him follow through, since that is what would have happened. One of the things that has really impressed me with this book is how true to the time period it has stayed, even when the subject matter isn’t the cleanest or easiest to deal with. Even so. Beating your wife? NOT OKAY!

2. Just for fun, what was your reaction to the suspicious black spot Claire spotted on the floor near the area where Jamie was sleeping? Did you have any theories to what it might have been before it was revealed to be a _____?

For a few seconds I thought it was like a spot of blood or something because Jamie might be hurt. I certainly pictured the spot much bigger than a bedbug!

3. With regard to the ‘changeling’ baby Claire and Geilie spotted in the wild – if it were you back then and you happened upon a changeling baby in the wild in a circumstance such as this, do you think you’d have reacted most like Claire or Geilie? Explain.

I honestly don’t know. I’m not in the same place Claire is – wanting a child for many years but not being able to have one. I like kids, sure, but would I feel the maternal instinct to try to save one at the expense of my own skin? Maybe not. Especially if the kid seemed sick enough that it was likely to die anyway.

4. Share your thoughts on Geilie Duncan. Is there anything that surprised you about her story or were you suspicious of her from the beginning?

I liked her! I was a little surprised to find out that she was from the future, though I should have suspected it with the way she knew her remedies etc. I was definitely surprised to find out she was from the future AND a Jacobite – wouldn’t she already know they don’t win? And what about the future made her hate it so badly that she wanted to change it? It seems odd to me.

(Also, speaking of changing the future, WHEN WILL WE DEAL WITH THAT? You have to, if you’re writing a time-travel novel! Claire hasn’t worried about it at all yet. I can excuse it, a little, if she comes from pre-H.G. Wells’ Time Machine I suppose [and I have no clue when that was published], because she would never have thought of it. But, from a post-H.G. Wells’ reader, I’m wondering just how much the world will have changed if/when she gets back!)

5. Your thoughts on Jamie’s LAST REASON for wanting to marry Claire – the one he had been so secretive about. GO!

Oh I saw that coming for a long time. I think it’s cute. I also am not okay with a wife-beater. This is conflicting for me – how could you beat someone you claim you loved? It makes for a nice resolution to the story, but I’m becoming more and more cynical when it comes to Jamie – a part of me wants her to go back to Frank. We’ll see what happens though.


I have this funny feeling I’ll be in the minority this week *sigh* I do so wish I could love Jamie like the rest of you do. But, love Jamie or hate him, at least the story is fabulous, right?


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20 Responses to “Outlander Read-Along: Week 4”

  1. I’m glad I’m not alone in picturing that the spot was MUCH bigger than a bed bug!!

    At this point, I was really feeling the same as you WHEN does the future come back? But, as I read on? I think she handles the future aspect very well… although be sure you have Dragonfly In Amber (book 2) close by!! You will want it ASAP.

    Stop by and see my answers!

  2. Lauren says:

    I agree that DG does a great job at staying true to 18th century Scotland – that was the only way that I could understand the beating scene. Because it would have been normal to Jamie. But still it was upsetting! And good question about the changing time thing. I kept thinking – maybe if she killed off Captain Randall, Frank wouldn’t have been born and we won’t have to deal with him anymore…

    • dixie says:

      unless randall already has a child that is frank’s ancestor…i thought of that too.

      • Anne says:

        It’s a good thought, and I hadn’t got there yet. I was too busy thinking about all the things she’s probably already changed – who was Jamie *supposed* to marry, all those people she healed who might have died, etc. etc. etc. She’s done SO MUCH that could change the future with the little stuff, you know?

        • dixie says:

          you know, since the beginning, i’ve been thinking that jamie should have died if she hadn’t come along, and maybe that’s just in my head, but i think he lived because she fixed his wounds

  3. dixie says:

    i understand your misgivings about Jamie whipping her, but i don’t share your disgust. i find it much more palatable that he hit her butt rather than slap her face and punch her or something to that effect, which Jamie would not do, because he is not in the business of wife beating. i think that if my child did something that endangered the lives of several people as well as himself, i would not hesitate to do the same. Claire is not a child, but she did behave like one and is not taking the consequences of her actions into consideration. anyway, i guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. i liked geilie as well, but kinda like a friend that sometimes annoys you (or a sister)…i wish we would find out more information about her.

    • Anne says:

      She may be acting like a child, but she isn’t one, and I hate that he treats her as such (even though in those days they would have). I don’t have children, but I don’t even believe in spanking children (that may change if I ever have them) so yes, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree here. It takes all types in the world.

