Jamie is an epic character, in the lineage of the ancient heroes. He has an ideal that exceeds him: Scotland, and ready to fight to the death, and he is the toy of fortune. I had already mentioned in the analysis of episode 2 of season 1: Dragonfly in Amber, the links woven with ancient tragedy. Leader of men with undeniable charisma, blindly followed by his own, he is Jamie the Red, the rebel, the halfurge with a brazen physique and a steel mind. He fights doggedly, deceives death since life does not matter if it is to be lived without Claire. Around him, the Scots die while he continues the fight. The violence of the blows, the bloody and sublime ballet at the same time shows without concession the savagery of the battle: the swords dance, the kilts twirl, the blood spurts, the bodies fall.
A little aside here: I was particularly sensitive to the way fights, in general, are filmed in Outlander; they are always of a striking realism, of a raw and uncompromising violence. As are the sex scenes. There is no ornament, the words are useless: just open your eyes and admire the talent of impeccable actors and staging.
Another consequence is London's mistrust of Scotland, which opens the door to the 'Highland Clearances' movement, or Fuadaich nan Gàidheal (in Scottish Gaelic 'the expulsion of the Gaels'), forced displacements of the population of the Scottish Highlands in the 18th century. century. Charles-Edouard hides then in the Highlands then in the islands during several months. Thus, the song of the credits is a rewriting of a poem of Sir Harold Boulton by Robert Louis Stevenson, probably in 1885.
She does not even let Frank touch her, touch her belly, whereas he considers this child as his own. Frank and Claire are two strangers.
Alone, most of the time, languid, sad to die, Claire wanders from room to room. When Frank is there, she runs away; it must also be said that it does not leave Frank the place he aspires to have, and jealously protects his story with Jamie, and this since his return in 1948:
'By stroking my hand, he had discovered the covenant that Jamie had given me the day of our wedding: a large silver ring decorated with a tracery in loops which were chiseled small stylized thistles.
- No ! I exclaimed, believing he wanted to take it away.
I snatched my hand from her and squeezed her against my breast, protecting her from my right hand, who was wearing Frank's gold wedding ring.
- No ! I repeated. You do not have the right to touch it! I forbid it, it's mine! '
(Volume 3, Voyager).
In episode 3-01, Claire reproaches Frank for wanting to make him forget the past that obsesses him; forgetfulness, for Claire, will go so far as to want to build a new identity, to better remove the one she can no longer be. This is the meaning to be given to his desire to take American nationality; a new life, a new country, a new history ...
Dragonfly in Amber (volume 2):
'Twenty years ago, when you were born, I made a promise to Frank,' I announced in a trembling voice, 'I wanted to leave him and he did not let me go. He could never accept the truth but he knew, of course, that he was not your father, he asked me not to tell you anything, to let him be your only father, as long as he lived. what, it would be for me to see.
- ... I owed him, because he loved you as a father. But now that he's dead, you have the right to know who you really are '[...].'
As their separation increases, Frank's vision of Claire evolves: she becomes a stooge, she is the wife, the future mother, the housewife, all he hoped for without to be able to obtain it, being itself sterile. Clear pregnant, in the eyes of others, it is the mark of his manhood, his ability to generate, to provide focus and stability to his offspring. The time of presentation at Harvard dean Claire shows the irony of the situation experienced by the couple finally cracked as it highlights the misogyny that Claire is facing in 1948: an academic side and the other the doctor who gives birth. Frank's colleagues, prominent Harvard professors, forbid her to think for herself and incite her husband to watch her; in the hospital, she is deprived of her rights and can not oppose the choice of her midwife who literally nails her beak by falling asleep without her consent. Frank leaves her desperately alone, not daring to contradict the dean or the doctor: only in a world of men, just as it was among the Highlanders, it seems less respected however in 1948 that it does not was in 1746.
'In 1743, the relationship between men and women was the same as it is today, with a few differences, of course, the only thing that has changed is the way everyone looks at their own sex, and not so much how each one behaves with the opposite sex. '
(Volume 3, Voyager).
For Claire, free woman, to be under the thumb of Frank, is an option not conceivable that definitively seals the disagreement in the couple.
The gap between them will never be filled.
Its head having been priced by the Hanoverian power of London, Bonnie Prince Charlie could only return to France thanks to the support of Louis XV, but having lost the confidence of all its support.
