Claire Randall, a nurse, lives in Scotland with her husband, Frank, after the end of World War II. They're trying to rebuild their marriage after the war, while Frank studies his family tree, including a big-bad ancestor Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall. Pro tip: Anyone named Black Jack shouldn't be trusted.
One day, Claire and Frank watch a group of women dance around the nearby stone circle of Craigh na Dun. The next morning, Claire goes to collect some plants (she's a budding botanist... pun intended), and the stones scream.
Claire almost passes out, and when she wakes up, she finds herself in the middle of a scuffle... with old-school rifles and axes and men in kilts. She runs smack into Frank... but it turns out he's not Frank. He's a man saying he's Jonathan Randall. Say what?
A band of Scotsmen in kilts takes Claire away. One of their men, named Jamie, is injured, and Claire uses her nursing skills to treat him, even though the men don't understand words like "antibiotic" and pronounce surgeon as "chirurgeon" (3.91).
After Claire heals Jamie, the men take her to Castle Leoch, where she meets the clan chieftain, Colum, and his brother, Dougal. Snooping in Colum's journal, she realizes she's in the year 1743. Yikes. The chieftain and his brother agree to keep her at the castle, even though they suspect she's a spy for the English.
Claire spends her days at the castle helping Mrs. FitzGibbons, the female jack-of-all-trades, and becoming the surgeon (or should we still say chirurgeon?) in residence, taking over for the doctor who has died. She heals people, and gets to know that strapping young injured lad, Jamie, better.
Claire tries to escape a few times, like during the busy Gathering at the castle, but never succeeds. One day, Dougal decides to take her and Jamie with him on the road. He's collecting rents from tenants, and plans to make a pit stop along the way at a nearby fortress to see if he can figure out just who the heck Claire is.
The captain of the fortress is, of course, Jonathan Randall. He and Claire fight, no one knows who she is, and her life is pretty much in danger. In order to keep her from falling into Randall's hands, Dougal arranges for Claire to marry Jamie, a.k.a. James Fraser, which would make her Scottish instead of British.
She agrees, not that she has a choice, and goes through with the ceremony. To make it official, they have to consummate the relationship. Hey, Jamie is hot and pretty sweet, so why not? Claire takes his virginity and maybe, just maybe, they start falling in love.
Still, Claire is two hundred years in the past. When she has an opportunity to make a run for the border (in this case, Craigh na Dun instead of Taco Bell) she takes it. Unfortunately, she gets kidnapped by—guess who?—Jonathan Randall.
Jamie risks life and limb to rescue her. Because she put his life and the lives of his men in danger by disobeying him, he decides he has to punish her. He whips her with a belt... and kind of likes doing it. Claire is mad at being whipped, but she eventually comes to understand why he did and tells Jamie she loves him. (Psst… don't try this at home, okay?)
They return to Leoch, but Jamie has to leave on a long hunting trip with the Duke of Sandringham. While he is gone, Claire gets a message that Geillis Duncan, a woman suspected of being a witch in a nearby village, is ill and needs Claire's help. Claire gets to Cranesmuir and finds out it's a trick. Laoghaire, a girl who is jealous that Claire got to marry Jamie, lured her there and turned Geillis in to witch hunters. Laoghaire is also probably jealous that Claire's name doesn't look like it's pronounced leg hair. Just sayin'…
Both Claire and Geillis are almost burned at the stake, but Jamie rescues Claire at the last minute; Geillis, however, isn't so lucky. Before she is taken away, Claire notices something: Geillis's smallpox vaccination scar. Yep, she's another time traveler.
Jamie and Claire flee to Jamie's estate of Lallybroch for safety. There, Claire meets Jamie's sister, Jenny, and her husband, Ian. The reunion is cut short when, shortly after Jenny gives birth, Jamie is captured by English dragoons. Claire goes to rescue him with the help of his friend Murtagh.
He's being held by—who else?—Jonathan Randall in Wentworth Prison. Claire sneaks in and finds Jamie in terrible shape—bruised, bloody, and with a broken hand—but she can't get him out before Randall shows up. To save Claire, Jamie agrees to let Randall rape him. Randall tosses Claire out of the prison, where she is almost devoured by wolves; she kills one, and a man named MacRannoch kills the rest of the pack and gives her shelter in his cabin.
MacRannoch is a friend of the Frasers and helps rescue Jamie. Randall is presumed dead after the jailbreak. Claire nurses Jamie back to health, then travels with him to an Abbey in France to continue his recovery.
There, Jamie is so sick that the priests perform last rites. He is also so damaged by Randall's rape that he doesn't want to have sex with Claire anymore. That just won't do, so Claire chats it up with Brother Anselm who tells her to sit in the rectory and let an answer come to her.
Here's the answer: impersonate Jonathan Randall, making Jamie so mad that he attacks her and has sex with her. Well that's dark. She does it, he does it, and they do it, and the whole thing works, and Jamie is miraculously better the next day. Later, they descend to the hot springs deep beneath the abbey. It's very womblike, and to complete this symbolism, Claire tells Jamie she is pregnant. The end.
A New Beginning
- When Part 1 (Inverness) begins, it's 1945, and Mrs. Randall and her husband, Frank, have moved to Scotland to rebuild their marriage as Europe rebuilds itself after World War II.
- After some bouncing of bedsprings, they talk about genealogy, particularly Frank's great-great-great-great-grandfather Jonathan Wolverton Randall.
- Later that afternoon, Claire (that's Mrs. Randall's first name, it seems) goes shopping in the town square and buys some vases for her flower specimens. She likes botany.
- She meets up with Frank and they return to the place they're staying together, where they find a bloodstain on the steps.
- No, a serial killer isn't on the loose (although Claire briefly suspects this); it's chicken blood (maybe Colonel Sanders is on the loose) as part of a ritual sacrifice for Beltane, one of the four ancient feasts.
