Does Claire weigh the same as a duck? Outlander Readalong Week 4


July 9, 2012 by Heidi

Outlander ReadalongThis week’s goal was just to power through for me, and the first couple of chapters were a rough go.  Then, suddenly, everything smoothed out and I really started enjoying the story again!  Maybe it’s because I didn’t feel like I was just flipping a coin thinking ‘heads – sex scene, tails – attempted rape’, and that there was some actual story.  I will say I’m a bit disgusted about the fact that everyone (Jamie and Claire included) seems to like the Duke, who clearly molests/rapes boys.  Apparently it’s okay to rape kids, as long as you’re a good guy.  Sorry, not in my book.  But I suppose we did learn this week that Jamie’s been in that boat just about as often as his wife!  At any rate, I’m hoping the story keeps up the way it was this week as I liked it a lot.  Loving Jenny, who’s already probably my favorite character in all the book!

1. How do you feel about Claire disobeying Jamie and the resulting punishment he brings forth on her for this? Do you feel that Jamie’s punishment was justified by the fact that everyone was put in danger by Claire’s actions? Finally, did Jamie’s vow with Claire’s dagger do anything to sway your thoughts or change your mind on how you initially feel/felt about his punishment? 

Good question!  Because my feelings on this were so mixed.  I was so mad at Claire for what she had done, that I agreed she needed to be punished, but the idea that belting a grown woman will make her think more seriously about matters is a bit ridiculous.  If it were current, I’d declare Jamie a wife beater and be done with him, but the fact of the matter is given the time and culture, he did do what he felt he had to do, but was as lenient as he felt he could be.  The fact that he vowed never to do such a thing again did make me soften toward the situation even more, but honestly, I’d just hope Claire wouldn’t do something so reckless and stupid again as to warrant it.  I feel as if Claire barely acknowledges her own wrongdoing in the situation and has no right to be nearly so upset with Jamie as she gets.

2. Just for fun, what was your reaction to the suspicious black spot Claire spotted on the floor near the area where Jamie was sleeping? Did you have any theories to what it might have been before it was revealed to be a _____? 

Wait, what?  I don’t remember this at all to be honest.  This may have been when I was still pissed at this book and skimming…someone clue me in!

3. With regard to the ‘changeling’ baby Claire and Geilie spotted in the wild – if it were you back then and you happened upon a changeling baby in the wild in a circumstance such as this, do you think you’d have reacted most like Claire or Geilie? Explain. 

I would have reacted more like Geilie.  This is another one of those times where I got incredibly angry with Claire, though I’ll admit it made me step back and think about why I would react so differently.  I studied (and have a degree in) anthropology, and it is a subject I dearly love, and therefore, I have the mindset of an anthropologist.  That being–when you encounter a new culture, it’s not your job to ‘fix’ it, but rather to observe.  I think that because of this mentality, I would more easily accept things being done in the way that they are done in a certain time and place than Claire seems to have.  I realize leaving sick children out to die of exposure is cruel, and I’m not saying it’s okay, but I did think it was incredibly stupid of Claire to be determined to interfere.  Obviously people who so ardently believe in these things that they are willing to lose a child over them take them bloody seriously, and there would obviously be consequences to going against such strong beliefs (yes, I was futilely hoping that Claire would burn for a bit).

4. Share your thoughts on Geilie Duncan. Is there anything that surprised you about her story or were you suspicious of her from the beginning? 

I’ll admit, I did not suspect her as being from the future like Claire!  This really and truly surprised me, and I love being surprised.  What I do find interesting about her being from the future is that obviously she knows that the rebellion won’t work, and yet she tries to win over support.  Does she think she can change history and that the Highlanders have a chance of winning?  Very interested to see how this develops.  I’m always interested in time travel novels to see if the time traveler can or cannot actually have an affect on history.  I don’t think this has occurred to Claire.

5. Your thoughts on Jamie’s LAST REASON for wanting to marry Claire – the one he had been so secretive about. GO! 

I figured that was the reason, so I wasn’t surprised, but I was still very happy that he told her and felt that the timing was appropriate given as how she’s just shown him how much she loved him (if she still hasn’t actually told him which I hate).  I did like that he was so good-naturedly insulting in the way he went about telling her.  I’m starting to warm up to Jamie, though I still don’t like Claire much.

Don’t forget to link up you post and get next week’s questions from Logan E. Turner!


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  1. Jac @ For Love and Books says:

    I’m so glad I’m not alone on Geilie!! Most everyone I’ve talked to said they weren’t surprised at all, but it totally hit me hard! (Especially because I felt like she knew rebellion wouldn’t help anything…)

    Stop by and see my answera!

  2. I have to admit I am really worried about how you are going to react to some chapters coming up. Please hit me up if you need to chat about them!

    I forgot about the bed bug myself. I think I just mentally blocked it out. I hate bugs!!

    • Heidi says:

      OMG I DO remember the bed bug! I had totally forgotten/not realized that’s what that question was referring too. I feel gross now. The bf and I are so paranoid, every time we find a bug in our apartment we get out a magnifying glass and try to determine that it’s NOT a bed bug.

      I WILL hit you up if I need to talk about upcoming chapters…we shall see!

  3. Lauren says:

    OH I TOTALLY agree with what you said about the Duke. I was like WHATTT???? Claire likes him???? DG just likes to throw in crazy things about her characters to make us think differently about them. And I thought the SAME thing about Gellie being a Jacobite, if she truly is from the future. Does she really think she can change history? And if so, why didn’t she do something BIGGER than raising money?

