The Ghost of Lady Geneva (a/k/a Rape in Outlander)

Sometimes books we love…characters we love…strike a nerve.  Books tiptoe into territory that really should have a trigger warning (why has no one come up with a font called Trigger Warning that we could all easily identify?)  Characters sometimes behave in ways that polarize readers.  Books can divided and books can unite, and sometimes they do both at the same time.

Outlander is particularly good at doing this.

Yes.  This is another Outlander post.  Deal with it.

While Jamie Fraser is one of my favorite literary characters, there are times that I want nothing more than to throttle him.  Normally I don’t feel conflicted as I am reading a story, but later—as my mind lingers on a scene while I am driving, or showering, or trying to tune out my children as they bicker–bits of a scene will float back up and I will re-examine it, turn it over, and prod at it.  By now, I should know better than to prod things.  Still, I prod.  I am a prodder.

Earlier this week, there were some comments made on another one of my posts about the Lady Geneva kerfuffle.  [SPOILER ALERT:  If you don’t recognize the name Lady Geneva from the Outlander books, don’t read any further.  You have been warned.]  When I first read about the incident, I took it in stride.  When I read, especially when I read the Outlander books, I have learned to try not to assume too much and to keep reading, because Diane Gabaldon has a way of making things Work Out.  I trust her writing; I trust her story.

Anyway, back to Lady Geneva…  (If you have strong feelings about Lady Geneva, what transpired, or how Jamie behaved, go grab your copy of Voyager so we can talk.)

(THIS IS WHERE THE TRIGGER WARNING FONT WOULD SHOW UP, IF I HAD ONE…)

I have a lot of conflicting emotions about this scene.  First, I was horribly angry with Lady Geneva for blackmailing Jamie into bedding her.  I was also angry at Jamie for not finding a way out of it.  I kept waiting for him to out-think her, to out-maneuver her scheming, but he didn’t.  I was unspeakably disappointed.

As I read, though, I felt a bit sorry for Lady Geneva.  Just a wee bit, mind you, because she had no say in her life.  She was arranged to marry a much older man whom she didn’t love.  Her first sexual experience was to be with someone for whom she felt no feelings or attraction.  While this was not an uncommon occurrence in that day and time, for an independent spirited woman like Lady Geneva, it must have felt unbearable.  So she tried to take back some measure of control—she tried to fashion the “first time” that she wished to have rather than the one allotted to her.  In another context, this might have been strong, independent, perhaps even admirable.  The problem is that by blackmailing Jamie to behave in the way she desired, she took away his control.

It was actually Jamie’s tenderness (albeit somewhat grudging) towards Lady Geneva that made me feel some measure of compassion towards her.

There was some tenderness for her youth, and pity at her situation.  Rage at her manipulation of him, and fear at the magnitude of the crime he was about to commit.

Even though he thought her a “wee bitch” for threatening him and his family, he still tried to instill in her a recognition of her of value.  I tried to teach her, to initiate her, to guide her.

“A man should pay tribute to your body,” he said softly, raising each nipple with small circling touches.  “For you are beautiful, and that is your right.”

Ah, but here is where things get tricky…  (Feel free to go pour yourself a dram, if you like.  I had to.)

Lady Geneva said, “Stop it.”  She screamed, “Take it out!”  Damn.  That is pretty clear.  By today’s standards (if this was not a scene in a beloved book) most women would consider that rape (remember: No means No!).  Was Jamie’s behavior tantamount to rape?  By 18th century standards, I’m not so sure.  Certainly Lady Geneva didn’t consider it so.  And, since she is the one involved, I think it is important to consider how she views the encounter.  Well, it turns out, she is eager to get back on the horse (so to speak) and, a few pages later, she tells him, “I love you, Alex.”  Hm.  Okay.  I’ll admit it.  I am relieved.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not giving Jamie a pass.  There is still the part of me that still feels like Jamie’s giving in to Lady Geneva’s demands somehow was a betrayal of me Claire.  And it definitely was not one his finer moments.  It wasn’t one of those Jamie Moments that you want to point out to your spouse or BFF and swoon over.  But readers are a forgiving bunch, and they have a knack for making excuses for the characters they love.  I wondered if I was guilty of this, too.  This is what has been plaguing me.  Was I making excuses for Jamie?

