THE CALL TO WAR
The Fox’s Lair, Je Suis Prest, and Prestonpans
Let me say this, first and foremost…..over the entire five seasons of Outlander, we have seen many changes in both Claire and James Fraser, but Sam Heughan’s embodiment of Jamie, in these three episodes in particular, left me weak, wet and wanting.
I was responding in a purely visceral way to a force of such powerful masculinity, the film critic in me was shoved brutally aside, along with the straggling farmers, cotters, misfits and miscreants. There was enough active grey matter still ticking over, paying attention to the story, but particularly during the field training and then the preparations and battle at Prestonpans, I was eager to lay down my body for the cause.
His proud stance, looking back over his shoulder as he lays down the law to his Uncle Dougal…..My Artist’s eye traces the curve of muscled back, and buttock, the easy swing of kilt, that commanders voice, deep down in his belly….he watches, struts, bellows commands……the morning light shines upon his hair, flaming red windblown curls around his shoulders. The Gaelic war chant, as they march, turn, march and turn again….as Murtagh roars, as Jamie whispers words as soft as silk, coaxing the men to laughter, then turns it all around, putting the fear of god , death and James Fraser, into them. He is the epitome of every breathing woman’s dream…..fiercely beautiful, a living monument to nature’s gift….testosterone.
“There’s only two things they do with it”, Claire says to Brianna later in the story, “and one of them is to try to kill each other”, ….”and the other?” We gazed at each other with perfect understanding, “I’ll take care of your father, but Roger is up to you.”
And so amid the the eerie whining of the pipes, beat of drum and clash of metal, bodies formed in regimental blocks, marching….the deep baritone song of war, the thrust and lunge….there he stands, watching over them, correcting, commanding, challenging….terrifying his men to keep them safe…..reducing me, the observer, to my most primal female need….
I ache to be the one he reaches out for
At the closing of a long hard day
To give what needs giving when the blood lust is upon him
Open myself entirely to his need
Wrap arms and legs around, and rock him
Till the voice of war recedes, until he spills his seed
And lies, emptied of all the madness and ferocity
A man child letting go, safely held, who knows
In the hours while he sleeps, I will watch over him
Watch the grim lines slowly fade from face and brow
The corners of his mouth, relaxed, at peace
Long lashed eyes, closed…..too tired to dream of war
There’s nothing more he needs, as he lies heavily upon me
The Warrior man child held, I keep him safe, for these few hours
Until the battle pipes once more, summon him to fight
As the dawning sun creeps over hill and moor, to morning’s light.
Winter, Central Victoria, Australia 2020
(Claire’s words to Brianna, regarding testosterone, by Diana Gabaldon)