Violence and Consequences

Since I generally don’t enjoy a lot of violence in my entertainment, many of my friends were surprised by my obsession strong, completely mentally stable interest in Outlander. So I’ve spent some time thinking about this discrepancy. What it really comes down to is consequences.

Ultimately, no one gets away with anything. So often it seems that heroes have different rules and can act with impunity as everyone stands back and applauds that they’ve taken down the bad guy. Not poor Jamie. Even when he does things that most of the audience agree was the right choice, he pays a price though it may be delayed, often an exorbitant one.

Sometimes that price is exacted by others, and sometimes it is in a resulting internal struggle. As Jamie says in Voyager (Chapter 27):

“I have wondered,” he said, so low I could scarcely hear him. “Wondered often, if I could call that edge to my service, and sheathe it safe again. For I have seen a great many men grow hard in that calling, and their steel decay to dull iron. And I have wondered often, was I master in my soul, or did I become the slave of my own blade?

“I have thought again and again,” he went on, looking down at our linked hands…“that I had drawn my blade too often, and spent so long in the service of strife that I wasna fit any longer for human intercourse.”

—Jamie in Voyager, Chapter 27

For me, this struggle takes these works away from the gratuitous carnage that I tend to avoid, to a deeper understanding of the reality of violence and how it affects all of those involved.

How do you view and respond to the violence in the show and the books? Which consequences in either book or show stand out the most for you? Do you feel there is anything dubious any of the characters have done that they didn’t end up paying for in one way or another?

6 thoughts on “Violence and Consequences

  1. I was mortified and extremely frustrated when Jamie and someone? beat Roger nearly to death when he arrived Fraser’s Ridge. I never forgave Diana for the brute that she allowed Jamie to be in that instance. She has made Jamie to be brutal in war, yes. But he hardly even knew Brianna at this point in the story and I couldn’t believe he would not even allow Roger to understand and explain before he beat him and left him to die. I stepped away from Jamie for a while after that.

    • Frances, I too, could not forgive that sequence of events. To me, it did not fit the character we had come to understand in Jamie. Ian was young, and followed Jamie’s lead in this. The event has been beaten to death on the internet, both pro and con, but I can never accept it. Yes, ultimately Jamie suffered the loss of Ian, but even that he blamed on Roger.

    • This was certainly one of the harsher scenes to accept from Jamie, in large part because we had more knowledge than he did and knew he was wrong. But remember that he did give Roger a chance to refute the charge that he’d had sex with Brianna and Roger didn’t- he just said essentially that she’d consented. So at that point the only knowledge he had was that his daughter said she was raped and this man had come looking for her claiming she was his and she had wanted him.

      He decided to believe his daughter and remove the perceived threat to her and her child. He was also undoubtedly fighting his own demons at that time remembering his ordeal with BJR and so I suspect that some of the intensity of that violence reflected shadows of his past.

      But what if he’d been right? What if this were a man, as he’d honestly believed, who had raped his daughter and then come after her to claim her and the child as his own and coerce her into marriage because of the child (not unthinkable at that time)? If that were true do you still think his actions would have been too harsh? Basically, was it the actions themselves or that Jamie was fallible and tragically wrong in this circumstance?

    • The sadistic way Black treats Jamie and Claire really was unsettling, but I imagine cruelty back then was probably worse then that. I am so ready for some times that Claire and Jamie can find time for their love to grow deeper and have more time to get to know each other. And Murtagh to find love even if it’s for a little while. I haven’t read the books and someone told me I needed to, and I’m going to try to as soon as I can. Even with the violence I love the show, not because of Claire and Jamie’s love making but because of the depth of their love for each other. The dangerous steps that both of them took to rescue each other and to have a love for someone that your heart ached so if they weren’t right there with you or if they were in some sort of trouble. That’s how much I love my husband, and it’s one of the purest kind of love.

  2. Because there is violence in the times they lived and the books don’t exaggerate it and the characters express why and what they feel about it, it doesn’t seem gratuitous. It was understandable even if something we might shrink from. The really blackhearted violence from BJR and some other bad guys reminds us there is evil out there and there are twisted people in the world. And I dare say some of the modern crimes are more ghastly than BJR could devise. I tried to watch The Bastard Executioner and the first episode repelled me when someone was driving a stake thru someone’s skull and twisting it, it was a very closeup shot and I felt like I could hear the crew saying “Cool!” I don’t get that with Outlander.

  3. I think – having read 7 books already- that especially Jamie, never kills without a serious cause and never ends up doing it lighthearted. Everything in his life has the most profound concequences in his soul wether good or bad.
    I hate war and violence, yet, being a mother, I know that if ever my children were in lethal danger I’d become a killer, no second thoughts.
    Everyone of us is a potential killer under the right circumstances. Can’t recall who said this, but I think he’s right.
    I “catch” myself again and again, after re-watching Outlander episodes where Black Jack Randal is involved that I’d gladly kill him, the worst way possible- just for breathing close to my ear, or coughing ! Never crid during the season;s last episodes…. been too busy, trying to find the right moment to kill him.
    Apart from that, 18th century was full of violence, the modus viventi for too many people was extremelly dangerous, so those people had to defend themseves and their own. It was a matter of survival.
    I don’t agree with any form of violence nowadays though !!! I think that human evolution should include better ways in solving people’s problems in general !!!!

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