"She lets Jamie learn."
Reader response to this post regarding Outlander's Jamie Fraser:
I've had strong reactions to HIMself MYself, (particularly in later books that I won't go into here) when Jamie's been a thoroughly 18th century ass.
We, as readers, know there will be more episodes when we find Jamie insufferable, either because of the casual violence. the sense of entitled pride, or the Romish rigidity that characterizes his presence in all the books. But it's of course not really Jamie we're reacting to -- it's Diana's masterful writing.
In the punishing scene, Jamie responds as a man of his time and place and station did and would. But Diana's smarter than that. She lets Jamie learn. She foresaw the pushback and knows how we feel about what we perceive as abuse and they didn't. Diana strives for historical accuracy within the fictional narrative and she manages to redeem Jamie for us, at least in part, by having him realize that he was reacting as taught -- traditionally, as his father and grandfather would have reacted -- and that his relationship with Claire calls for something different.
So he swears that hot oath on his blade (pearl clutching indeed, and fanning) and Claire reinforces it when Jamie's at his most vulnerable. Deed done. Historically plausible (mostly), romantically and sweatily satisfying, with Claire in the, um, drivers seat.
I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with Jamie either -- the angst would be exhausting and I mean how many times can you get abducted and rescued, even with tartans and pipes? But Diana knows what she's about -- and as objectionable as it may get, ultimately, she knows what keeps us reading and watching and she knows what turns us on.
Thank you, Ginny, for your fabulous response!
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