- They go down to the pub, where Claire meets Mr. Crook, an old man who agrees to take her "for a tour of the local shrubbery" (1.95). This is a botany thing, not a double entendre. (Trust us: there will be plenty of opportunities for double entendre later.)
- After a night of drinking and Gaelic folktales, Claire returns home.
- The power flickers while she's upstairs brushing her hair. A little lack of electricity doesn't inconvenience her, though, and she lights some candles.
- When Frank comes in, he looks like he's seen a ghost…
- And he has.
- He saw a Scotsman, "in complete Highland rig-out, complete to sporran and the most beautiful running-stag brooch on his plaid" (1.150). He's not doing Braveheart cosplay, either; although it was windy, the man's kilt didn't move in the breeze.
- Later, Frank is still thinking about the man. He wonders if he's someone Claire had an affair with during the war. After all, it was six years.
- She swears she hasn't… but then she starts wondering what Frank did during their six years apart.
- The next morning, Mr. Crook takes Claire on a foraging mission, and totally shows her up in the hiking department. He nimbly climbs hills, leaving her "panting in his wake" (2.8).
- At the top of the hill is quite the marvel: Craigh na Dun, a miniature henge, like a baby Stonehenge. The rocks are still large enough to squash a person, though.
- That afternoon, Claire meets Frank at Reverend Wakefield's house.
- They bore her talking about genealogy—the topic du jour is Frank's ancestor, Jonathan Randall, again—until Mrs. Graham takes Claire into the kitchen.
- Mrs. Graham reads Claire's tea leaves and comes to an interesting conclusion: "Everything in it's contradictory. […] Strangers there are, to be sure, several of them. And one of them's your husband" (2.56).
- Her palm reading isn't much clearer. It reveals that Claire is "one of those can love again if [her] first love's lost" (2.77).
- Reverend Wakefield interrupts, dragging Claire to the study to reveal that Jonathan Randall was a secret agent for the Duke of Sandringham… whoever that is.
- Claire briefly meets the Reverend's adopted son, Roger, before she and Frank leave.
- She broaches the topic of adoption with Frank, but he shoots her down.
- On a tour of Loch Ness the next day, complete with dramatic tour guide, Claire mentions the stones of Craigh na Dun to Frank.
- He's excited and sets his alarm. Where there are stone circles, there are witches, and he wants to see them.
- They're up early the next day to watch the ritual. Women dance and wave sheets around and the whole thing's pretty exciting.
- After the women leave, Claire and Frank make love in the grass near the stones.
- The next morning, Claire gets up early to check out a plant she noticed near the stones.
- While she's looking for it, she hears a humming noise. Thinking it's a beehive, she looks in the crack of the cleft stone.
- "The stone screamed" (2.211). Um. Stones aren't supposed to do that. We'll never look at Pet Rock the same way again…
- She backs away, and all the stones start humming and shouting, their sounds mixing with those of men shouting and horses.
- Claire's vision goes dark and she loses all sense of time.
- When she comes to, she feels sick and dizzy, but hearing the sounds of human activity, she moves toward it.
The Man in the Wood
- A commotion is being caused by men in kilts. Claire assumes they're part of some historical re-enactment.
- She pushes through the woods and is surprised to bump into Frank.
- Then she realizes that it's not Frank… it's a man who looks just like her husband.
- It's… Jonathan Randall. Huzza-wha? Where are we? When are we?
- Claire runs, and Randall tackles her from behind. He likes feeling her struggle, and he feels her up and kisses her. The cherry on top? He calls her a whore. Oh, he's a charmer.
- Before things progress, Randall is tackled by a man in a kilt and knocked out.
- The kilted rescuer pushes Claire further into the woods. She bites him in an attempt to escape, and he knocks her out with a swift blow to the head.
- She wakes up in a cabin surrounded by swarthy Scotsmen. The names she can make out: Dougal. Murtagh (who seems to be the man who rescued her). Rupert. Jamie.
- Jamie is injured thanks to a musket ball through the arm and a dislocated shoulder.
- When Rupert tries to force the arm back into place, Claire stops him. As a nurse, she can do it better. And she does.
- They let her bandage Jamie's wound, too, but they won't give her a clean bandage, and they don't know what the word disinfected means. They're probably not packing Purell either.
- After tending to Jamie the best she can, they load Claire up with everyone else on their band of horses and set off into the night. Claire wonders why she can't see the lights of Inverness, the nearest town.
- The troop gets ambushed near Cocknammon Rock (hold your childish giggles), so Jamie dumps Claire into a bush to hide her.
- She tries to escape, but Jamie catches up to her and takes her back.
- As they continue their journey, Claire realizes that Jamie was injured in the battle again.
- She tends to him, but not without giving him a hearty tongue lashing for over-exerting himself and opening old wounds too.
I Come to the Castle
- Claire arrives at Castle Leoch, and with the help of Mistress FitzGibbons, she better tends to Jamie's wounds.
- During the course of treatment, she discovers that his back is covered in scars. He reveals that Randall once flogged him while he was imprisoned at Fort William.
- He was accused of a crime he didn't commit (although, to be fair, he was getting away with a bunch of crimes that he was never accused of).
- Claire bandages him up well, then she has a moment to think.
- She realizes that she's been assaulted and kidnapped over the last twenty-four hours. She tries not to cry, even though she's afraid she'll never see her husband, Frank, again.
- Jamie comforts Claire and then leaves her alone in the bedroom to sleep.
- Mistress FitzGibbons wakes Claire early and gives her more appropriate (read: blander) clothing to wear. The clan chieftain wishes to see her.
- Claire meets Colum Mackenzie in his office. He's very imposing… or he would be if he were taller than Napoleon, which he isn't. His legs are bowed and stumpy.
- He wants to know where Claire came from, so she gives him a carefully constructed lie.
