Chapter 36 of the second volume opens on September 1745. Jamie and Claire have been married for two years. They are a young couple and yet the bond that unites them seems to draw from a time much more distant than the measure of the human. Back from France ̧ they enjoy an ephemeral tranquility in Lallybroch before the fallacious usurpation of the name Fraser comes to claim Jamie's services. Here they are again on the roads ̧ embarked in the dynastic war between English and Scottish Jacobites whose first act is played in Prestonpans.
Chapter 36 and the corresponding episodes (9 and 10, second season) are therefore centered on the preparations and victory of an army around a charismatic couple, Jamie as a wise and courageous military leader ̧ Claire as a talented war nurse ̧ both fighting ̧ exemplary and daring in a poignant urgency ̧ drawing from their mutual gaze the strength that sustains them.
What differs is that the chapter is structured around the existential question of the morality of acts that Claire's melancholic and determined questioning sums up in these terms: "What choice did we really have, being what we were?" Episodes 9 and 10 of the series offer a more personal view of war, in its sacrificial dimension ̧ with a succession of painful imperatives: Claire facing the post-traumatic stress of her war memories, Jamie settling accounts with her uncle Dougal, and both suffering the loss of loved ones in battle.
In this context ̧ the meeting with the young Lord John Grey is very different between the two literary and television media.
The pages of the novel ̧ like the two episodes ̧ are particularly dark. But they have the beauty of the ephemeral, the insolence of remission, the poetry of despair. We rejoice in the embraces stolen from the whims of fate ̧ moments of complicity ̧ reunion after the battle ̧ those moments when bodies mingle in the comfort of the other. Prisoners of an irresistible gear ̧ Claire and Jamie show Prestonpans and even on the Culloden Moor ̧ a willingness to honor a moral code of righteousness ̧ justice and wisdom worthy of the heroic traditions of yesteryear.
Episodes 9 ("I am prest") and 10 ("Prestonpans") of the second season and chapter 36 first have in common the description of an atmosphere of war where multiple sensations are summoned to cover all aspects of an army in the field.
In the book ̧ it is the grammatical richness and precision of the movements that encircle the reader in the imagery of the war ̧ from the mechanical slowness of the waiting to the meticulous organization spurring everyone, to the liberated fury of the galvanized troops. Since the Great War and the institutionalization of war godmothers to support the morale of soldiers ̧ writing and the war experience have sadly combined to try to say
the unspeakable. Here ̧ the story of the author ̧ Diana Gabaldon ̧ revives this tradition of backing up with the strategic and military reality of war the human and psychological consequences that carry away the actors of these fatal hours.
So we have a concrete vision of the Battle of Prestonpans that tells as much the warlike fact as everyday life in its smallest details with the associated feelings and reflections. Through Claire ̧ who is still the narrator ̧ we live a palette of emotions - anger ̧ determination ̧ cold lucidity ̧ disgust ̧ fear ̧ devotion ̧ exhaustion ̧ tenderness ... - wrapped in writing processes oscillating between cold and detached realism in the face of the desolation of war and the sensitive involvement of a woman of experience.
By the immediacy of the image ̧ the series transports the viewer by pouring on him the emotional charge contained in the visual and the sound ̧ associated with the quality of the actors' acting. Framing ̧ colors ̧ planes ̧ perspectives are cleverly chosen. If the imaginary is necessarily channeled by the image ̧ it is no less powerful since it acts on the individual unconscious to shock ̧ awaken ̧ move as words do. Between immediate visual perception and subsequent psychic discernment ̧ it is the whole universe of the unspoken ̧ of the implicit and the innuendo that is gradually structured in the viewer's brain. Thus, the first scene of episode 10 immediately sets the tempo: Claire, alone, looking at a Scottish corpse; camera lower than it to film it upwards ̧ magnifying it ̧ reinforcing its central role but also emphasizing its responsibility ̧ by accentuating the dramatic effect. War invites itself into the ordinary of the viewer and with it, the reminiscences of the past and the urgency of the present in a woman caught up by her anxiety about the future. A sense of finitude fills the viewer ̧ aware that the national destinies of Scotland and the personal destinies of a couple are now inextricably intertwined.
Book or series, the sensations of reading and television images follow one another at a rapid pace in a permanent tension that is slowed down only by the salutary pauses centered on Jamie and Claire, when they ostensibly auscultate to reassure each other ̧ before hugging each other in a languor full of delicacy.
