In honor of the casting of Caitriona Balfe as Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser, here are some of my favorite Claire moments from OUTLANDER. Hope you enjoy them! (All quotes are copyright © 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
1) Just before Claire and Jamie's wedding:
I turned to Jamie in sudden panic. “I can’t marry you! I don’t even know your last name!”2) This is one of my favorite bits from the infamous sex scene that was cut out of CROSS STITCH:
He looked down at me and cocked a ruddy eyebrow. “Oh. It’s Fraser. James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser.” He pronounced it formally, each name slow and distinct.
Completely flustered, I said “Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp,” and stuck out my hand idiotically. Apparently taking this as a plea for support, he took the hand and tucked it firmly into the crook of his elbow. Thus inescapably pinioned, I squelched up the path to my wedding.
(OUTLANDER, chapter 14, "A Marriage Takes Place")
Twenty-seven years of propriety were no match for several hundred thousand years of instinct. While my mind might object to being taken on a bare rock next to several sleeping soldiers, my body plainly considered itself the spoils of war and was eager to complete the formalities of surrender.3) One of my all-time favorite Claire moments of the whole series, and a reminder that Claire is not a woman to be messed with, ever:
(OUTLANDER, chapter 18, "Raiders in the Rocks")
I whipped my hand from the concealed pocket in my skirt, and the dawn light struck sparks from the blade of the dagger pressed against his chest.4) This one always makes me cry:
“If,” I said through my teeth, “you ever raise a hand to me again, James Fraser, I’ll cut out your heart and fry it for breakfast!"
(OUTLANDER, chapter 22, "Reckonings")
“Go ahead,” he said, a moment later. “Open it. It’s yours."5) Claire finally tells Jamie the truth:
The outlines of the little package blurred under my fingers. I blinked and sniffed, but made no move to open it. “I’m sorry,” I said.
“Well, so ye should be, Sassenach,” he said, but his voice was no longer angry. Reaching, he took the package from my lap and tore away the wrapping, revealing a wide silver band, decorated in the Highland interlace style, a small and delicate Jacobean thistle bloom carved in the center of each link.
So much I saw, and then my eyes blurred again.
(OUTLANDER, chapter 23, "Return to Leoch")
"Do you know when I was born?” I asked, looking up. I knew my hair was wild and my eyes staring, and I didn’t care. “On the twentieth of October, in the Year of Our Lord nineteen hundred and eighteen. Do you hear me?” I demanded, for he was blinking at me unmoving, as though paying no attention to a word I said. “I said nineteen eighteen! Nearly two hundred years from now! Do you hear?”6) Claire and Black Jack Randall. This is absolutely chilling!
I was shouting now, and he nodded slowly.
“I hear,” he said softly.
“Yes, you hear!” I blazed. “And you think I’m raving mad. Don’t you? Admit it! That’s what you think. You have to think so, there isn’t any other way you can explain me to yourself. You can’t believe me, you can’t dare to. Oh, Jamie...” I felt my face start to crumple. All this time spent hiding the truth, realizing that I could never tell anyone, and now I realized that I could tell Jamie, my beloved husband, the man I trusted beyond all others, and he wouldn’t--he couldn’t believe me either.
(OUTLANDER, chapter 25, "Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live")
I stepped back a pace, so that the torchlight fell full on me, for I wanted him to remember my face.7) Claire's first experience with 18th-century surgery, sans anesthesia:
"You asked me, Captain, if I were a witch,” I said, my voice low and steady. “I’ll answer you now. Witch I am. Witch, and I curse you. You will marry, Captain, and your wife will bear a child, but you shall not live to see your firstborn. I curse you with knowledge, Jack Randall--I give you the hour of your death."
(OUTLANDER, chapter 35, "Wentworth Prison")
"You actually expect me to set nine broken bones while you’re awake?”8) Claire is not a very spiritual person, but she managed to find some comfort in the Perpetual Adoration:
“Yes,” he said briefly, placing the leather between his teeth and biting down experimentally. He shifted it back and forth, seeking a comfortable grip.
Overcome by the sheer theatricality of it, the precarious control I had been hoarding suddenly snapped.
“Will you stop being such a goddamned frigging hero!” I blazed at Jamie. “We all know what you’ve done, you don’t have to prove how much you can stand! Or do you think we’ll all fall apart if you’re not in charge, telling everyone what to do every minute? Who in bloody hell do you think you are, frigging John Wayne!?"
(OUTLANDER, chapter 36, "MacRannoch")
The thought came to me that perhaps Jamie would be better off dead; he had said he wanted to die. I was morally sure that if I left him as he wished, he would be dead soon, whether from the aftereffects of torture and illness, from hanging, or in some battle. And I was in no doubt that he knew it as well. Ought I to do as he said? Damned if I will, I said to myself. Damned if I will, I said fiercely to the sunburst on the altar and opened the book again.9) Here's one of my favorite scenes in the whole book. It makes me laugh, every time.
It was some time before I became aware that my thread of petition was no longer a monologue. In fact, I knew it only when I realized that I had just answered a question I had no memory of asking. In my trance of sleepless misery, something had been asked of me, I wasn’t sure just what, and I had answered without thinking, “Yes, I will."
(OUTLANDER, chapter 39, "To Ransom a Man's Soul")
"Get back in bed! You’re going to fall down!” He was alarmingly pale, and even the small effort of standing had made him break out in a cold sweat.--------------------------
“I’ll not,” he said. “And if I do, it’s my own concern.”
I was really angry by this time.
“Oh, is it! And who do you think saved your miserable life for you, anyway? Did it all by yourself, did you?” I grabbed his arm to steer him back to bed, but he jerked it away.
“I didna ask ye to, did I? I told ye to leave me, no? And I canna see why ye bothered to save my life, anyway, if it’s only to starve me to death—unless ye enjoy watching it!”
This was altogether too much.
I drew myself to my full height, and pointed menacingly at the cot. With all the authority learned in years of nursing, I said, “Get back in that bed this instant, you stubborn, mulish, idiotic--”
“Scot,” he finished for me, succinctly.
(OUTLANDER, chapter 40, "Absolution")
I am really looking forward to seeing all of these scenes come to life in the TV series. I think Caitriona Balfe will do a wonderful job!