- When he leaves for a moment, Claire riffles through his desk. She finds a letter dated 20 April 1743. Um, that's two hundred and two years prior to the day she left.
- Colum returns with snacks, which Claire, trying to recover her composure, eagerly consumes.
- Colum lets Claire know that he basically doesn't trust her. He doesn't know who she is, but she's welcome to stay in Castle Leoch… at least until he finds out who she really is.
- When Part 2 (Castle Leoch) begins, Claire is lucky enough to sit with Colum at dinner, along with his son, Hamish, and his brother, Dougal, and Dougal's family.
- At dinner, she wonders aloud if Jamie is okay. When she finds out that he was sent to the stables to work, she worries that he'll injure himself again.
- She doesn't have time to follow up, though, and after dinner, she stumbles through the dark castle to her room and returns to sleep.
- The next morning, Mrs. FitzGibbons wakes Claire again. This time, she has makeup to prepare her for "Hall," which seems to require a bit more fancy dress.
- It turns out Hall is a court proceeding for Colum to hear people's complaints and dispense justice. He's basically the Judge Judy of Castle Leoch.
- They listen to Claire, too, deciding that she may be an English spy but they'll still tolerate her for a bit.
- Next is the case of a girl accused of "loose behavior" (6.55). She's ordered to be whipped… but Jamie steps in and takes her punishment instead.
- He chooses to take fists instead of a belt, and is punched until the man jabs him in the face and almost breaks his nose.
- Claire tends to him, of course (who else will?), and he admits that he doesn't know the girl, named Laoghaire; he just didn't want to see her shamed in front of the whole castle.
- Mrs. FitzGibbons assists, and she has a helpful piece of advice: leeches. The leeches bring down the swelling on Jamie's face.
- The next day, Claire checks on Jamie at the stables.
- He shares a story about how he once ate grass because he was living on the run in the woods and had no other food. Then he has to go back to work.
- Claire leaves, and realizes that she listened to his story, but forgot to ask him about his shoulder.
Davie Beaton's Closet
- Impressed with Claire's skill as a healer, Colum takes her to Davie Beaton's surgery; he was the last healer at Castle Leoch.
- He wasn't a very good one, though. Don't believe us? One of his favorite medicines is dried horse dung. We hesitate to ask how that was administered.
- Claire has a moment to herself to reflect and wonder just how in the heck she ended up two hundred years in the past, but she of course comes to no definitive conclusion.
- She takes a break from lunch and brings Jamie food at the stables, where she learns a bit more about his injuries, including a peculiar wound on his neck. He doesn't know who dealt it to him, and Claire wonders if it was another clansmen.
- After lunch, Claire returns to the surgery to inventory all the items.
- She finds a chest of grisly (and stained) medical instruments, which she drags aside to be cleaned.
- Once she's done, her first patient arrives: a young man with a sprained foot. Claire thinks, "apparently the new physician of Castle Leoch was now in practice" (7.131).
An Evening's Entertainment
- Claire is exhausted and in her bed after a day of healing. She ponders Colum's condition: Toulouse-Lautrec syndrome (not that Toulouse-Lautrec has even been born yet).
- That night, Claire enjoys some potent Rhenish wine and listens to the castle bard.
- She finds herself squeezed between Jamie and Laoghaire. The former translates the Gaelic to Claire, while the latter stares jealous daggers in her direction.
- One of the legends the bard sings of is about a woman trapped in a fairy circle who disappeared for two hundred years. Ring a bell a bit?
- Jamie escorts Claire back to her bedroom and takes his shirt off. No, we haven't gotten to the steamy parts yet—he wants Claire to check his injuries.
- She decides he's healing fine and falls asleep alone.
- The next day, Claire treats patients all morning and then decides to explore the castle.
- It's easy to get lost: "Bits and pieces had been added here and there over the years, until it was difficult to say whether there ever had been a plan originally" (8.106). It's like the Boston of castles.
- Claire stumbles upon Jamie and Laoghaire making out in an alcove; Jamie notices Claire watching him, but he doesn't stop.
- At dinner, Alec the stable hand suggests that Jamie doesn't need a girl like Laoghaire… he needs a woman like Claire. We think if the man had more than one eye, he'd wink at her.
- Claire settles into a routine over the next few days at the castle. People are accepting her, and everyone is abuzz about the Gathering; Claire wonders if she can escape during the festivities.
- One day, Claire is out picking fruit when she meets Geillis Duncan, the fiscal's wife and village of Cranesmuir's medicine woman.
- She's friendly and knowledgeable, but a little crass for Claire's tastes.
- She's a gossip, too, and she suggests that Hamish isn't Colum's son. This isn't new gossip, but what Geillis adds is a scandalous suggestion: Hamish is Jamie's son.
- Dougal lets Claire ride down to Cranesmuir later to get some supplies from Geillis.
- While there, Claire hears about a village boy who is about to be punished by having an ear or hand cut off.
- Claire convinces Geillis to convince her husband to lessen the boy's punishment. She does, so now the lucky kid will only have his ear nailed to the pillory for an hour. Little victories, we suppose.
- Jamie later comes to collect Claire, and Geillis gives him a sealed letter to give to Dougal and Dougal only,saying that it's the bill and Dougal is the only one who will pay it. We guess collection agencies haven't yet been invented in 18th-century Scotland.
- The boy is still nailed to the pillory when Claire leaves, and Jamie tells her that he has to yank his own ear free.
- Claire asks Jamie to help him, and Jamie agrees, but only if Claire will create a diversion.
- She approaches the boy, pretends to be squeamish, and faints into the crowd. While everyone's distracted by Claire, Jamie frees the boy, then they ride back to the castle together.
- Claire is excited to make a break for it on the evening of the Gathering.
- She sneaks into the stables under cover of night and bumps right into Jamie.
