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Discussion Starter #1
We'll be reading Chapters 15 through 21 this week. 

Pretty tame chapters this week, so there aren't too many questions. 

Chapter Eight:

1. What did you think of Claire's finding out about Mary Hawkins (whose fate she too knows)?  How do you think this will play out? 

2. At this point, does it seem possible for Claire and Jamie to change the future?

3. First impressions of Master Raymond?

Chapter Nine:

1. What did you think of Claire’s red dress?  Do you think Jamie overreacted?

2. Impressions of Jamie and Claire among the excess of Versailles?

Chapter Ten:

1. Why do you think Claire dreamt of Frank teaching a history lesson about her and Jamie?

Part Two -- Dragonfly in Amber
The Pretenders Chapters 11-17
Chapter 11 - Useful Occupations

1. What did you think of the king's singing-master (Herr Johannes Gerstmann)?

2. First impressions of Louise de la Tour de Rohan (and her house and party)?

3. What did you think of Jamie's first duel?  Do you think this might have some significance to the story?

"The most important thing I've learned about women, Sassenach, is which one to choose." - Jamie to Claire

4. How did you feel about Claire's decision to work at L'Hopital des Anges?

5. Claire and Jamie begin debating baby names. What do you think would have been a good baby name?

6. What did you think of Jamie's reaction to Claire's hair removal efforts?

Chapter 12 - L'Hopital des Anges

1. First impressions of Mother Hildegarde and the hospital?

2. First impressions of young Fergus?

3. What did you think of Jamie and the sausage-whacking incident?  Who do you think was after him and why? 

Chapter 13 - Deceptions

1. Do you think that Claire could have gone through with helping Louise abort her baby?

Chapter 14 - Meditations on the Flesh

1. What did you think of Mary Hawkins' impressions of Frenchmen and what she thought they did (and Claire's reality check with the girl)?

2. What are your impressions of how Jamie's relationship with Fergus has developed?

3.  Do you think Monsieur Forez will have any significance to the story?

 

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Chapter Eight:

1. What did you think of Claire's finding out about Mary Hawkins (whose fate she too knows)? How do you think this will play out?


It must have been a shock for Claire to find out Mary Hawkins is to marry Marigny. If I were her, I would be thinking that history was already changed since Randall died at Wentworth and Mary would have to marry someone else. I'm wondering, too, why Mary would have been marrying an army officer in the first place when it would be more advantageous for her to marry a member of the French nobility.

2. At this point, does it seem possible for Claire and Jamie to change the future?

If the future has already been changed (see my answer to #1), then yes, they may have a chance.

3. First impressions of Master Raymond?

Strange little man. His appearance is enough to mark him as someone significant to the story.

Chapter Nine:

1. What did you think of Claire's red dress? Do you think Jamie overreacted?


Hah, what a guy he is! For the fashion of the times, it was fairly modest, if screamingly red. I doubt if Claire was very comfortable in that dress. She's more of a homespun kind of gal.

2. Impressions of Jamie and Claire among the excess of Versailles?

Jamie tell Claire not to go into any alcoves. Big surprise. Claire goes in to alcove and gets in trouble. Other than that, I think they do fine because they care about and for each other.

Chapter Ten:

1. Why do you think Claire dreamt of Frank teaching a history lesson about her and Jamie?


I think Claire is feeling guilty about Frank. She thinks Randall's death means there is no Frank. She dreams about Frank the same way she dreams about Jamie when she's in the future. She needed to contact Frank, even if only in her dreams, to reassure herself that Frank does exist in the future.

Part Two -- Dragonfly in Amber
The Pretenders Chapters 11-17
Chapter 11 - Useful Occupations

1. What did you think of the king's singing-master (Herr Johannes Gerstmann)?


Another strange little man. We'll be seeing more of him.

2. First impressions of Louise de la Tour de Rohan (and her house and party)?

Social butterfly. She moves easily through Paris society and loves to entertain.