The thought rattled around my head for a while, when it finally bumped up against another thought.  In my 42 years, I have heard time and time again that “Rape is about control.”  Well, clearly Jamie lost his own self-control during the encounter, but was he trying to control Lady Geneva?  Hm, well, considering he was the one being blackmailed, I don’t think so.  Lady Geneva, however, did try to impose her own position of control over Jamie.  He initially made it clear that he did not want to have sex with her.  Does that make Lady’s Geneva’s forcing of Jamie to engage in sexual relations that he does not want tantamount to rape?*

Some believe that it is.  Others, however, take it a step further.  Not only do they condemn Lady Geneva for her actions, but they are quick to demand some form of punishment.  Sure, what she did was reprehensible—seriously, blackmailing a man to bed you?  Way to keep it classy Lady G.

I get the anger.  But what I don’t get, and can’t condone, are some of the comments I have heard/seen that basically state that “She got what she deserved.”  Hm.  Well, true enough, Lady Geneva did ask Jamie to bed her.  That, however, doesn’t seem to be their intent, however.  Some think that Jamie should get a pass for forcing himself on her after she asked him to stop because she brought it on herself.  Um, WTF?  My 21st-century-self rankles at the idea of someone using a forced sexual act as a form of punishment.  Rape = Punishment.  It has to be said…especially with the increasingly common trend on social media for trolls to tell women who don’t agree with them that they deserve to be raped.  *shudders*

Wentworth is far easier to talk about.  Even though Jamie consented to the act, it is much easier to identify what happened to him as rape.  Wentworth was brutal.  Wentworth was degrading.  Wentworth went beyond the bodily trauma.  Wentworth was committed by that vile, damnable, broken, warped piece of shit Black Jack Randall**.  Of course we can comfortably call it rape***.  Rape was what happened to Jamie, not what he did. 

Holy, mother of…  Seriously?  *sigh* Diana Gabaldon doesn’t make it easy for the reader.  The characters are all too human.  They are flawed and messy and piss me off and make me want to throw the damned book against the wall, and sometimes I do throw the book.  But I have always picked it up again—because I have to know what happens.  I have to see how it will all play out.

We don’t have to always like the characters.  (Just as you don’t necessarily like your family…not you, Hubs.  I totally love you.  Please don’t ever have another heart attack.)  For some readers, this scene was a deal breaker.  Some threw the book and never picked it back up.  But when you throw a book aside because you don’t agree with one moment, one act, one scene out of so, so many…you lose the chance to question yourself, and what you think you believe, and what you really think when you confront uncomfortable truths.

I don’t know that I have positively untangled all of my feelings about the Lady Geneva kerfuffle.  Part of me still feels her ghost lingering in the books that follow.  I think about her and want to shoo the thought away, but sometimes you have to acknowledge a ghost to give it peace and let it finally rest.  And, honestly, she still haunts me.

*This is about the point where I want to give up and go pour myself another dram of Ardbeg.

**Just a reminder, I adore Tobias Menzies.

***Yes, I know that I didn’t cover ALL of the rapes in Outlander.

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49 thoughts on “The Ghost of Lady Geneva (a/k/a Rape in Outlander)

  1. I was also disappointed when Jamie gave into the woman, just before he left the cave at Lallybroch and allowed himself to be caught. I understand the feelings in DG putting the scene in there – but still felt Jamie’s loyalty to Claire was being tested here and felt he failed. I guess I expected Jamie & Claire would have abstained during the intervening years because theirs was such a strong love. And yeah I have mixed feelings toward the whole Geneva affair too!

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    • The cave encounter made me sad, too. But I think that all of those “intervening years” encounters probably left both Jamie and Claire feeling sad, and lost, and lonely afterwards, too. They knew what the “real thing” was like, and while they might have achieved some measure of physical relief, it gave them no joy.

      While entirely inadequate as an analogy, it reminds me when I am really, really thirst and want a Sprite (or 7Up, or whatever), and I eagerly take a big drink and realize it is water. Blech, blah. Flat, ininspired…water. Sure, it may quench the thirst, but it isn’t at all what I wanted. Again, entirely inadequate analogy, but perhaps you get my drift.

      Still…I wish Jamie had held out for the Sprite.

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  2. Hi. OK. I’ll try to weigh in here. This incident has always bothered me too, partly because it’s all over the place, but I’ll get to that in a minute. I also thought Jamie could have tried harder to get out of it. I know he was kind of on the outs with Lord John, but in a pinch I would think he might have asked for his help. Well, anyway.