- "How far d'ye think you'd get, lassie?" (10.11), he asks in his thick Scottish accent.
- She definitely thought she'd at least make it to a horse, but no dice.
- Jamie escorts her back to the castle, but they get intercepted along the way, and Jamie is taken by Rupert and some men to be properly dressed for the oath-taking, whatever that is.
- Before he goes, he tells Claire his clan motto: Je suis prest, meaning I am ready (10.61). But is he ready for this?
- In the gallery, Claire watches the oath taking, which is just a bunch of men swearing their loyalty to Colum and clan Mackenzie… except Jamie.
- Jamie gives no oath but tells Colum that he gives him his "obedience" (10.87). Colum isn't offended by this, and he gives Jamie a lot of whisky.
- Claire's a little buzzed, too, and a couple of randy guards try to grab her in the halls of the castle.
- She runs, and bumps into Dougal, who scares her pursuers away… then kisses her.
- In the morning, all the men are up early (and surprisingly not hungover) for a boar hunt.
- A man named Geordie is mortally wounded during the hunt; Dougal kills the boar, but Claire cannot save Geordie.
- After all the festivities, Dougal lets Claire know that he'll be leaving the castle to collect rent from all the tenants on Mackenzie land… and he's taking Claire with him.
- He thinks the commander of Fort William can help Claire find her family in France.
- Claire hopes she can use this as an opportunity to escape before her lie is exposed.
Conversations with a Lawyer
- When Part 3 (On the Road) begins, Claire rides alongside Ned Gowan, a lawyer who joined clan Mackenzie because he thirsts for adventure.
- He's also kind of a gossip, telling Claire some of Jamie's family history.
- At night, they stop at a pub. Dougal makes a dramatic speech and then tears Jamie's shirt off, exposing the scars on his back.
- This rouses the patrons to throw their money on the table, and Claire realizes that Dougal is a Jacobite: "supporter of the Young Pretender [Bonnie Prince Charlie] against the lawful occupant of the throne of England, George II" (11.65).
- In other words: He's kind of a bad guy.
- Claire confronts Dougal for exposing Jamie against his will, but Dougal is less than sympathetic.
- She later overhears Dougal and Jamie arguing—Jamie is furious that Dougal is going behind Colum's back and collecting money for Jacobite causes.
- Their travels continue unchanged—inn, speech, stripping Jamie, collecting money—until one night a patron at the pub mouths off and Jamie beats him up.
- Jamie takes a few blows in the barroom brawl, so Claire stitches him up yet again.
- While repairing Jamie's body, Claire learns that Jamie has planned a secret rendezvous with a man named Horrocks, a man who knows who really shot the man Jamie was arrested for. Perhaps he can clear his name.
The Garrison Commander
- At another inn, Claire wakes up, hearing a scratching outside her door.
- It turns out to be Jamie, who is hiding from the English dragoons in the taproom.
- Claire offers for him to sleep in her room, but he doesn't want to damage her reputation, so she gives him some blankets, and he sleeps in the hall.
- The next morning, Dougal takes Claire to the garrison commander of Fort William, who has been out inspecting the countryside.
- Claire is dismayed they're not going near Fort William, where the stones of Craigh na Dun are located.
- The garrison commander turns out to be… Jonathan Randall. Dun dun dun…
- He grills her, trying to figure out who the heck she really is.
- When he can't get information from her, he has his guard hold her, and he punches her in the stomach.
- "Have you anything to say to me now, Madam?" (12.128), he asks.
- Claire, never one to lose her nerve, retorts, "Your wig is crooked" (12.129). Ha.
A Marriage is Announced
- Dougal escorts Claire back to the inn, stopping at a saint's pool along the way for a drink of spring water.
- He interrogates Claire, too, trying to figure out if she's a spy.
- He also reveals a few things about Jamie's history, including the fact that Captain Randall gets some pleasure from torturing Jamie.
- Dougal says he tried to bribe Randall into letting Jamie go, but Randall declined.
- After some discussion, Dougal decides there's only one way to keep Claire from being arrested by the English, and that's to make her no longer a subject of the crown.
- The best way to do that, of course, is to marry a Scot.
- Ned Gowan draws up marriage papers to wed Claire with Jamie.
- Claire, fearing she has no other choice, signs the papers, then drinks her sorrows away.
A Marriage Takes Place
- The innkeeper's wife washes Claire and gets her properly dressed for her wedding day.
- Jamie is dressed in full Highlander regalia, and he gives Claire his mother's pearls; he also finally reveals his full name to her:
- James Alexander Malcom Mackenzie Fraser. Of the clan John Jacob Jingleheimer-Schmidt, we're sure.
- They wed, and Jamie slides a ring from his own finger onto Claire's finger… right next to the ring she wears which symbolizes her marriage to Frank.
- Then they tie the knot. Literally. Their wrists are cut with a dirk and bound together with linen to merge their blood. Ouch. Love hurts.
- Jamie recites the blood vow in Gaelic, and they are wed. Time to eat.
Revelations of the Bridal Chamber
- Dougal tells Claire, "I want this marriage consummated, wi' no uncertainty whatsoever" (15.2). Cue the Marvin Gaye?
- In their room, Jamie asks Claire to tell him about her first husband, saying that he will do his "best to honor his spirit by serving his wife" (15.25).
- Then they agree to always give each other honesty.
- Jamie tells her that the main reason he married her was to keep her safe from Black Jack Randall.
- They drink, and Claire learns a lot about Jamie's family and his history; then it's time for bed.
- Maybe we should put bed in italics.
- Jamie undresses Claire, and Claire finds out what Scotsmen wear under their kilts.
- Naked in bed, Claire takes Jamie's virginity.
- Then they do it again.
- Hungry from all the lovemaking, Claire steps outside… and is greeted with all the hoots and hollers of the men in the main room.
