Outlander Book Club: Drums of Autumn Chapter 25 breakdown

Outlander Season 4 -- Courtesy of Aimee Spinks/STARZ
Outlander Season 4 -- Courtesy of Aimee Spinks/STARZ /
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Outlander Season 4 — Courtesy of Mark Mainz/STARZ
Outlander Season 4 — Courtesy of Mark Mainz/STARZ /

Just the Outlander chapter

it all starts with Claire in the privy, where there’s a rattlesnake. Fortunately, Jamie and Ian get to her and they help to deal with the snake so Claire can get out of the privy. It does mean there’s a snake trapped in the privy for the time being.

Claire decides to leave the men to it, which is when she stumbles upon a young boy in the woods. This boy is about 11, and he is covered in leeches. As Claire helps remove one of the leeches (something he absolutely detests), she realizes who the boy is. She decides to get him up to the cabin.

It turns out this is Willie, Lord John Grey’s stepson—and really, Claire’s stepson. He is Jamie’s son from that night with Geneva. Willie is surprised that Claire knows John is his stepfather, so wants to know who she is. It’s only natural that he has these questions. After all, John just told him they were going to see the Frasers.

Why is Lord John Grey here? That’s something Claire finds out when she gets back to the cabin, where she can use salt to remove the rest of the leeches stuck to Willie. John’s wife, Isobel, died on the way over from England to Jamaica. John is taking Willie to one of Isobel’s properties in Virginia as a way to help take his mind off things.

It does seem it’s working for him. However, it does remind us that Willie is grieving. Isobel was like a mother to him—the only mother he’s known. Losing her at any age would be hard, but at around 11, he’s still trying to figure out who he is (other than the title he thinks he has). And he would have been with Isobel when she died from a bloody flux, which Claire notes could be where the aversion for leeches came from.

There are a lot of Outlander fans who call Willie a brat. Remembering that he’s grieving, in a strange new world, and with a man who he may or may not have been that close to (we just don’t know enough about his relationship with John), it’s not surprising that there is some built-up anger and emotion. It’s not him being a brat but trying to figure out his emotions, and we are all entitled to feel our emotions without being called names.

John and Willie are going to stay at the cabin for a few days, although Claire doesn’t really like it. There isn’t much time to talk about sleeping arrangements though, as Ian comes in to say that Willie has fallen down the privy. He was trying to see the snake, although the snake is no longer there.

Everyone gets Willie out of the privy covered in all sorts! Of course, the adults find it funny, but it continues this reminder that he’s a young boy struggling with his emotions. He’s being laughed at by adults he doesn’t know, so his attitude really isn’t that surprising. After all, he doesn’t find the situation funny but embarrassing.

It’s a great introduction to Willie’s characters, if you allow him to have his feelings.