Watch your words when it comes to Claire and the ether on Outlander

Outlander Season 6 -- Courtesy of Robert Wilson/STARZ
Outlander Season 6 -- Courtesy of Robert Wilson/STARZ /

There are always some very strong opinions about Outlander and deviations from the book. Just watch your words when it comes to Claire and the ether.

Spoilers for the Outlander Season 6 premiere in this post.

When I first watched the Outlander Season 6 premiere, there was one thing I knew a lot of book fans would hate. It comes at the very end with Claire using the ether on herself. This isn’t like the start of the episode where she shares she’s been experimenting on time. This is about self-medicating.

Self-medicating after trauma is something that many people do. A lot of people use alcohol or drugs if they can get hold of them. In Claire’s case, she feels like she can get a peaceful night’s sleep with the ether.

Don’t like this storyline? That’s your prerogative. All I’m going to suggest is that you watch your words when it comes to vocalizing the reason why. There are a lot of people who will see a very different side to you because of the words.

Claire is strong but not unbreakable in Outlander

The most common phrase I’m seeing among Outlander fans is “Claire is stronger than this.” I get it. We’ve seen Claire go through a lot of trauma and loss over the last five seasons. I’m only going to discuss the show because Book Claire and Show Claire are two vastly different characters.

Their differences are actually something to remember. Just because Book Claire does something or acts in a certain way doesn’t mean Show Claire will. We’ve seen slightly different life experiences.

But that’s beside the point. It’s all about the “Claire is stronger than this.” What you’re telling anyone in your life is that if they come across as a strong person, they shouldn’t ever self-medicate. You’re telling people in your life that you won’t help them if they choose to tell you that they’re self-medicating. And it stings when someone who has lost people to self-medicating—people who were strong until they simply weren’t—sees these sorts of words.

Trauma changes people. For some, they block it out. That’s the brain’s way of protecting itself so it can get on with things. They may not remember certain parts of their past because the brain is blocking out something that could trigger the trauma.

Claire was doing seemingly fine until the Browns came to Fraser’s Ridge. That was her trigger. It stirred up some terrible dreams, and she decided to act so she could sleep. Trauma makes us act in ways that are unlike any way we’ve acted before. And I can write that from experience.

Something worth remembering is that Claire dissociated during her abduction to survive. That also affects how people cope afterward as they remember everything that happened.

Have a problem that the writers have deviated from the book again. Have a problem that Claire was using ether by an open flame. But please watch your words when it comes to “Claire is stronger than this.” Claire is strong, but she’s not unbreakable, and it is realistic that trauma would lead to her acting out of character. That’s a big point of this moment. Claire facing trauma is not the Claire Fraser we’ve all come to know and love.

Yes, you’re all entitled to your opinions. That doesn’t mean words don’t hurt, even if it’s not your intended target. Just think about how those words sound to others and what you’re actually saying within those words.

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