My name is Denise Sevier-Fries (nee Buchy). Parca is the Roman Goddess of Childbirth and Destiny and after you get to know me, you will see why I believe she has, without doubt, made me her Poster Child. Come here for some serious issues, but mainly just some cheeky fun; satire with the odd parody tossed in, and a generous helping of hyperbole, with a dollop of facetiousness.

I am Canadian so expect a bit of politeness too. Sorry.


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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

DEFENDING FRANK: Outlander's Jamie & Frank...Two Sides of the Same Coin?

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

I have gathered you here in this Virtual Outlander Courtroom of Opinion to present my case of Intermixed Identity as it relates to one James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Frazer and one Franklin Wolverton Randall, and also, to untie the unfair knot of perceived multiple character flaws of the latter that is succeeding, thus far, in damaging his public persona.  
*I am admin to the largest and BEST Outlander facebook group 'Outlander Series' and out of the present 76,000 members, the Team Frank squad could fit in Roger's Mini Cooper...with room for luggage. And a dog.

Indeed, it has been the persistent condemnation and nastiness towards Frank that has inspired theses proceedings.
I put it to you, fellow Outlanderonianiters *wink*, that Claire Beauchamp Randall fell in love with Jamie Fraser so quickly and easily for one simple reason: Jamie is the embodiment of Frank. Frank Randall…her first love and first husband.

Furthermore, I will show that the widely disliked and thus far easily dismissed Frank Randall may well be the story’s biggest surprise and is the best loved character in the making. 

                            *okay, that may be over-reaching a bit but I DO think he is going to be greatly vindicated someday 

This vision may seem as clear as mud to you right now, but hear me out. And put that pitchfork down. They aren’t allowed in the courtroom.*suddenly I feel a wee bit nervous

My Opening Argument:
Claire fell in love, got married and had, from what we can see from their honeymoon*, some damn fine sex in a lovely, and for all intents and purposes, happy marriage. 

*I understand completely that TVFrank is portrayed quite differently from BookFrank (like many, I read all the books right out of the starting gate a hundred years ago) but for the sake of convenience, I will refer to Frank here as just ‘Frank’ with the understanding that he is both Book and TV Frank rolled together. This may be unfair to those who have not seen the show *shrug* so this will be them, reading this blog:

So I suggest they binge watch Season One and them come back. (NOTE: Buy Visine, lots of wine and Kleenex). Don’t worry…I’ll wait. *
starts whistling and knitting a kilt* For those of you who know the show…let’s continue.
As I was saying, Claire loved Frank very much and he was obviously mad about her, so when she was thrown at a man in another era who was so like her husband, she latched onto him and never took off the two wedding rings that reminded her of her two loves…so very similar despite the time and distance separating them. Claire was not a simpleton who didn’t know her own mind, nor was she some slutmuffin who slept around with just any kind of man, regardless of their character. She admired specific things in men and found it all in the two men she loved.
I know this is fangerous territory (fan+dangerous= fangerous) as 99% of Outlander fans adore Jamie and dislike Frank, but I say to you now, as God is my witness, both men are near identical! *if you say that in your best Charlton Heston as MOSES 'Let me people go!' voice, it is more impressive.

I give you the ‘obvious-to-me’, undisputed facts of my case:

Common Traits and Similarities between Jamie and Frank:

1.       Warriors: Jamie is a fighter and a Laird, a leader of his people but is a learned man with no desire to be a professional soldier. He wants to farm and lord over his land. Frank was fighter, a soldier and a leader too, in a high capacity as a MI6 operative in the War Department (we are talking 007 shit here folks), but did not want it as a career either. He wanted to be a professor in a university and lord over his books.

2.       No strangers to war and war games…and the maddening politics of war. They knew their politics.

3.       Well-read and highly intelligent.

4.       Attractive to Claire.

5.       Deeply attracted TO Claire and madly in love with her.

6.       Kind-hearted and thoughtful (Frank reminds Claire to take her sweater when it’s cold outside and Jamie gives Claire his tartan as a cloak as they ride out in the rain for two early examples)

7.       Eager and willing lovers who seem to quiet enjoy The Snack Bar Downtown, luckily for Claire who’s shop is always open for business, morning, noon and night.

8.       Communicative. Both men speak with Claire about their interests and include her in their passions/hobbies/interests: they are friends as well as lovers

9.       Responsible for many lives. Jamie, for his family, and for his farmers and their families; Frank for his agents and the people they helped/killed, and in turn all those families affected.

10.   Claire knows she can count on them to take care of her when needed. They are both manly men. *and would rock an Old Spice aftershave commercial, no doubt.

