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Book 3: Voyager

I've always thought that that last moment in the scene -- when Geneva says "Wait, take it out" and Jamie says "No!" was put in to give Jamie back a tiny bit of agency in the situation.  It's a contrast to the rape scene with Black Jack where Jamie was victimized so completely -- he had to surrender not only his body but his will.  Jamie could not fight back or resist in any way during that scene and THAT's what nearly killed him.  He doesn't recover (at least in the book) until he is able to fight back against his attacker in a opium-induced fever dream.  I think Diana gave Jamie that "No!" moment in Book 3 so that he is able to maintain a shred of dignity in a humiliating situation (being forced into sex by a spoiled, selfish, 17-year-old girl.)  It also nicely sets him up for remorse at her subsequent death in childbirth -- one more element in the complex, tortured psyche of our hero.

BTW, Jamie's remorse over Geneva's death is more clearly depicted in one of the Lord John novels.  

Spoiler

Lord John comes to Helwater for the funeral and literally stumbles over Jamie who he finds paying self-imposed penance in the chapel, lying on the cold stones before her coffin, keeping vigil there beside her body all through the night before her funeral.

Edited by WatchrTina.
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Diana responds to the faux Geneva rape issue (gosh I'm loving her right now).

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1spdsmc

And now I feel like a complete idiot because I posted the link above to the stupid inverse.com article in the first place -- thus providing them with the eyeballs they were trawling for in the first place.  So I'm deleting it (and Grashka I hope you will too.)

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Thank you WatchrTina for posting that. Although I never thought Jamie raped Geneva  I regretfully admit that I read that blog out of curiosity.  Diana as always masterfully explained everything and I can only wish that those still claiming it was rape get a chance to read her words.

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I am listening to The Scot and the Sassenach as they discuss Voyager during a series of podcasts. They take the position that "Geneva and Jamie rape each other."  I was somewhat saddened by this as I didn't and don't view Jamie's actions as rape. 

I just went through everone's gnashing of teeth with Ross Poldark and now it looks like I better strap on my courage for Voyager. 

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On 7.12.2016 at 8:12 AM, Grashka said:

To be fair though, this scene in "Voyager" is uncomfortable even given the context, and yeah, I believe that the way DG handled certain issues in the books she wrote back in the 90s  (Geneva and Mr Willoughby are the prime examples) does feel "outdated" these days. Her approach to various social issues in, for example, "Written in my own heart blood" read much different and sensitive IMO

 

I don't think the scene is outdated , I think a certain part of readers just became very "snowflakey" and now see rape whenever there isn't a 2 page consent contract . By doing so they have watered down the meaning of rape . People who accuse  Jamie of rape apparently don't see any difference between Jamie/Geneva and Mary Hawkins' attack in Paris and they also ignore Geneva in all of it . Does Geneva feel like she's been violated ? No , she planned that night and got exactly what she wanted out of it . I personally feel that calling this rape also takes away Geneva's agency , she is about to be married off to some rich old dude , against her will , and losing her virginity to somebody of her own choice was what little control she could get back . 

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Trying to apply 21st century mores to a fictional event set in the 18th century utterly misses the point of the story. Jamie was used and blackmailed by Geneva, but calling that rape misses the point entirely.

Edited by theschnauzers. Reason: grammer fixes
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Gabaldon also posted that response on Facebook.  

I've already made my feeling about the entire setup of this clear here and elsewhere.  It's stupid.  It's apparently in service to the romantic ideal that Jamie can never be allowed to cleanly or actively decide to have a roll in the hay with someone who isn't Claire even when he has no reason to think she'll ever be an option for him again.  Every time I reskim these books, I want to pull out my editor's pencil and rewrite it to make it a thing of mutual aid and comfort in what's a shitty situation for each of them.  Jamie is a prisoner who isn't free to decide much of anything for himself and Geneva is in nearly every sense of the word being sold to an old man she really doesn't want.

Calling it rape removes all of Geneva's agency from a setup, as stupid as it is, that she created.  She holds nearly all the power and she knows that.  It also removes the one concrete quality that Jaime admires enough about her to tell William about years later.