    As far as the issue as to whether it was technically rape, I don’t think I can really think of it like that. Something rang a bell for me about his wedding night to Claire and before his first time he said “Tell me if I’m too rough, or tell me to stop altogether, if ye wish. Anytime until we are joined; I dinna think I can stop after that.” If you read the passage when he first penetrates Geneva you can see he’s having a hell of a time keeping his control; he’s no longer a virgin, but it’s been a very long time since he’s had sex, and I think he’s in the same basic territory as he is very aroused. “The effort of control made him dizzy…” Yes, she did tell him to stop, but I think at that point he couldn’t physically stop, and again if you read the whole passage, he was having trouble having coherent thoughts. It could be that in his mind, despite her momentary protest she HAD given consent, which when you think about it, she had. He knew she was aware that it might hurt at first, and since he was the experienced one maybe he just felt he needed to forge ahead and complete the deed. It was what she wanted after all.

    The problem I’ve always had with this whole thing is it was never clear to me exactly what they agreed upon. She told him that she wanted him to come to bed with her, and that she’d been damned if she will suffer her maidenhood to be given to an old monster like Ellesmere. So how did this translate into him giving her a wedding night? Technically, once he did the deed that should have been it, unless there was some conversation we were not privy to. He says at one point that it was going to be a long time until dawn. I suppose it should be obvious to me that he did agree to this, but I can’t fathom why. He is at great risk even being in her room for one minute, let alone the whole night, not to mention the more times they did it, the more chances to get her pregnant (despite the fact that Diana said he pulled out, but we see how well that worked.) Yet, there he is murmuring Gaelic nothings in her ear, lets her touch him and when he leaves he kisses her cheek. I know he was trying to be honorable, but this seemed going above and beyond the call of duty, being that she was forcing him in the first place. I don’t know if I can call it a betrayal of Claire exactly, since he didn’t think he’d ever see her again, but it certainly rubs me the wrong way. I also can’t say he was there the whole night because he figured he may as well get some, because at one point he says he “wearily bent again to his work”, but something about it just doesn’t add up for me. Honestly, the whole thing haunts me too.

    Whew. Sorry, this is so long, but I guess I had to vent about it. Oh, and I’m glad your husband is OK hon. 🙂

    Joanne

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    • Yes, I do recall the “anytime until we are joined” part. I totally get your thinking about it having been a really long time for Jamie, too. She had initially given her consent, but in my interpretation she (momentarily at least) retracts that. Although, admitted, she doesn’t seem to have any regrets afterwards. I do recall on Jamie and Claire’s wedding night, that he was able to stop when he thought that he was hurting Claire (only to be educated about the fact that the sounds of pain and pleasure can sound remarkably similar).

      I was also a bit muffed that he hung around after he had fulfilled his…mmphmm…duties. I always think about Claire and how she would feel, and my own loyalties became very divided, and I just want him to get the $&*&%&$+)out of there and start feel “appropriately guilty.”

      (And thank your for the kind words for my husband. Scared the heck out of me. Reread The Fiery Cross when during the nights when I was up at the hospital with him…to the last line and cried like a baby: “When the day shall come, that we do part,” he said softly, and turned to look at me, “if my last words are not ‘I love you’–ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.” Thank God it wasn’t our time to part. **knocks on wood, just to be safe.**)

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    • I agree with you. And above all else, this whole situation/scene seems out of character for Jamie. I realize he has lived through horrible things since Claire left, but I have a hard time believing he wouldn’t have found a way to avoid having sex with Geneva. Also the implication of his inability to stop doesn’t make sense either. He’s not a young boy/man anymore. The Jamie of book 1&2 has matured and imho would not have fallen for any of this girl’s threats, and he certainly would have pulled out when she said no. I think some men could use the excuse of “I couldn’t stop”, but not the James Fraser of Outlander and DIA. This scene involves a complete character alteration. So I stopped reading at this point and simply skimmed. Read basically the cliff notes of books 4-8 and will maybe read book 9 if it gets published in my lifetime. 😉 Meanwhile, my image of JAMMF remains untarnished.

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  3. Loved what you have to say. I agree it is a hard ting to define, to take a stance on.

    One side of me wants to say that they both get a pass. They were both in incredibly difficult situations and did what they needed to to “survive”. That is the easiest thing to do, to put my mind at ease. However, it can never be that simple.