- Guess there's no doubt now that the marriage is consummated.
- After eating, Claire, um, kisses Jamie's Blarney Stone, or whatever the Scottish version of this oral sex euphemism would be.
- Claire and Jamie tell each other: "I don't hate you" (15.253). That's as close as they're getting to love for now.
One Fine Day
- The next day, Jamie tells Claire that he returned to Castle Leoch because Dougal told him that his sister, Jenny, was pregnant by Randall's child.
- That, and the English would probably arrest him if he went back there.
- Jamie also wonders if Dougal is the one who tried to kill him, to keep him from ever inheriting the castle. Not that Jamie wants that at all.
- They spend the day fishing, lounging in the grass, hiding from the English watch at one point, and getting it on at various points in between.
- Back at the inn, Rupert gives Jamie and Claire a wedding gift: money won at dice and cards.
- Jamie calls Claire Mo duinne (16.230) for the first time… but definitely not the last.
- In between all the hot lovemaking sessions, Jamie postulates who Claire might really be… but she doesn't reveal the truth yet.
We Meet a Beggar
- Jamie and Claire go for another walk… this one is interrupted by an arrow which almost spears Claire's face. Ouch.
- It turns out to be a friendly signal from Jamie's friend Hugh Munro. Um, we'd prefer a text message.
- He, too, brings Jamie and Claire gifts: ale, a dead rabbit, and gory tales of all the ways he has been injured and deformed over the years.
- Most of the tales actually come from Jamie, though, because one of Hugh's deformities is that his tongue was cut out.
- When they return to the inn, Dougal is back.
- Claire and Jamie hole up in their room and, um, warm the place up a bit. Without needing a fire.
- Jamie asks Claire, "Does it ever stop, Claire? The wanting?" (17.158), and she says, "I don't know, Jamie. I really don't" (17.159).
Raiders in the Rocks
- The whole group leaves the inn the next day, and Claire is given a dirk to protect herself.
- They're attacked by raiders one night, and Claire hides between two rocks.
- Dougal and Jamie battle the raiders and suffer only minor injuries, which Claire bandages.
- Fighting gives Jamie's kilt a little tent, so he and Claire have a roll in the hay (or the heather, since this is Scotland) in the night.
- The next day, they teach Claire how to fight with a knife. Not a gun though. Guns are for men only.
- The group camps near Loch Ness, and Claire wanders down to the water's edge to wash her face before supper.
- While she's washing up, a little Loch Ness monster comes up and says hi. (We're not joking.)
- It doesn't speak, but it lets Claire pet it.
- A man sees this happen and totally freaks out and runs away. Bigfoot must be more his thing.
- In the night, Hugh Munro stops by and leaves Claire a little present: a dragonfly trapped in a chunk of amber.
- The next morning, Jamie tells Claire another important fact of their marriage: If he dies, his land, Lallybroch, will be hers.
- They go fetch some water, and by fetch some water we mean do the horizontal mambo.
- A group of bandits interrupts their coitus, and a man named Harry tries to rape Claire.
- She extracts her hidden dirk and kills the man, which gives Jamie the distraction he needs to kill the bad dude's partner in crime.
- Dougal comes down and chastises them for taking so long. "Someone could come up behind ye and clap a pistol to your head before ye knew—" (20.83) he says, and Jamie and Claire laugh.
- The next day, Jamie goes to meet Horrocks by himself. He orders Claire to stay behind.
- She realizes that she's within three miles of Craigh na Dun. Time to make a break for it…
- There's a huge river in the way, so she has to hop from rock-to-rock like she's in a live-action game of Frogger.
- She falls in and almost drowns (all those petticoats are heavy when wet), but someone pulls her out of the water: Randall's right-hand man, Corporal Hawkins. Gulp.
Une Mauvais Quart d'Heure After Another
- At Fort William, Randall and Claire engage in some more verbal sparring.
- Claire throws him off balance when she mentions the Duke of Sandringham, alluding that she's a spy for him… the same man Randall is an agent of.
- Randall ties Claire's hands behind her back and cuts off her dress.
- He presses his crotch against her and tells her to scream… but Claire realizes that Randall can only get aroused if she does scream. He's impotent if she doesn't. She remains silent.
- Suddenly, Jamie appears in the window with a pistol.
- Randall presses a knife to Claire's throat and orders him to drop the pistol, which he does. Randall picks it up and decides to go back to feeling up Claire.
- Jamie launches himself at Randall, who pulls the gun's trigger. Click… It's empty.
- Jamie grabs Claire and they make a break for it.
- Once they're safe, they get into a huge argument. Jamie is mad that Claire didn't obey him, while Claire is mad that Jamie didn't protect her that day by the river.
- After a lot of yelling, they manage to forgive each other… but not to forget.
- They reach the village of Doonesbury the next day and shack up at the inn. Who is the innkeeper, Garry Trudeau?
- In the inn, Jamie tells Claire that it's time for him to punish her. Her disobeying his orders put the lives of herself, him, and all his men in danger, so now she has to suffer the consequences.
- Long story short: He beats her with a leather strap. And he kind of likes doing it.
- The next day, sitting is difficult; riding a horse is almost impossible.
- Walking with her and her horse, Jamie tells Claire about all the times his father whipped him.
- Their conversation is interrupted when they have to hide from a pack of wolves.
- Once that is over, it's back to talking about beatings again, a conversation which meanders along and eventually concludes with Claire telling Jamie that she loves him.
- They ride along some more, and Jamie tells Claire how his father died: He had an apoplexy (the archaic term for a stroke) when he thought Jamie was dead from being beaten by Randall's hand. Jamie feels responsible for his father's death.
- He also reveals that Randall wanted to strike a deal with Jamie: He'd cancel the second flogging if Jamie would have sex with him.
- Jamie refused, got flogged, and his father died.
