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Before we get to this newsletter's topic, we have a couple of entries that Lady Shuna sent in from the last newsletter :

Regarding the beating topic:

Considering the century in which Jamie was born and raised, his reaction to Claire putting not only herself and him in danger, but the entire group of men, was justified I feel, although right up until the end I thought she was going to argue her way out of it! Those ladies that shrink from "wife beating"as they call it do so with the preconceptions of the 90s, which I would not hesitate to agree with. However, this can't be judged by modern standards. It is a pity that Claire wasn't able to justify her actions with the real reason she ran away, i.e. to get back to Craig na Dun, but that took a few more chapters to surface!

Laddie Scott mentions Jamie's final comment before he actually does the deed... I think that had something to do with the fact that any tussle he had with Claire was going to be enjoyable regardless of who came off the worst. And Claire gave as good as she got, let's face it, even if Jamie's physical superiority eventually subdued her.

 

Regarding the John/Jamie relationship. This is the exact topic:

We have seen that Jamie is very attractive to members of the opposite sex - i.e. Black Jack and John Grey. I am interested in Jamie and John Grey's relationship in the sense of how it affects John. Whenever I have read the scenes from Voyager - in the prison, later when Jamie is the horse handler, and later still in the Caribbean - I have just felt SO sorry for John Grey and his love for Jamie. The quote that defines their relationship, IMHO, is when John says to Claire:

+++++

"Do you know," he said again, softly, addressing his hands, "what it is to love someone, and never - never! - be able to give them peace, or joy, or happiness?"

He looked up then, eyes filled with pain. "to know that you cannot give them happiness, not through any fault of yours or theirs, but only because you were not born the right person for them?"

Copyright 1994 by Diana Gabaldon from the book "Voyager".

+++++++++

Every time I've read those lines I think "I hear ya, brother." It is more profound, and has more impact on me than even Claire's realization about Frank right afterwards. I just have SO much empathy for John and his unrequited love. Anyone have any comments on this star-crossed love?

It would seem that Jamie Fraser is completely irresistible to everyone, and being one of his devotees myself, I can't really blame these gay men that suffer from the same affliction as us ladies. This was one of the many reasons I found his character to be so unique. Not so much because he seemed to come into contact with English redcoats who lusted after his body, but because with Claire's considerable help, he survived the brutal attentions of the first, both physically and mentally, and found the strength of character to befriend the second without prejudice.

I'm not quite sure why DG feels the need to continue with this homosexual theme through out the series, but it has certainly made this story the most individual and captivating I've ever read. Perhaps after the horrors Jamie experiences with Black Jack in Outlander, and the more amusing earlier encounter with the fat Earl of Sandringham, John Grey's introduction into the story has helped to balance out the whole homosexual issue. I certainly don't consider DG to be homophobic, in fact her inclusion of such a controversial issue even in these equality conscious times, and most especially back then when such things were considered unmentionable let alone acceptable, strikes me as quite individualistic as only DG can be.

Like many of the other LOLs I found it extremely difficult to dislike John Grey's character. His selfless devotion to Jamie endears him despite his sexual leanings, and the humour with which he sees himself, as demonstrated in Drums with Briana and Claire, shows him as the positive against Jack Randall's negative. It is very understandable that Claire is suspicious of his intentions towards Jamie at first, and considering John has no knowledge of Claire's extremely valid reasons for her fears on Jamie's behalf, I commend John for his efforts to befriend her and Briana. Although, all other things aside, I'd forgive John anything simply for his complete devotion to Willie.

 

Finally, can someone explain to me the reason DG felt the need to change John's first name from William? I had to go back to my copy of Drangonfly when he was reintroduced at Ardsmuir during Voyager, as I couldn't recall a John Grey, only a William Grey as the boy who's arm Jamie broke. Or has this got something to do with the slight differences in text that I've heard occur between the British and American publications?

 


 

What is it about James Alexander Malcom McKenzie Fraser that makes him so special to us? Why do we consider him the ultimate hero, lover, husband, etc? When you think about it, he's like other romance novel heroes in many ways - alpha male, protector, intelligent, humorous, supporting of his wife in her field (look at all the Amanda Quick novels) of work, willing to protect with his own life, strong, tall, handsome, etc. Jamie can also be a very dangerous man - to his enemies, of course, and to his wife when shedoes something he doesn't think she should've. So, why do we put him on a pedestal?

