Outlander Read-Along Chapters 29-35

Today is the fifth discussion day for the Outlander Read-Along. This week’s questions come from yours truly:

1. We are now settled into life at Lallybroch. What are your impressions of this place, and Ian and Jenny Murray? How do the stories of Jamie’s life here growing up shape your feelings toward him?

I have to admit that I kind of find Lallybroch boring, which is funny to me because in later books we see Claire and Jamie in simple domesticity A LOT. So why Lallybroch makes me yawn is beyond me, but it does. Hopefully I’m not the only one. 

That said, I totally love Ian and Jenny. I’m glad we get to meet Jenny, in particular. The dynamic she has with Jamie is hilarious (I love the splinter comment!). And Ian makes a good partner for her. I also like getting to know more about Jamie through the stories from his past. He’s truly a fleshed out character who has been shaped by his experiences, and I’m glad Diana Gabaldon takes the time to share them with us.

2. What do you think of the story of what really happened between Jenny and Jack Randall? Could you have been as bold as Jenny? Does this change your understanding of Randall? 

This story makes me want to simultaneously sob and cheer. Jenny is one of my favorite women that Gabaldon writes, and I wish we got to spend more time with her. Jenny clearly shares Jamie’s ability to read people and situations, and remain cool under pressure. She’s a quick thinker who was able to use perceived weakness to her advantage – just as we see Jamie calculate similar battle scenarios time and again. I admire her bravery and wish I could feel like I’d do the same thing.

Randall. Hoo boy. Despite the experience Claire had with him, this event really sealed him in my mind as a sexual predator and deviant. He relies on power and sadism to feed his desires, and knowing that women are not his preference makes him all the more ominous considering his fixation on Jamie. But I’m getting ahead of myself. 

3. For the second time, we see Claire warning a Fraser about future events. Do you think this is wise? Or does this mess with history/the space-time continuum/the natural order of things? 

I love thinking about repercussions when it comes to time travel. Can Claire really alter the future by telling Jenny to plant some potatoes? What if she had been able to tell Black Jack the date of his death? (And what a tease for the reader, right?!) I personally feel that every action has a consequence, though it could be minor. Maybe Jenny surviving the devastation as war wouldn’t have an impact on the world. I think if I was Claire, I’d resist saying anything about the future, if only to err on the safe side.

4. Do you consider Claire brave or foolish for going after Jamie? Would you be courageous enough to go into enemy territory to try and save the man you love?

Is it cheating to say both? Claire is often both brave and foolish, but I can’t blame her for wanting to try. I think walking into that prison and pretending I actually had business there would be scary, but probably also exhilarating. My actor self would love the challenge, that’s for sure. But I have to say that I’m not that surprised that Claire did it – she does whatever she wants anyway, and she never lets fear get the best of her. Plus, where would the story go if she didn’t?

5. Jamie makes a gut-wrenching decision in Chapter 35. Do you blame Claire for putting him in that position? What kinds of repurcussions do you expect?

I did kind of blame Claire, if only for pissing off Randall even further. Claire is constantly winding up in harm’s way, and having to rely on Jamie to get them out of it. I suppose we’re to accept that Jamie would have made the same choice to protect anyone from Black Jack. After all, early in the book we see him accept a whipping for Laoghire just to save her the shame and pain of it. Still, I hate seeing him give in to Jack’s wishes, especially after that creepy kiss and the mess he mad he made of Jamie’s hand. My biggest fear for Claire would be that Jamie might not be able to forgive her after whatever is still to come. We shall see…

If you read along with us this week, be sure to link up your post or share your thoughts in the comments!

To link up your post and get next week’s discussion questions, visit Jacinda at The Reading Housewives.