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7 hours ago, nodorothyparker said:

I've already made my feeling about the entire setup of this clear here and elsewhere.  It's stupid.  It's apparently in service to the romantic ideal that Jamie can never be allowed to cleanly or actively decide to have a roll in the hay with someone who isn't Claire even when he has no reason to think she'll ever be an option for him again.  Every time I reskim these books, I want to pull out my editor's pencil and rewrite it to make it a thing of mutual aid and comfort in what's a shitty situation for each of them.

Well, we did get the one encounter between Mary McNabb and Jamie--in the cave. That was all about mutual aid and comfort. So it's not as if Jamie remained true and faithful and ne'er had relations with anyone other than Claire in this series. But yes, I do agree with you, how that was so ridiculous.

7 hours ago, nodorothyparker said:

Jamie is a prisoner who isn't free to decide much of anything for himself and Geneva is in nearly every sense of the word being sold to an old man she really doesn't want.

Calling it rape removes all of Geneva's agency from a setup, as stupid as it is, that she created.  She holds nearly all the power and she knows that.  It also removes the one concrete quality that Jaime admires enough about her to tell William about years later.

Just so I understand what you're saying @nodorothyparker, you agree that there was a power imbalance here--where Jamie had none, and Geneva had it all- and she was a spoiled, haughty, blackmailing trull, so I have no sympathy for her whatsoever. And that there shouldn't have been any mutual aid and comfort between these two. I think Jamie just said what he did to William years later because Geneva was Willie's mother. Because I don't recall reading anything that went on betwixt those two, where Jamie admired about her. 

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Jenny set up the cave sex with Mary McNabb just as she would later push Laoghaire on him.  If Jaime ever freely chose to be with anyone because it was actually what he wanted we never saw it.

Geneva does have all the power at that particular moment, yes, and it is really hard to be sympathetic at all to her because of that.  But she's also in that situation in the first place because she's a couple of days away from being sold off like a horse (There's later mention that Ellesmere paid the Dunsanys instead of the usual arrangement of her bringing a dowry or fortune to the marriage.) to a guy she really really really doesn't want to marry or have sex with.  It's sort of a classic case of someone being victimized turning and punching down because they can't punch up.

The whole mess could have been avoided had it been written as a mutual aid and comfort thing.  Yeah, it sucks that you're being married off.  It sucks that you're a prisoner here.   We can help each other feel better and forget about it for the night.   Even in his outrage about the whole thing, Jamie does admit at the time to admiring her courage in not just meekly accepting it, to forging on, what have you.   It's the one quality he can later tell their son about that no one else can.

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1 hour ago, nodorothyparker said:

Jenny set up the cave sex with Mary McNabb just as she would later push Laoghaire on him.  If Jaime ever freely chose to be with anyone because it was actually what he wanted we never saw it.

According to Mary at the time, Jenny did not send her out there to be with Jamie.  It's not possible to know how true that is and I sincerely hope it is because it's gross to think about Jenny sending one of the servants up to the cave to boink her brother.  

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23 minutes ago, toolazy said:

According to Mary at the time, Jenny did not send her out there to be with Jamie.  It's not possible to know how true that is and I sincerely hope it is because it's gross to think about Jenny sending one of the servants up to the cave to boink her brother.  

Didn't Mary also have a wee crush on Jamie, and really did want to give Jamie comfort and some intimacy before he turned himself in to the authorities? I don't recall reading that Jenny did this. That is indeed gross, and makes her come off like a pimp.

And I just can't cotton to the idea that Jamie and Geneva could have comforted each other or given each other surcease. One because Jamie had no fucking rights, but also the huge age difference, and again, Geneva as a character just sucks. I'd rather she found someone closer to her own age to get the deflowering done.  But, it's all moot at this point.

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38 minutes ago, toolazy said:

According to Mary at the time, Jenny did not send her out there to be with Jamie.  It's not possible to know how true that is and I sincerely hope it is because it's gross to think about Jenny sending one of the servants up to the cave to boink her brother.  