  


Lady Abby:

I probably couldn't speak for anyone else, but the reason he's so appealing for me is that he is both honest and trustworthy. That's not just to Claire or to his family, but he's there and honest and trustworthy towards everyone he's responsible for or even everyone he meets. In reading a book, I could put any face, any body I wanted on him, but he's there, not just *with* but *for* people. there aren't so many people like that in the world. I cherish the ones I find.  


Lady Kim Marie:

He is a complex man. Deep down he is a sweet passionate man with a heart of gold. He is the kind of man that would be a friend till the end. I find him different than most heros because we have seen so many sides of him. With the series being so long and detailed we have stepped into the lives of Jamie and Claire and lived their lives with them.


Lady Sara E:

 I don't know that I really see Jamie as "the ultimate" male (I don't know there is one in existence! <g>). Yes, he is appealing for a variety of reasons (I.E. his physical <g> and emotional traits); however, I think we are attracted to him because he is as real as Diana could explain him, imperfections and all. It is this very realistic description of Jamie that drew me into the series. For me, the more "perfect" a man is described in a book as being, the less interested I am in him. Two other aspects of Jamie that I find very appealing are his sense of responsibility and his wisdom. Both of these are exhibited from his first appeareance in the book when he takes Claire onto his lap to comfort her. It was that scene in particular that 'did it' for me - I was addicted from that point! :-)

 Jamie is only dangerous when he is protecting his family or friends; while these reasons do not absolve him of his crimes, they are some justification and explanation for his actions.


Lady Val L:

Where do I begin to describe how Jamie is special? I can only speak for myself. I have never read any Romance. So, I really can't compare him with other Romance heroes. To me, he IS the ultimate hero, lover, husband, father, laird, warrior. Even though I have always preferred shorter, darker, thinner men, to me, James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser is the perfect man. He is secure in his masculinity without being macho (much). He's secure in his time, NOT a 20th century man in a great kilt. He's not afraid to express his emotions, to cry or admit fear or sorrow OR to give his love wholeheartedly. When he loves, he loves completely, without reservation. And when he makes a personal sacrifice for love, he never regrets it - no matter what the cost is to himself. He has a sense of duty and justice that is uncompromising, even when it hurts himself or those he loves. Yet, he has a joy of life and a sense of humor that even 20 years of sorrow and tribulation could not destroy. Yet he's not perfect - he's got a hot temper. He's stubborn, pig headed, quick to anger. He can't carry a note and gets horribly seasick. All this, and he's not half bad in bed either. He is complete, in his good qualities and bad. He's not just a caricature of a man. What more could a woman want in a man? Absolutely nothing. 


Lady Terry:

What is it about James Alexander Malcom McKenzie Fraser that makes him so special to us? 2 words.....his imperfections.

Why do we consider him the ultimate hero, lover, husband, etc? Because we want a man to tell us HOW HE FEELS (on a regular basis, aye?) and Jamie does this with such total abandon. His heart and mind and body are truly open to his woman.

So, why do we put him on a pedestal? He has the characteristics we all look for in a lover. Och! My answers have been so brief - almost to the point of disrespect! But I mean no disrespect! Just total devotion to Jamie and all of his LOL fans! Thanks, ya'll!


Lady Rita:

I'm not very articulate when it comes to explaining why some books just get to me in a particular way, most specially these ones. I just count myself lucky that it happened.

 Of course it's hard not to be affected by a man who is handsome, intelligent, loyal, courageous, with a marvellous sense of humour, the veneer of nobility and breed, and a plethora of other qualities about which I could go on and on ad nauseaum. But I know that's not the point of the question. So I guess I'll have to think about it as I type this. 

Thinking of why Jamie is different from other romance novel heroes, I'd have to say that the first obvious reason is the extraordinary talent of Diana Gabaldon that places her writing in a league of her own. Her dialogues are indescribably wonderful. 

Secondly, the Outlander series is not a romance novel, though I find Jamie and Claire's story the ultimate romantic tale.

With the Outlander series being so long, we could say that we get to see more of Jamie than of a hero in a "normal" romance novel. And with Jamie, I believe it's a case of "the more I see him, the more I like him." But that's not it, because I was hooked on Jamie by the middle of Outlander, so I really didn't need the extra pages to become a Jamieholic. 