11.   Claire hesitated a little when Frank spontaneously asked her to marry him before the war and she balked like mad when Jamie did. Not perfect starts to either marriage.

12.   Infidelity: both men slept with other women while married to Claire. Frank (allegedly) with students and whoever…when Claire rejected his love when she returned from the Stones (if true, you can’t blame the guy…gotta get your nourishment somewhere when The Snack Bar is closed!) and Jamie get’s his off with a little Cave Sex and then impregnates Geneva, a teen-aged, blackmailing little snip, and then later, he actually marries LegHair (Laoghaire) and has a sex life again, albeit an unsatisfying one. SO,  they both are indeed adulterers (in the eyes of most readers) and do the Posturepedic Polka whilst dreaming of Claire’s face on any woman they are pounding away at…which makes their deeds less damning, but still sad, and against their vows. *please note that Diana has said that Frank did not cheat on Claire during the war (see her defense of Frank here), and he only brought it up to give her an easy out and let her know he would have forgiven her had she slipped. Too many people refuse to acknowledge that and it drives me fucking bonkers! So please, just STOP IT already! GAWD!

13.   Wonderful fathers. Both men are brilliant daddies who love their daughter dearly, even though ‘boys were preferred’ in those days and more valued. Both men were incredibly loving to children not biologically theirs, and adopted them in their hearts and souls, doing whatever they could to make their lives and futures as safe and happy as they could. Both wanted to be good fathers, and were.

14.   They were feminists. In a time, both eras actually, when women were expected to shut up, do their duties in the bedroom and kitchen and have no semblance of autonomy, each man respected women and believed they should be treated as equals. Jamie supported Claire in her ‘outrageous’ behavior and allowed her to be herself, and Frank supported Claire in her goals for higher education and her dream of becoming a doctor… and allowed her to be herself.

15. Sensitive. Big-hearted men who are not afraid to cry (Jamie at several points in the story and Frank when his heart cries out for Claire at the Stones) but interestingly enough, they both have a thin streak of insensitivity in their make-up that only rears its ugly head one time each: Frank, when he was mad at Claire for spilling tea at Reverend Wakefield's home, even though she burned herself...and Jamie, when Geneva, a mean little shit of a girl, but a wee girl nonetheless, cried out for him to stop penetrating her and taking her virginity, but he does so anyway and does it with anger. 

16.   Deadly when angered.

17.   Relentless and tenacious. When faced with Claire in danger, the pain suffered by each man (Jamie when Claire was kidnapped {all 57,000 times} , and Frank when she was lost in the Stones) drove them to the brink of madness and they were desperate and ruined by the thought of having lost her for good. They kept searching when all others would have stopped.

18.   Open-minded. New ideas challenged them, and did not scare them.

19.   Brave. Jamie faced death more than once with his head held high and Frank took on 2 men at once without a blink of an eye. We have yet to learn how he fought in the war, but assume it was with Jamie’s kind of intensity, since they both survived and displayed an inherent ferociousness.

20.   Disdain for poorly held authority. Jamie had little respect for the British laws and Frank had little respect for the police who handled Claire’s Missing Person case, but a deep respect and loyalty to proper authority. Jamie was loyal to his Chieftain and country and Frank was loyal to his country and his superiors.

21.   Unafraid. Both men have courage and great strength of character. Fearless when they needed to be, despite their very real vulnerabilities deep down inside.
** I must add a #22 as a thoughtful member of OS pointed out one more similarity that I agree is important: "Beth Trogdon Allen: The other missing point is that both men entrusted the women that they loved to the other under the presumption that they would be cared for and protected. Jamie sent Claire to Frank so he could take care of her and raise his child... and Frank did. Frank, in his letter to the Reverend in DOA and his letter to Bree in MOBY presumed that 1)Claire would go back to Jamie if she knew he was alive - hence the fake grave and 2) Bree would be safe with Jamie in the past so he prepared her for a life in the 1700s. Both men were correct. So, if Jamie could trust his wife and daughter with Frank, I don't understand all the Frank hate. Frank was obviously an honorable man who loved Claire (and she him) and Bree very much."
Well said Beth!

     Mind blowing, right? 

Team Frank reactions:

   Team Jamie reactions:

Team Undecided's reaction:

These 22 points show how very much alike Jamie and Frank are. But you can count the drastic differences they had on the foot of a Three Toed Sloth:
1.       One was older, and one was younger, than Claire.

2.       Jamie was a very tall, imposingly large, tanned farmer who was raised and built for outdoor life while Frank was tall and slim, athletically built, but with the intellectual paleness of those who lived indoors in libraries and rooms of reading and teaching.