    The flip side says that they both committed rape. And this is where my modern mind sits most comfortably. Geneva forced him to have sex. She gave him no option. I harbour no ill feelings toward Jamie for not being able to find a way out. What way would there be? He was a traitor, a Scot. His life, and the lives of his whole family were in very real danger. He say first hand what the English would do to the residents of Lallybrock if what they had been doing was found out. He could not risk that any plan for outsmarting here would work. The consequences of failure vastly outweighed the benefit of success. So, he went to her room, to her bed, against his will. And then he raped her. She said no. It is very clear. Any justification I try to make leaves a horrible taste in my mouth. You can say that she asked for it, that he was beyond his own control, that she changed her mind too late, etc. There is NO WAY that any of this would fly in the real world.

    But, somewhere in the middle is where I end up. They both committed rape. They both had very little (or no real) choice, they both tried to make up for it. Diana’s characters are flawed, make poor choices, act impulsively, and are heart breakingly real. They are not flat, one dimensional, easy to pigeon hole men and women. We can HATE them, then they do one little thing that makes us want to hold them. We can LOVE them, but then they make a decision that make us want to slap them upside the head. Either way, we cherish everyone of them. Except Malva. I hate Malva. 😉

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    • It really DOES get more complicated when you try to view the situation from both 18th and 21st century perspectives. And when you *try* to take into account just what is at stake for Jamie. You are right in that there is no room for error on Jamie’s part. *Sigh* (I think I need more whisky. This scene really makes my head hurt.)

      And, yes, without a doubt, Diana creates characters that are just as flawed and complex as the people in my “real” world. Perhaps that is why I love them, and forgive them, just as I would one of my flesh-and-blood friends.

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  4. Nice post! You are not the only that wants to throttle Jamie (sometimes I am not pleased with the decisions / actions he takes). I like him but he is not perfect. I guess Diana wanted to give certain flaws to her characters but that is why I like them. Did Jamie pay for his actions? Yes. He cannot be beside his son – he cannot raise him. It is something that will haunt him for the rest of his life. He even prays for his mother too and that is very nice of him. Something similar happened to Claire in Outlander when they returned to Castle Leoch: “Stop, please, you’re hurting me!” (319). I just wish he could have been a little bit more gentle with both ladies.

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  5. I waited to respond to this till I had let it simmer a bit. I guess I’m a bit odd – my soul sister and I have heated debates about this sort of thing – specifically the spanking scene with Claire. I’m not even going to bring this one up with her 🙂

    First off I believe the reason we all relate so much to Jamie and Claire and the rest of the characters is because they ARE flawed. Perfect characters – are boring. These people seem so real because they could be. They aren’t perfect. Jamie is still a virile man, a stubborn one at that. He has pride, but he protects those he loves over all else.

    One problem almost everyone seems to have with these books is judging them with a current day perspective. You can’t. Would what he did fly now – no way. In that time, absolutely. A woman didn’t have the option to say ‘no’ or ‘stop’. Not a married one anyway. Geneva – forced Jamie into what was basically a marriage bed for her and don’t kid yourself, she knew exactly what she was doing. Finishing the act – he had to. Not just physically for himself (as already pointed out it had been a long time for him) but because that had been her requirement. To lose her virginity. He was fulfilling his part of the contract.

    As for staying – I don’t remember they had set anything specifically and I honestly don’t exactly remember the passage. (The book is in storage in another state) I believe though she asked him, fairly forcibly, to stay. He’s done what she asked initially, but does he dare piss her off? I think too, DG said, despite it all he realized she WAS young and going off to not an overly nice situation for her. Likely any future beddings would not be pleasant for her. Since he felt he had no choice to be there – he showed some compassion.

    One other thing…………………..do any of you really think Claire never had sex with Frank in that 20 years she and Jamie were apart? I would wager Jamie was far more faithful to her than she was to him in that respect.

    Taking one incident and picking it apart because it ‘offends our 20th century sensibilities’ really does a disservice to the characters as a whole. Do I always like their actions and choices? Hell no – but those very things that make me mad are what make them such great characters and so real.

    I know someone whose daughter, because she was chafing under perfectly fair parental rules, lied and got her dad thrown in prison for several years. She is now leading her happy little life while her parents – are still struggling to deal with it all. That sucks….but its REAL. People screw up – that is real. People make bad choices or the best they can with what they have to work with. JMHO

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    • Love having more perspectives! I agree that we do have to use the morals of the time when interpreting the actions.

