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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This week, we will be reading the final chapters, and I think this might come in handy.



but you'll have to move the kittens to get to the Puffs. :D

Here are this weeks discussion questions.

Part Five--Dragonfly in Amber
"The Flames of Rebellion"
Chapters 36 and 37

1: What did you think of Murtaugh's remedy for lice?

2: Was Jamie too severe in dealing with the boy in the Woods, especially in how he used Claire?

3: What did you think of Jenny Cameron?

4: What was your reaction to 10 year old Fergus killing an English soldier?

5: What did you think of the scene where Jamie gave Claire a urine specimen?

6: How did you feel about Claire's confrontation with Colum? What do you think Claire's motive was for giving Colum the cyanide?

7: Do you think Colum had a chance to take the cyanide? How does Colum's death affect things?

Ch. 38 - "A Bargain with the Devil"

1. How did you feel about Claire's arrangement with Black Jack Randall? Was she right to do what she did?

2. How did you feel about Alex's reappearance?

Ch. 39 "Family Ties"

1. Should Claire have told Jamie who her source was?

2. How did you feel when Charlie insisted Jamie go get the men of Clan Fraser and lead them into the rebellion?

Ch. 40 "The Fox's Lair"

1. Did Jamie do the right thing in having the men of Lallybroch desert?

2. What was your impression of Young Simon and the Old Fox?

3. How did you feel about the Old Fox's treatment of and speech about Claire?

Ch. 41 "The Seer's Curse"

1. What was your reaction to Maisri the seer and her conversation with Claire?

2. How did you feel about the way Claire diagnosed Lord Lovat's prostatitis?

3. How did you feel when Claire and Jamie returned to Lallybroch, only to find the men had not arrived?

Ch. 42 "Reunions"

1. How did you feel about Dougal's reappearance?

2. How did you feel when Claire pawned her necklace to get supplies for the men in the Tollbooth?

3. Were you surprised to see Mary Hawkins show up?

4. How do you think Jamie felt about allying himself to two men he doesn't trust (Dougal and Young Simon) in order to free his men from the Tollbooth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Part Five--Dragonfly in Amber
"The Flames of Rebellion"
Chapters 36 and 37

1: What did you think of Murtaugh's remedy for lice?

Sometimes, Murtaugh really is a “wee canty bird.” 

2: Was Jamie too severe in dealing with the boy in the Woods, especially in how he used Claire?

Gray may be just a boy, but he is still a soldier, and soldiers need to be prepared to die or be captured or maimed.  I think it’s also a reminder that Jamie is a soldier, too, and he can be ruthless when it’s needed.  I really didn’t like the way he used Claire, but they are involved in a war, and Claire knows what that means as well as any soldier.  Jamie’s reasons were sound.  I’m not sure if he did what he did to spare Gray, or to spare himself from having to torture the boy more. 

3: What did you think of Jenny Cameron?

Throughout history, women have led their troops into battle, so what she did wasn’t that unusual.  She did stay when she was ordered to leave, but still, she didn’t actually participate in the battle.  I think Jenny’s character is such that she just does what needs to be done without a lot of fanfare. 

4: What was your reaction to 10 year old Fergus killing an English soldier?

Fergus really didn’t know what going to war meant until that happened.  I think he was still in shock when Claire found him, and the reality of what he did didn’t hit him until he saw her. 

5: What did you think of the scene where Jamie gave Claire a urine specimen?

I just love DG’s sense of humor.  Typical Jamie.  And he really never got around to doing it, did he. 

6: How did you feel about Claire's confrontation with Colum?  What do you think Claire’s motive was for giving Colum the cyanide?

Claire got some things off her chest, and maybe there was some closure over the incident at Cranesmuir.  Claire is a healer and fights off death with everything she’s got.  I don’t think she’s forgiven Colum, and she wouldn’t mind hastening his death by giving him the cyanide. 

