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?