      And of course we are also told that Claire and Frank DID have sex after her return. And, to be fair, that made me sad, too. Likely I was going to be sad with any non-Jamie/Claire interlude.

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    • Can you please answer something for me. Jamie said that she could have him only once….I have been told that they had sex 3 times, but I cannot find that anywhere. Does it say in Voyager, or a later book that he bedded her more than once. Please help!

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  6. I flat out felt bad for Geneva, even if I didn’t endorse her behavior. Young, pretty, married off to a much older man, and completely sexually frustrated…I can’t blame her for being opportunistic with a kind, sensitive and smoldering looking man walking around the property(Jamie). However, I feel blackmail was the only card she felt like she held in regards to getting any sort of pleasurable sexual experience. This doesn’t make anything right, but her spoiled upbringing had everything to do with her attitude and manipulation…if I remember right. My copy of Voyager is currently AWOL.

    As for Jamie, I’m very much in agreement with wishing he had handled things a wee bit differently but he did certainly pay for it. It makes for controversial and interesting discussion how much a young girl can have an older, experienced man nearly cowed into submission. Blackmail or not.

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    • The more I think about it, the more I find that I don’t have the same kind of visceral reaction to Geneva as I did to Laoghaire. I don’t really understand why. Maybe since (like Jamie) she, too, pays a high price for her action, I don’t feel the need to send her to her grave with my hatred draped around her like a mantel. While I certainly don’t like Geneva, and I think that she was a blackmailing, conniving wee bitch, I find some small bit of sympathy for her. Perhaps you are right…maybe it DOES have something to do with youth, and inexperience, and trying to have a say in your life (and yes, I know, I know, she took away someone else’s say). Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Jamie tries to be tender to her.

      I doubt I would feel as generous if Geneva had lived…

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  7. I’ve just finished Dragonfly but I don’t mind spoilers (they only make the experience more interesting!) so I read on.

    And dammit I won’t even be able to indulge in cathartic book-punting because I read in my computer.

    In any case, ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Diana Gabaldon, mistress of moral ambiguity.

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    • Yes, definitely DON’T book punt the computer. Just keep reading–moral ambiguity makes for hard questions, soul searching, and an amazing (if, at times, uncomfortable) read…but then I tend to think comfort is overrated.

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  8. All good points. Interesting conundrum for sure; but IMO, only from our 21st century perspective.
    Geneva was a spoiled, rich, manipulating, entitled girl, who realized she had the power to make Alex MacKenzie take her to bed/her virginity, before going powerless to an auld bent stinky man. Kind and rich as he might be.
    As for Jamie – c’mon y’all, for reals – he had no idea if he would ever see Claire again.
    Give that a moment to sink in.
    And Geneva was a beautiful young virgin with a comfortable warm room and bed – once he’d resigned himself to it, do you really think he’d
    A. not go through with it, even if she shied at one point and yelled “no, take it out” – he’s a groom for goodness’ sake – he trains recalcitrant fillies all day long (LOL)
    or
    B. leave the room immediately after the first “act,” once there was even an iota of affection between them? In his (admittedly fuzzy at the time) mind, this may be the last time he ever has such a lovely experience (once he realizes that he’s fulfilled his side of the bargain and removed the threat to Jenny’s life).
    Plus, remember: WILLIAM (JAMES) RANSOME, 9th Earl of ELLESMERE, gang. Who does somewhat take after Geneva in the entitled & spoiled aspect… And the tie to Lord John. Who also SPOILER ALERT later on has “carnal knowledge” of Claire… and that one gets forgiven too… none of us would call it rape though. LOL
    Enjoying having found your blog, Terri.

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    • Your comment did just remind me of how painfully lonely Jamie was and the comment he made to Claire about no one touching himself so long…when they are talking about the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 💔

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  9. I don´t think Jamie thinks he raped her at all. When he talks to his son about that night he replies: “you want to know Did I force her? No, I did´t Did I love her? No, I did´t, Did she love me? No, she did´t. Do I regret it? No, I don´t. “

