It’s Sunday … and our first Sunday out of the Droughtlander Wasteland. That means, it is time for the Outlander Question of the Week. So many really just wonderful things to talk about and so I think this week I’ll start with the most obvious…
The spanking. I’ve been reading reviews today and there are a lot of people who just have thrown Jamie out the door, never to be spoken to again. They call him abusive and accuse him of being a perpetrator of domestic violence.
I do not now, nor I have ever seen it that way and I think if you said that to Jamie he’d just be appalled that you think he’d do something like that out of anger.
It isn’t as if he came home from a long day of cattle rustling to find that Claire had burned the parritch and then threw the bowl in the floor, shattering it and covering the floor in burned parritch; grabbed her by the hair and forced her down and made her eat the parritch off the floor.
What Jamie did wasn’t from a place of anger. He even said that if it had just been him, their little fight by the river (which Sam and Cait just KILLED by the way) and the subsequent forgiveness would have settled the matter, for him it had. But that wasn’t going to cut it with Dougal and the rest of the men. And I have to say, if the punishment had been up to Dougal … well let’s just say, I think the story may have ended there.
Now, show only people don’t know this so I’m going to tell them, in the book, Jamie straight up tells her what’s going to happen if she doesn’t stay put:
“It’s verra dangerous, and I’ll not have ye there, Claire. I shall be busy, and if it comes to it, I can’t fight and protect you at the same time.” Seeing my mutinous look, he dropped his hand to the saddlebag and began rummaging.
“What are you looking for?”
“Rope. If ye wilna do as I say, I shall tie ye to a tree until I come back.”
“Aye, I would!” Plainly he meant it. I gave in with bad grace, and reluctantly reined in my horse. Jamie leaned to kiss me glancingly on the the cheek, already turning to go.
“Take care, Sassenach. You’ve your dirk? Good. I shall come back as soon as I can. Oh, one more thing.”
“What’s that?” I said sullenly.
“If you leave that copse before I come for ye, I’ll tan your bare arse wi’ my sword belt. Ye wouldna enjoy walking all the way to Bargrennan. Remember,” he said, pinching my cheek gently, “I dinna make idle threats.”
He didn’t, either. I rode slowly toward the grove, looking back to watch him racing away, bent low over the saddle, one with the horse, the ends of his plaid flying behind.
~Diana Gabaldon, Outlander
Now, Claire was planning on high tailing it to Craigh Na Dun and heading on home so the threat, as far as she was concerned, was moot anyway. But she clearly says, in her own voice, the she understood the threat and she knew it wasn’t idle.
And let’s not forget, she doesn’t just say “Ok Jamie, you’re right, here strap my arse.” She fights back and does her own damage and after a couple days of cold shoulder she tells him in no uncertain terms just exactly how things are and how they are going to be. Terms to which Jamie readily agrees, and keeps his promise for, well…decades.
I get that people are feeling as if she got punished for being sexually assaulted, and I think in part they are right. It just fried Jamie to see of all people, Black Jack Randall standing behind his wife’s bare arse. And he is certain that if she had just stayed her behind where he told her to, none of that would have happened. He isn’t blaming her for Black Jack’s actions, but for leaving the place where she would be safe.
And I am not saying that Jamie didn’t feel a little justified in what he did. And I am certainly not saying that even though this was the way Jamie was raised to believe things were done when wives disobeyed and scared the living shit out of you, that he had NO choice. He had a choice, I’m just saying it isn’t the same as men who beat their wives from a place of anger. For Jamie this was about justice and duty. He was wrong, but that doesn’t change the fact that that is where he was coming from.
But here’s what I am saying. Jamie is not abusive. Abusers engage in a pattern of behavior, are unable to learn, grow, or change. I am saying that the lesson that he intended to teach Claire, which was to feel the impact of her actions, was something he accidentally learned by his action here. He certainly felt the impact of his actions, and learned from it.
He understands that just because something has always BEEN done, doesn’t mean it NEEDS to be done. He learns that there are other ways to get your point across that don’t involve violence or humiliation. Abusers on the other hand, thrive on violence and humiliation. He understands what he did to Claire, while abusive men don’t care, and that it just isn’t the way you treat someone you love, no matter what they did or how much of your inherent bejesus they scare out of you.
And again, I’m going to give you something from the books .. and as the series progresses, you’ll see this even if you never read the book (but really, read the book) Jamie never, ever raises his hands to Claire again. That doesn’t mean they never fight again.. trust me they do. It doesn’t mean they never say mean nasty things to each other again, trust me, they do. But it does mean that this is the story of a marriage. A marriage occupied by two imperfect people who are both facing new challenges and are trying to make their way and sometimes that gets loud, and the two of them get nose to nose, and quite frankly Claire, well I’ll no’ spoil the books for ye, but this just isn’t the same as a man who beats his wife out of anger and because he enjoys inflicting pain on people.
And so, I think all in all, the scene was handled great and Sam and Cait were just perfection for me.
Your question is …what did you think? About the spanking itself and about how it was portrayed last night?