Outlander – Books vs TV Show: Claire and Malva ‘s confrontation!

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outlander confronto Malva

As most Outlander fans know (or should know) the Outlander TV series and its books are not exactly the same. In this brand new section, we will be comparing some elements between the STARZ historical-fantasty drama, Outlander, and Diana Gabaldon’s book series on which it’s based: let’s take a closer look at the case of the circumstances of Claire and Malva ‘s confrontation after the girl’s accusation!

OUTLANDER books vs tv show wedding ring
Outlander – Books vs TV Show: Claire and Malva’s confrontation!

The confrontation with Malva Christie following her accusations against the Frasers in Outlander Season 6

As many will know, and just as many will not, the dynamics surrounding the confrontation with Malva, after she accuses Jamie of raping her and impregnating her, is an element of divergence between the TV series and the Outlander books.

In fact, unlike in Diana Gabaldon’s books, where it is Roger who goes to Malva to clarify the situation, in the TV series we see Claire herself going to the Christie home to ask the young woman for an explanation of the accusations she has made.

Book version

Excerpt from A Breath of Snow and Ashes, Chapter 29 “Benefit of the Doubt”

“It isn’t freaking true!”

“No, of course not.” Roger watched his wife warily; she was exhibiting the general symptoms of a large explosive device with an unstable timing mechanism, and he had the distinct feeling that it was dangerous to be in her vicinity.

“That little bitch! I want to just grab her and choke the truth out of her!” Her hand closed convulsively on the neck of the syrup bottle, and he reached to take it from her before she should break it.

“I understand the impulse,” he said, “but on the whole—better not.”

She glared at him, but relinquished the bottle.

“Can’t you do something?” she said.

He’d been asking himself that since he’d heard the news of Malva’s accusation.

“I don’t know,” he said. “But I thought I’d go and talk to the Christies, at least. And if I can get Malva alone, I will.” Thinking of his last tête-à-tête with Malva Christie, though, he had an uneasy feeling that she wouldn’t be easily shaken from her story.

Brianna sat down, scowling at her plate of buckwheat cakes, and began slathering them with butter. Her fury was beginning to give way to rational thought; he could see ideas darting behind her eyes.

“If you can get her to admit that it’s not true,” she said slowly, “that’s good. If not, though—the next best thing is to find out who’s been with her. -If some guy will admit in public that he could be the father—that would cast a lot of doubt on her story, at least.”

“True.” Roger poured syrup sparingly over his own cakes, even in the midst of uncertainty and anxiety enjoying the thick dark smell of it and the anticipation of rare sweetness. “Though there would still be those who’d be convinced Jamie’s guilty. Here.”

“I saw her kissing Obadiah Henderson in the woods,” Bree said, accepting the bottle. “Late last fall.” She shuddered fastidiously. “If it was him, no wonder she doesn’t want to say.”

Roger eyed her curiously. He knew Obadiah, who was large and uncouth, but not at all bad looking and not stupid. Some women would consider him a decent match; he had fifteen acres, which he farmed competently, and was a good hunter. He’d never seen Bree so much as speak to the man, though.

“Can you think of anybody else?” she asked, still frowning.

“Well … Bobby Higgins,” he replied, still wary. “The Beardsley twins used to eye her now and then, but of course …” He had a nasty feeling that this line of inquiry was going to culminate in her adjuring him to go and ask awkward questions of any putative fathers—a process that struck him as likely being both pointless and dangerous.

“Why?” she demanded, cutting viciously into her stack of pancakes. “Why would she do it? Mama’s always been so kind to her!”

“One of two reasons,” Roger replied, and paused for a moment, closing his eyes, the better to savor the decadence of melted butter and velvet-smooth maple syrup on fresh, hot buckwheat. He swallowed, and reluctantly opened his eyes.

“Either the real father is someone she doesn’t want to marry—for whatever reason—or she’s decided to try to get hold of your father’s money or property, by getting him to settle a sum on her or, failing that, on the child.”