3. What did you think of Jamie's first duel? Do you think this might have some significance to the story?

Our Jamie; young and impetuous. I loved when he told his father he was going to be a monk. Yes, I think it will be significant. The story was too detailed not to be.

"The most important thing I've learned about women, Sassenach, is which one to choose." - Jamie to Claire

4. How did you feel about Claire's decision to work at L'Hopital des Anges?

Oh, no. At least we find out later that she stays out of the disease wards. Claire needs to be busy and she needs to use her knowledge to care for people. This is why she would never have been happy being a professor's wife.

5. Claire and Jamie begin debating baby names. What do you think would have been a good baby name?

Brian or Ellen. Nothing else would do.

6. What did you think of Jamie's reaction to Claire's hair removal efforts?

Culture shock! Claire isn't the only one experiencing this.

Chapter 12 - L'Hopital des Anges

1. First impressions of Mother Hildegarde and the hospital?


Mother Hildegarde is a woman who has found her place in life and fits it well. Love little Bouton.

2. First impressions of young Fergus?

A young boy who has taken care of himself from a very young age.

3. What did you think of Jamie and the sausage-whacking incident? Who do you think was after him and why?

Very clever of Jamie, and the ever practical Scot has the sausage served for dinner. Jamie isn't the only one intercepting letters and spying on Charles. He's a new factor in this political game. If they can't figure out who he is and what his intentions are, he had best be removed. "They" are those opposed to the Stuart restoration.

Chapter 13 - Deceptions

1. Do you think that Claire could have gone through with helping Louise abort her baby?


No. Claire is all about life.

Chapter 14 - Meditations on the Flesh

1. What did you think of Mary Hawkins' impressions of Frenchmen and what she thought they did (and Claire's reality check with the girl)?


I think Hamish knew more than Mary. Hopefully, Claire was able to set her straight without scaring her to death.

2. What are your impressions of how Jamie's relationship with Fergus has developed?

They are more than master and servant. Fergus' is completely loyal to Jamie and probably looks on him as a mentor at the very least. Fergus was humiliated by his failure, and it was very astute of Jamie to know how to give the boy back his self-esteem. I think it might have been harder for Jamie to beat Fergus than it was for him to beat Claire.

3. Do you think Monsieur Forez will have any significance to the story?

There's something about Monsieur Forez that gives me the willies. Yes, I think he will play a part in the future.
 

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Chapter Eight:

1. What did you think of Claire's finding out about Mary Hawkins (whose fate she too knows)? How do you think this will play out?
She is trying to figure out how Mary will show up in Frank's family tree and if she needs to do anything about it. Maybe she doesn't marry this guy?

2. At this point, does it seem possible for Claire and Jamie to change the future?
Yes. That is their purpose. If they can prevent Charles from getting the financial backing he needs.

3. First impressions of Master Raymond?
I like him very much. He seems, however, to know something about Claire that he is not saying.

Chapter Nine:

1. What did you think of Claire's red dress? Do you think Jamie overreacted?
This was way out of character for Claire. Even though Jamie had seen such things at court, he never thought of Claire that way. He was already jealous of how other men would look at her. Knowing what he did about Court, no I don't think he overreacted.

2. Impressions of Jamie and Claire among the excess of Versailles?
They seemed to be able to fit in, but still retain who they are.

Chapter Ten:

1. Why do you think Claire dreamt of Frank teaching a history lesson about her and Jamie?
She had just met Alex Randall and mistook him for Frank. Frank was on her mind, and I am sure she felt torn about leaving him for good and staying with Jamie. It was interesting that Frank had miniatures of her and Jamie.

I especially liked how Jamie comforted her, telling her that yes he was jealous, but also relieved to know that she would mourn him the same way.


Part Two -- Dragonfly in Amber
The Pretenders Chapters 11-17
Chapter 11 - Useful Occupations

1. What did you think of the king's singing-master (Herr Johannes Gerstmann)?
Typical musician type. Loved his reaction when he heard Jamie try to sing.

