Breaking down Outlander Book 1, Chapter 17
We meet Hugh during Outlander Book 1, Chapter 17, as Claire and Jamie learn a little more about each other. It’s time to delve into the chapter.
This is a relatively quick chapter when it comes to reading. Audible says it takes less than 40 minutes, which is about right when it came to me reading it. However, that doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable chapter.
It’s one that helps to set up a storyline to come. After all, there’s the mention of Horrocks again. The more we hear his name, the more important we know he will be in the next few chapters. The question is whether this guy is really willing to clear Jamie’s name or not.
What I love about this chapter is a chance for Claire and Jamie to learn a little more about each other. They connect deeper, talking about their feelings. Jamie stumbles over his words slightly, which is so sweet and reminds us of his age and inexperience despite his life experiences, and Claire is patient, kind, and loving. We certainly get a hint of a relationship to come.
During my Chapter 16 breakdown, I mentioned how Hugh was missing. Had I just moved forward a chapter, I’d have remembered how the books played out properly. It’s been a while since I’ve read the first book, putting my focus on Books 5 and 6 ready for Outlander Season 5. Relearning some of the events that happened in the books has certainly been an enjoyable part of the Outlander Book Club for me.
So, let’s get into the breakdown for Outlander Book 1, Chapter 17.
Just the Outlander book chapter
First thing’s first, this is a beautifully written chapter. We start with Claire and Jamie learning a little more about each other, but it also gives us a chance to delve deeper into their relationship and the connection that they have.
Jamie questions whether what he feels for Claire is normal; whether what they feel for each other is normal. It certainly isn’t. While Claire doesn’t think too much of Frank in this chapter, it’s clear that she’s considered her feelings for Frank. She knows that her connection to Jamie is building fast and it’s electric.
However, their conversation is halted by the arrival of Hugh Munro (not Monroe as I remembered his name being in the previous breakdown). We get to learn about his trials of the past and why he’s so honored by the different parishes. I do have to question the irony of him being given the badges for various parishes but nobody actually offering him some sort of help after everything he’d been through. Sure, he might not have taken it, but there’s no mention of anyone doing more than just letting him legally beg around different parishes.
But moving on from that. We’ll focus on Hugh’s reasons for being there. After all, we don’t just meet a character for the sake of it. There’s a bigger reason, and Hugh’s reason is to pass on a message to Horrocks. Jamie mentions that he can’t get to the meeting place to see Horrocks because of Black Jack Randall and the Watch, so he needs to set up another meeting place. Hugh can do that.
However, the discussion of Horrocks does lead to Claire learning a little more about Murtagh. She learns that he is family to Jamie, although we don’t yet learn the full connection.
The ending to the chapter sees Claire and Jamie back in their room at the inn. They continue their lovemaking, developing their connection much deeper than before, as Jamie continues to share his feelings for Claire.
Foreshadowing with the Outlander chapter
While the start and the ending of the chapter is mostly in the moment, the middle does have some foreshadowing involved. It’s clear that Horrocks will continue to be an important part of at least the next chapter; possibly more than that.
This is the one man who could help get Jamie free from the murder charge. Horrocks knows who killed the man Jamie has been accused of killing. It’s important that Jamie meets with Horrocks, but he can’t put himself in danger.
The Watch is heading in the same direction that Horrocks’s meeting place is. Jamie notes how he can’t head that way, despite saying in the previous chapter that the bounty on Jamie’s head isn’t enough for the Watch. Of course, that doesn’t mean The Watch won’t take him for a reward should he stumble upon them. It continues this reminder that Jamie is going to be at risk in a future chapter; foreshadowing that The Watch is going to cause a problem.
There’s also a sense of foreshadowing of Murtagh’s storyline. We get just a little hint of his connection to Jamie in this chapter. Of course, up to this point in the show we’ve come to know him better. But at this point in the books, we learn that he’s not a MacKenzie but a Fraser. He’s someone who will look out for Jamie; someone who Jamie trusts with everything.
This talk of Murtagh foreshadows the journey that Murtagh will go on with Jamie and Claire. He’ll become a confidant, someone they can both trust. I just wish that Claire’s relationship with Murtagh grew in the books in the way it did in the show.
Connecting to the TV series
This is the chapter that I was thinking of when I thought of the scenes with Hugh. For the most part, much of the conversation outside is the same, especially when it comes to Jamie and Claire talking about their feelings for each other. Claire admits that this isn’t usual.
The conversation with Hugh is slightly different. Up to this point in the show, Horrocks hasn’t been mentioned. It’s Hugh who mentions Horrocks to Jamie, helping to combine a couple of storylines together for the sake of time and speed.
We also see Hugh give Claire a dragonfly in amber as a wedding gift. In the books, he hands Claire a rabbit that he’s killed as was taking home. Hugh married six months earlier, and Jamie passes on his own wedding gift in return. Changing this would have been partially for time and partially for foreshadowing at a later point. The dragonfly in amber does come up in the future, and it’s also used in the show as it marks Jamie losing it on the Culloden battlefield and Claire recognizing it in the museum.
The ending to the chapter isn’t used in the books in full. I think a few of these bedroom chapters are combined in different ways throughout the show allowing to show the bond growing between Claire and Jamie but allowing time for the actual plotline.
The most important element of the chapter was Jamie getting a message to Horrocks. In the show, the most important part was Jamie learning about Horrocks, pushing on with the next part of the story in a hope to clear Jamie’s name.
What did you spot during your reread of Outlander Book 1, Chapter 17? What stands out for you now? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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