“Or both. I mean, she doesn’t want to marry whoever it is, and wants Da’s money—not that he has any.”

“Or both,” he agreed.

[…]

It wasn’t impossible.

The thought kept returning, to niggle Roger uncomfortably, like a pebble in his shoe. Jamie Fraser was an honorable man, he was deeply uxorious—and he had been in the depths of despair and exhaustion during Claire’s illness. Roger had feared for him nearly as much as for Claire; he’d gone hollow-eyed and grim-jawed through the hot, endless days of reeking death, not eating, not sleeping, held together by nothing more than will.

Roger had tried to speak to him then, of God and eternity, reconcile him with what seemed the inevitable, only to be repulsed with a hot-eyed fury at the mere idea that God might think to take his wife—this followed by complete despair as Claire lapsed into a stupor near death. It wasn’t impossible that the offer of a moment’s physical comfort, made in that void of desolation, had gone further than either party intended.

But it was early May now, and Malva Christie was six months gone with child. Which meant that she’d got that way in November. The crisis of Claire’s illness had been in late September; he remembered vividly the smell of burnt-over fields in the room when she’d wakened from what looked like certain death, her eyes huge and lambent, startlingly beautiful in a face like an androgynous angel’s.

Right, then, it frigging was impossible. No man was perfect, and any man might yield in extremis—once. But not repeatedly. And not Jamie Fraser. Malva Christie was a liar.

Feeling more settled in mind, Roger made his way down the creekside toward the Christies’ cabin.

Can’t you do something? Brianna had asked him, anguished. Damn little, he thought, but he had to try. It was Friday; he could—and would—preach an ear-blistering sermon on the evils of gossip, come Sunday. Knowing what he did of human nature, though, any benefit derived from that was likely to be short-lived.

Beyond that—well, Lodge meeting was Wednesday night. It had been going really well, and he hated to jeopardize the fragile amity of the newborn Lodge by risking unpleasantness at a meeting … but if there was a chance of it helping … would it be useful to encourage both Jamie and the two Christie men to attend? It would get the matter out in the open, and no matter how bad, open public knowledge was always better than the festering weed of whispered scandal. He thought Tom Christie would observe the proprieties and be civil, notwithstanding the delicacy of the situation—but he wasn’t all that sure of Allan. The son shared his father’s features and his sense of self-righteousness, but lacked Tom’s iron will and self-control.

But now he was at the cabin, which seemed deserted. He heard the sound of an ax, though, the slow klop! of kindling being split, and went round to the back.

It was Malva, who turned at his greeting, her face wary. There were lavender smudges beneath her eyes, he saw, and the bloom of her skin was clouded. Guilty conscience, he hoped, as he greeted her cordially.

“If ye’ve come to try to get me to take it back, I won’t,” she said flatly, ignoring his greeting.

“I came to ask if ye wanted someone to talk to,” he said. That surprised her; she set down the ax, and wiped her face with her apron.

“To talk to?” she said slowly, eyeing him. “What about?”

He shrugged and offered her a very slight smile.

“Anything ye like.” He let his accent relax, broadening toward her own Edinburgh tinge. “I doubt ye’ve been able to talk to anyone of late, save your Da and brother—and they might not be able to listen just the noo.”

A matching small smile flitted across her features, and disappeared.

“No, they don’t listen,” she said. “But it’s all right; I’ve naught much to say, ken? I’m a hoor; what else is there?”

“I dinna think ye’re a hoor,” Roger said quietly.

“Oh, ye don’t?” She rocked back a little on her heels, surveying him mockingly. “What else would ye call a woman that spreads her legs for a marrit man? Adulteress, of course—but hoor, as well, or so I’m told.”

He thought she meant to shock him with deliberate coarseness. She did, rather, but he kept it to himself.

“Mistaken, maybe. Jesus didna speak harshly to the woman who was a harlot; it’s no my business to be doing it to someone who isn’t.”