2. First impressions of Louise de la Tour de Rohan (and her house and party)?
Very flighty. Her house must have been magnificent. Her parties were part of who she was.

3. What did you think of Jamie's first duel? Do you think this might have some significance to the story?
Typical male. Loved the part where Annalise went to the loser to comfort him. Maybe another duel in the future? Since Jamie seems to know how to get around the laws against dueling.

"The most important thing I've learned about women, Sassenach, is which one to choose." - Jamie to Claire
Good Answer.

4. How did you feel about Claire's decision to work at L'Hopital des Anges?
This was typical Claire. She needed to feel useful, and she could not stand around and watch people suffer.

5. Claire and Jamie begin debating baby names. What do you think would have been a good baby name?
James, Brian (Jamie's father), Ellen (Jamie's mother).

6. What did you think of Jamie's reaction to Claire's hair removal efforts?
He should know by now that Claire is not conventional. I laughed out loud. It seems so normal to us today.

Chapter 12 - L'Hopital des Anges

1. First impressions of Mother Hildegarde and the hospital?
Perfect administrator. The hospital didn't sound too different from indigent hospitals 200 years later.

2. First impressions of young Fergus?
Very sharp little boy. He was apparently used to stealing, but also looked up to Jamie.

3. What did you think of Jamie and the sausage-whacking incident? Who do you think was after him and why?
Jamie is very resourceful and will use whatever is at hand, but the comment about walking into a brothel with a sausage was funny. Comte St. Germain had to be behind it. Claire cost him a lot of money, and he was a dangerous man to cross. Possibly destroy Claire by killing Jamie?

Chapter 13 - Deceptions

1. Do you think that Claire could have gone through with helping Louise abort her baby?
It would have been very difficult for her, but I think she might have if there were not alternatives.

Chapter 14 - Meditations on the Flesh

1. What did you think of Mary Hawkins' impressions of Frenchmen and what she thought they did (and Claire's reality check with the girl)?
During that time, young ladies were not told anything about sex, so Mary had common misconceptions. Women were expected to "endure" their wifely duties. Claire was probably the one person who could have this discussion with Mary.

2. What are your impressions of how Jamie's relationship with Fergus has developed?
Fergus needed a father figure, and Jamie is proving to be that. Of course, Jamie is realizing how hard it is to be a father.

3. Do you think Monsieur Forez will have any significance to the story?
I think we will be seeing more of him.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Suzanne said:
This may seem like a silly question, but had Randall been stampeded and died before Frank could possibly exist, had that happened, wouldn't Frank's wedding ring on Claire's left hand have disappeared?
That's what is giving Claire hope that Frank still exists somehow.
 

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EGADS I need to finish the last weeks assignment and answer those few so I can get on this one!  I do love re-reading all these books, get out much more out of them now, the 2nd or 3rd or ? time  ;)
 

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I'm not going to answer all of the questions, but I will say that when Claire decided to work at the hospital my first thought was "here we go again!"  I have respect for her need to be useful, and realize that she was bored out of her mind sitting at home, but can't she use her skills without tasting someones urine?!  EWW.

Louise seemed to have found her niche, being the perfect hostess and having wonderful parties was essentially her job.  I don't' recall much about her husband, but what would he be getting out of all of this entertaining?  It must cost a mint!  I see Louise as a hummingbird, flitting here and there among the groups at the parties... gathering all the love and attention she needs as the hummingbird gathers nectar.
 

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Gertie, you didn't ask anything about Alexander Randall. Since we now have met Black Jack's brother, is this the Alex he was talking to when he was abusing Jamie or was it the Alex that Black Jack buggered at Ft. William, who then killed himself and Jamie was given his Bible? We know that Black Jack is completely twisted, but would he have sexually abused his own brother?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
tlshaw said:
Gertie, you didn't ask anything about Alexander Randall. Since we now have met Black Jack's brother, is this the Alex he was talking to when he was abusing Jamie or was it the Alex that Black Jack buggered at Ft. William, who then killed himself and Jamie was given his Bible? We know that Black Jack is completely twisted, but would he have sexually abused his own brother?
Thanks for bringing that up. I don't know how I could have forgotten.

