This post is of a speculative nature, and I suggest reading this post about Voyager’s prologue first. Rereading Voyager – The Prologue
In Chapter 17, Claire expresses some concerns about short men. Her daughter Brianna is interacting with one of them. Apparently, she has warned her daughter to be cautious about them. Here are some of Claire’s notions about short men.
“They tend to turn mean if they don’t get their way,” Claire answered. “Like small yapping dogs. Cute and fluffy, but cross them and you’re likely to get a nasty nip in the ankle” (ch. 17).
. . . “tall men are almost always very sweet and gentle” (ch. 17).
Claire relates that tall men do not have to prove anything and are free to do whatever they like without anybody’s approval. She mentions that short men need confirmation to do something to prove themselves. Overall, short men lack the confidence that tall men have.
All these references about men got my attention the very first time I read Voyager. I even highlighted the text. There is a particular meaning behind those quotes. I tend to suspect they are references to Mr. Willoughby (most Asian men are not tall). My next role most likely is to connect those references to Mr. Willoughby’s actions.
The effects of time traveling are simply detrimental. Of interest is the description of the time passage as a monster, which brings to mind the prologue. According to Roger, something seems to tear the time traveler apart internally and externally. This description also matches the presence that could be associated with a time passage (similar to the entity at Abandawe). Claire mentions that the second time was worse than the first time. Was it because she did not travel the exact date of the Feast but two weeks earlier? Was the door “fully” open the second time around? Is a human sacrifice a warranty for survival? There is no real answer to these questions, but I tend to suspect that many of the “requirements” for a safe passage are variable among time travelers. Are some of them equipped with more “powers”? Roger and Brianna heard the stones when Gillian Edgars traveled to the past, and that he has nightmares about it. In later books, Roger’s son, Jemmy, also has bad dreams about traveling through time. The notion that both Brianna and Roger were able to hear the stones foreshadows the fact they will eventually travel to the past.
Claire also explains the theory why dinosaurs seen at Loch Ness are elusive. There must be a time passage deep in the lake, which justifies why dinosaurs are not always there (and hence hard to trace), and why different types are seen, not just one particular type. Claire muses about how suitable the lake is as a habitat.
. . . the water was darkly impenetrable. Seven hundred feet deep is Loch Ness, and bitter cold. What can live in a place like that? (ch. 17)
“Would you go down there, Roger?” she asked softly. “Jump overboard, dive in, go on down through that dark until your lungs were bursting, not knowing whether there are things with teeth and great heavy bodies waiting?”
Of course, Roger will go, especially if Brianna is there. Claire’s musings and questions establish the connection between the Prologue and Chapter 17. Of course, puddles are not deep and dark, but there is a reference to a scary scaly creature with sharp teeth, a monster, residing in the puddle. It is a perfect reference to a dinosaur but also to the entity at Abandawe. Claire’s description does not only refer to the time passage but the uncertainties and dangers of past centuries where one’s safety was a primary concern.
Thanks for reading!
Gabaldon, Diana. Voyager. 1994. New York: Bantam Dell. 2002. Print.