      Yes, that’s exactly the way I felt about Geilie! I thought she was a little bit of a know-it-all but that’s what made her such an interesting character. I thought she brought some spice to the narrative with her quirks and I’m sad that she died (well supposedly, we never actually SAW her death, and in a book like this I don’t even always trust what I see) and we lost that.

  4. You’re right, the Jamie punishment was harder for me than rape scenes…I think it’s harder when someone you love and cherish is the one hurting you other than someone you hate and believe is evil.

    Wait until you read the summary for book #2…you will be confused. (in regards to dealing with the time-traveling aspect of the story). I initially was questioning that is was really the second book.

    I’m surprised I was able to get past what Jamie did to be honest.

    • Anne says:

      I still haven’t gotten past what Jamie did, and I don’t know how I will. It has kind of put me off finishing the book, though of course I will for the Read-along. If I were reading on my own, I might have put the book down at that point and never picked it back up. Ah well, that’s what the community is for, right? :)

  5. Ya. The baby thing didn’t pull at my heart strings as much as it would have Claire’s. I was definitely thinking so Geille is a French sympathizer pushing the Jacobite agenda…What’s the deal? So she should be from About the same time period as Claire….hmmm

    • Anne says:

      Yeah, I still don’t get that, and I don’t know whether to expect an explanation or not – it’s confusing but she’s also not a major character, so will we ever figure it out?

  6. I think it’s interesting how many things Diana Gabaldon writes into her novel that are correct to the period — I mean, it’s a romance-ish books, but there’s rape and beatings mixed with the fantastical waterhorse, or paranormal things like witches … it’s just crazy how many different things are in this book. Makes me wonder why authors feel it necessary to break books up into long drawn-out series books when there is so much contained in an 850-page book.

    Of course, this one IS a series, but I’m interested to see how certain things play out in other books — like you said, Claire’s said things that could maybe change the future. How would THAT work?

  7. Like you, I didn’t really think Jamie would actually follow through with the “punishment” and I mentioned that in my answers – he had been a jokester before so I thought maybe he’d take her into a bedroom and fake it or something? But I don’t think I felt as strongly as you did although I DO NOT condone the act of beating at all. I am still quite in love with Jamie as the love interest. It just goes to show how gullible I can be as a reader, and this just doesn’t surprise me about myself.

    I LOVE what you mention about the author following through with this scene. I had not thought about it in that way, but you’re absolutely right! In a reading situation such as ours, in a group with group discussion, there is certainly room for hatred to come out towards the author for controversial topics, even though we haven’t at all been that way. Gabaldon has been very bold in all of her big topics and I can join you in applauding her. I love it when authors aren’t afraid to tackle stuff.

    Great answers!

    • Anne says:

      That’s the one redeeming quality, for me, of that scene – the author didn’t shy away from it even though it’s controversial! Which I suppose seems hypocritical because I hate the scene itself lol. Ah well, aren’t all readers hypocrites, at least a little?

  8. Jae says:

    Yeah I had a problem with the beating scene too. I did kind of have to think about it from a culture differences/time travel perspective and reason it out that way. But yeah, it did make me kind of dislike Jamie a bit that he would do that. Then again, I guess he feels it was his duty.

    And I too was imagining some huge splotch, not just a tiny bed bug. Although are bed bugs really that small? I’m not curious enough to Google a picture!

    • Anne says:

      They are actually – at a summer camp I went to once some girls down the hall from me had bedbugs in their beds and they could hardly even see them – they ended up with rashes all over their bodies and couldn’t figure out what they were from. I saw when they stripped the beds to wash everything, and the bedbugs were tiny – think the size of ants, or smaller. Luckily my room was the farthest away down the opposite hall, so I didn’t get any, but definitely not an experience you want to go through.

  9. Heidi says:

    Maybe my blase opinion on the baby issue also stems from the fact that I don’t have a maternal bone in my body. I don’t like children, I don’t want children, and in this situation I certainly wouldn’t try to save this baby! But maybe if I did want a child very badly and couldn’t have one, I would feel differently (though given the cultural environment, I still think I’d be start enough not to go there).

    HG Wells published his novel in 1888, so YEAH they should be dealing with this! I feel like DG didn’t write time travel into this book because she was interested in time travel, I feel like she did it for the dynamics it would create with Claire. I feel like she’s not dealing with things she should be, and honestly since ‘time travel’ was one of the #1 reasons I decided to read this book, I’m sorely disappointed.

    • Anne says:

      ME TOO! I love time travel of any kind, and that was the main reason I kept wanting to read the book, despite the bad recommendation from my mother when I was younger. I’m very disappointed that she hasn’t addressed the issues inherent in time travel at all – it reads more like a historical fiction than a time travel novel!

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