Hello, dear novel2screeners, and welcome to article five on Diana Gabaldon’s Drums of Autumn, which will be the source material for season four of “Outlander” on STARZ this fall. Um, spoilers and stuff are coming, y’all. So now you know.
Last week, as you probably know, we took a little break from discussing some of the more, shall we say “problematic” areas of Drums, and focused on some of our favorite parts of the book, including the wild KILLING OF THE BEAR scene, the RE-CREATION OF NATIVE AMERICAN LIFE, BREE AND ROGER’S WEDDING NIGHT, and my personal favorite, CLAIRE OPERATING ON MYERS’ TESTICLES ON THE DINNER TABLE!
A few people chimed in that they also can’t wait to see the scene where Bree first meets Jamie (“Sorry, lassie, I’m a marrit man!”), and, yes, that scene will be awesome. Apparently, they’ve already shot it, so you know it’s definitely making the cut.
But now I’m afraid we must talk about the elephant in the room, and it’s a doozy. Yes, I’m talking about the “R” word, and it ain’t raisins.
Okay, I’ll say it. Rape. It’s rape. Rape, rape, rape. Now I think we’ve covered the rape by Stephen Bonnet pretty extensively in The Stephen Bonnet Conundrum and The Convoluted MacGuffin, so, no, I’m not talking about that one.
Alas, I am talking about a character we like a lot more than Stephen Bonnet: Jamie.
For some reason, and I don’t know what it is, Diana has taken our beloved Jamie and made him, well, super flippin’ creepy.
It starts with a queasy feeling in the stomach upon reading this scene:
Now, I’m assuming that since Claire seems to find being date raped by her husband while unconscious somehow, um… adorable, I guess is the tone Diana was going for here… we the readers are also supposed to not mind it so much.
To be clear, we’re supposed to look the other way when Jamie, a rape survivor, date rapes his own wife while high on testosterone after slaughtering a bear. And we’re supposed to believe that Claire—our fierce heroine Claire—would be cool with this development.
Okay, we think to ourselves, maybe I’ll just put that scene out of my mind while I focus on the next 300 pages of cabin design and midwifery. Yes, that’s the ticket—I’ll pretend that didn’t happen.
And then we get to this scene:
Okay, so for those playing along at home, this is a scene in which Jamie—our beloved Jamie, our leading man, our man among men, our FLIPPIN’ HERO Jamie—mock rapes his own pregnant daughter, slamming her face down into her chest, her thighs being forced apart by the pressure, and telling her he could “use her as he would” while she screams and writhes and desperately tries to get away from him.
Um… hold on, I have to go take a Silkwood-style shower, and then I’ll come back…
Okay, I’m back.
So Diana culminates this mock rape by reassuring us (and Brianna, of course) that Jamie was just PRETENDING to rape her in order to prove a point about how she couldn’t have gotten away from her real rapist even if she’d fought harder.
Oh good, I feel so much better knowing that he was just… um… comforting his daughter by forcibly reenacting her actual rape in a horrifying PTSD-inducing assault so that she would let herself off the hook for said actual rape.
Who is this horrible man and what has Diana done with my Jamie??
Where’s my chivalrous, fearless, passionate, sexy as a MF Jamie who would do anything for Claire and his children?
“Outlander” series writers, wherever you are, for the love of all things holy, just please—cut this scene. Don’t try to make it work. Don’t soften it. Just cut it. It’s the creepiest thing I can remember reading, and I read that scene in Outlander where Jamie is raped by Randall.
Give us back this guy:
He’s half of why we watch this show.
And the other half is a woman who wouldn’t let her husband beat her for lying, even when the societal norms called for it, so I don’t think she would find that same man screwing her in her sleep very “adorable.”
You know, this chick:
What do you guys think? Did these scenes bother you too, or should we just accept that Jamie is not the same person now as he was as a young man? And if that’s the case, do we like the man he has become?
Can’t wait to hear your thoughts,
Hey, folks, so the verdict appears to be in! Yesterday I asked you to let me know if you had a problem with either of the two above scenes, and the answer was a pretty resounding “NO.” (Actually, it was more like, “No, Rebecca, you wilting snowflake moron, you’re totally wrong.”) Ouch, by the way.
The vast majority of responses so far have stated that the first scene between Jamie and Claire is not rape, either because A: Claire was slightly conscious for it and therefore consenting, or B: A man cannot date rape is own wife if she has previously given consent (the logic of which, I must state, eludes me), or C: Some variation on the theme of “Jamie is so hot that Claire likes it when he’s rough, so it’s all good.”
And the majority of responders (all women, I should add) have also agreed with Jamie that he was justified in reenacting Brianna’s rape as it was the only way to convince her that the rape was not her fault (the psychological basis of this technique, I must say, also eludes me, but hey–Diana’s done it before with Claire and Jamie after his rape, so maybe it’s just an Outlander thing.)
And yes, I have been called some variation of a withering snowflake for daring to even ask the question several times this morning, a particularly egregious insult for someone like me who prides herself on her strength.
Thank you for sharing your opinions on this article. The comments board is now closed.
To catch up on my Outlander reviews and exclusive content, be sure to click HERE. And don’t forget to follow Rebecca Phelps on Twitter @DownWorldNovel, “like” us on Facebook at Novel2Screen, or just follow this blog.
And if you’re looking for Outlander-themed jewelry, here’s the link: Sassenach Jewelry
*Unless otherwise noted, photos courtesy of Sony