If I had to pin-point the place where I was struck by the thought that "this is definitely not normal behaviour for me", I'd say that, notwithstanding all the marvellous previous scenes (and the MacKenzie Gathering most particularly), it was at St. Ninian's pool, when Dougal tells Claire of Jamie's flogging. Jamie's endurance, courage and gallantry were suddenly enhanced by the gritty realism of that description, and that man became real for me and started to shine brighter than any other fictional character I'd ever read. I'd say in that moment, Outlander and Jamie Fraser became a synthesis of all the things I had loved in many books: the intensity of feelings that I love in romance novels, the escapist fantasy of time-travelling and, paradoxically, the believability and realism of historical fiction. I knew I'd never read a book like that before, and unfortunately I don't think I ever will again outside this series.

 This is a poor job of explaining it. In the end, I guess that after all, what made Jamie become "my" hero, was the superlative mix of all the admirable qualities that one by one I could perhaps find in other fiction characters, but never like this, never so real, never so overwhelmingly intense as in Jamie Fraser.

  


Lady M&M:

What attracts me to Jamie so, is his sense of humor. His ability to get on with his life when verra bad, horrible things happen to him. His love for his wife. I could go on and on, but I think someone's husband on the board said it best. Something to do with the fact you could tell he was created by a woman, because he is the most perfect man. There is no question that Jamie is the perfect man!

  


Lady Nancy V:

 I think what made these books and Jamie as our hero different for me was the realism. When I first read OUTLANDER I was astounded at the Wentworth scene. Our very manly leading man was raped, not the heroine, but JAMIE!! He was rescued, by a woman and is still every bit a man! I thought this showed more courage than any other leading man I have ever read about. Jamie snores {how much more real can you get} and wonders if he is just and fair to his people, he doesn't just go on with his business assuming the world and god agrees with him. The scene where he takes Rabbie from Mcnab illustrates this so clearly. I admire his ability to see things from many sides, once again, not assuming everyone sees things the same way. I also love the way he takes responsibility, so seemingly effortlessly, for his actions. I don't like people in reality giving 100 reasons why their life's worries are the fault of who knows what, and I really hate reading about people who can't take responsibility. Novels where the Duke falls for the serving maid make me crazy, I sit there thinking, " well...what is this guy thinking, he was born with this responsibility, and all this power, money..., and here he is acting like a spoiled kid, now what's he gonna do with this poor maid??"

So, while there are similarities to other novels and their heros, Jamie is rather more real and yet more wonderful. The other thing I think makes Jamie so endering is his relationship with Claire. I don't think that hearing this story with Laoghaire as Jamie's wife would be so great if it were told from her point of view - Jamie probably wouldn't look the same, so..the relationship between Jamie and Claire gives the reader alot of insight into an otherwise hard to read man.


Lady Julie:

OK, I'll start out by trying to be objective here, though I know full well it's not likely to last long. :)

Well yes, Jamie has all the standard prerequisites for your Average A1 superhero, plus the necessary addition of :  

  • Living in a Romantic exciting Place/time
  • Already having A History before meeting the heroine
  • Being In the Thick of Things

 Your average Sid Slatterthwaite from Barnsley in the 1950's who attended the local comprehensive school and who collected beer mats for his hobby isn't likely to be the ideal candidate for a romantic lead. He probably dearly loves his Beryl, and going out to the pub on a Friday with the lads, but his future is likely to consist of no more excitement than a nice holiday in Benidorm with the wife and kids.

 Within pages of meeting Jamie for the first time we've already travelled in time 200 years with Claire, been manhandled by the villain of the piece and kidnapped by an itinerant group of Highland raiders. He's already head and shoulders (excuse the pun) above Sid in terms of hero-material. When Claire meets Jamie for the first time, it's obvious he is going to be <the one>. He's injured (another necessity- the hero must be injured at least once per book) but I think more importantly, he focuses his attention on her from the start. To some of the other male characters in the book, Claire is no more than an encumbrence, a danger, or even worse, a commodity. Despite his injuries, Jamie shows his concern for Claire personally, by covering her with his plaid, sleeping outside her room. As their relationship develops, the whole focus of their relationship, in all its facets- stormy, torrid, gentle - is on each other. Jamie focuses entirely on Claire, and continually demonstrates this throughout the books. DG says that He gives everything of himself, without reserve; he is prepared to lose everything, including his life, for her safety, without a second thought. Sometimes he can't understand himself, but even then he tries to explain his feelings - revealing to Claire (and AKA You and me) the sometimes desperate internal struggle that very few men would even mention. Claire is frequently infuriating, and so is Jamie. He's not perfect, but this flawed hero is so much more believable than a smug, square-jawed Mr Clean. My own DH, as people keep telling me, is pretty marvellous; and most of the time yes, I'd agree. But just sometimes, when he gives me a look of someone slowly descending into this dimension from another world, and his mind is clearly on a hundred and one other topics, it'd be really nice if someone could say something that even approached "It seems I cannot possess your soul without losing my own..."