Chapter 36, The Talisman and Episodes 9 & 10 Season 2: Two Different but Complementary Points of View
By Fany Alice
Illustration: Valérie Gay-Corajoud
The first aspect of this atmosphere of war lies in the military language on the movement of troops ̧ the positioning of the rear lines ̧ the outposts as well as on the strategic reflections in the conduct of the armies. It is above all the quarrels of command that are highlighted in the two media ̧ literary and television ̧ on the occasion of an exchange between Jamie and the Jacobite general Lord George Murray, exasperated by the initiatives of each other in chapter 36 ̧ and a closed eight between the various leaders grouped around the Bonnie Prince Charlie at the beginning of episode 10.
What about this prince portrayed without illusion or concession under the skillful pen of the author or the equally wise staging of the screenwriters? He always seems conceited and versatile ̧ unable to assume the role predestined for him by his father ̧ himself removed from the throne of England since the Revolution of 1688. While visiting the wounded of the Battle of Prestonpans in chapter 36 and in episode 10 ̧ he appears grandiloquent and clumsy in clothes of immaculate cleanliness shockingly out of step with the destitution of those who serve him ̧ especially Jamie ̧ so close to the daily life of his men. A gesture of gratitude to the wounded Jamie earned him that relative leniency of Claire in chapter 36: "And just for that moment, I thought that maybe he could have made a king, after all." And the popular memory too, nostalgic and indulgent, will retain only the affectionate impulse of a people towards its prince through a song written at the end of the nineteenth century, "My Bonnie lies over the ocean" ̧ whose famous refrain "Bring back, bring back Oh bring back my Bonnie to me, to me" will rock generations of little Scots.
But under the pen of D. Gabaldon ̧ Jamie's heroism is given above all to live in the tender gaze of a wife who is moved by the sacrifices endured by her husband: "Six hours of sleep in a wet field, followed by a battle during which he had been trampled by a horse, wounded by a sword, and does God knows what else. Then he gathered his men, collected the wounded, cared for the wounded, mourned his dead, and served his Prince. And during all this time, I didn't see him stop to eat, drink or rest. »
The warrior narrative is also more ambivalent in the book ̧ more focused on personalized contact with the enemy who emits his last impaled rale on the sword than on the impersonal assault where adrenaline destroys without conscience. Victory has the bitter taste of the moral dilemma of killing or being killed: "Iremember... of everything, he said, almost whispering. Every shot. Every face. The man lying on the floor in front of me who got wet with fear. The horses that howled. All smells. (...). He was almost bent in half, his head on his knees, the chills were visible now. We recognize here ̧ in filigree in the literary saga ̧ the tormented soul of Jamie in the questioning of his actions ̧ and the redemptive force of Claire at his side ̧ in a story that does not neglect the quest for meaning ̧ between the sleeping sentinel that Jamie spares and the one he disembowels the next moment. In episode 9 ̧ a brief exchange at the initiative of Murtagh shows Jamie aware of his responsibilities towards his men but quickly dodging the question ̧ resigned to the inevitability of events.
The lexical field around the body and its sufferings is also present. Contemporaries of Claire ̧ readers and viewers share with her her memory of the battlefields of the Second World War. They feel his experience through descriptions or visual representations of disembodied bodies ̧ of the machine body with its cracked arteries ̧ its purulent wounds ̧ its decomposed flesh or disarticulated limbs. The threat of infection is there ̧ more cruel than in 1940 ̧ dependent on the limits of medicine and the disbelief of an era on the role of asepsis.
The sound universe is omnipresent ̧ imagined by the force of the words of the book ̧ associated with the lights and colors ̧ and it is only when Jamie and Claire can escape for a moment on the edge of the camp that they perceive with a melancholic strangeness the beauty of silence: to the cries of the wounded ̧ to the crackling of the guns ̧ to the metallic sound of the frontal shocks ̧ to the rumble of the cannons respond the comings and goings of the solitary messengers ̧ of the patrols and rotations ̧ the hennissements of horses mixed with the panting breaths of resting bodies. Even at night carries the fear of dying while the alternation of rhythms exhausts the bodies battered by the cold ̧ torn by hunger ̧ weakened by lack of sleep.