The way I picture it, Mary offered to take the last meal to Jamie as did the others who would visit him in the cave from time to time. Jenny, who would have been the one putting together his food basket, was not born yesterday and probably read between the lines of Mary McNab volunteering as tribute, so sending her out there anyway was essentially giving tacit approval of the scheme. Even if Jenny didn't know of Mary's plans, it's still a scenario where a man who's gone without sex for 7 years, trapped in a cave for much of it, has a woman come to him, pleading with him to sleep with her. He wasn't forced but there are better ways for a writer to portray a character choosing to have sex just because he felt like it, than what Gabaldon offered up.

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11 minutes ago, Dejana said:

has a woman come to him, pleading with him to sleep with her.

I don't think Mary pleaded.  I think your characterization of her "volunteering as tribute" is much nearer to the mark (and very funny).  I think Diana was quite clear in that scene that Mary was offering Jamie one night of comfort and sweetness so that he could think back on it in the awful days of imprisonment and humiliation that were to follow.  I liked that scene.  I liked Mary.  Yeah, I'm pretty sure Jenny knew what was going to go down and gave it her tacit approval.  Good for her!  Jamie would never have asked for someone to lie with him.   That's not in his character.  But he needed that night and I'm glad Mary realized it and offered him what he needed.

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29 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

I don't think Mary pleaded.  I think your characterization of her "volunteering as tribute" is much nearer to the mark (and very funny).  I think Diana was quite clear in that scene that Mary was offering Jamie one night of comfort and sweetness so that he could think back on it in the awful days of imprisonment and humiliation that were to follow.  I liked that scene.  I liked Mary.  Yeah, I'm pretty sure Jenny knew what was going to go down and gave it her tacit approval.  Good for her!  Jamie would never have asked for someone to lie with him.   That's not in his character.  But he needed that night and I'm glad Mary realized it and offered him what he needed.

I wavered about which word to use: he did refuse her more than once and she did have to make a persuasive case, but pleading implies an amount of desperation that wasn't really there. Implored? I don't hate it as a scene but do feel Gabaldon was trying to make Jamie sleeping with someone else somewhat more palatable to the Jamie/Claire diehards.

Edited by Dejana.
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That's how I've always seen it too.  After watching some of the gnashing of teeth over infidelity and consent issues and just flat out refusal to try to see things through a historical lens in the Poldark discussions this season I already have a pretty good idea how this is going to go over. 

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Hmmmm.  Speculation time.  There is so much that HAS to be cut to convert a 1072-page book into a 13-episode series, do we really think Mary and Jamie's one night together in the cave will make it onto the screen?  I hope it does because it reveals something about Jamie's character in that he resists the idea at first (still faithful to Claire, not a man to make "use" of woman, even when she is offering) and then he gives in to the idea (because he is only human, he is facing a terrible ordeal, and he is very much in need of some comfort.)  It also provides a tiny counter-point to 1950/60 Claire having sex with Frank (which she does in the books and presume she'll do in the show.)  But I'll bet the scene with Mary won't make the cut.  It's just too small of a detail.  I'm afraid it will fall by the wayside along with those lovely family moments in book two during the months that Claire & Jamie were at Lallybroch, before Jamie was captured.  Sigh.  So yeah, I predict there will be no Mary in the show.  I'll be happy to be proved wrong.

Geneva, of course, has to be in the show but it will be VERY interesting to see how it is aired.  I'm pretty sure the filming of that scene was already done before this most recent kerfuffle broke out, but the editing is not locked at this point.  I wonder if this sort of thing has any impact on the production team.  I hope not.

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I read that somewhere too but can't keep straight the protocol of discussing it in which thread.  It took me by surprise too because I would have thought it one of the easier things to simply skip over for time's sake.

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I have been stalled out halfway through this book since the first season of the show ended.  Halp.  I'm somewhere on the boats to Jamaica and bored out of my skull.  Did anyone else have a hard time getting through this one? I'm trying to stay ahead of the show but I think I'm going to fail.