“And if ye’ve come to quote the Bible to me, save your breath to cool your parritch with,” she said, a look of distaste pulling down the delicate corners of her mouth. “I’ve heard a deal more of it than I care to.”

That, he reflected, was probably true. Tom Christie was the sort who knew a verse—or ten—for every occasion, and if he didn’t beat his daughter physically, had almost certainly been doing it verbally.

Not sure what to say next, he held out his hand.

“If ye’ll give me the hatchet, I’ll do the rest.”

One eyebrow raised, she put it into his hand and stepped back. He put up a chunk of kindling and split it clean in two, stooped for another. She watched for a moment, then sat down, slowly, on a smaller stump.

The mountain spring was still cool, touched with the last winter breath of the high snows, but the work warmed him. He didn’t by any means forget she was there, but he kept his eyes on the wood, the bright grain of the fresh-split stick, the tug of it as he pulled the ax blade free, and found his thoughts move back to his conversation with Bree.

So Frank Randall had been—perhaps—unfaithful to his wife, on occasion. In all justice, Roger wasn’t sure he could be blamed, knowing the circumstances of the case. Claire had disappeared completely, without trace, leaving Frank to hunt desperately, to mourn, and then, at last, to begin to put the pieces of his life back together and move on. Whereupon the missing wife pops back up, distraught, mistreated—and pregnant by another man.

Whereupon Frank Randall, whether from a sense of honor, of love, or simply of—what? curiosity?—had taken her back. He recalled Claire’s telling them the story, and it was clear that she hadn’t particularly wanted to be taken back. It must have been damned clear to Frank Randall, too.

Little wonder, then, if outrage and rejection had led him occasionally—and little wonder, too, that the echoes of the hidden conflicts between her parents had reached Brianna, like seismic disturbances that travel through miles of earth and stone, jolts from an upwelling of magma, miles deep beneath the crust.

And little wonder, he realized with a sense of revelation, that she’d been so upset by his friendship with Amy McCallum.

He realized, quite suddenly, that Malva Christie was crying. Silently, without covering her face. Tears ran down her cheeks and her shoulders quivered, but her lower lip was caught hard between her teeth; she made no sound.

He cast down the ax and went to her. Put an arm gently round her shoulders, and cradled her capped head, patting her.

“Hey,” he said softly. “Don’t worry, aye? It’s going to be all right.”

She shook her head, and the tears washed down her face.

“Can’t be,” she whispered. “Can’t be.”

Beneath his pity for her, Roger was aware of a sense of growing hope. Whatever reluctance he might have to exploit her desperation was well overcome by a determination to get to the bottom of her trouble. Mostly for the sake of Jamie and his family—but for her own, as well.

He mustn’t push too hard, though, mustn’t rush. She had to trust him.

So he patted her, rubbed her back as he did for Jem when he woke with nightmare, said small soothing things, all meaningless, and felt her begin to yield. Yield, but in a strangely physical fashion, as though her flesh were somehow opening, blossoming slowly under his touch. […]

TV show version

Some time after young Christie’s visit to Fraser’s Ridge, in the company of her father and brother, pregnant and with the aim of accusing Jamie of raping her and pushing him to take responsibility, it is Claire herself who goes to Malva to clarify what has happened. The dialogue we hear in the series literally corresponds to what is found in the book, with the simple swapping of characters. Undoubtedly, the fact that it is Claire’s choice to clarify with Malva is most natural and shows the maturity with which she deals with what has happened.

What do you think of this small but important difference between the series and the Outlander books and the confrontation between Malva and Claire? Let us know your opinion in the comments!

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Chiara

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1 COMMENT

  1. I LOVE that it was Claire who went to confront Malva. She went to her with such a compassionate heart and mindset, very motherly. And then Malva turned on Claire, and Claire didn’t waste a breath to set the record straight! I feel Claire going to Malva was much more powerful than Roger. (And it set that seed of doubt in Claire’s innocence for non-book readers)

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