In the series ̧ the sound universe gives priority to live through music. The rhythm of Scottish folklore resonates in the song composed by Bear MacCreary on the occasion of episode 9 ̧ "Moch sa Mhadainn is Mi Dusgadh" ̧ which galvanizes the Jacobite troops. It is a powerful ̧ moving and melancholic music ̧ at the height of the sacrifice of these men for the survival of Scotland. The sounds of war are also heard - rage of assaults ̧ calvary of the wounded ̧ jostling ̧ makeshift stretchers that collide ̧ last rales ̧ continuous groans ̧ shots of guns ̧ cannonades... - and accentuated by the concomitant images of the shredded bodies ̧ of the black powder of the cannons ̧ of the incessant fog and dust mixed with blood.
Before and after the battle ̧ dirt and lack of care are another aspect of this atmosphere of war ̧ they are the enemies of every moment. The first paragraphs of the chapter open with the struggle that the thirty men of Lallybroch led by Jamie engage with lice. Claire ̧ in her nurturing role ̧ applies to Jamie the treatment she inflicts on herself ̧ a regular washing of the hair with yarrow. Later ̧ she gave him apples whose vitamin C protects from scurvy ̧ reminding him of the importance of consuming onions ̧ cabbage ̧ oranges ̧ lemons and even green herbs and meadow herbs ̧ so many recommendations that he will apply wisely during their twenty years of separation. Promiscuity and lack of hygiene are addressed in episode 9 from the more impersonal angle of the nurse on the lookout ̧ in Claire's incessant reminders for disinfection and care for any injury ̧ as when she authoritatively grabs Angus' stuffed foot.
In the midst of this constant din ̧ the illusion of normality is expressed in meals ̧ care ̧ medical preparations ̧ military training ̧ discussions or jokes between soldiers around a campfire. Attention is focused on two inseparable soldier couples in episodes 9 and 10 ̧ the indefatigable comedy duo Rupert/Angus and the new Ross/Kincaid duo ̧ symbolising scottish values of courage and solidarity and between them ̧ the price of war. Series as book offer these moments of respite welcome but which do not mask in any way the anguish of the fight.
The series focuses more than the chapter on the personal sacrifice represented by the Battle of Prestonpans. Even if it is a victory, it has a cost, that of the gradual dislocation of the ties forged in the first season with the Mac Kenzie clan. The landmarks that had been able to attach Claire to this century are fraying one by one.
The men we had learned to love die: it is not only Kincaid who succumbs but the faithful Angus whose poignant "save me Mistress" (Episode 10), a pledge of the trust he had ended up feeling in a sassenach, shows the solidity of friendships in this Scotland at first glance rustic and wild. Rupert is on reprieve, we fear for the others, for each of the men whose successive disappearance will leave only Jamie and Claire alone facing a fate that the viewer does not ignore, nor the reader, because the construction of the story of the second volume and the second season begins one with the year 1968, the other by 1948: Claire and Jamie separated ̧ lost in the memory of the other. How strange it is to note that despite this known outcome, viewers and readers live the moments of Prestonpans with the same urgency as their heroes ̧ as if hope were still possible. Virtuosity of a writing and a script that stuns beyond reality...
The personal sacrifice that Prestonpans represents is also materialized in the series (Episode 10) by two central images of hugs between Claire and Jamie exercising a symbolic function ̧ as a mirror of our emotions ̧ bringing the viewer back to a sensory reality that is familiar to him ̧ the pain of separation: "Thank God, said his dark blue eyes, and thank God, answered mine" (Chapter 36).
It is first the kiss to the soldier before the departure ̧ languorous and anguished ̧ then that of the reunion after the victory ̧ fiery and thrilling: the approach is deliberately stylized to magnify the expressive beauty of the spouses reunited to the detriment of what is less so ̧ the sordid environment of war. The image is deeply anchored in the memory of the viewer who visually represents the attachment between Claire and Jamie through this aestheticized sentimental double outpouring. The equally emotionally charged reader is nevertheless in a more rational and logical mental representation centered on the emotional cost of victory for Jamie, in the suffering of the last days finally released by the embrace: "Claire. I need you," he whispered. I need you so much. (...). Exhaustion blocked all our thoughts and memories; all sensations except the knowledge of the other" (Chapter 36).
If the atmosphere of war is very common to the book and the series ̧ on the other hand ̧ the meeting with Lord John Grey ̧ young English aristocrat of barely 16 years, is approached differently ̧ both in its unfolding and in the moral consequences that the incident entails.
It is obvious that Gabaldon's narration brings its share of uncomfortable ambiguity ̧ unhealthy embarrassment ̧ stifled anger and growing annoyance. Where the viewer smiles ̧ the reader fumes. Where one marvels at the ingenuity of subterfuge ̧ the other rebels at obscene manipulation. One applauds ̧ the other is annoyed. The two are therefore not intellectually stimulated in a similar way.