7.  Do you think Jamie was right to tell Colum not to support Charles? 

The support of Clan MacKenzie might change the course of events, and since Jamie is now committed, he should do everything he can to help Charles win.  It’s the only way at this point to save the clans from destruction. 

8: Do you think Colum had a chance to take the cyanide?  How does Colum's death affect things?

No, I don’t think he did.  His main concern was the safety of Hamish and Clan MacKenzie, and I don’t think he would have done that until he had told Charles.  I think he would also have wanted to wait until he got back to Leoch and issued orders that Clan MacKenzie would not fight for the Stuarts.

Dougal feels differently, of course, so he’s going to lead the Clan to war. 

Ch. 38 - "A Bargain with the Devil"

1. How did you feel about Claire's arrangement with Black Jack Randall? Was she right to do what she did?

“A bargain with the devil” is right.  As I said before, she and Jamie are committed, so they have to support Charles to the fullest extent possible.  Yes, she was right.  In war, spies (and at this point, Claire is a spy) have to do terrible things.  Also, Alex needs her skills, and Claire is not going to deny him what comfort she can. 

Randall is really a sick S.O.B., isn’t he.  The things he said to Claire about Jamie ... (shudder)

2.  How did you feel about Alex’s reappearance?

Aha!!!  The brother who also looks like Frank pops up again. 

Ch. 39 "Family Ties"

1. Should Claire have told Jamie who her source was?

Absolutely not.  We know how Jamie reacts to Randall, and he would never allow her to be alone with him. 

2. How did you feel when Charlie insisted Jamie go get the men of Clan Fraser and lead them into the rebellion?

We don’t know anything about Lord Lovat at this point.  That leads me to believe that Jamie doesn’t know much about him, either.  We know that Jamie fostered with Dougal and spent time at Leoch with Colum, so if there was any relationship with the Fraser’s, we would have known about it before now. 

Jenny has never met the MacKenzies, and most likely never met the Frasers.  It seems like Brian and Ellen kept themselves to themselves at Lallybroch. 

Ch. 40 "The Fox's Lair"

1. Did Jamie do the right thing in having the men of Lallybroch desert?

Jamie did it to save them.  I think Jamie is conflicted.  He knows he has to support Charles, and he’s willing to make that decision for himself.  He’s not willing to make that decision for his family.  The Frasers don’t count. 

2. What was your impression of Young Simon and the Old Fox?

A couple of brutal, uncouth men. 

3. How did you feel about the Old Fox's treatment of and speech about Claire?

He tried, but Jamie pulled the “La Dame Blance” card again. 

Ch. 41 "The Seer's Curse"

1. What was your reaction to Maisri the seer and her conversation with Claire?

Maisri tries to keep some control by not telling Old Simon things.  But she’s not really keeping control, because he knows when she’s holding back.  I think Maisri further helps Claire to understand that all she has is knowledge, but no control over the outcome. 

2.  How did you feel about the way Claire diagnosed Lord Lovat’s prostatitis?

I think Claire really enjoyed baiting the old man.  I think she especially enjoyed telling him about the metal rod.  And I think Jamie really enjoyed telling the old man he’d be happy to give him the treatment with his big, clumsy hands.  HAH!!

3. How did you feel when Claire and Jamie returned to Lallybroch, only to find the men had not arrived?

Good plan gone bad.  They should have been safe.  In the beginning of the book, when Roger did his research, we found out that the men of Lallybroch were safe, so what happened in the meantime?

Ch. 42 "Reunions"

1. How did you feel about Dougal’s reappearance?

The bad penny turns up again, and we know that where Dougal is, trouble for Jamie follows.  Once Colum was dead, Dougal was bound to lead the Clan against the English, so I wasn’t really surprised.

2. How did you feel when Claire pawned her necklace to get supplies for the men in the Tollbooth?

Jamie gave her that necklace on their wedding day.  It was upsetting.  But Claire still has it when her and Bree are in Inverness, so she must have gotten it back, somehow. 