My own opinion is that Randall most likely lusted after his brother, Alex; maybe even loved him in his own fashion. This may have been where Randall actually drew a line. He wanted Alex to love him in the same way, but I think he felt it would be wrong unless Alex came to him of his own accord.

Alex McGregor and Jamie are two that we know of where Randall was looking for a substitute for his brother. His methods are definitely not the way to inspire love.
 

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gertiekindle said:
Thanks for bringing that up. I don't know how I could have forgotten.

My own opinion is that Randall most likely lusted after his brother, Alex; maybe even loved him in his own fashion. This may have been where Randall actually drew a line. He wanted Alex to love him in the same way, but I think he felt it would be wrong unless Alex came to him of his own accord.

Alex McGregor and Jamie are two that we know of where Randall was looking for a substitute for his brother. His methods are definitely not the way to inspire love.
I think you are right. He loved Alex, but would not push himself on him. I think Alex MacGregor was a substitute, but in his lucid moments he really was in love with Jamie.
 

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Some I couldn't answer either because I didn't remember enough then, or I know too much now!

1. What did you think of Claire's finding out about Mary Hawkins (whose fate she too knows)? How do you think this will play out?

I doubted very much that Mary's wedding would go off as planned…

2. At this point, does it seem possible for Claire and Jamie to change the future?

At this point I was too afraid that they would be caught trying to; and that they would not be able to explain why they were acting like they were friends of Charles while secretly undermining him.

3. First impressions of Master Raymond?

Creepy little guy; wasn't sure whose side he was on, but hoping he was a good guy.

1. What did you think of Claire's red dress? Do you think Jamie overreacted?

Well, some guys like it when their wives attract attention like that, and some don't. I think Jamie assumed he'd be the former, but realized he's more the latter. By then it was too late…

2. Impressions of Jamie and Claire among the excess of Versailles?

They seemed a little stressed. Most of that would be the game they were playing though; it's not like they were on vacation and didn't have to worry about the political ramifications of almost every conversations they had with anybody…

1. Why do you think Claire dreamt of Frank teaching a history lesson about her and Jamie?

I was dying to know if it was a vision of the 'real' Frank or if it was just a dream.

tlshaw said:
She had just met Alex Randall and mistook him for Frank.
Weird that her first reaction was to think of Frank, and not Jack, whom she had seen most recently. And funny how Alex seems closer to Franks personality - educated, cultured, more of a gentleman.

3. What did you think of Jamie's first duel? Do you think this might have some significance to the story?

It's got to; by now we should be used to the way DG foreshadows events!

4. How did you feel about Claire's decision to work at L'Hopital des Anges?

I was glad of it; she can't be expected to just sit around the house when she's not arm-candy for Jamie at various parties. And I think it reflects how Jamie's attitude has changed since they were first married (before he knew where she came from). He treats her more like an equal than he would have if she were a real 18th century woman.

SongbirdVB said:
can't she use her skills without tasting someones urine?! EWW.
yeah, that was gross… but it was almost like an initiation or a test; so that they would take her skills seriously. And I think they did a lot more with urine then than make yellow snow, so it wouldn't be as gross then as it would be today.

gertiekindle said:
Jamie tell Claire not to go into any alcoves. Big surprise. Claire goes in to alcove and gets in trouble.
I think that's another example of the way he treats her differently now; he didn't punish her. I think he's learning to pick his battles.

5. Claire and Jamie begin debating baby names. What do you think would have been a good baby name?

Well, if I had had a daughter, she would have been Genevieve. But that's just me. My boys are named Brian and Connor, even though there's not a drop of Scots or Irish in us!