The scene proposed by the screenwriters recalls the comic situation of vaudevilles ̧ light and grivois ̧ where the misunderstanding brings together several complicit witnesses determined to trap an isolated individual in a fallacious narrative where hilarity dominates (Episode 9). This scene brings its moment of freshness and carefreeness in an anxious episode. Thus ̧ while the young Englishman captured by Jamie freezes in an absolute refusal not to divulge anything about the positioning of the British troops ̧ Claire appears and spontaneously assumes the role of an English captive ready to sacrifice her modesty to her Scottish jailers to spare the life of the young boy. Lively and alert ̧ Jamie grabs his wife's game proposal under the amused eye of Murtagh and the men around. This is followed by a forced but sensual embrace where Claire's screams and gesticulations eventually convince Lord John Grey. A falsely imposed kiss from Jamie and an adorable angry pout from Claire just as feigned close the burlesque sequence
Conversely, the narrative proposed in chapter 36 is a moment of intense tension. The scene is brutal and painful. No amount of smile or amusement can relax a shocked reader. The young Grey is threatened ̧ which provokes the anger of Claire whose English accent calls out to the captive. Everything then follows in a sudden succession of short and sudden gestures by Jamie that surprise Claire as much as the men rushed and the reader: "He grabs me by the wrist and pulls me towards him, making me stumble slightly on the rough ground. I fell towards him, and he brutally twisted my arm behind my back. (...). He wrapped his fingers in my hair, forced my head back and kissed me with deliberate brutality that made me squirm involuntarily in protest. (...). Jamie's hands reached the collar of my dress. With a dry blow, he tore the fabric of the dress and shirt, uncovering most of my chest. »
While Jamie's touching remains relatively chaste in the series ̧ limited to a slightly rolled up skirt ̧ of the wandering hands and a kiss pressed ̧ the attacks on Claire's body are violent and humiliating. Certainly ̧ she turns her back on the men and "alone" Ross and Kincaid ̧ who hold the young Grey by the arms ̧ are direct witnesses of Claire's bare chest (and have the modesty to look away) ̧ but it is nevertheless a frontal and not consensual attack on a woman: an arm is twisted in her back before her two hands are firmly tied ̧ a gag is pushed into her mouth then ̧ a once Claire is totally hampered in her movements ̧ "Jamie's hands rushed over my shoulders, spreading the torn pieces of my dress. In a tear of linen and futaine, he stripped me to the waist, trapping my arms along my body." Covered with her cape ̧ once Lord John Grey gives in ̧ she nevertheless remains gagged for an hour ̧ the time of the interrogation of the young man. No cross-dressing wrath here but a frank anger of Claire towards Jamie ("... I could have happily killed him. »).
A first conclusion that can be drawn from this representation so differentiated between the series and the book lies in the decision-making role entrusted to either Claire ̧ or Jamie: the initiative goes to the first in the series but to the second in the book. Jamie is positioned as a warlord by D. Gabaldon who reduces Claire to the rank of soldier of which he is the hierarchical superior. He uses his breasts as a weapon ̧ as a cannon would do against a battalion of red tunics ̧ to coerce an equally pugnacious young enemy. A leader pays with his person ̧ whether it is himself or his supposedly supportive and obedient wife ̧ they are Lord and Lady Broch Tuarach ̧ bound to exemplarity and sacrifice if they want the troops to respect and obey their Laird and warlord. Conversely, the series offers honors to Claire alone who ̧ by her presence of mind and her vivacity of action ̧ allowed a happy ending to an incident that could have become tragic.
Another conclusion is related to the representation of jamie's character. Throughout chapter 36 he is portrayed as a responsible leader ̧ involved ̧ thrifty of his men. Allusions are frequent to the thirty men of Lallybroch whom Jamie hopes to spare and see return safely to his lands. He knows that the fate of Scotland is sealed at Culloden and his only consolation lies in the survival of these thirty men and that of his wife. Episodes 9 and 10 also highlight Jamie's charisma as the book does but overlook his vulnerability which stems from particularly heavy responsibilities ̧ in the moral difficulty ̧ physical ̧ emotional ̧ to honor his duties to his soldiers ̧ his country ̧ his Prince while knowing the fatal outcome: "And therefore I must ride with a man - the son of my king - that duty and honor call me to follow ̧ and seek to seek to pervert the cause I swore to defend. I have taken an oath for the lives of those I love, I betray the name of honor so that those I honor can survive" (Chapter 36). Jamie is a Cornelian hero ̧ torn between duty and feeling ̧ forced to make choices that are morally costly to him. Claire knows this ̧ understands ̧ supports ̧ forgives and absolves: "I felt a real sorrow for his corruption, and I shared a feeling of loss for the naïve and gallant boy he had been" (Chapter 36).