- He hopes to kill Jack Randall someday, both to avenge his father and to avenge the death of Alex MacGregor, a young man who died at Randall's hands and whose Bible Jamie keeps with him.
- At the end of the day's journey, Claire tells Jamie "you ever raise a hand to me again, James Fraser, I'll cut out your heart and fry it for breakfast!" (22.294).
- He swears that he will never raise a hand against her in anger, and they go to bed together.
Return to Leoch
- The information from Horrocks is not good news. He confirms that Jamie didn't shoot the sergeant-major… Randall did.
- Jamie wonders where to flee to: Rome? France?
- But first they have to go back to Leoch. The Duke of Sandringham is expecting them.
- They return, and Laoghaire finds out that Jamie and Claire are wed. She is not happy.
- Claire finds herself jealous of the girl, and asks Jamie if he's having an affair with her.
- His response: "We've been back to the Castle less than an hour […] and ye think I've gone straight out to seduce a maid of sixteen?" (23.104). In other words, Claire, you be trippin', girl.
- He gives Claire a new wedding ring, and they have some pretty intense sex, "tearing each other's flesh in the consuming desire to be one" (23. 176). As John Mellencamp would say: it hurts so good.
By the Pricking of My Thumbs
- We've made it to Part 4: A Whiff of Brimstone.
- At a feast, everyone finds out that Dougal's wife has died. No one really seems to care all that much, though.
- Later, in the stables, Jamie teaches Colum's son, Hamish, to ride a stronger horse; Claire still wonders if Hamish is Jamie's son, as Geillis Duncan says he is.
- Jamie also teaches Hamish how to ride a woman, in a little birds-and-bees lesson.
- That night, Claire finds an "ill-wish" (24.167) under her pillow: a bundle of plants that pricks her thumb. She doesn't know who left it.
- The next day, Jamie needs tending because he's been thrown off Donas, a rowdy horse.
- While he's healing, they hang out on the roof of the castle and Claire asks Jamie point-blank if Hamish is his son.
- He's not. Whew.
- That afternoon, in the garden, Claire encounters Father Bain, who was attacked by a dog.
- She tells him that he needs to let her cleanse his wounds or they'll get infected, but he just stomps off, offended.
- While Claire is in the surgery, Alec, the stableman, comes to Claire for help with his rheumatism.
- She massages him, and he tells her about Jamie's mother.
- Unable to sleep, Claire heads to Colum's library to borrow a book, and ends up eavesdropping on a conversation between Colum and Dougal.
- She discerns that Dougal has gotten Laoghaire pregnant.
- Speak of the devil, but here comes Laoghaire, approaching the room with a tray. When she hears Claire, who is hiding behind a curtain, she drops the tray and runs.
- Claire takes it inside, and Dougal leaves her alone with Colum. They watch Hamish outside, who is riding a horse; when he falls off, Colum panics.
- Claire comforts him, letting him know that Hamish is okay. Then she adds, "You care for him as though he were your own, don't you?" (24.383).
- He says he does.
- At dinner, Claire finds out why Jamie is wary of the Duke of Sandringham… and why he left Leoch in the first place: the Duke came onto him. (Seems like British men in power love Jamie, huh?)
- The next day, Claire has to deliver an animal in the stables. It's a lot like this, but with a horse.
- As if this chapter weren't eventful enough, Claire goes out herb hunting with Geillis Duncan and comes upon a baby abandoned in the woods.
- Geillis says it's a changeling, abandoned by faeries, and makes Claire leave it.
- She goes back for it, but finds Jamie instead. He tells her the baby is dead, and that the Duke of Sandringham is waiting.
- Claire kind of likes the Duke, a "blufy, hearty, red-faced sportsman" (24.586). So what if he has the hots for her husband?
- Geillis Duncan offered to help Claire find out who left the ill-wish, so Claire travels down there on Thursday to find out.
- She performs a summoning spell, but it brainwashes Claire more than it reveals answers.
- Against her will, Claire answers her questions—Geillis is trying to find out who Claire really is and where she came from.
- Before Geillis can find out, though, her husband interrupts them, breaking the spell.
- At dinner that night, her husband, Arthur, chokes and dies.
- The next day, Jamie has to leave on a hunt with the Duke; he warns Claire to stay away from Geillis.
- The warning doesn't stick. Two weeks later, Laoghaire gives Claire a message: Geillis is ill and wants Claire to come take care of her.
- Claire goes to the village, only to find out that not only did Geillis not send for her—she's not even sick.
- A rumbling draws near…
Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live
- Claire and Geillis are captured and thrown in the thieves' hole.
- There will be a witch trial, and Claire and Geillis will likely be burned at the stake.
- In the hole, Geillis reveals that Laoghaire left the ill-wish (she bought it from Geillis, even) and that she, Geillis, is the one pregnant with Dougal's child, not Laoghaire.
- That's why she poisoned her husband: He knew she was pregnant and that it wasn't his child.
- Also, Geillis is a Jacobite, and she's been diverting her husband's money to France to help the Jacobite cause.The examiners arrive and hold a trial. A few people testify against Claire: Father Bain, the man who saw her with the waterhorse at Loch Ness, and the mother of the dead changeling baby.
- Ned Gowan shows up in the nick of time to support Claire and get her a trial separate from Geillis Duncan.
- They want to dunk her under water. A witch would float, but an innocent woman would sink. Claire declines this sorry excuse for a test and is whipped instead.
- Jamie shows up and demands she be cut down.
- However, Geillis Duncan confesses that she is a witch, "and the mistress of Satan" (25.285), which is distracting enough for Jamie and Claire to get a chance to run.
- Claire realizes something, though, as she looks at Geillis one last time: She has a smallpox vaccination scar on her arm. Whoa.
- Once Claire and Jamie are safely away from the village, Jamie asks Claire if she is a witch.