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1 hour ago, millahnna said:

I'm trying to stay ahead of the show but I think I'm going to fail.

My advice is to let it go.  Enjoy the ride as a non-reader.  Then, when you know how this season plays out, you can always go back and finish reading so as to find out all the stuff they had to cut.

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1 hour ago, millahnna said:

I have been stalled out halfway through this book since the first season of the show ended.  Halp.  I'm somewhere on the boats to Jamaica and bored out of my skull.  Did anyone else have a hard time getting through this one? I'm trying to stay ahead of the show but I think I'm going to fail.

You aren't alone.  Only sheer inertia kept me going the first time but subsequent re-readings caused me to mostly warm up to it.  There are a few things that happen that are golden but there are some things that I generally skip, as well.  The things that I love are:

Spoiler

 

- Claire encountering LJG on board the plague ship as well as her and Jamie's subsequent encounters with him on Jamaica

- Fergus and Marsali's wedding on the beach - absolutely hilarious

- the surreal quality of much of what happens to Claire on Hispaniola - the talking fish, the sheep, the drunken priest, etc. 

 

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One thing I’ve liked about Voyager, once I had read all the big novels, was how it tied up many of the storylines of the first two novels and laid the groundwork for what was/is yet to come. On that level it really is fascinating to look at. I haven’t re-read the main series since reading straight through 3 years ago, unless one considers the two Outlandish Companions as a sort of read through, but I may do so during the next Droughlander after this season is completed.

Edited by theschnauzers.
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21 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

My advice is to let it go.  Enjoy the ride as a non-reader.  Then, when you know how this season plays out, you can always go back and finish reading so as to find out all the stuff they had to cut.

This is good advice.  You can enjoy the show for the show.

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I'm just after the plague ship. 

 

The only reason I'm trying to stay ahead is because I'm a bit of an adaptation junkie.  I find the process fascinating.  I've never had a problem separating source material from an adaptation.  But sometimes I wait until a whole project is done and read the source stuff and other times it feels better to go with the source first.

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9 hours ago, millahnna said:

I'm just after the plague ship. 

 

The only reason I'm trying to stay ahead is because I'm a bit of an adaptation junkie.  I find the process fascinating.  I've never had a problem separating source material from an adaptation.  But sometimes I wait until a whole project is done and read the source stuff and other times it feels better to go with the source first.

I thought the plague ship was a bit boring.  So many details about how she dealt with the plague.  I didn't really need to know all of that.  I'm a few chapters ahead of you, but this is my second time through.  I'm not really reading this time.  I'm listening to the audio book (which is fabulous, by the way).

 

The story gets more interesting as it goes along ... bizarre at times!, but interesting.  I think you have to be ok with lots of coincidences and just try to enjoy the ride.  Things are going to start moving rather quickly soon.

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13 hours ago, millahnna said:

I have been stalled out halfway through this book since the first season of the show ended.  Halp.  I'm somewhere on the boats to Jamaica and bored out of my skull.  Did anyone else have a hard time getting through this one? I'm trying to stay ahead of the show but I think I'm going to fail.

 

10 hours ago, millahnna said:

I'm just after the plague ship. 

 

The only reason I'm trying to stay ahead is because I'm a bit of an adaptation junkie.  I find the process fascinating.  I've never had a problem separating source material from an adaptation.  But sometimes I wait until a whole project is done and read the source stuff and other times it feels better to go with the source first.

Since you and I seem to be  of a similar mind--being able to separate the two and finding the adaption process fascinating, not to mention you're at the point I almost quite reading too--I'll throw in my two cents as someone who has finished the whole series. 

This book was, IMO, by far the most frustrating to read, but now I look back on it as a favorite book. Where you're at right now is where I also stalled. There is just sooo much going on, but yet nothing seems to be happening. Which I found extremely frustrating. This is not something that is unique to only this book, but IMO is a pretty typical pattern with Diana especially going forward. At some point every book seems to spin it's wheels for a bit with a bramble of history I imagine Diana wrote while doing research--which are interesting on their own, but really are unnecessary to the actual story she's telling. So, once I realized that if I started to read each chapter as it's own little somewhat contained episode and stopped worrying about bigger story--basically just went along for the ride--everything got easier.