The story arc of chapter 36 is therefore centered on Jamie's fragility and his need for Claire ̧ to get the assurance that his choices are the right ones ̧ while that of the series insists on the aura of the leader ̧ heroic and exemplary ̧ who knows how to skillfully direct his men ̧ a prince or Dougal. Chapter 36 concludes, "I need you." It is also about "feminine sympathy ̧ love and food" eagerly sought by Jamie against his wife's body. Before this finale ̧ long passages stretch on his questions ̧ on the morality of his actions ̧ the ethics of his convictions ̧ his sense of honor in the fight ̧ his responsibility before his men ̧ his fear of being devoid of righteousness. Jamie is crushed by the dilemmas ̧ dilemma vis-à-vis bonnie Prince Charlie ̧ dilemma of the fighter on the battlefield ̧ dilemma of the man in love who abuses his wife to save his men.
The scope of the encounter is therefore in no way comparable between the book and the series. If ̧ in both media ̧ it leads to the same result - lives saved ̧ the knowledge of the British positions revealed by the young Grey allowing a successful commando operation through the enemy lines - it obviously does not have the same symbolic meaning or the same moral cost for Claire and Jamie. It remains a moment of humorous respite in episode 9 ̧ with no follow-up other than the memory of a glorious initiative of Claire. The writers wanted to make a nod to the scene of domestic violence of the episode (also number 9) of the first season by showing ̧ this time ̧ the consent of Claire in the use of force on her person. The couple has evolved ̧ everything is fine.
Not to mention regression as to the evolution of the couple ̧ this scene nevertheless marks a break in their complicity in the book: Claire was coerced and forced. She can only understand herself if we keep in mind that Jamie knows that his days are numbered ̧ that the inevitable awaits him in the promise to bring his wife back to Frank: his death on the battlefield of Culloden. He is therefore in the mental situation of the one who has no other project than to save his soul by balancing the balance of murders ̧ looting ̧ thefts of which his young life is already rich ̧ by courageous and morally honorable acts.
From then on, two actions follow that dictate Jamie's conduct: the first ̧ atone for his fault towards Claire; the second ̧ obtain from her his retrospective consent to the arbitration he had to make before the range of possibilities against Lord John Grey. In both cases ̧ one is in a search for spiritual redemption.
The atonement is done in three stages: first ̧ Jamie apologizes once the young Grey has ceded ̧ restaurant a semblance of dignity to Claire: "I must apologize to my wife for forcing her to take part in this deception. (...). I also assure you that if the lady sometimes honors my bed with her presence, she has never done so under duress. And it won't do it now. Her gaze shaves the ground ̧ not daring to look up at Claire. He will repeat his apology when he is alone with her. Then he lets himself be slapped in front of his men: "With an irregular breath, I approached him and slapped him as hard as possible. The blow left a white spot on one cheek and made his eyes cry, but he did not move or change his expression. Finally ̧ he demands corporal punishment for himself ̧ taking responsibility for the infiltration of Grey between their lines ̧ but also and above all in reparation for what he did to Claire: "I thought maybe I owed it to you. Or maybe to myself. Yes? Is it the act of a gentleman to undress his wife in the presence of thirty men? »
Then, he finds Claire. There ̧ once the act is accomplished ̧ it is a question of judging its morality. He cannot do it without her: her presence ̧ her opinion ̧ her love are indispensable to her. No doubt Jamie thinks that Claire has a strength that he does not have. She is his soul mate ̧ his double ̧ but in addition completed and more perfect and all the graces he lends her can redeem him ̧ offer the tormented warrior the absolution sought and the certainty that his actions are right.
D. Gabaldon's writing was both philosophical and religious. Philosophical ̧ because it shows Jamie facing an ethical dilemma where his choice opposed two moral duties, one to preserve the virtue of his wife, the other to spare the life of a young boy and save that of his men; religious ̧ because forgiveness goes through the recognition of sins and the will to amend ̧ what is found in the biblical quotation of Clare
"When I was silent, my bones would age by roaring all day."