- She explains that she isn't… but she is a time-traveler.
- Jamie believes her. And he tells her that it's her birthday, October 20th, even if it is about two hundred years before she was born.
- Later, Jamie takes Claire to Craigh na Dun… so that she can return to her own time.
- Before she leaves, she tells him to beware the Rising—it won't succeed, and the Highlanders will die. Hundreds of them.
- Jamie leaves to let Claire be alone for her trip back to the present… but she can't do it. She finds him in a nearby cottage.
- He tells her it's time for them to go home to Lallybroch.
The Laird's Return
- We're in Part 5 (Lallybroch), and Claire and Jamie talk a lot on the way to Lallybroch: Claire about "modern" life, Jamie about his hunt with the Duke. (It went okay. No one was buggered against his will.)
- They're greeted by dogs when they arrive at Lallybroch, which almost knock Claire over.
- Jamie is greeted by his sister, Jenny, at the door, and she almost knocks him over.
- They instantly start fighting because she's pregnant again, and Jamie cannot believe that she lives in disgrace, already having had Randall's baby and all.
- To make matters worse, she named Randall's bastard after Jamie.
- While they're loudly yelling, Claire meets Ian Murray, Jenny's husband who's nice and only has one leg.
- Jenny and Jamie are still arguing, but it finally gets hashed out that Jenny never had Randall's baby. He, of course, couldn't get it up and never raped her. Both her current child, young Jamie, and her current pregnancy are courtesy of her husband, Ian.
- They finally make up and hug it out.
The Last Reason
- Over the next few days, Claire gets to better know Jenny and Jamie's family history.
- They also put her to work, helping to prepare the place for the winter.
- But it's not all work and no play. Jamie and Claire find time for a literal roll in the hay after Jamie tells her the last reason he married her: "I wanted you. […] More than I ever wanted anything in my life" (27.67).
Kisses and Drawers
- Jamie decides to tend to the tenants so Ian can rest his leg.
- At one property, he has to help unstick a water wheel, so he strips down to his father's flannel drawers and dives in.
- While he's submerged, Grannie MacNab chats up Claire.
- She asks Claire to ask Jamie to take on her grandson, Rabbie MacNab, so as to get him away from his drunk, abusive father.
- They're interrupted by an English watch, but Grannie MacNab manages to distract them while Jamie stays hidden underwater.
- Each night, Jamie, Ian, and Jenny share stories of the past—some happy (Jamie's funniest beatings, for example), some sad (the death of Jamie and Jenny's dad).
- One night Jamie gives Claire a great compliment, saying his dad "would have like you verra much, my Sassenach" (29.141).
Conversations by the Hearth
- Claire helps Jenny transcribe some recipes, like how to make candles, while drinking elderberry wine.
- They also talk about what it feels like to be pregnant.
- Jenny suggests that's why men like having sex sometimes: They want to be back inside the womb.
- Later, Jamie says that it might be nice, you know, to be safe for a little while.
- It's time for all the tenants to come pay respects to the Lord and Lady of Lallybroch, so Jenny gets Jamie and Claire done up nicely. They even get their hair did.
- Murtagh shows up and lets Claire know that Mrs. Fitz tried to find her when she went missing. It's nice that someone thought of her when she almost got burned at the stake.
- Quarter Day begins and goes smoothly until Jamie requests to take Rabbie MacNab from his father, Ronald.
- Ronald says no, so Jamie takes him behind the barn and beats him. That changes his mind.
- That night, Claire tells Jamie, "I was born for you" (31.174), and they reaffirm their love for one another.
- Ian and Jamie are exhausted from harvest time and sound asleep when Jenny goes into labor. Time to harvest a baby. Um, never mind… That sounds super creepy.
- Claire doesn't know how to deliver a baby, but she assists Mrs. Crook and the midwife.
- The labor is rough and bloody, but Jenny and the baby are a-okay.
- Claire tells Ian that he has a daughter: Margaret Ellen.
- Seeing the stress Ian went through, Jamie wonders if it's a good thing that Claire is barren. He couldn't bear to lose her in childbirth.
- Ian returns one day to say that he and Jamie were ambushed and the Watch took Jamie away.
- Jenny and Claire mount horses and set off to find him.
- They catch up to the Watch and whack a soldier on the head in order to question him when he comes to. He says that Jamie died; he jumped into the water and drowned.
- Jenny thinks that soldier is full of you know what—she knows that Jamie is a good swimmer—so she and Claire follow the river looking for him.
- Murtagh catches up with them, so Jenny can return home and he can accompany Claire.
- He reveals that Ronald MacNab turned Jamie in to the Watch… so they burned his house down.
- Don't worry, Grannie MacNab is working as the kitchen maid at Lallybroch now.
- Jenny rides home and wishes Claire luck in finding her brother.
- When Part 6 (The Search) begins, Claire and Dougal travel from town to town, gathering information from townsfolk and gypsies.
- One night, a messenger comes and takes them to a cave.
- It's not Jamie inside; it's Dougal. He reveals that Jamie is at Wentworth Prison, and he's condemned to hang.
- He plans to take Claire as his own wife, so that he can own Lallybroch when Jamie dies.
- She's not really up for that, though.
- Claire also learns that Colum and Dougal are Jacobites together. They're in everything together.
- Finally, Murtagh shows up and tips the balance of power in his and Claire's direction with a pair of pistols.
- Dougal won't let any of his men go with Claire, but Claire asks to talk to them and let them decide of their own accord.
- Five men go with her, including Rupert.
- Before Claire leaves, Dougal says that Geillis Duncan is dead, but not before passing on a message ("I think it is possible, but I do now know" [34.174]) and a number (1967) to Claire. Could that be the year Geillis traveled back through the stones?
- Here we are at Part 7 (Sanctuary): Claire enters Wentworth Prison pretending to be an English friend of the Fraser family.
