Over the last few months, I have gotten into a number of…..erm……discussions (ahem) about the indignity that Claire suffered at Jamie’s hands. I’ll make this statement up front then you can decide if you want to continue reading or not.

Claire was given exactly what she deserved. Period.

Now for those of you still reading, let me explain. Oh and be warned I’m going to bring in something from Season 2/Dragonfly in Amber here – so bit of a spoiler.


First of all….let’s all get on the same page as far as definitions. You will note that I did not use either ‘beating’ or ‘spanking’ as – by the definitions I found – neither is appropriate.

 the act of hitting someone with the hand, usually several times on the bottom as a punishment or for sexual pleasure:

Jamie obviously used his belt so that negates the spanking though it was confined to her bottom. Also, while he may well have gotten some ‘sexual pleasure’ from it, that was not his goal. His goal here, and he stated it very clearly was justice.
From <>

to hit a person or animal hard many times as a punishment:

This seems an appropriate definition of what took place in this instance.
From <>

noun 1. a leather strap having one end cut into thongs, formerly used as an instrument of punishment by a schoolteacher
verb 2. to punish (someone) with or as if with a tawse; whip
Word Origin C16: probably plural of obsolete taw strip of leather; see taw ²
From <>

Very similar to ‘thrash’ and comes from the Scots so probably the most appropriate but most people don’t know the word so – I settled on thrash.

to hit repeatedly:
They saw him beating his dog with a stick.
The child had been brutally/savagely beaten.
She was beaten to death.[+ obj + adj ]
He was beaten senseless.
From <>

I get really rather cranky with people that insist Jamie BEAT Claire. He didn’t. I left the examples under ‘beat’ to show a point. The term ‘to beat’, to most people denotes a brutal act with the goal being to inflict pain and injury/damage. You might note too that while the other three definitions all explicitly say this is for ‘punishment’ – beat does not. To me – and yes this is just my opinion but seems to be upheld by definitions, a man who BEATS his wife is trying to hurt her both physically and psychologically. I’m sure many will disagree with me and likely I’ll hear about that – I can respect your opinions without agreeing with them. I hope you will give me the same courtesy.

Claire, was angry. She’d been attacked and Jamie hadn’t been much help initially. She was angry that she had forgotten her quest to get back to her own time, angry that no one was willing to listen to her as a woman and, I think, angry because she was falling in love with her new husband. She was sulking rather like a spoiled brat really. She was only focused on herself and what she wanted and how upset she was. Did she think, even for a moment, that the very last thing on earth Jamie wanted to do at that moment was leave her side? He was trying to find a way to get the price off his head and be a proper husband and it was a one off deal. What choice did he have?

Instead of being grateful that he wanted to keep her as safe as possible and not subject her to more of the same ilk she had just survived, she was pouting because he didn’t listen to her. So, she wanders off and sees Craigh na Dun. Impetuously, she runs away. To Frank, away from Jamie and the 18th century – but without for even a moment thinking through the consequences of her actions. She does have a habit of this.

We all know what happens. The shouting match between them. Was great. Well done. Anyone who still has issues with either of these two awesome actors bringing these characters to life probably needs to find another show to watch.

So, they get back all safe and Claire IS sorry, but she’s still very focused on HER. She really has not realized the peril she put that group of men in. These men who, have accepted her into their clan, fought for her honor, brought even more English problems down on themselves and the clan – these men she put in harm’s way because she did exactly what SHE wanted to rather than listening to the council or orders of her husband. She is capable of taking orders – she did it all through the war. She understood that her commanding officer might know more than her and trusted that. She simply is refusing to trust Jamie and for that time and place, that is deadly. She needed to truly understand what disobedience could cause. She needed to really ‘get’ the injustice of what she had done to Jamie, the clan and honestly, herself.

We are also well aware that harsh punishments / justice are indeed common. Geillis thought nothing of a young lad losing a hand for stealing a loaf of bread. A hungry kid trying to eat. I don’t remember hearing any cries of ‘child abuse’ and long diatribes about this. Even Jamie  had no issues with the ear nailing and seemed to be quite familiar with it. Harsh punishments and a high sense of honor were part of the way of life – and death. Breaking oaths in that time got people killed or could. Claire broke faith with what are now her kinsman by running off and she specifically broke her promise to Jamie. That is huge and almost never touched on in all this.