From a philosophical point of view ̧ Greek antiquity has theorized the problem in which Jamie finds himself by the concept of "aporia" which designates an insoluble situation related to the presence of two contradictory but both equally valid options: prosaically, it is a dead end. We find this dynamic at work in the plays of Corneille or Racine. Jamie must therefore deal with the moral duality of his decision, between the guilt of having stripped Claire and the satisfaction of having saved her men. Claire's attitude also borrows from antagonism: "Torn between the desire to caress her head and the desire to crush her with a stone, I did neither." They are internally in the same destabilizing symmetry.
Jamie exposes the possible choices facing Grey: the torture and murder of a boy confessing nothing ̧ making inevitable the fate of the thirty men of Lallybroch surrounded by British. Jamie is at war and ̧ in time of war, the cycle of decisions is drastically shortened
: the observation, the processing of the information and the passage to the act are collected in a time all the shorter as death is an outcome always probable. Honor is not an abstract code. It is played out in perilous situations where lives are at stake as a point of balance between opposing forces subject to arbitration ̧ in the rapid weighing of possible choices.
In a split second ̧ Jamie makes the choice to sacrifice Claire's virtue.
In the eighteenth century ̧ a new current of thought born in the United Kingdom develops: utilitarianism. Only the result counts with a view to maximizing the collective interest. The risk of "lesser evil" is accepted as here ̧ where Claire's free will is flouted in the name of the imperative need to safeguard the lives of a greater numbeŗ the Jacobite soldiers.
But is the value of the greatest number greater than that of a single individual? What happens to Jamie's own preferences and the internal conflict that his decision inevitably leads to? Is it acceptable to subordinate an objectively laudable purpose to a morally reprehensible means? In the nineteenth century, the philosopher Max Weber took up these different reflections to theorize the ethics of responsibility as opposed to the ethics of conviction. War provides the right framework for the use of the ethic of responsibility when a leader like Jamie is compelled to achieve an end consistent with his values through the use of means that contradict them. Only Claire can help Jamie resolve his inner conflict: "If I had to choose between what you did and what you could have done... yes, I'm fine. Jamie did not torture or kill a young boy and this is more valuable to him than "notions of gentleman's conduct. »
But Claire's forgiveness is still intimately linked to Jamie's ability to make amends. In the first volume ̧ he takes an oath not to raise his hand on her again. Here ̧ he sought to atone for his fault ̧ going as far as flogging (Christic allusion to the redemption of sins through the mortification of the flesh). Clare thinks of King David's Psalm 32:2 of the Old Testament and the silence that eats away until one confesses one's fault and asks for forgiveness for transgression: "When I was silent, my bones would grow old by roaring all day." Jamie has confessed his guilt, so he is not morally corrupt. And we finally find in the book ̧ as in the series ̧ a form of reminder of the episode of domestic violence of the first volume since Jamie punishes himself with belt blows for his fault towards Claire. He also advises Claire to return to their common tent before ordering her own punishment, no doubt remembering the trauma that this custom represented for Claire and thus wanting to spare her from reliving the memory.
Reading chapter 36 and watching episode 9 of the second season have therefore chosen two diametrically opposed paths. Certainly ̧ the series opts for a certain ease ̧ substituting for a tragic scene a light scene ̧ evacuating all the introspective development proposed by D. Gabaldon who shakes up his reader. Because, the literary saga is from the beginning invested in the paradox of the hero ̧ strong and responsible actor but endowed with a consciousness that weakens him ̧ and in the figure of the free woman who seeks fulfillment in all her priorities but without ever sacrificing the love of a man. Nevertheless, the series highlights a moment of very strong complicity that is also an integral part of the spirit of the books. The communion is total between what Claire proposes and what Jamie responds ̧ and we find this faculty proper to both to decode the expectations of the other to offer him his help without hesitation.
In addition, the series does not completely ignore the introspective questioning. She did not follow the narration proposed by D. Gabaldon and the various dilemmas that pull Jamie ̧ but built her own problems that she submits to the viewer's reflection through, on the one hand, claire's post-traumatic stress expressed in episode 9 and, on the other hand, the conflictual relationships between Jamie and Dougal in episodes 9 and 10.