3.  Were you surprised to see Mary Hawkins show up? 

Yes, that was the last thing I expected.  Not really, Jack Randall was the last thing I expected.  But if Alex was in Edinburgh, Mary would be, too. 

4.  How do you think Jamie felt about allying himself to two men he doesn’t trust (Dougal and Young Simon) in order to free his men from the Tollbooth. 

Jamie often finds himself in untenable situations, but he’s more concerned with his men than he is with Dougal and Simon. 
 

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Part Five--Dragonfly in Amber
"The Flames of Rebellion"
Chapters 36 and 37

1: What did you think of Murtaugh's remedy for lice?
Claire doesn't get to see the lighter side of Murtaugh much. He is pretty funny!

2: Was Jamie too severe in dealing with the boy in the Woods, especially in how he used Claire?
No. They are at war and Jamie did everything he could to avoid killing the boy.

3: What did you think of Jenny Cameron?
Another example of a strong woman for the time. It's not unprecedented for a woman to lead troops into battle (Elizabeth, Isabella) but not exactly common either. She must have had a lot of respect from her men to trust her in this way.

4: What was your reaction to 10 year old Fergus killing an English soldier?
Poor Fergus has had so many life experiences by the time he turned 10. You forget how young he is.

5: What did you think of the scene where Jamie gave Claire a urine specimen?
So funny :)

It made me think about the English v.s. the Scottish. I think in a way it must be easier to go to war against people who speak a different language than you. It is easier to dehumanize each other when you don't know what you are saying. These troops all speak English, all seem to have fun together, and yet given the chance they kill each other.


6: How did you feel about Claire's confrontation with Colum? What do you think Claire's motive was for giving Colum the cyanide?
Even though Claire is a healer, she has been to war. She knows that sometimes death is preferable to suffering. I think she is doing what she perceives to be the kindest thing - despite their history.

7: Do you think Colum had a chance to take the cyanide? How does Colum's death affect things?
Does anyone else think the timing is suspicious? Colum conveniently dies right as he is about to betray Charlie? I wonder if he wasn't murdered.

Ch. 38 - "A Bargain with the Devil"

1. How did you feel about Claire's arrangement with Black Jack Randall? Was she right to do what she did?
Again, they are at war and Claire is serving the greater good. But he is a bastard, isn't he?

2. How did you feel about Alex's reappearance?
Just as Gertie says!

Ch. 39 "Family Ties"

1. Should Claire have told Jamie who her source was?
I don't see how this would have helped anyone.

2. How did you feel when Charlie insisted Jamie go get the men of Clan Fraser and lead them into the rebellion?
Not sure.

Ch. 40 "The Fox's Lair"

1. Did Jamie do the right thing in having the men of Lallybroch desert?
I think he is trying to make peace with his decision to help Charles, but he isn't really committed to it.

2. What was your impression of Young Simon and the Old Fox?
These guys are awful. Really makes Column and Dougal seem like the bastions of civilization.

3. How did you feel about the Old Fox's treatment of and speech about Claire?
Heh. He doesn't know what he is getting himself into. Claire can take care of herself.

Ch. 41 "The Seer's Curse"

1. What was your reaction to Maisri the seer and her conversation with Claire?
Maisri is interesting. She has the same 'ability' as Claire, but she clearly has no 'rational' explanation. It's interesting that Claire immediately accepts that Maisri really has a second sight. It's good to know that occasionally Maisri does have the ability to change the future. Maybe there is hope for Claire and Jamie.

2. How did you feel about the way Claire diagnosed Lord Lovat's prostatitis?
As I said, Claire can take care of herself :)

3. How did you feel when Claire and Jamie returned to Lallybroch, only to find the men had not arrived?
Disappointed.

Ch. 42 "Reunions"

1. How did you feel about Dougal's reappearance?
He was too far into the Jacobite cause to stay away for long. Interesting that he appeared when the money did, eh?