Finally, the defeat of Culloden will have other extensions in the series, the repression having resulted in starving the Highlands, to prohibit arms, but also to limit the manufacture and import of alcohol, it will be the lever thanks which Roger will find traces of Jamie, quoting the verses that Robert Burns has not yet written: Freedom and Whiskey
During the duel with Black Jack in Culloden, Jamie badly wounded by a sword in the thigh. The injury pulsates and makes us fear the worst. She kills him and keeps him grounded when he returns to the barn and serenely waits for his execution. This cut is the mark imprinted in his flesh of the terrible battle:
Her fingers wandered over my stomach, stopping on the stretch marks left by Brianna's birth.
- That ... it does not bother you too much? did I shyly?
He smiled mockingly. He hesitated a moment and then raised his shirt a few inches.
- No and you ? He asked.
The scar started from the middle of his thigh and went up to the groin, forming a whitish bump of flesh. I could not repress a hiccup of stupor, then dropped to my knees by his side. I put my cheek against his thigh, squeezing his leg against me as if I wanted to protect him against what had already happened. I felt the slow pulsations of his femoral artery under my fingers, barely a centimeter beside the horrible cut.
- That does not scare you, Sassenach? he worried, putting a hand on my head.
- Of course not !
'We each carry the marks of our own battles,' he said softly.
(Volume 3, Voyager.)
Circularly, this passage refers us to the title, to his questions raised at the beginning of this post: the singular title is only an illusion, and beyond the fights that await, the solitude that hugs them, everything makes sense. They survive their battles and their internal struggles to find each other better.
This episode thus sows clues. Hoping to have them decrypted.
We all have in mind the story of the plover females, which Jamie makes to Claire in Volume 1 after their marriage.
Symbol of the soul, the bird is the link between heaven and earth; fragile and light, incredibly strong too, he is able to face winds and storms to find his home. Messenger of the divine oracles, the Romans read their future in their flight; the wings of the birds that the divine messengers (Hermes, the angels) wear on display this link between the sky, this hoped-for paradise, and the poor human beings that we are. It is no coincidence that birds are so important in Outlander.
Based in Boston, Claire regularly sees a bird coming to her window. Amazed by her presence, she confessed to Jamie that she imagined that it was he who came to speak to her throughout the ages, thus bringing her hope and comfort in her immense solitude.
This episode is set against a background of historical drama, mixing History and fiction in a subtle way.
This defeat led to a savage repression that earned the duke of Cumberland (who led the Hanoverian troops) the nickname 'Butcher Cumberland': the wounded are completed, the prisoners, and even the witnesses massacred, the survivors, including Charles Edward Stuart, pursued relentlessly. This repression is estimated at several tens of thousands of victims.
Associated with the mythical banshees the rabbit is also to put in touch with Claire, the White Lady, as shown the analysis of our host Valerie: Of flesh and blood; I can not do better!
Note that in the next episode, 3-02 (Surrender), Brianna will have as a blanket Monsieur Rabbit to watch over his sleep ... Pure chance, do you think?
These two can only meet in violence: scenes of flogging (1-02 - Castle Leoch, 1-09 -The rockoning), those of rape (1-15 - Wentworth prison), reunion and of the first duel (2-06 - Best laid shemes), and finally of the final clash (3-01 - The battle joined), all ending in a bloodbath.
The rage, the hatred which opposes them, is of a rare violence, and effaces all around them: Culloden no longer exists, nothing remains but revenge. Slow motion, blurred images, attenuated sounds, are the marks of this ultimate confrontation.
* The rabbit and the White Lady: joint symbols
I was particularly struck by the moods of this episode. Farewell bright Scottish landscapes, bright greens, golden lights. Episode 2-13 (Dragonfly in Amber) was in earth colors, fall, 3-01 (The battle Joined) sees dominate the blues and grays, cold colors par excellence since the awakening of Jamie in Culloden through the slow progress of Claire in the midst of corpses or the dull colors of the Boston House.
The cold that has now settled in the lives of our heroes. Their heart is in winter and nothing seems to warm them up.
You have probably noticed, like me, that the Battle of Culloden is treated in two distinct ways. In the beginning, Jamie fights with the men, in a hubbub of screams and metal. And when he meets Black Jack, everything disappears around them: nothing is more important than their confrontation that goes on forever beyond the historical reality, long after the battle is over, dying of exhaustion in each other's arms in a grotesque position, mingling their wounds and their blood.