3.       Jamie was a naive 23 year old virgin who thought horses and people had sex the same way (which leads us to believe that nobody had sex in Scotland and France in the 1700’s unless it was behind closed doors and very secretive, and "a treatise on pleasure" a.k.a. the Kama Sutra, was not yet available in paperback). Frank, on the other hand, was an experienced, skillful lover who could lick the sweat off of a Peach Daiquiri from 2 feet, and apparently had a kinky bend as he delighted in the lack of female underwear in his wife’s wardrobe. One would imagine he was up for anything…so to speak, from Day One, at the drop of a skirt...I mean, hat.

Before I summarize my case, I must point out a few important details:

There is a number #23 in this list of known similarities but needed to be addressed here as it is speculative:  

#23- Both men suffered at the hands of their enemies and lived through a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Jamie’s was induced at the cruel hands of Black Jack Randall, and Frank’s was acquired in the war. And he may still suffer from it. We know very little of Frank’s wartime exploits and experiences save that he said at one point, that he held the fates and lives of too many men in his hands and most didn’t come back from the assignments he had to give them. Being a sensitive man, he felt the responsibility and guilt deeply. He may have even had to bloody his hands himself in attempts to rescue his agents and failed. Making decisions to leave men behind or allowing them to be sacrificed for the greater good can be just as debilitating as killing someone face to face. And how many faces did he have to sacrifice for the sake of King and country?

It would explain a lot.
The clinical definition of PTSD is such: “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. ”

Perhaps we will see some of these flashbacks and triggering events that might explain Frank’s sometimes cold, standoffish behavior in the books (not a trait of his in the show, however). Feeling emotionally numb (seeming indifferent or uncaring), avoiding talking about the trauma and difficulty maintaining relationships are also symptoms of PTSD that BookFrank displays and results in many readers not liking him, or judging him as an uncaring asshole. TVFrank is not this man…and I can only surmise that in knowing how Frank is seen in future books, the producers of Starz Outlander wanted to skip the lengthy arc of character development that would take more time than allotted to show his progression, and made TVFrank approachable and likable right away. In the show we are sympathetic to Franks’s feelings and his character is loyal to a fault and one (read: me) cannot help but fall in love with such a passionate, loving and loyal man.

I believe Frank is destined to be the story’s ultimate Tragic Hero that will be the Snape of these books, and show himself a decent, self-sacrificing man whose selfless deeds left him as scarred in the inside as Jamie’s back is on the outside. A man who we end up loving and admiring, clutching our hands to our chests in anguish as we ache for his battered, heartbreaking life. We, like Claire, may very well end up loving both Frank and Jamie, or ‘Framie’, as she probably thinks of them.

However, if the veering off of Frank’s Book Character on the show is simply a decision made for self-satisfying purposes of the producer, a direction he is simply more attracted to…then so be it. It is a separate story from the books and I have finally come to terms with that and thanks to a LONG flight and HOURS of Outlander Starz in my face (see that story here: Confessions of An Aging Traveler) I can enjoy it for the adaptation it is and choose to let it entertain me. And it does.
*For those 'Book Purists' as they arrogantly call themselves, who feel I am being ‘disloyal to the books' (like I took an Outlander Blood Oath at Chapters *snort*) and who stalk/abuse me all over the net for not using my ‘influence’ to trash Starz for their portrayal…well, let me quote the wise philosopher Roseanne Barr who once said to a heckler, “Suck my dick”. Well said, Madame. Well said indeed. 

There it is then. If I have not convinced you of the certainty of these Truths, then I have only 5 words for you:


Seriously though, if Diana proves me wrong and has an entirely different story for Frank in the books, or no story at all and allows him to fade into the sunset…then again, so be it. I love Diana Gabaldon for the iconic storyteller she is and admire her choices whatever they are. Outlander is her baby and whatever she says, goes. I like my take on things and will internalize them as an ‘adapted’ side-story regardless of what she writes…and that’s okay, because we all read and interpret books as we like…and we daydream of the characters sometimes, as we are meant to, and THAT is the beauty of reading.

I hereby rest my case.

Thank you.

 *oh, and JUST so you know, I am a qualified high-profile lawyer and here are my credentials: I have a law degree from the back of a cereal box that I filled out with a purple crayon and framed it for my den, and I tell anyone with ears that I graduated from The University of Gall and Hubris (U of UGH!), majoring in The Study of Snark in Medieval Literature and Devil’s Advocacy 101. I can be hired to sort out your legal issues if you call me at 1-800-NEED-NED. Please be aware that I do NOT accept bribes on Wednesdays...

The Chart: click to enlarge