So for all of you people who get so indignant about her thrashing, are you going to get just as pissed off in the next season when Jamie thrashes some men for not properly standing their posts? For, by their selfish actions of not paying proper attention, put the entire group at risk? This is Claire’s own comment about that incident:

“I thought perhaps I would be sick, though I gathered that the punishment was light enough, by the standards applied to such things…..” (Direct quote from Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon).

Jamie called these two men out, gave them a verbal dressing down then thrashed them. He was punishing them for putting the rest at risk by their actions – exactly like he does with Claire. She was treated like a member of the clan. Oh, and then Jamie has himself thrashed because HE was lax and it was HIS action that drew the enemy fighter to their camp and caused the initial problem. He expects the same punishment.

Now, many will come back that it’s different. Claire is a woman and his wife. I say it is NOT different. She had a responsibility to the clan. Men that had fought for her and protected her. She obviously was not ‘getting’ it as this was one in a long line of here doing her own thing and causing trouble. The very visceral enforcement by thrashing didn’t even totally work – but it did make her think through things a bit more often.

And yes, Claire is a woman and Jamie’s wife. As such, she was granted a LOT of leniency. She was thrashed in private not in front of all those men she put at risk. I think it’s already clear public punishment was common as well. Jamie was allowed, as her husband, to dish out her punishment. Under those circumstances I’m sure it would have been appropriate for Dougal to be the one to administer the thrashing. I highly doubt he would have been as lenient or as tolerant of her fighting back. She really might have gotten a true beating had Dougal been doing it.

I was ‘thrashed’ as a child. Not often because I didn’t like it. Part of the deal yeah? You want to avoid unpleasantness. The instrument in question for me was a board rather than a strap. After my first thrashing, I tended to weigh things with the idea of ‘if I do this do I risk that’? I tended to make better choices after that – not always perfect but better.

I am someone that believes it’s better to slap a child’s hand away from a hot stove or give a little swat on the butt to startle them away from something really bad or dangerous and have that bit of sting from either enforce the message. I am NOT advocating spousal abuse or child abuse or beating. I do believe in punishment for wrong doing and CLAIRE DID WRONG!

Jamie was not trying to physically damage her, though he was trying to give her enough pain for justice for all those wronged and to enforce the point of danger that she was just not letting into her head. She was thinking because she had lived through the war, that nothing in 18th century Scotland could be as bad or dangerous. But it’s a very different reality as far as danger goes and she DOES need to get it through her stubborn head she needs to listen and obey for her safety and that of those around her.

To me, Jamie is a good man in a really bad situation. He says frankly, that had she been a man the punishment would be far worse. He did nothing wrong. He didn’t ‘beat’ his wife – he didn’t abuse her. He meted out justice for a severe wrong done against himself, the men who were protecting her and, ultimately, herself.

Claire got exactly what she deserved in this. A harsh punishment to fit the crime, but given by a loving hand that ultimately wants to keep her and his clan safe.


28 thoughts on “THE THRASHING

  1. Flying_Rabbits3 says:

    What about Willie? His job and duty was to watch Claire and protect her. Jamie warned him that Red Coats could be nearby. Why wasn’t he punished? His failure was worse than Claire’s. He was directly responsible. Since this whole scene was different from the book, Matt Roberts should have punished Willie. Fair is Fair!!!!!

    • rynawolfe says:

      True….that is not mentioned in the book one way or another. I would imagine Jamie would have had a confrontation with Willie – but we don’t know either way. I assume there would have been punishment for Willie given all the other things that go on, we just don’t see it. That is true of many things though – can’t all be covered.

    • Madeleine says:

      Willie did nothing wrong! He told Claire what/where he was going and correctly assumed(for an 18th century man) that Claire would stay reasonably nearby and not run off as she did!

  2. Some great thoughts – and I just learned some great vocabulary. I’d never really thought about the difference between a spanking and a thrashing. Thank you!!

  3. Oh, meant to say, please join us on the Outlander Blog Community page. We’d love to have you!

    • rynawolfe says:

      Don’t know that my blog is ‘themed’ at all….just seems to be a lot of Outlander blogs as that is where my focus is right now – but it isn’t all I’ll write about. I thank you for the invite though. I’m still learning this whole process 🙂

  4. I wish I had Starz, although I have read the books. While I haven’t seen this episode… (cry)… I have heard that they left out the scene from the book where Jamie enlightens Claire about his own punishments as a kid. I think that scene is sorely needed, but… it is what it is in the episode. I’ll have to live with it.