The breakup of the couple formed by Claire and Frank is hollow, revealing the suffering of Claire related to the loss of Jamie. A deep gap separates them: what had already been germinating since the end of the war, the difficulty of rebuilding their relationship, is out in the open. The only bridge that connected them, sex, is destroyed: Claire's pregnancy, described as 'at risk' in the book, forbids any rapprochement, that Claire defends whatever happens. Unthinkable to have both Jamie's child and Frank's body in her, as if betraying her love.
This photogram sums up the path taken by the Claire / Frank couple.
Each in a space of their own, looking in two different directions, that sums up the loneliness of the characters. Together, but definitely separated, Claire and Frank show the sinking of the couple they are trying to be.
Claire is not spared either:
'I lay on the white sheets, my eyes closed, my hands crossed over my belly as if to protect him, and I thought again and again of the last images that had been printed on my retina before crossing the great menhir. rain falling on the moor, Jamie's face ... I was terrified that, if I looked around now, those memories would fade forever ... I remained prostrate for long days. I dreamed sometimes, reliving the last hours of the Jacobite uprising [...] I woke up screaming and moaning, torn from my dreams by a pungent scent of disinfectant and a hubbub of words that were comforting but that I could not understand, dizzy as I was by the screams of my memory, to go back to sleep almost immediately, fists clenched '(Volume 3, Voyager)
The couple Claire and Jamie is thus broken, separated by 202 years, but connected by the suffering and the misfortune which fell on them. Community spirit, suffering, body also in forced fidelity (sexual abstinence, frustration, will be one of the themes developed in the episodes until the reunion of episode 06 of the same season,
A. Malcolm) .
Separation without return possible, at least Claire is convinced because for her, Jamie died on the moor at Culloden. She must mourn in the real sense of the word, and live with a ghost.
The reality is a little different for Jamie; he sent Claire back to Frank both to save her and save their child. He hopes for it alive, hopelessly jealous of a rival he can not face, and in the hope of a possible return. Thus, imprisoned at Ardsmuir, and acting as an interpreter of Duncan Kerr's fabrications, he will shudder at the evocation of the White Lady and will he seek Claire on Selkie Island ...:
'Duncan used the word ban-druidh, which meant' witch ',' magician ', or' white lady. 'In the past, his wife was called' the White Lady. 'Claire, his white lady. crazy, he had pressed Duncan's hand, fearing he would lose consciousness at any moment. ' (Volume 3, Voyager).
By the way, when he talks about Claire, he says 'she's gone'. If asked if she's dead, he simply says she's gone. Nuance of size, since, who dies can not return ...
The gap between Claire and Frank
The hell of Jamie is life, loneliness: only alive, he hopes a death that does not come. His fantasy mind Claire, smiling, approaching him as if to pick him up: his hand approaches his face, and Jamie discovers the face of Rupert (note that it is not Rupert who saves it in the book but a character who is not in the series ...):
"He straightened up suddenly, deploying a considerable effort to crack the crusts of blood that held his eyelids. A tidal wave of memories immediately fell on him, tearing him a groan of discouragement. He was wrong all the way: Not only was he really in Hell but, worse still, he was still not dead".
(Volume 3, Voyager).
It is a battle and a tearing at the same time; the child to come will never carry the name of his father and be never acknowledged as such. Can they speak about single combat for Clear? I would be tried to say yes. Clear must rebuild and the readjustment is difficult; it accepted Frank's ultimatum, having crossed Atlantic, and cannot speak to person of its history. Two passages particularly hit me in this respect. The first, it is when the gas cooker does not walk: Clear fate to search some wood, and kitchen in the chimney, on embers, as she made it in numerous resumptions in XVIIIth century, in the big astonishment of its neighbour. Second it is when Frank wants to touch the belly of pregnant woman and that she rejects it; he is not the father of this infant, and it apparently makes felt it to him. Frank is very frustrated that it refuses that he touches it and says it to him then coldly.
Life prevails, and on every level.
Volume 3 opens with the thoughts of a Jamie convinced to be in purgatory because he can not imagine having escaped:
'He never thought a dead man could hurt his nose as much. To tell the truth, he had thought that once in the afterlife, any form of physical pain would have been spared him. [...]
One thing was certain: he was not in Heaven. On the one hand, he did not deserve it; on the other hand, this place did not resemble the usual idea of Paradise. Moreover, it was unlikely that the retribution of pure souls, like that of the damned, included a broken nose.