The first image of episode 9 is a close-up of muddy ground crossed by a military truck and the cadenced step of British soldiers of the Second World War recognizable by the gaiters fixed on their legs. Gradually ̧ through a look with drooping eyelids or blinking incessantly ̧ of a Claire tired and anxious by the reminiscences of the past ̧ juxtapose scenes of the twentieth century and scenes of the eighteenth century. An allusion to D-Day tells us that contemporary action is probably set in the autumn of 1944 ̧ almost two hundred years before Prestonpans. The book also records Claire's memories: "I had seen the battlefields of Alsace-Lorraine, and the hectares of meadows transformed into muddy cemeteries by the burial of the thousands of dead" (Chapter 36). A harsh winter was looming on these lands during the Lorraine campaign which allowed the Western Allies to sink into German territory.
Nothing looks more like an army at war than another army at war: in the series ̧ gestures and postures are strangely similar between 1944 and 1745 ̧ from learning forced march to the vociferations of the drill sergeant ̧ emblems on uniforms ̧ always proud and pretentious ̧ to the usual food ̧ often bland and frugal. Soldiers marched again in pairs ̧ Grant and Lucas in 1944 ̧ Rupert and Angus or Ross and Kincaid in 1745. Claire is practically the same age at these two times but her face of 1944 still carries within him a certain youthful candor that can be found in the spontaneity of her gestures. She jokes with the American soldiers about their two peoples "separated by the same language" (Episode 9) according to the expression of the playwright George Bernard Shaw ̧ strange formula that can apply to the English and Scots of 1745. One thing has changed and it is essential: she is no longer the girl who can no longer define herself other than as being from "everywhere and nowhere" ̧ the distant gaze in search of an anchor point. Jamie...
And Jamie is there ̧ always attentive to the slightest unusual twitching of Claire. She explains ̧ he understands; the need to no longer be useless and alone; the quest for meaning and security. It is therefore understandable that the series could have opted to leave to Claire the initiative of the outcome of the meeting with Lord Grey. She saves a life – what she had failed to do – paralyzed by fear – during a fatal ambush with the Germans in 1944. The reader may find somewhat fake the construction of post-traumatic stress so quickly resolved. But what matters is the intimacy between Claire and Jamie who tells something new and ̧ at the same time ̧ so familiar.
The second issue addressed by the series this time highlights Jamie and his relationship with his uncle Dougal ̧ whose character appears in episodes 9 and 10 ̧ unlike chapter 36 where the Mac Kenzie clan is absent.
In books or series, their relationships are quickly marked by contradiction. The uncle exerts an authoritarian and violent ancestry on the nephew whose warrior courage he nevertheless respects. Jamie obeys his mother's chief and brother but is suspicious of him, hiding a dagger under his pillow during his nights. Thus, at the time when Jamie is in charge of Scottish troops at the request of Bonnie Prince Charlie (Episodes 9 and 10), the relationship between the two men has already experienced several moments of sharp tension and mutual suspicion: Dougal sweeps away this dispute as a bygone past during the reunion (Episode 9) in front of a more circumspect Jamie and an equally doubtful Claire.
For Jamie is no longer the obedient and constrained young man. His relationship with Dougal has largely evolved towards emancipation, to the rhythm of the attachment he has for Claire, between the boy he was and the man he has become, in solidarity with his wife. Indeed, he freed himself from the moral tutelage of his uncle for the first time after episode 9 of the first season, when reconciliation with Claire offers him the opportunity to enact his own moral code, freeing himself from the traditions of the men of his time and his clan. The emancipation continues when Dougal is hierarchically forced to recognize Jamie's command during these two episodes of the second season: "So far I have been understanding because I respect you as an uncle. But if you want to fight with the Fraser clan you will have to respect my orders without discussion" (Episode 9). Under Claire's watchful eye, Jamie wins and Dougal bows.
In the literary saga, it is only in the next chapter Prestonpans that Claire and Jamie find Dougal. They are also together in chapter 43, prisoners in a church in Falkirk, then in Culloden in the final chapter of the Jacobite rebellion (chapter 46).
The choice to link Dougal and Jamie over two episodes and to narrate their conflicting relationships meets two requirements: the first is to highlight Jamie's exemplary value by opposing him to the narcissistic mirror of his uncle; the second is to accompany the viewer towards the moral acceptance of the fatal outcome of chapter 46 and the last episode of the second season when Jamie kills his uncle to protect Claire.