    This is a wonderful passage that you wrote. It’s straight to the point: “Harsh punishments and a high sense of honor were part of the way of life – and death. Breaking oaths in that time got people killed or could. Claire broke faith with what are now her kinsman by running off and she specifically broke her promise to Jamie. That is huge and almost never touched on in all this.”

  5. pennweaver says:

    Like you I don’t get the outcry about a disciplinary action that Claire needed to have – I don’t get why people call it a beating either .. sigh .. I have been calling it a spanking to get away from the Negative Nancys who continue to call it a beating …. and it frustrates the hell out of my reading pleasure with fandoms when this is an issue when it should be a non issue. Now can we just get over the it and enjoy and thank you for writing this, although it beggars belief that something like these blogs have to be written to clarify for the obtuse and bloody minded.

    • rynawolfe says:

      My soul sister and I completely disagree on this matter. It makes perfect sense to me and she hates it. Ah well – we all see things colored by our own background and upbringing. I don’t mind debate and other points of view – I just ask that we all respect each other. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I’m still pretty new at this and really appreciate it!

  6. mquecdn says:

    Thank you for your post. You made great points and I like the way you looked at the definitions of the words used in describing the event.
    I feel the same way and wrote a bit on my own wee blog to blow off steam. It was upsetting to hear the words abuse and beating thrown around just because of my own personal experiences. To me, it all boils down to Jamie’s attitude in carrying out the punishment. He was definitely not channeling Black Jack Randall with rapturous glee at the potential ecstasy over breaking Claire’s will. Neither was he in a murderous rage to exert the most damage on Claire’s physical and mental state.

    • rynawolfe says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry you had a bad personal experience. I tried to look at your blog but it’s saying the page isn’t available. 😦

  7. vickodo says:

    The “he beat his wife!!!” crew are a bit funny… didn’t hear a word when that boy’s ear was nailed to the pillory, didn’t hear a word about Jaime being beaten in Loaghaire’s place… not a word until Claire needs to be punished for her inability to think of anything except what will help *her*. I suppose if he’d had someone else punish her in public they would be nodding their heads saying “she deserved it.” smh Great review and I enjoyed reading your thoughts on it.

    As to Willie being punished… he was going to the bathroom. He didn’t do anything wrong. She deliberately left. Entire incident is on her.

    Personally, I’m waiting to see what the outcry is when we get to the end of the season – after the Wentworth madness.

  8. Kristan says:

    I completely agree with your assessment, and I’m glad to meet others who feel the same way. The only problem I have with the scene (both in the show and in the book) is his assertion that he will “enjoy it’. I understand that he doesn’t mean in a BJR way – but it does seem to take some of the legitimacy away from the punishment. It seemed to me that this was further supported in the show when he laughed at being called a sadist (once he understood what it meant). Punishment is one thing – and was definitely called for. Enjoyment – well, that leads me down a path I’m not so comfortable with.

    • rynawolfe says:

      MY take on the ‘enjoyment’ was more, for once, he was going to get the upper hand as a man. She’s older, more experienced, and a very VERY dominant personality. Something tells me he has bent to her will a lot even in that short amount of time. She is formidable. Like for me, my guy is a genius (no kidding with like a 170 IQ) and every now and then I really enjoy being able to get the upper hand on him in matters of thought. I’m not wanting to be mean or demean him in anyway – but being ‘on top’ now and then is nice. Maybe I’m wrong with the idea. It would be nice to get a guys perspective on this.

      • Kristan says:

        This is why I love these interactions. Your perspective is new for me, and does open my mind to a different way of interpreting the scene. What would have been an interesting way to put this into perspective was to see the immediate aftermath of the “thrashing” – while still in the room- through his eyes. To see her reaction, which could have run the gamut from anger to pain to fear, and realize right then how truly awful this was for her in the moment. I know they come to it eventually, but it would have been great to see his enjoyment, for whatever reason, turn immediately into doubt, confusion, shame, or any one of another emotions. But thank your for your perspective..has made me rethink how I look at it!

