By Marylou Proft
Claire, as the female main character, is rarely considered the weaker character although she does not have the same physical strength as Jamie. She uses her intellect and strong will to save him and others.
Despite an eighteenth-century setting, Claire is placed in the role of the heroine. She fends for herself as Jamie knows she can. Claire fights for her man, her family and herself.
On the first day, episode 1, Claire lands in the woods:
1) She shows concern for Frank by using her maiden name;
2) She saves Jamie from being left in the back with a dislocated shoulder;
3) She warned the men of the possibility of an ambush by the English;
4) She treats and disinfects Jamie's gunshot wound so he doesn't find himself having to determine his own fate with a gun!
And then again in Leoch.
She earns our respect as a heroine! This seemingly insignificant interaction is the spark that unleashes the eternal flame of love in Jamie's heart for Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp.
Here is a soldier who was wounded in battle. As he suffers from his efforts, who comes to his aid except his godfather? His uncle? His comrades? His companions? His compatriots?
No, a Sassenach. An Englishwoman. A stranger. While the men have rather jaded feelings towards Jamie's well-being, this woman, who doesn't even know her real name, is completely undone by her pain. She rushes to his side to help him. She takes her own clothes to heal her wound. She holds nothing back for him: his frustration, his solicitude, what she wears on his back. She gives him everything.
And as she does that... all we see through the darkness is a pair of piercing blue eyes fixed on a woman: a woman that this man has just realized desires more than anything the world has to offer.
When Jamie thanks Claire and calls her SASSENACH, he blesses her with that name. Despite the fact that she is a stranger to others, she is out of the crowd for him.
She carries the same burning passion. She carries the same burdens for others. She has the same empathetic heart. She has the same stubborn sensibilities. She is his equal.
But, in Claire, Jamie didn't just meet his equal, he met his partner.