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    • No, of COURSE Jamie didn’t think that he raped her. (In the words of Dougal, “he dinna hold with rape. ESPECIALLY considering Wentworth.) However, our interpretation of what constitutes rape has evolved over the years. In the 1700s, women were considered chattel…property. They belonged to their husband. While Jamie was not Geneva’s husband, women still were not afforded the same rights, respect, and consideration that men were. In Jamie’s mind, certainly Geneva was having a passing bout of “first time jitters.” And certainly, he of the “gentle touch” would consider himself well suited to help her through it. And, of course, he was lonely, and it had been a long time since he had enjoyed any form of intimacy. Just as later he felt that Laoghaire and he might have something to offer one another…I think that Jamie believed that he could find an evening of respite, comfort and release with Geneva, and he felt he could offer her a gentle introduction to the marital bed. He could not spare her the disccomfort of her first time, but he could make it as gentle and tender as possible. However, Geneva did ask him to stop. In a 20th century world where “no means no,” that does mean something. II just don’t know that we can take current definitions and interpretations and apply them to the past. No, Jamie most certainly would not classify it as rape. I totally agree. This is what makes it such a conflicting and tangled scene. The 18th century and 21st century definitely butt heads.

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  10. Actually, I wasn’t disturbed so much with Jamie’s evening with Geneva (I did think it was a betrayal of Claire but she betrayed him by waiting so long to search for him) as I was by his willingness to submit to Lord John Grey, especially considering his Wentworth experience and subsequent shame/guilt. Granted that while LJG was NOT comparable to BJR in terms of psychological aberration, both were homosexual. Considering how assiduously he avoided the Duke of Sandringham’s overtures, how much he dispised BJR’s perversion, and how offended he was by LJG’s suggestive hand-touching at Ardsmuir, I simply could not get my head around why he would voluntarily offer his body. Now I know that Jamie would do whatever necessary to protect his family, and that had included protection of his body, but he could have offered some sort of monetary payment instead. True he was penniless at the time, but he was penniless when he agreed to pay Laoghaire for the annulment. He knew the jewels and gold coins were still hidden on the island as a reserve for the family. He also knew that William was heir to a fortune and that he would be well treated by his remaining family. I just don’t understand WHY he would submit to an act he found repulsive and shaming.

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    • When I first read that bit, it DID seem out of character for Jamie–especially after all he had endured. However, as I recall (SPOILER BIT) one of the later books has Jamie telling Claire about the his offer to Lord John, and he explains to her that he made the offer as a way to judge whether Lord John would accept the offer and, if he DID accept it, then Jamie would know that Lord John was not worthy of raising his son. (Or something to that effect.) I can’t recall offhand which book has this section, I will have to check when I am at home and flip pages.

      If someone else remembers which book, feel free to chime in!

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      • I’ve read all of the books plus all of the LJG books, but I don’t remember that discussion with Claire. I do hope you can find that passage because I’d love to review it. I have started re-reading ABOSAA now. These books have so many plots and characters that I am constantly going over sections in an effort to remember who, when and what. Thanks in advance for your help.

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        • I take it all back.

          When I went back and reread it just now, what I had recalled was NOT quite how it happened. What Jamie actually said (or rather what Claire had said and Jamie confirmed) was that if John and taken him up on the offer AND IF Jamie had then found him to be “less decent than (Jamie) might have hoped,” THEN Jamie would have broken Lord John’s neck. To Lord John’s immeasurable credit (and, perhaps, long-standing regret), he chose not to accept counterfeit for coin and rejected the offer.

          Clearly I am constantly trying to keep things straight as well, so I thank YOU for bringing it up so I could double check (and correct) myself.

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  11. What made me sad (amongst other things) about the Jamie/Geneva night was when Jamie started murmuring sweet nothings to Geneva in Gaelic. To me, that’s more like making love, and why it feels like more of a betrayal of Claire. And does Jamie ever actually tell Claire anything more about it than that it happened?

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    • I totally get this. It felt almost painful for me to read. But upon further reflection, I think that perhaps, in that moment, his heart wasn’t with Geneva but with Claire. Just as [SPOILER for MOBY] when Lord John Grey and Claire find comfort with another, they were neither making love to one another…they were both with Jamie, at heart. Those soft mutterings in Gaelic were for the woman who still held his heart, not the one sharing his bed.