    • Heidi says:

      Right? So interested to see how that pans out…and you’re right, DG does like to throw in crazy things about characters to make us think differently, which I like, but it usually makes me dislike said characters. 😛

  4. mollyspring says:

    When I first read this, I couldn’t help thinking of Monty Python and the Holy Grail either :) The Outlander series is one of my guilty pleasures…I totally get how frustrating the characters can be, but it sucked me in. Seeing the responses you’ve done to these questions is fun. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Oh gosh, I am also nervous about what you’ll think about everything that’s coming up. We might get a few ranty posts by the time this readalong is over. On the other hand, that would be awesome. Looking forward to your potential rage.

    Hope you make it through to the end!

    • Heidi says:

      Bwahaha, oh goodness, you’re the second person to say something like this to me. I am expecting ALL THE RAGE. I think I’ll make it…I made it 450 pages in, seems silly to stop now. 😛

  6. Same thoughts again, my friend! I can’t help but feel like DG keeps throwing these HUGE issues in my face that make me feel all conflicted…rape, torture, wife beating, abandoned babies, murder?! I don’t like that I am starting to question my morals!! I like Jamie a bit more and he feels more “real” for me. I was actually starting to kind of like Claire when she chose to stay with Jamie because it was the obvious choice but she just keeps doing shit that makes me say “Ohhh bish NO YOU DI’NT!!!” When she went back after the baby I literally exclaimed out loud ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS?!?! People kept saying she would redeem herself and I really don’t think she did…

    I loved the part with Jamie at the end though, I love how he is being a jackass about it. It is endearing for me which might say a lot about my current relationship 😀

    • Heidi says:

      Hehe, we both love jackasses, it’s okay. =D

      And YES, Claire hasn’t redeemed herself for me, I still can’t stand her. Though I am glad she stayed, obviously she was going to, I mean come one woman!

      And yes, DG is apparently all about the big moral issues, which kind of cheapens it for me. It just feels like too much, you know?

  7. bookgoonie says:

    Love that you are degreed in anthropology. As a history teacher, I constantly have to tell kids to take their 21st century US goggle off. I’d be more like Geille too.

    I totally channeled the Witch scene. I was wondering if they would weigh her against a goose or try to build a bridge out of her.

    • Heidi says:

      Yes! As a history teacher I think you have a similar outlook/ability to take yourself out of your current perspective and try to put yourself in the shoes of the current time. That’s what I’ve been doing throughout this book, so many of the things I’m okay with for 1750 aren’t really the way I’d react now. Now, I’d help baby…then…I’d be all Geillie.

  8. Gone Pecan says:

    I think that would be my probleml, trying to “fix” things, but i like to think i would be quicker on the uptake. ~dixie

  9. I think it’s great that so many people have been able to see beyond the corporal punishment and recognize that we are bound to see things completely differently in the 20th century, But I have to say, even though I recognize this too, I STILL had such a visceral reaction to that scene. I’m glad to say that I have moved past it now, but I’m not going to lie and say it was easy.

    And yes, while my mind understands the abandoning of the baby my heart just ached with the knowledge that the baby was there. I feel like even though it may have been the wrong thing to do, it was important that Claire make the effort to go back for the baby. But that is just me and I think I am probably in the minority.

    And YES! I was SO surprised about Geilie being from the future too. Never saw that coming AT ALL. And I am also wondering all the ramifications of what this means in the long run too!

    • Heidi says:

      Yeah, I’m really hoping the Geilie thing comes back into play! I don’t blame people for having visceral reactions to the things in this book, I think that was DGs point. =)

  10. It’s official–I’ve totally forgotten most of this book. I love reading these interviews, though, because we find out lots of little tidbits about YOU and the book. I’d forgotten about Geilie as well. (sp?) WHAT IS THE BLACK SPOT?

    • Heidi says:

      The black spot was a bed bug!

      Hahaha, you’re probably mostly learning that I’m kind of a horrible human being, but that’s the way it goes. 😛

  11. UGH, the Duke. I don’t even know what to say about him.

    I was REALLY NERVOUS to come and read your thoughts this week and am glad that you are warming up to the book again. I completely agree and love how you articulated your thoughts on the first question, period. Also I completely agree with your question about the changeling.

    I had no idea people had such a hard time with the bed bug question. Nobody mentioned to me that it was hard! I would’ve clarified! I’m so sorry. :/

    • Heidi says:

      Hahaha, no problem! I think it was just early on in the reading, so I’d forgotten already. I am enjoying it more now, but WE SHALL SEE. Some people seem to think I’m going to be putting on my ranty pants the next couple of weeks. 😛

  12. Kristilyn says:

    I love Jenny! She’s one of my favourite characters, too. She’s very kickass!

    I originally had said that I would’ve acted like Claire around the changeling, but now I’m reconsidering. I mean, it’s a BABY in the middle of the WOODS surrounded by water and food? Isn’t that just a *little* suspicious? Instead of immediately thinking, “Oh, a baby! It needs my help!” one should be thinking, “Hmm. This could be a trap.” It’s a different era and you’re right, someone should slap some sense into Claire to use her head sometimes! Don’t just immediately react — she needs to think first.

    I loved the way Jamie told Claire the other reason why he married her! Not just in a sweet little shy way, but starting off shy, then leaning into bold and teasing territory. I love him!

    • Heidi says:

      Yes! I think that conversation endeared me to Jamie more so than any other we’ve had throughout the book. I love that he can be tender, but joking (and a wee bit of an arse), but you know that he means it with all his heart.

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