He had always imagined Purgatory as an indefinite and greyish place. The dim red glow in which he was bathing now could be suitable. ' (The Voyager)
Yet, despite Jamie's immeasurable efforts to die, death turns his back on him. The Highlanders fell all around him as they flung themselves against the Red Coats shooting at them. An Englishman raised his sword above his head, and Murtagh pierced it. Faced with Randall, the fight faded, and alone, face to face in a merciless fight, Jamie put him to the ground. Gravely touched in the thigh during the duel, and while the red coats finished the wounded, they passed him without seeing him ... and even when, in the barn, he claims to be executed in his turn, he it is necessary that of all the English, it is Lord Melton, the brother of John Gray who owes him the life, who is charged with it! And who leaves his life safe ...
Obviously, said like that, it seems a lot, much too much, than having been able to thwart all these traps! And to say that he only asked to die!
During the analysis of the episode Dragonfly in amber, I mentioned the possibility of a link between our hero and the ancient tragic hero. This eagerness to die, and this refusal of life to let him go, make me think again that Jamie's fate escapes any will, any choice on his part. Heroic in his actions, he is also a hero caught in the nets of Fortune who decides his fate as a child would with a toy.
The destiny of Claire
Claire's destiny is obviously that of life. Not his, but the child she's carrying. In giving up Jamie, she gave up a life that was certainly adventurous and dangerous, but happy; by agreeing to follow Frank to Boston in the terms he imposed on her, she gave up a love life; she made the choice of a housewife, a housewife, raising the only child she will ever have. Claire's choices are dictated by the life of the child she is carrying, not by her own life, which she puts on hold, also separated from her heart when she responds to Jamie: 'It's mine what do you say? What did you think? That I had gone straight to Frank's house for happy days? '(volume 3, Voyager).
Life therefore leaves no choice to our heroes: it is more to them than to her. They MUST stay alive, because something beyond them is waiting for them. Are the Two hundred years of purgatory evoked by Jamie in the episode Dragonfly in amber, the pain of living apart?
If so, I am convinced that we have here the nature of the fighting, as supposed during the analysis of the title: the fight is to live, but to live one without the other. The fights that our heroes face are like a hell of Dante: a series of concentric tortures, which lead to the supreme suffering, solitude, consequence of their forced separation.
The breakup of the Claire / Jamie couple
I was particularly sensitive to this passage fantasized by the exhausted consciousness of Jamie at the moment when he is going to be saved: Claire walking towards him, smiling, amidst the corpses of the valiant Highlanders fallen for their ideals.
For Claire, the fights are to bring this pregnancy to term and protect her treasure, that little piece of Jamie that grows in her womb, readjust herself to the twentieth century, accept Frank's presence, and fight against the immense pain of being in life and separated from his love.
Claire leaves with an inestimable treasure: a little piece of Jamie in her. This treasure is all the more immense, and the responsibility that is hers all the greater because Jamie sends her back to Frank so that the child can survive, and she has already lost a daughter, Faith.
Jamie's fight is a singular fight against the life that awaits him: 'Do you only know what it is like to live twenty years without a heart? half to get used to fill the emptiness of the days that are left for you to live with what comes to hand, and which has no taste for anything? '(Volume 3, voyager), will say he thus to Claire after their reunion.
"To kill time, he took stock of the other torments he was forced to endure, he was covered with nicks and bruises, and his right annular appeared broken again. his joint was tight and his stiff finger was hard to protect, nothing really bad, after all.
Claire! This name pierced his heart, inflicting a pain that was heavier than anything he had endured until then.
If he still had a body worthy of the name, he would probably have been bent in half by the pain. As soon as he saw her leaving for the circle of menhirs, he had sensed that it would be so in Purgatory, the anguish and sorrow were probably natural states and it was therefore predictable that the throes of separation is his main punishment, sufficient, in his eyes, to redeem all the crimes he may have committed in his life, including murder and treason." (Volume 3, The Traveler)
I am not an anglicist, but I was struck by the fact that the title: The battle joined, and its French translation: À chacun son combat, present the combat in the singular, and that each of our characters has a fight which him is clean.