2. How did you feel when Claire pawned her necklace to get supplies for the men in the Tollbooth?
That was so sad! And she didn't even hesitate, just did what she needed to in order to help her men. She is truly a leader now.

3. Were you surprised to see Mary Hawkins show up?
Ok, does this seem a little convenient to the story line? It's not like women could just travel by themselves during this time. And she is entering a war zone! She is not exactly one of the stronger characters in teh book either.

4. How do you think Jamie felt about allying himself to two men he doesn't trust (Dougal and Young Simon) in order to free his men from the Tollbooth.
He is also a leader and will do what he needs to in order to protect his men.

I had to take a break in order not to read ahead too far. So glad to be able to dive back into Claire and Jamie. Is there going to be a book club for the remaining books?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
zeferjen said:
It made me think about the English v.s. the Scottish. I think in a way it must be easier to go to war against people who speak a different language than you. It is easier to dehumanize each other when you don't know what you are saying. These troops all speak English, all seem to have fun together, and yet given the chance they kill each other.[/b]
Good insight. The English get to see a different side of the "barbarians" in this scene, and the Scots get to see a different side of the sassenachs.

7: Do you think Colum had a chance to take the cyanide? How does Colum's death affect things?
Does anyone else think the timing is suspicious? Colum conveniently dies right as he is about to betray Charlie? I wonder if he wasn't murdered.
Never thought of that. There's nothing to indicate that it was murder, but if someone besides Jamie and Claire knew of Colum's decision, it might have happened that way. My immediate thought is Dougal. All he'd have to do is poison Colum's brandy supply before he left Leoch. Wouldn't put it past Dougal at all.

1. How did you feel about Dougal's reappearance?
He was too far into the Jacobite cause to stay away for long. Interesting that he appeared when the money did, eh?
The 10,000 he got from Gellie!!!!
 

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Part Five--Dragonfly in Amber
"The Flames of Rebellion"
Chapters 36 and 37

1: What did you think of Murtaugh's remedy for lice?

Love that Murtaugh

2: Was Jamie too severe in dealing with the boy in the Woods, especially in how he used Claire?
Jamie's reasons may have been sound but I think he could have accomplished the same thing with a little less brutality. People are very good at justifying their actions. Claire has every right to be angry.

3: What did you think of Jenny Cameron?
Another strong woman. I like that the books have strong female characters.

4: What was your reaction to 10 year old Fergus killing an English soldier?
I imagine Fergus was proud that he got to go with Jamie and Rabbie had to stay home, his mind was probably filled with glory not gory. Reality has a way of hitting this kid in the face; at least he gets pieces of time when he gets to be a kid.

5: What did you think of the scene where Jamie gave Claire a urine specimen?
Very funny. I could picture the look on Jamie's face as he teased the men and Claire. I guess Claire didn't need the sample after all since it wasn't pursued after the interruption

6: How did you feel about Claire's confrontation with Colum?
I was surprised to see him show up because of the amount of pain he is in. Claire did need the closure though. I think she liked and admired Colum on some level but was angry for him nearly getting her dead.
What do you think Claire's motive was for giving Colum the cyanide?
I don't think she's forgiven Colum, and she wouldn't mind hastening his death by giving him the cyanide
I didn't read it that way. I was thinking assisted suicide because she understood that he was in so much pain.

7: Do you think Colum had a chance to take the cyanide?
I didn't think so but….
Does anyone else think the timing is suspicious? Colum conveniently dies right as he is about to betray Charlie? I wonder if he wasn't murdered.
Could be
How does Colum's death affect things?
It's for sure that the McKenzies are in it now. Dougal has made his feelings about the prince and English rule well known.

Ch. 38 - "A Bargain with the Devil"

1. How did you feel about Claire's arrangement with Black Jack Randall?

Claire was going to help Alex anyway, she was gathering information anyway; why not have a way to get more reliable information.
Was she right to do what she did?
Emphatically, yes! Claire wasn't threatening to withhold help from Alex, so she was still being Claire. Why not take the (fill in your word of choice) up on his offer.
In war, spies (and at this point, Claire is a spy) have to do terrible things. Also, Alex needs her skills, and Claire is not going to deny him what comfort she can.
I didn't see Claire as a spy. I saw her as a handler and Jack Randal as the spy. He's the one committing treason. Claire's loyalties are well known.

