As Droughtlander edges closer to the start of filming for Season 3, the rumours, speculation and downright sensationalism ramps up. Soon we will have the Behind The Scenes shots, casting announcements and other news but in the meantime, the mighty battle for website hits continues with some interesting headlines.
“Jamie May Kiss A Man”
“Jamie, Lord John Kissing Scene Teased in New Season”
“Jamie and Grey to share intimate kiss?”
Of course, this is not news to everyone who has read “Voyager”. I deliberately did NOT single out this moment in my Possible Synopses of Season 3 so far. It could appear in it’s chronological place, in Episode 3, or it could appear as it does in the book as a flashback after Claire finds out about Willie in Jamiaca.
I have noted that non-book readers (and perhaps a few readers who may have forgotten) have commented that this would never happen. Jamie would never kiss a man after what happened to him. It must be simple sensationalism. That, of course, is too simplistic a view.
The scene as written is poignant and emotional; a heartbroken father begging a friend to care for his son as if he was his own, offering the one thing he thinks John would want – his body – despite his history, his viscious rape at the hands of Black Jack Randall. But John, who loves Jamie deeply, is a man of honour and cares more for their friendship. He doesn’t want Jamie on those terms, and he declines. As a thank you, for both, Jamie gives him a beautiful kiss. Let’s see how it reads:
“I should be … grateful, then,” he said, “if you would stand as stepfather to – to my son.” He had likely never spoken the word aloud before, and the sound of it seemed to shock him. “I … would be obliged to you.” Jamie sounded as though his collar were too tight, though in fact his shirt was open at the throat. Grey looked curiously at him, and saw that his countenance was slowly turning a dark and painful red.
“In return … If you want …I mean, I would be willing to … that is … “
Grey suppressed the sudden desire to laugh. He laid a light hand on the big Scot’s arm, and saw Jamie brace himself not to flinch at the touch.
“My dear Jamie,” he said, torn between laughter and exasperation. “Are you actually offering me your body in payment for my promise to look after Willie?”
Fraser’s face was red to the roots of his hair.
“Aye, I am, “ he snapped, tight-lipped. “D’ye want it, or no?”
At this, Grey did laugh, in long gasping whoops, finally having to sit down on the grassy bank in order to recover himself.
“Oh dear God,” he said at last, wiping his eyes. “That I should live to hear an offer like that!”
Fraser stood above him, looking down, the morning light silhouetting him, lighting his hair in flames against the pale blue sky. Grey thought he could see a slight twitch of the wide mouth in the darkened face – humour, tempered with a profound relief.
“Ye dinna want me, then?”
Grey got to his feet, dusting the seat of his breeches. “I shall probably want you to the day I die,” he said matter-of-factly. “But tempted as I am –“ He shook his head, brushing wet grass from his hands.
“Do you really think that I would demand – or accept – any payment for such a service? He asked. “Really, I should feel my honor most grossly insulted by that offer, save that I know the depth of feeling which prompted it.”
“Aye, well,” Jamie muttered. “I didna mean to insult ye.”
Grey was not sure at this point whether to laugh or cry. Instead, he reached a hand up and gently touched Jamie’s cheek, fading now to it’s normal pale bronze. More quietly, he said, “Besides you cannot give me what you do not have.”
Grey felt, rather than saw, the slight relaxation of tension in the tall body facing him.
“You shall have my friendship,” Jamie said softly, “if that has any value to ye.”
“A very great value indeed.” The two men stood silent together for a moment, then Grey sighed and turned to look up at the sun. “It’s getting late. I suppose you will have a great many things to do today?”
Jamie cleared his throat. “Aye, I have. I suppose I should be about my business.”
“Yes, I suppose so.”
Grey tugged down the points of his waistcoat, ready to go. But Jamie lingered awkwardly a moment, and then, as though suddenly making up his mind to it, stepped forward and bending down, cupped Grey’s face between his hands.
Grey felt the big hands warm on the skin of his face, light and strong as the brush of an eagle’s feather, and then Jamie Fraser’s soft wide mouth touched his own. There was a fleeting impression of tenderness and strength held in check, the faint taste of ale and fresh-baked bread. Then it was gone, and John Grey stood blinking in the brilliant sun.
“Oh,” he said.
Jamie gave him a shy, crooked smile.
“Aye, well,” he said. “I suppose I’m maybe not poisoned.” He turned then and disappeared into the screen of willows, leaving Lord John Grey alone by the mere.
Another incredible piece of writing from Diana Gabaldon. I can imagine Sam in this scene. He has the strength and sensitivity needed to make the scene both poignant and believable. I have no doubt that whomever is cast as John will be up to the challenge. The Casting so far has certainly been spot on, and John is a major character and even has the possibility for spin-offs. If you haven’t read them yet, this is the chronological order Diana recommends:
Lord John and the Hellfire Club* (a short story)
Lord John and the Private Matter (a novel)
Lord John and the Succubus* (a novella)
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade (a novel)
Lord John and the Haunted Soldier* (a novella)
Lord John and the Custom of the Army (a novella)
The Scottish Prisoner (a novel, featuring Jamie Fraser)
Lord John and the Plague of Zombies (a novella)
*From a book-length collection “Lord John and the Hand of Devils”
Some of the books appear in anthologies and collections.
The full chronological order, including the Outlander novels, can be found on Diana’s website http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/chronology-of-the-outlander-series/
And so I think we can safely accept that the kiss will remain. It is a special moment, a dramatic moment, and important in the relationship between Jamie and John.
Until then, countdown to the casting announcement. As he appears in (to my reckoning) the second episode, we should hear shortly. Who will play Lord John Grey?