  9. I agree that Claire got what she deserved. Not only did she put all the Highlanders in jeopardy but now Black Jack knows that Jamie is back and will not rest until he has him in his clutches once again. And we all know what will happen to him…

  10. Deanne says:

    Spot on! If she had disappeared I think Jamie would have forever been torn between feeling betrayed and guilty not knowing what had happened to her.
    Jamie is doing what was the norm and expected of him. She was married before so given her headstrong nature he might reasonably assume this had occurred in her previous marriage. He doesn’t understand the depth of her feelings of betrayal. Anyone would object to a punishment (Jamie himself in the books says he used to argue with his father all the way up to the fence). It is a clear case of different frames of reference. From the other men we see that it is expected and his duty. I believe, as you point out that had he not punished her one or more of the other men (or Dougal) would have. I picture something like the punishment Willy received from Angus and Rupert but with Claire and belts. They would not have been as concerned for her and might have done real physical damage. Sam points out in one of the interviews that Claire is still in trouble. If she had not been punished as expected then the men would not continue to protect her. We clearly see that once punished she is again part of the group.
    Obviously he was surprised at the way the men completely ignored Claire. I think he approached the punishment calmly and as a sense of duty. I don’t think he wanted to do it. I don’t think he would have enjoyed it had she simply gone along with him. When she fights back and it becomes a battle of wills part of him admires her spirit. As you said, Who among us doesn’t appreciate a “win” all the more if it is against an opponent with whom we are evenly matched? It is only later when she continues to withhold forgiveness that he understands the depth of her feelings about it.
    The final scene is where they both make a willing commitment to their marriage by compromising. I LOVED that he made the vow willingly on his own. I also LOVED that she further emphasized her point with the dirk.

    • rynawolfe says:

      A friend of mine is really REALLY disappointed with Jamie’s choice to thrash her at all. She thinks it’s completely out of character for him. After all he took Leery’s (sorry not going to look up the proper spelling) punishment, why on earth would he hit Claire?! Totally different deals but – eh. SHE thinks he should have just pretended to beat her and have her act like she had been. I don’t think they could have pulled it off. In the book, the guys all pat her butt at some point during the next day to check and emphasize the point. The first time she didn’t flinch – Jamie would have gotten a beating as well.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment! I love the interaction with other fans.

      • Cliona says:

        Jamie’s objection to Laoighaire’s punishment was that it was in public and she would have been shamed. In one of the later books he mentions having been punished himself in the great hall at a young age and how embarrassed he was, so he wanted to save Laoighaire from that. He has very strong morals so wouldn’t have wanted to lie about thrashing Claire, and she’s a terrible liar anyway.

      • rynawolfe says:

        Yes exactly! I agree with ALL that! LOL It says so often in the books how Claire has a ‘glass face’ – they all would have known and then Jamie would have been in just as much trouble.

  11. c l says:

    Thank you, Ryna. You have said what I think but could never have written so coherently.

  12. mahailia says:

    I totally agree with your assessment, Claire did deserve it. However, it was a beating, and this is straight from the book.
    Claire said so: “I will not allow you to beat me”, Jamie said …”I shall put a knee in your back and beat you ’til my arm tires…..”. The next morning, Claire says “….”It had been a most unpleasant night. My acquiescence lasted precisely as far as the first searing crack of leather on flesh. This was followed by a short, violent struggle, which left Jamie with a bloody nose, three lovely gouges down one cheek, and a deeply bitten wrist. Not surprisingly, it left me half smothered in the greasy quilts with a knee in my back, being beaten within an inch of my life.”

    • rynawolfe says:

      Yes….my friend from Britain and Scotland informs me no matter how you look at it, this would be considered a beating. It’s still a word use thing. ‘Beating’ to me as an American doesn’t mean the same thing. I knew someone that was BEATEN – I mean truly beaten – to death. Her sister was in a coma for weeks. I really don’t think Jamie beat her till his arm tired, though she DID likely get more than he had initially planned on just because she fought back. Also, ‘being beaten within an inch of my life’ obviously wasn’t true. She may have felt like that because she wasn’t used to having hands laid on her that way, but nothing was broken (except maybe her pride), no blood drawn, no internal injuries. By the definitions I listed, that is how I perceive it – you see it differently and that’s ok. Thanks for the comment.

  13. mahailia says:

    no, you are right about it being a word thing. People have different connotations for “beating”. I really was surprised at what a big deal some people made of this, I thought the scene was well done, and I didn’t have a problem with it at all, loved it!

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