- She asks Sir Fletcher Gordon if Jamie might be allowed to write a letter and if her groom (read: Murtagh) can come retrieve it.
- That plan works, and Claire comes back the next day, saying that her groom forgot to bring the present for Fletcher: some peach brandy.
- They let Claire in, and she sees that Murtagh has knocked out a man and stolen his keys.
- Claire uses them to enter the West wing. This is where they're holding Jamie.
- She ends up literally bumping into a young guard on the way. They're both caught off-guard, but Claire recovers her senses sooner… and kills the boy.
- She continues into the basement and finds Jamie; his hand has been busted beyond all human recognition.
- Claire tries to free his leg shackles by beating a key into the lock with a mallet. She inadvertently knocks Jamie over and he falls on his injured hand, passing out.
- While he's out, Randall comes in with a big ol' homunculus of a henchman, Marley.
- They splash water on Jamie, bringing him back to consciousness, and then Jamie manages to overpower Marley and beat him with a stool.
- Unfortunately, Randall presses a knife to Claire's throat while Jamie is occupied.
- Jamie strikes a bargain with him: Randall can have his body if he just lets Claire go.
- Randall agrees. Jamie tells Claire that he loves her and she reluctantly leaves, but not before she tells Randall that she is a witch and tells him the exact date on which he will die.
- She's unceremoniously shoved out the backdoor into a ditch full of dead dudes.
- To make matters worse, she's tracked by a mangy wolf, which attacks her, though she manages to kill it by breaking its neck on the side of the castle.
- Where there's one wolf, there are many, though, and soon the pack surrounds her… but a Scotsman with a bow and arrow saves her.
- Claire wakes up in a cottage that belongs to a man named MacRannoch and his wife, Lady Annabelle.
- Murtagh arrives and explains that Claire is Jamie Fraser's wife, and that makes him Ellen's son.
- It turns out that MacRannoch gave Ellen the pearls that Jamie gave Claire—Scotland is a small world, it seems.
- While Murtagh is chatting them up, Rupert ends up stealing MacRannoch's cattle and somehow letting them loose in Wentworth Prison.
- During the catastrophe (should we say cow-tastrophe? No?), Jamie is recovered and Randall is trampled.
- Back at the cottage, Claire has to tend to Jamie's wounds… and they are numerous.
- The smashed hand is the worst… and Jamie doesn't want to be drugged either, in case they have to make a run for it.
- Jamie screams—a lot—but Claire gets it set the best she can.
- Later that night, she sees MacRannoch cut a brand off Jamie's chest; it was a signet with Randall's initials. He had marked him.
- Jamie tries to talk to Claire about what happened, about Randall raping him repeatedly, but he can't do it. He breaks down, shaking, and eventually falls asleep.
- Murtagh, Jamie, and Claire flee the next morning.
- Of course, they have to travel right around the prison, though, so they get intercepted by a few guards on horseback.
- Jamie shoots one of them, and Murtagh shoots another; it's up to Claire to pursue the third and bring them down.
- She shoots the man's horse, and he falls off. She approaches him in the snow… and runs her dagger into his neck at the base of his skull. Yikes.
- After that, they end up on the Cristobel, a boat bound for the Abbey of Ste. Anne de Beaupré.
- Jamie is seasick, but Murtagh and Claire manage to pour a healthy dose of laudanum down his throat, knocking him out for the voyage.
- While Jamie recovers, Claire hangs out with all the brothers at the Abbey; she connects well with Father Anselm, and he shows her the library.
- They have deep discussions of religion, and he helps her to find comfort in God… or some spiritual force that guides them all.
- She sits alone in the chapel and feels like all kinds of love are possible.
- Brother Anselm asks her, "Were you alone?" (38.154).
- "No," Claire says. "I wasn't" (38.156).
To Ransom a Man's Soul
- Jamie reveals what happened between him and Jonathan Randall in the prison—and it involves lots of blood, and, um, other body fluids.
- The worst part for Jamie is that Randall made love to him, and Jamie was aroused by his touch.
- Now he cannot think of Claire in that way; "I am afraid to touch you!" (39.48), he shouts.
- That just won't do, though, so Claire sits still, waiting for the Presence (39.72) to tell her what to do.
- One night, Jamie is so close to death that the priests give him the last Anointing.
- Claire is afraid she only has one shot to save him.
- Drawing on her knowledge of Frank, his voice and his mannerisms, she imitates Jonathan Randall to the best of her ability, bringing back all the bad memories of Jamie's rape. This is the 17th-century version of Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy.
- Jamie goes into a rage and tries to fight Claire. Then he… well, doesn't fight her.
- After they roll around the stone floor a bit and bash some furniture, Jamie calls Claire "mother" (37.164) and falls asleep with his head in her lap.
- The next morning, Jamie is practically as good as new.
- Jamie and Claire go back to their old routine, namely Jamie wanting to do whatever he wants (eating meat, going for walks even though he's still injured) and Claire trying to wrangle him.
- One day, Claire goes with Father Anselm to the warm mineral springs under the Abbey. They rest their feet and talk.
- Claire decides to confess that she's a time-traveler… and he believes her.
- They chat about fate and free will for a long time, before heading to the kitchens to eat.
- That night, Jamie and Claire make love and fall asleep in each other's arms.
From the Womb of the Earth
- Special delivery: MacRannoch has sent Claire and Jamie a pearl bracelet and a wolf pelt. Aren't wolf pelts supposed to be saved for ten-year anniversaries?
- They then put on robes and travel deep under the Abbey to the warm mineral springs together.
- Once underground, they disrobe and hop into the warm waters; they end up heating the waters up a bit more, if you catch our drift.
- When they get out to cool, Claire reveals to Jamie that she is pregnant.
- They sit back and relax. Claire thinks, "And the world was all around us, new with possibility" (41.142).
- The end.