6. What did you think of Jamie's reaction to Claire's hair removal efforts?

I think it would have been funnier if Claire followed Louise's example (at at least let Jamie think she did)!

1. First impressions of Mother Hildegarde and the hospital?

I was glad there was a woman in charge; If it had been a man, there's no way he would have let Claire practice any kind of medicine there.

1. Do you think that Claire could have gone through with helping Louise abort her baby?

If that's what Louise had wanted, and if there was serious concern that Louise would go elsewhere if Claire did not help her, I think Claire would have helped her rather than risk a botched attempt by some charlatan.

1. What did you think of Mary Hawkins' impressions of Frenchmen and what she thought they did (and Claire's reality check with the girl)?

It was weird that whoever told her that thought only Frenchman did such things…

gertiekindle said:
I think it might have been harder for Jamie to beat Fergus than it was for him to beat Claire.
Definitely! Both because he didn't want to beat Fergus but yet had to do it in front of an audience, and because we later found out how much he actually enjoyed beating Claire!

tlshaw said:
Fergus needed a father figure, and Jamie is proving to be that. Of course, Jamie is realizing how hard it is to be a father.
When Fergus first showed up, I thought Jamie was taking unfair advantage of him - I could not see Jamie using his sons, nephews, or any child that he knew, for such dangerous work. But it was ok to hire an orphan? I was hoping he would back off, and that nothing bad would happen before Jamie realized how horrible he'd feel if Fergus really did get injured or killed.

3. Do you think Monsieur Forez will have any significance to the story?

I was afraid he was one of those surgeons that experimented on patients, and that Claire would have to intervene and then she'd have one more enemy!
 

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gertiekindle said:
My own opinion is that Randall most likely lusted after his brother, Alex; maybe even loved him in his own fashion. This may have been where Randall actually drew a line. He wanted Alex to love him in the same way, but I think he felt it would be wrong unless Alex came to him of his own accord.

Alex McGregor and Jamie are two that we know of where Randall was looking for a substitute for his brother. His methods are definitely not the way to inspire love.
tlshaw said:
I think you are right. He loved Alex, but would not push himself on him. I think Alex MacGregor was a substitute, but in his lucid moments he really was in love with Jamie.
I was really afraid it would come out that he had abused his brother; but when Alex showed up, he seemed to be well-adjusted and prospering. He didn't appear to act like someone who had suffered like Alex McGregor and Jamie did. So I also think Jack went after other men (not just because he was the devil incarnate) but because he could not (or would not) do the same to his brother.
 

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Yeah, I'm finally able to jump in!

Chapter Eight:

1. What did you think of Claire's finding out about Mary Hawkins (whose fate she too knows)?  How do you think this will play out? 

I'm intrigued to say the least. Maybe she marries a different Randall and the family tree is actually off.

2. At this point, does it seem possible for Claire and Jamie to change the future?

One would hope, but we will see.

3. First impressions of Master Raymond?

Gotta love the odd little characters in these books. I could totally picture him and the crocodile.

Chapter Nine:

1. What did you think of Claire’s red dress?  Do you think Jamie overreacted?

Typical man: wants to look at ye himself, but heaven forbid someone else do it. Sounds like a beautiful dress.

2. Impressions of Jamie and Claire among the excess of Versailles?

As per usual, they are able to be in any situation in fit right in.

Chapter Ten:

1. Why do you think Claire dreamt of Frank teaching a history lesson about her and Jamie?

Don't you dream about your past? Or dream something that incorporates the pieces of your life? Plus, she misses him.

Part Two -- Dragonfly in Amber
The Pretenders Chapters 11-17
Chapter 11 - Useful Occupations

1. What did you think of the king's singing-master (Herr Johannes Gerstmann)?

Pushy little thing.  :)

2. First impressions of Louise de la Tour de Rohan (and her house and party)?

Typical socialite. Sweet enough, but stuck on herself.