  


Lady Mac:

 I have to respectfully disagree that Jamie is like other romance novel heroes. His character, as developed by DG, so far surpasses romance novel heroes. To compare him to them is like comparing the sun to an incandesent bulb. His character is so 3-dimensional; something I don't get from other romance heroes (even when done by good writers). In fact, the strength of this character is that he doesn't "feel" like fantasy at all. The sex scenes are some of the steamiest and most erotic I've read, yet it all feels real, not "dreamy".

 JAMMcKF is all man. Dangerous, yes! But I imagine that he is no more dangerous than any fighting man of his time. His singularity is that while he can really fight, he is not enraptured by it. He fights because he must, not because he likes to. Since he has to do it, he makes a good job of it...he fights to win. And maybe one of the most endearing qualities about Jamie...There is not a single whine anywhere in that man! He squares his shoulders, takes what life has to give and lives it to the fullest! Being Scottish myself, I revere a strong and determined man who canna say "quit". While the young Jamie was very endearing and sexy as hell, the more mature Jamie of DOA is even better. Now there's something you don't normally find: a writer who can make the sexiest man in fiction even better in the fourth book! Hats off to DG!!!


Lady Joanne:

That's a difficult question, there are sae many facets ta his personality an' character that are sae pleasin'. He challenges Claire an' wilna take no fer an answer an' that pushes her ta be her best an' act like no other woman would back then, an' I think every woman would like that in a DH. He takes charge an' seems ta know what it is that needs bein' done an' is intelligent so ye can converse wi' him an' learn from him. He's unfailingly loyal an ye know ye can count on him when ye need him! He seems ta be instinctively aware o' what it is that a woman needs, whereas some men dinna hae a bluidy clue. <g> Maybe the fact that a woman invented his character has something ta do wi' it.

Then agin, mayhap since he's such a fantasy character, some DHs just come up short in comparison. <g> That's why we read fantasies..................pathetic, yes, but I've nivver met a man like 'im at all, at all.........


Lady Hedy:

Please refer to my answer to question #3 of the survey. Seriously -- though other fictional hero's may have one or a combination of those characteristics which I admire (& get "hot" over), NO ONE has all of Jamie's! Diana Gabaldon has combined the VERRA best of each and every man that exsists (on paper anyway) and made MY DEAR JAMIE, and, she put him in a KILT -- (to steal Charyl's phrase) WWHOOOooooHOOOOOoooo.  


Lady Ruth:

Jamie's appeal...for me.. is his words. We've read books with heros like Jamie (as Val described), but I' ve never read a book with a man that used words like Jamie. He can put his feelings into phrases that melt your heart, and they ring true. He doesn't sound like a man saying what he thinks a woman wants to hear. He sounds like a man speaking from his soul. So many men are afraid to use words to proclaim their love, other than just saying "I love you", to read of a man verbalizing his feelings with words that are sometimes poetic, is the most romantic thing I've ever read in a book.


Lady JaLaRa:

I think that what sets Jamie apart from the typical romance novel hero is the sense of tragedy that overshadows his life. Beginning with the deaths of his mother and older brother, Jamie has been relentlessly dealt one bad card after another for his entire life: his early problems with the British, his rape and torture at the hands of Black Jack Randall, the death of his first child, the agonizing 20 year separation from Claire, the loss of his title and land, his imprisonment and exile from Scotland, his inability to see either of his children grow up. What's next for poor Jamie? He finally seems to have found some happiness in America, but we know it will be short lived with the onset of the Revolutionary War. Despite a litany of tragic events that would turn even the best person bitter, Jamie stays true to himself and what he believes in. That, in combination with his more obvious qualities, is why I put him on a pedestal.

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