Outlander Book Club: Book 2, Chapter 17 breakdown

Outlander Season 2 -- Courtesy of STARZ
Outlander Season 2 -- Courtesy of STARZ /
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Outlander Season 2 — Courtesy of STARZ /

Just the Outlander chapter

We start with Claire at home in bed. She wakes up that morning to see that Jamie isn’t there. The staff and Murtagh haven’t seen him, either. Murtagh agrees to go looking for him, and there’s a sense of the same fear Claire has. Jamie could have just been out with Charles for longer and stayed at Charles’s house. However, he could also have been killed by Comte St. Germain or someone else.

And this is why I’m not overkeen on the way Jamie comes in without really caring how Claire reacted. He doesn’t even consider that Claire may have been worried about him, yet she’s home just a little later than normal from the hospital and he panics a great deal about it.

I know it’s the 18th century. It’s safer for a man than a woman, but the previous chapter had involved Master Raymond sharing he didn’t know which Fraser was the most in danger. It could have been both of them, and Jamie doesn’t seem to have much of a care.

Then we get into the bite marks on Jamie’s legs. Rather than just being apologetic and explaining how they happened, there’s a long-winded answer and he doesn’t really seem to care. Okay, he’s arguably got nothing to apologize for since he didn’t do anything, but Claire’s perception is understandable. He should have just been upfront about it all.

Instead, he gets angry that Claire assumes he’d done something with one of the women at the brothel. He’s angry because he didn’t, despite lusting for the women, and Claire doesn’t believe him. Even knowing Jamie’s character, it’s still hard to overlook the bite marks. He should know that.

But this is where we see him as an 18th-century man. It’s important to remember that he is a man of his time, and he thinks like a man of his time. Men did have affairs and many women just accepted it. Many married men went to brothels and paid the women for all sorts of sexual pleasures. Jamie just expects Claire to accept his version of events.

The aftermath also bothers me, but it bothers me from Claire’s reaction. Jamie makes it clear that he wants Claire and he’s going to take her. After initially being angry with him, by this point, they’ve both apologized to each other. Claire just lets things go back to normal, and it just doesn’t sit right with me. Even if I’d forgiven Jamie, I wouldn’t necessarily want him touching me after that. It would have to wait another night.

I try not to put my own 21st-century thoughts into Outlander, but it’s worth remembering that Claire is a 20th-century woman. I do feel like that is sometimes forgotten about when it comes to her and Jamie’s relationship.

At the end of the chapter, Claire feels the baby kick for the first time. It’s an exciting time for a new mom, but just as she wakes Jamie to tell him, she realizes that he won’t be able to feel anything yet. She decides not to make him too excited to only disappoint him, which is an understandable decision.