3. What did you think of Jamie's first duel?  Do you think this might have some significance to the story?

"The most important thing I've learned about women, Sassenach, is which one to choose." - Jamie to Claire

Ah, probably. Might impact Claire again if she has to choose between Jamie and Frank.

4. How did you feel about Claire's decision to work at L'Hopital des Anges?

She is a 20th century woman. Part of her is her work. Plus, she is bored out of her mind at home. Might not be the best idea, but she'll help a few sick people.

5. Claire and Jamie begin debating baby names. What do you think would have been a good baby name?

Brianna.  :)

6. What did you think of Jamie's reaction to Claire's hair removal efforts?

Hilarious. But why can't I find a man in the modern world that won't care if I don't shave my legs? Where's my Jamie?

Chapter 12 - L'Hopital des Anges

1. First impressions of Mother Hildegarde and the hospital?

Stern, but undercover cool. Very intelligent.

2. First impressions of young Fergus?

Cute. Probably smart having survived that long on the streets.

3. What did you think of Jamie and the sausage-whacking incident?  Who do you think was after him and why? 

:D Smart. But can't you just see him running around with a giant sasuage? Other than my not eating pork, I don't see a reason to waste perfectly good food.

Chapter 13 - Deceptions

1. Do you think that Claire could have gone through with helping Louise abort her baby?

I think her solution was the best in the situation. Claire may have done it in the end.

Chapter 14 - Meditations on the Flesh

1. What did you think of Mary Hawkins' impressions of Frenchmen and what she thought they did (and Claire's reality check with the girl)?

Glad someone had a talk with her, but based on the chapter I just read (which is farther into the book), I don't know that Claire talking to her will help.

2. What are your impressions of how Jamie's relationship with Fergus has developed?

He is almost a trial run for Jamie's impending fatherhood. Jamie's getting to work on his skills as a teacher and an authoritarian. And you can tell he cares for the boy. And the boy respects Jamie a lot. It's a good match despite the reason the boy was hired (though it is necessary to change the future).

 

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Quote from: gertiekindle on March 11, 2009, 10:31:08 AM
My own opinion is that Randall most likely lusted after his brother, Alex; maybe even loved him in his own fashion. This may have been where Randall actually drew a line. He wanted Alex to love him in the same way, but I think he felt it would be wrong unless Alex came to him of his own accord.

Alex McGregor and Jamie are two that we know of where Randall was looking for a substitute for his brother. His methods are definitely not the way to inspire love.

Quote from: tlshaw on March 11, 2009, 01:34:21 PM
I think you are right. He loved Alex, but would not push himself on him. I think Alex MacGregor was a substitute, but in his lucid moments he really was in love with Jamie.
bosslady402 said:
I was really afraid it would come out that he had abused his brother; but when Alex showed up, he seemed to be well-adjusted and prospering. He didn't appear to act like someone who had suffered like Alex McGregor and Jamie did. So I also think Jack went after other men (not just because he was the devil incarnate) but because he could not (or would not) do the same to his brother.
I disagree. Jamie is definitely affected by the abuse he suffered and he seems normal enough in public. Alex may have been abused and just covers it up. People such as Black Jack who commit these types of offenses are repeat offenders.

I know we don't wish that abuse on anyone (fictional though Alex may be), but it is unlikely Jack only abused McGregor and Jamie.
 

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NessaBug said:
I disagree. Jamie is definitely affected by the abuse he suffered and he seems normal enough in public. Alex may have been abused and just covers it up. People such as Black Jack who commit these types of offenses are repeat offenders.

I know we don't wish that abuse on anyone (fictional though Alex may be), but it is unlikely Jack only abused McGregor and Jamie.
I agree with your second conclusion, although I don't think Randall does it too often. He can't allow the army to find out about his perversions. At the very least, he would be tossed out of the service, but would more likely be hanged.

I can't really address your first conclusion without spoilers.
 
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