For me, they each have several fights to fight and especially a common fight. For Jamie, it's the battle of Culloden, the greatness of Scotland, the duel against Black Jack Randal to avenge the scorned honor, and the fight against the immense pain of being alive and separated from his love; for Claire, carry this pregnancy to term and protect her treasure, that little piece of Jamie that grows in her womb, readjust herself to the twentieth century, accept Frank's presence, and fight the immense pain of being alive and separate of his love.
But to look well, beyond these struggles, what is at stake is to live, or survive rather, having lost his heart, each in his time, and each in immense suffering. A single fight, therefore, the same, the hardest that will never be given to them, because, they think, they are forever lost for each other.
But back to our (Scottish) sheep ...
For all that, Jamie is not without weaknesses. Colossus with clay feet, so. The appearance of BJR puts everything in question. Fatality again and again: Claire had told Black Jack that he would die in Culloden, and here he is with Jamie ready to fight to avenge his violated honor. We know the outcome of this fight, since the story can not be changed: Black Jack will die. What's left hanging, is that what will happen to Jamie? Well no ; we already know, as the duel begins, that Jamie has survived. This is a narration made in the form of flashback, the night after the battle, Jamie on the ground, BJR dead lying on him.
Lying there, he waits for death that does not come:
Why put such a time lag, seven months against two days? We all know that our perception of time is completely subjective. Whoever is bored finds the long time and who has fun finds it too short ... and yet a minute is always a minute! Thirty minutes devoted to Jamie for a two-day story, and just as much to Claire for seven months.
Condensation, and thus precipitation of time for Jamie; the story is reduced to the essentials, its survival, its determination to die while death refuses it, and the life to come, without the woman he loves, alone.
Expansion for Claire, and therefore extension of this endless time of pregnancy, which has gone into anguish (remember here that she lost a first child Jamie and she will not have the chance to to have another if this one dies in his turn.The life to come then), without the man she loves and that she believes definitively dead, and to protect, alone.
The condensation of Jamie's time contributes to the dramatization of the narration; so many events in such a short time, the precipitation of misfortune, and the immense grief that ensues, crush the character. But we must not be deceived here and believe that because Claire's time is dilated she suffers less than Jamie; point of physical suffering for Claire, but a dramatization of the situation she lives, unsuited to her time and her couple, in the anxious expectation of the child to come, only concrete trace of the passage of Jamie in his life .
For Jamie, it's the battle of Culloden, the greatness of Scotland, the duel against Black Jack Randall to avenge the scorned honor, and the fight against the immense pain of being alive and separated from his love.
As was already the case in episode 2-13 (Dragonfly in Amber), the 3-01 (The battle joined), second part of this triptych, parallels the lives of Claire and Jamie. And as before, the treatment of time is not taken into account in the same way in 1948 and in 1746. Claire leaves Jamie barely pregnant for two months, April 16, 1746. The episode To each his fight ends on the birth of Brianna on November 23, 1948. Claire's time runs linearly and monotonously for seven months, during which she lives alone a pregnancy that is both sad and distressing. Obviously, not everything is told, and only the important elements are put forward, some moments separated by long narrative ellipses.
The time of Jamie, it develops on two days, from 17 to 18 April 1746. How two days, will you say to me? And Culloden was April 16! That's for sure ... Well, Culloden's fights are shown to us through Jamie's consciousness, in the form of a flashback, as he dies in the night after the battle, April 17th ... So Jamie extended, Black Jack Randall died on him, flashbacks, hallucinations, until Rupert found him and brought him back to the abandoned barn, where the narration resumed a normal 'chronological' unfolding. The events experienced by Jamie will end with the return to Lallybroch on April 18 after Lord Melton saved his life, thus defying Cumberland's orders.
The battle joined / À chacun son combat
The title contains in itself the separation, the loneliness that will hug the characters now one without the other. Each of our characters has a fight to fight on their side, and it's obviously not the same. What fights is it? Fighting against opposing forces? Any struggle by various means against various obstacles, dangers of all kinds? The assault led to excel in something?
As I pointed out in the introduction of the analysis of episode 13 of season 2: 'Dragonfly in Amber ; 2-13, 3-01 and 3-02 form a set, a triptych highlighting the feelings successive stages through which our heroes pass when Culloden brutally pulls them apart. After the wandering, which served as the guiding thread to 2-13 (Dragonfly in Amber) and before the hell of 3-02 (Surrender), I will approach the analysis of To each his fight (The battle joined) through loneliness.
By Pas Cale