Also, it got a lot easier when I decided to just embrace all the whack-a-do, too, but that's probably a whole different issue. ;)

Anyway, I don't want to tell you what to do, but will say, I think if you can skim your way through the next little bit, there are some really nice character scenes to pay it all off. Plus, she does eventually come full circle and does a nice tie in with the first couple books too.

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3 hours ago, DittyDotDot said:

 

There is just sooo much going on, but yet nothing seems to be happening. Which I found extremely frustrating. This is not something that is unique to only this book, but IMO is a pretty typical pattern with Diana especially going forward. At some point every book seems to spin it's wheels for a bit with a bramble of history I imagine Diana wrote while doing research--which are interesting on their own, but really are unnecessary to the actual story she's telling.

 Word word word.  You'd think, being an old school Stephen King fan, I could find a way to skim past this bit.  I'm very good at it with his stuff.  But he's prolific AF and I've read all of the old school stuff so I know his voice and how to do that. Diana's voice seems to change a bit with each novel so far.  Which is kind of cool but not helpful for figuring out how to skim her.  

Hilariously, way back on page one or two of this thread, there's a post from me where I was saying I thought this might be my favorite of the series so far and I speculated that I might not have the same problems getting through it that you all did.  And now I shall lol at myself.

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19 hours ago, millahnna said:

Word word word.  You'd think, being an old school Stephen King fan, I could find a way to skim past this bit.  I'm very good at it with his stuff.  But he's prolific AF and I've read all of the old school stuff so I know his voice and how to do that. Diana's voice seems to change a bit with each novel so far.  Which is kind of cool but not helpful for figuring out how to skim her.

I agree that each book seems to have a different tone and feel to it--which I think is something sort of brilliant that Diana gets right--but she does have some patterns that seems true for all the books. It's been my observation that at about the 60 percent mark is when she starts to go off on her historical tangents and the 70 percent mark is usually what I call the stupidity portion of the book--that's where there seems to be shift from the meandering character dramas to kicking the plot in gear and there is generally a fair amount of stupid that goes on to get everyone in place for that.

In general, I tend to skim--I rarely can bring myself to outright skip anything, though--the battle and/or action sequences. It seems the writing of them gets away from Diana and they become somewhat tedious for me to read pages and pages of them. Later books, I skim some of the medical procedures for the same reason. In this book, I remember skimming through the plague ship parts and a lot of the aftermath of that. Not that it ever totally stops, but it seems to quiet down a bit and we get some really nice character beats to balance out all the drama.

19 hours ago, millahnna said:

Hilariously, way back on page one or two of this thread, there's a post from me where I was saying I thought this might be my favorite of the series so far and I speculated that I might not have the same problems getting through it that you all did.  And now I shall lol at myself.

This book is really deceptive in that it starts out as an almost entirely character-driven piece that turns into almost entirely plot-driven about halfway through. So, yeah, I can see how you came to that conclusion! But, like I said, looking back I do think this is my favorite of the whole series now.

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I'm reading the series for the first time, and I have to admit I prefer some of the choices made by the showrunners. However, this book is pulling me in much more than the first two, and I expected not to like it as much. Unlike a lot of readers it seems, I prefer when the books open up more and I get the perspectives of other characters. I'm really enjoying Roger. 

I'm a third of the way through the book. I'm reading it obsessively, which I didn't do with the other two. I read "Outlander" in 3 days (Christmas break) and DiA in 19 days, but there were days reading DiA that I didn't even pick it up. I'm all in on "Voyager."

I did not like John Grey finding out about Jamie's family to subtly threaten them to get Jamie to tell him about the gold. I'm worried I may not be able to forgive him, and that will ruin the character for me. That was an unpleasant bit of characterization I wish I'd not read. 

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