How does one survive the desert wasteland of Droughtlander? Each day brings September a bit closer, but it can’t come soon enough, if you ask me. Can patience be good or bad? Or is patience simply that, and manipulated by those who use it for their own purposes? I decided to look back and do a bit of exploring.
Claire is a great place to start. She needs to get back to the stones, back to Frank. She’s willing to wait the five days until the tinker’s arrival, but Colum rescinds his offer almost as quickly as he makes it. Claire doesn’t give up – she bides her time and takes matters into her own hands. She plays the part of healer at Castle Leoch while she systematically plans her escape. She puts emotion on the back burner and uses her intelligence (and military experience) to put her plan into motion. She uses a hunting game to leave ribbon breadcrumbs, gathers a supply of food, and plies Angus with “tampered” port, encouraging him to share it with all of his friends.
We know this plan fails, but Claire doesn’t give in or give up. She tries again and again, unwilling to accept defeat, eventually finding herself face-to-face with the stones. Her patience paid off, but it was probably the cheer heard ‘round the world when she returned to Jamie.
Dougal is also a patient man in his own, calculating way. He wants to be laird of Castle Leoch when Colum passes away, and Jamie is a threat. So he masterminds a plan not unlike the positioning of pieces on a chess board. He led me to believe he cared about Claire’s welfare when he stated that the only way to keep her out of Randall’s clutches was to marry her off to Jamie. “Why not marry her himself?” I wondered. Then I looked closer – Dougal had a plan. And patience. He watched Jamie fall in love with Claire, waited until a vulnerable moment presented itself, then stood back and watched his plan fall into place. The clan would never accept Jamie as laird after marrying a Sassenach.
Dougal’s plan to be laird of the MacKenzie clan includes Lallybroch, and he has the patience to spend years trying to make it happen. He begins by telling Jamie that Randall impregnated Jenny the day he visited Lallybroch (and Jamie was hauled away to Ft. William). The shame and guilt kept Jamie away for four years (to Dougal’s advantage). Fast forward to “The Search.” Jamie is in Wentworth Prison, sentenced to death. Claire will do anything to rescue Jamie, and Dougal uses Claire’s desperation to his advantage. If Jamie dies, Claire becomes the lady of Lallybroch. Dougal tells her she will need protection from Randall and the Redcoats – protection that will come from him as her husband, laird of Lallybroch, and head of the MacKenzie clan.
Now things get interesting. Initially, Claire rails against Dougal’s proposal because Jamie is still alive. Watch. She gets quiet and turns inward. You can see her patience rewarding her as she plans her next move. She tells Dougal that if Jamie is already dead, she will marry him. My theory is that if that happened, she’d find a way back to the stones and her own time. Of course, Dougal doesn’t know about any of that. He thinks his patience and persuasion turned Claire around to his way of thinking. He’s pretty sure Claire’s efforts to rescue Jamie will fail, so he can afford to be patient a bit longer and let events play out to his advantage. Sorry, Dougal, your patience didn’t pay off this time.
Dougal remained patient for years, positioning himself along the way to be master of his own grand plan. Claire worked for months trying to get back to the stones. I’m pretty sure I can make it to September.
Leo Tolstoy: The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.