      As I recall, there are some later discussions between Jamie and Claire as to Geneva and Claire made her peace with it, as anyone who wants to move forward in a relationship must, but over the years both Jamie and Claire have had things that they must accept, make peace with, and try to move past

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  12. Hi

    I just read this scene last night and had trouble with what Jamie did. I get that she asked to have sex and changed her mind and he was only doing what she asked, since she was going to rape him and it’s ok if he does it. But i think people are forgetting he is a fully grown man now and she is 17!. I definitely thing what he did is wrong and should have stop. My boss had a similar experiences when he was young, well not exactly. He was at a friends house with a girl- long story short- She wanted him to be her first- since she though he was a virgin too- but when he was about to enter… the…. he kind of rushed and when he was in only about a tip she said stop. Which he did of course and got off from top of her. She said she have to go the washroom and never came back. Now, in Jamie case. I can see why it would be different consider all we know and it being 18th. I- like others here- thing it was wrong and would call it rape (according to our society).

    P.S. sorry to hear about your husband, glad hes better.

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  13. I’ve been searching high and low for any discussion on this one particular part of the Jamie/Geneva …thing. I’m just past the part in Voyager where the baby is born, but I doubt this is a big issue that will be revisited later if I can’t find *anything* on it now, years after the book was written. So, the thing that absolutely disturbed me the most (judge me if you will, but I was 100% not reading this through the lens of modern societayculture/morality re:rape and that is not a part of this particular point of contention, just fair warning) was WHY ON GODS GREEN EARTH WOULD JAMIE TELL HER TO ARRANGE IT SO HE WOULD HAVE THE BEST CHANCE, TIME-WISE, TO GET HER PREGNANT AND EVEN STAYS OVER TO (I assume) DO IT AGAIN TO EHNANCE THE POSSIBILOTY OF CONCEPTION??!? I mean I just literally wretched when HE tells her to schedule their night the week after her period because it’s the “LEAST LIKELY” time she’ll get pregnant even though it is the MOST LIKELY. And I cannot see him being dumb about this; I think we all know Jamie knows quite a bit about how babies are made by now, witnessing at least 2 or 3 of his nieces & nephews from start to birth, plus his own 2 conceptions (he even counted the days she had missed her period!) with Claire, so 100% he was purposefully acting on the odds that a young girl in the middle of her cycle would VERY likely be knocked up by him. And that, to me, is the biggest betrayal to Claire possible. If he’d taken steps to PREVENT pregnanc by even suggesting a different time for them to,,,do it (wretch) I’d probably think of this plot point with only a little more uneasiness than the cave interlude.
    I mean in the back of his mind he has always thought of the child when he thought of Claire, the one he never got to raise, so whyyyyy would he do this on purpose and try to bring another child into the world that he wouldn’t be able to raise, and that wouldn’t be Claire’s? Just,…no.
    As a series so far, Book 2 was a little sluggish at times but did have its good parts, and the beginning of Voyager was interesting enough to give me hope I would be skimming page upon page of politics and Jamie as a wine merchant in Paris, but it’s so going downhill for me now. I am finding it harder and harder to want to actually turn to the next page in what was once a total “page turner.” So far we have hardly any mentions of longing between our characters, less as the book progresses, some mild interest in finding prison records with Jamie’s name, and some pleasant dreams of a pregnant Claire in prison, but then yeah Diana, good idea, after all that lets have Jamie go jeckyl and Hyde on us and purposefully try to knock up a girl after hardly lifting a finger to try and work a way around the blackmail – Jamie you USED to be a clever fellow, now Diana has made you turn my stomach and that is something I NEVER thought would happen when I first fell in love with the original Outlander. 😦
    Did anyone else have a similar reaction to this (the passage in question is: “Arrange it, then,” he said, his stomach curdling. “Mind ye choose a safe day, though.” “A safe day?” She looked blank. “Sometime in the week after ye’ve finished your courses,” he said bluntly.“You’re less likely to get wi’ child then.” “Oh.” She blushed rosily at that,”)

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    • I read it as him assuming, logically, that while she wanted to lose her virginity to a groom, she didn’t want to bear a baby to him. I expect, too, that she didn’t know at the time that her husband would be impotent and have proof of her infidelity should she conceive.

      Also, the rhythm method isn’t perfect. I believe Ms. Gabaldon even alludes to this in one of the later books.