2. How did you feel about Alex's reappearance?
I've been waiting for it. I still think Frank is descendant from Alex, not Jack. I wonder if Claire ever told Frank.

Ch. 39 "Family Ties"

1. Should Claire have told Jamie who her source was?

No, the information would probably have been met with the same skepticism no matter what the the source. Why cause more drama. Besides, the handler doesn't reveal the source unless they have to.

2. How did you feel when Charlie insisted Jamie go get the men of Clan Fraser and lead them into the rebellion?
Charlie's a twit. He was a twit before and he's still a twit. You could see Jamie didn't want to but the twit didn't care.

Ch. 40 "The Fox's Lair"

1. Did Jamie do the right thing in having the men of Lallybroch desert?

Yes. Jamie's first obligation is to the people who look to him. He knows the war is going to happen just like Claire told him. Now all he can do is try to protect the people for whom he is responsible.

2. What was your impression of Young Simon and the Old Fox?
Two dogs sniffing around the new guy trying to make sure he doesn't try to take over the pack.
These guys are awful. Really makes Column and Dougal seem like the bastions of civilization.
Heh, heh, heh. No wonder they didn't want their sister to marry into this family.

3. How did you feel about the Old Fox's treatment of and speech about Claire?
La Dame Blance sure does come in handy.
Heh. He doesn't know what he is getting himself into. Claire can take care of herself.
I was looking forward to seeing his reaction when Claire took care of things. Oh well, we did get to see a reaction with the prostatitis thing.

Ch. 41 "The Seer's Curse"

1. What was your reaction to Maisri the seer and her conversation with Claire?

I think Maisri further helps Claire to understand that all she has is knowledge, but no control over the outcome.
Maybe helps Claire let go of the idea of stopping the war and accept the idea of saving the few.

2. How did you feel about the way Claire diagnosed Lord Lovat's prostatitis?
Claire was having a good time. Jamie was having a good time. I had a good time reading it.

3. How did you feel when Claire and Jamie returned to Lallybroch, only to find the men had not arrived?
Devastated but not surprised. Given how much of the book is left, he had to go back. If his men had been at Lallybroch, would he have had any reason to go back? He wasn't planning to go until he heard about the men.

Ch. 42 "Reunions"

1. How did you feel about Dougal's reappearance?

Skin crawling (and not with Murtaugh's lice) I don't like Dougal. I've never liked Dougal. He is really committed to restoring the Charles to the throne but does he have to be such a snake - no offense to Croque (the snake who is currently living happily ever after in Louis' gardens)

2. How did you feel when Claire pawned her necklace to get supplies for the men in the Tollbooth?
Glad she had it so she could get the supplies for the men. We know she's getting it back.

3. Were you surprised to see Mary Hawkins show up?
No, she has to have Alex Randall's baby. I have decided that Alex is Frank's ancestor and until I'm proven wrong, I am going to see many things as signs that this it true.

4. How do you think Jamie felt about allying himself to two men he doesn't trust (Dougal and Young Simon) in order to free his men from the Tollbooth.
I liked that Dougal and Simon had to work together, serves the jerks right. It does show the depth of responsibility Jamie feels for his men. Why else would he subject himself to these two wonderful people?
 

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Part Five--Dragonfly in Amber
"The Flames of Rebellion"
Chapters 36 and 37

1: What did you think of Murtaugh's remedy for lice?
I got a good laugh out of this. Murtaugh knew that everyone needed a little humor to relax.

2: Was Jamie too severe in dealing with the boy in the Woods, especially in how he used Claire?
Jamie had 2 choices. Use Claire or torture. He chose the lesser of 2 evils, and Claire understood that. She would have been furious if he had used torture. Also, this was war, and he had to give John a chance to die honorably, but he also needed information.