Vanity, cruelty, untimely outburst, uncontrollable temperament... Dougal is in the total loss of the sense of reality in the series. He is ̧ from the beginning of episode 9 ̧ in an intense body tension ̧ contrasting with the calm displayed by Jamie. One thinks of being part of the Prince's council ̧ the other to transform peasants into soldiers at best. One bets on the furious passion of the Highlander temperament to triumph ̧ the other knows the importance of military discipline. Dougal alternates glorious blows of brilliance, such as his courageous ride to enemy lines to test the solidity of the ground, and gratuitous violence, finishing off the wounded English and killing in cold blood Lieutenant Jeremy Foster unarmed (met Episode 5, first season), whose words about the outcome of the war had the misfortune of offending a mind closed to any contradiction (Episode 10). Dougal is Jamie's antithesis. Where the nephew listens, thinks wisely, acts with righteousness, seeks the common good, respects the honor of the vanquished, the uncle shows a pathological concern for his appearance, despises advice, advocates excess, toise with arrogance. He is caught in the vertigo of Icarus, drunk on his own and uninhibited to the point of burning his last halos of respectability.
What about this sublime closed door between Claire and Dougal where the latter ̧ summoned by his nephew to obey his command ̧ tries a final maneuver with the one who listens to Jamie so that she interferes in his favor? (Episode 9). What a more brilliant victory for Claire thus recognized in her now exclusive influence on the boy she made man! "He's a better man than me," Dougal said. "It couldn't be truer," Claire replies with a smile of contained anger at the man who has continued to undermine the foundations of her couple. By the way ̧ beautiful tribute to her husband... "Let's get straight Dougal Mac Kenzie. If I thought of you ̧ then I could hold a grudge against you for everything you have done to me." But Claire is magnanimous: "But that's not the case. What for? Because of your evil ̧ your inability to be altruistic. Because you suffer from narcissism." We recognize here the great moral value of Claire who not only knows how to get rid of negative emotions, but has this ability to seek the treasure of wisdom that is in everyone ̧ and that she has detected in Jamie.
And Jamie ̧ so in tune with Claire in this same inner requirement ̧ in this generous and altruistic state of mind ̧ emerges grown and victorious from his confrontation with his uncle. We admire his emotional intelligence, sparing the sensitivities of his uncle, redeeming his rude conduct with the Bonnie Prince Charlie and the wounded English with tact and cunning, we are moved by his concern for human life, including that of his prince, we share the sensitivity of the knight comforted in the womb of his lady.
The script thus gives full meaning to jamie's confidence delivered to Claire twenty years later, revealing the words of his uncle during his last breath: "Son of my sister or not, I would have done better to kill you that day on the hill [when Jamie returned to Scotland]. For I knew from the beginning that it would be you or me" (Chapter 35, T5, The Cross of Fire). How, then, can jamie be resentful for his gesture towards a manipulative and cynical man whose undeniable warrior courage cannot totally redeem the absence of conscience, this moral value that makes Jamie so great? Two men ̧ two chiefs ̧ two Scotland. Can one assert itself as long as the other exists? Difficultly certainly ̧ but Jamie is known for his ability to adapt to human turpitude. The series demonstrated that the outcome was inevitable ̧ especially if Dougal ends up crossing the red line: threatening Claire. His wife is his clan and comes first.
Chapter 36 and Episode 10 both end with the inevitability of the Culloden tragedy
"And the choice was made now, and no power on earth could prevent the dawn from coming" (Chapter 36). But the book leaves some notes of hope through the promise of future motherhood. Even if it is still too early for Brianna to be at this moment in history ̧ we imagine the child conceived in similar conditions ̧ in the dirt ̧ fatigue and liberating desire: "I fell next to him, with barely time to pull the heavy folds of the cape on us before the darkness invaded me, and I lay on the earth, weighted by the heavy heat of his seed in my belly. We slept. »
In the immediate future, his concern for wounded Englishmen to the detriment of his own soldiers would be just pathetic if it were not revolting at this moment when the fate of so many men and women hangs over the erratic actions of a prince so little up to the mark of history. The series ridicules the character a little more by showing him demanding that Jamie assume the marital posture of the "lord and master" to order Claire preferential treatment contrary to all medical rules on the sorting of the wounded. The series then captures Jamie's surprised and amused look, inviting the viewer to be complicit in a man's unwavering support for his wife.
The highlight of the chapter and the series is the battle itself but its representation is not identical ̧ direct to the screen ̧ delayed in the book. Told to Claire by Jamie on the night of the victory ̧ she is shown in all her animal brutality on screen with an emphasis on Jamie's warlike prowess (Episode 10). The shots of his passion in the middle of the race towards the enemy lines are of terrifying beauty ̧ they personify the courage of the Highlander assuming his duty with all the more merit that he knows the fatal oracle that Claire echoes since the history books of the twentieth century.