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    • Kristen, you have brought up a fantastic point, one that I only vaguely noticed in the reading! I remember thinking, “huh? Isn’t that actually the worst timing?” But I just continued as I thought, “oh well, maybe I’m remembering ovulation dates wrong” as it has been years since I had to think about that sort of thing, lol! Alas, as I said before, I feel like Diana altered Jamie’s character into someone he is very unlikely to have become after all he went through with Claire and the war at Culloden. So, I didn’t actually finish Voyager, but skimmed the main parts, and read reviews of all the other books to get a general idea of the things that happened going forward. However, in my head, Jamie is the man he was at the end of Dragonfly in Amber and there is no book she writes that will change that image for me. I hope that Starz chooses to veer away from the books in a few places in future seasons of the show and stay with a consistent Jamie character. Otherwise, they will likely lose some viewers. 🙂

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  14. I don’t care whether Lady Geneva had originally blackmailed Jamie or not. Once she had yelled at him to remove his penis, he should have remembered Wentworth and did it. Instead, he decided to punish her. And now we’re supposed to believe that she enjoyed it in the end?

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  15. I think the issue lies in accepting that the “hero” of the story is a rapist. She told him to stop. He didn’t. That is rape. And please with this “he couldn’t stop” nonsense. Men CAN pull out, and they don’t need a vagina in order to have an orgasm. He could have stopped, since he never wanted to be there in the first place, and finished himself off. Let’s be honest. He’s a rapist. What one chooses to do with that FACT is entirely up to the reader.

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    • I put off responding to this comment, because I really wanted to have some time to think about it and to give it due consideration. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. And it is clear from the tone of your comment that you are very passionate about your opinion. However, I must respectfully disagree.

      If I were viewing the actions from the comfort of my 21st century mindset, I might be inclined to agree with your assessment. But I am not, and I don’t.

      Our hero (and yes, I do believe him to be such), James Fraser, is not a product of the 21st century. He lives in the 1700s. He lives in a society where women are routinely treated like chattel. He lives in a time and place where marriages are arranged (quite without the consent of the female, mind you). These marriages were arranged for the benefit of social advancement, monetary benefit, or to quell familial feuds. While this would likely be considered human trafficking today, these arranged marriages were a part of the social structure of the time.

      Woman were also married off much younger then—often as soon as she began to menstruate. It was not uncommon for the men who took these young brides to be considerable older. But such marriages were not the abomination that we might consider them today. These men were not considered pedophiles for bedding their young brides. This was the social norm.

      You cannot read historical fiction and try to interpret it through the lens of the current era. It doesn’t work. It belittles the historical context of the piece, and it lessens the experience as a reader.

      That isn’t to say that you have to LIKE what a character does. I didn’t. I wished that Jamie had found some way to weasel out of it. But he didn’t. Instead, he behaved like an 18th century man would have done. Actually, truth be told, he probably behaved much better than many such men. He did try to be gentle, he did try to spare her feelings when she professed her love for him, and the result of his actions did weigh on him.

      So, despite the fact that I do not like his actions, I do not believe that—based on the historical nature of the setting—our hero would have been considered a rapist in the context of THAT time and THAT place. In today’s world…without a doubt. But, of course, had Jamie been born and raised in the 21st century he would not have been in that blasted situation in the first place, now would he. (And, of course, he would have been raised quite differently, as well.)

      I do appreciate you taking the time to read the post, though. I do wonder, however, did you stop reading the series?

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  16. Gingerlovinmind, you did a good job of helping me see this from another perspective. I am re-reading Voyager at this time, and am hopeful when I get to that scene I can be less 21st Century in my mindset. Thank you for the thoughtful response and the reminders about the times and how they were indeed very different. Many laws are after all based on societal norms at the time they are developed, so this was a good set of reminders for me.

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  17. It was rape. Jamie raped her. When she said “NO”, he continued to force himself into her. I don’t care if she was originally blackmailing him. By the time they were on that bed and he had initially penetrated her, she WANTED HIM TO STOP. He didn’t. It rape. Why are you people trying to make excuses for his actions? I don’t care if this book was written in the 18th century or the 21st century, it was rape. Even 18th century novelists like Henry Fielding and Samuel Richardson were capable of pointing out rape. Good grief!

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        • Thanks for asking.

          It clarified my thoughts on some matters. In some cases it reaffirmed what my initial thoughts. The scene still makes me want to throw something at Jamie (but it’s not the first time that happened). And I still wish he had found a different way out. But that is how she decided to write it, and I am okay with that. I love these books. And part of the reason I love them so much is because they challenge me and what I think…or what I *think* I think.

          So, no, not *changed* exactly. While reading Diana’s response won’t change the minds of a lot of people but, for some, it may help to know the author’s intentions.

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