3: What did you think of Jenny Cameron?
She was a very strong and well-respected woman.

4: What was your reaction to 10 year old Fergus killing an English soldier?
I was so sad to see him so excited. But, he was caught up in the mania of the moment and did not fully realize the gravity of taking a human life.

5: What did you think of the scene where Jamie gave Claire a urine specimen?
Jamie always seemed to know how to ease a tense situation. Even for a brief time, the English and Scots were on equal footing. Funny, he never actually gave her a sample.

6: How did you feel about Claire's confrontation with Colum? What do you think Claire's motive was for giving Colum the cyanide?
Claire and Colum were finally able to clear the air. I think Claire was relieved to find Colum had nothing to do with her arrest, and that he knew about Ned coming to defend her. Claire knew Colum was a proud man, and gave him the cyanide to allow him to die with dignity in his own time. That would be much better for him than allowing him to die slowly in agonizing pain and losing all function.

7: Do you think Colum had a chance to take the cyanide? How does Colum's death affect things?
It seemed that he did not use the cyanide. But with him gone before talking to Charles, Dougal was free to ally himself with Charles and assume leadership of the clan.

Ch. 38 - "A Bargain with the Devil"

1. How did you feel about Claire's arrangement with Black Jack Randall? Was she right to do what she did?
Claire was a very practical person. No matter her personal feelings or involvement, she would do what was best for the group. The Scottish needed the information, and she could get it. In her mind, that was the issue.

She was right to keep her source secret. She needed to keep the information coming, but she also had to protect Jamie.

2. How did you feel about Alex's reappearance?
I was glad to see Alex again, but sad that he was so close to death.

Ch. 39 "Family Ties"

1. Should Claire have told Jamie who her source was?
She could not afford to take that chance. Jamie would have tried to find Randall and kill him. They needed the information Randall had.

2. How did you feel when Charlie insisted Jamie go get the men of Clan Fraser and lead them into the rebellion?
Charlie is being selfish, but also realizes that this is his best chance for getting the Frasers into the fray.

Ch. 40 "The Fox's Lair"

1. Did Jamie do the right thing in having the men of Lallybroch desert?
Jamie was doing what he felt he had to do, but felt the obligation to try to protect his men. Yes, he did the right thing by his men.

2. What was your impression of Young Simon and the Old Fox?
Old Fox is very appropriate. Young Simon is just like his father.

3. How did you feel about the Old Fox's treatment of and speech about Claire?
Lord Lovat was used to having everyone fear him. He assumed Claire would be the same. Telling him she was Dame Blanche was a good way to get him to back off.

Ch. 41 "The Seer's Curse"

1. What was your reaction to Maisri the seer and her conversation with Claire?
Maisri did know things, but was afraid that things were her fault. She knew Claire was different.

2. How did you feel about the way Claire diagnosed Lord Lovat's prostatitis?
I loved it. Claire had figured out how to push Lord Lovat's buttons, and she was doing just that. Jamie's offer of treatment was even better.

3. How did you feel when Claire and Jamie returned to Lallybroch, only to find the men had not arrived?
I knew they had been caught, but by the Scottish or English?

Ch. 42 "Reunions"

1. How did you feel about Dougal's reappearance?
He always seemed to pop up when Jamie was in trouble.

2. How did you feel when Claire pawned her necklace to get supplies for the men in the Tollbooth?
Claire was a very practical woman. The men had to be taken care of.

3. Were you surprised to see Mary Hawkins show up?
Yes. It did seem strange for her to be in Edinburg.

4. How do you think Jamie felt about allying himself to two men he doesn't trust (Dougal and Young Simon) in order to free his men from the Tollbooth.
Jamie did what he had to do to take care of his men. But, he was also very careful in the wording of his agreements, so that he would not be caught in a worse situation. Jamie was a very shrewd man.
 
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