Written by: Anne Hawkinson
A home is an anchor, a place you know will always be there, whether you’re at work for the day or halfway around the world. Jamie once said, “Home is the place, where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” But he and Claire come from very different backgrounds, and their unbreakable relationship begs the question – what if your home becomes a person, rather than a place?
Jamie’s ancestral home is Lallybroch. He was born and spent much of his formative life there, with family, friends, and relatives. His life is grounded in that physical place that he knows exists, can picture in his mind, and holds a special place in his heart.
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When Jamie grows to adulthood, with his older brother and father dead, he becomes laird of Lallybroch. Unprepared as he is for running an estate, he finds his way, bolstered by his love of home, family, and tradition. His father built Lallybroch – his blood and sweat are in the very stones, and he pays quiet homage to his father by wearing his coat on the day set aside to collect the rents. His love of Lallybroch shines through and the tenants accept him with the same love and respect that was afforded Jamie’s father, Brian.
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Claire’s sense of home is quite different. Her parents were killed when she was a young girl, and she’s spent a nomadic life with her archaeologist uncle, Lambert. She doesn’t have that singular tie to a physical place as Jamie does, that place you know exists and you can go to, that anchor to keep you steady when the world around you is in turmoil. She and Frank have a short time together after their marriage, so any home they established would have been temporary, at best. As a combat nurse, perhaps the military became her home, with friends and comrades filling in for family. But a temporary home it was – after her discharge, she and Frank travel to Inverness to start their lives again before making another move to Oxford.
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When Claire travels through the stones, she and Jamie are both displaced from any home either of them has ever known. Claire is two hundred years in the past, and Jamie is a wanted man. Claire has not only lost whatever home she had, she’s also lost her century. Jamie cannot return to Lallybroch without endangering his family and the tenants of the estate. Castle Leoch is Jamie’s temporary home, but he lives on the fringes, aware of the repercussions his presence could bring to Colum (its laird), if he is discovered, and the ever-present sense of vigilance he needs to surround himself with in order to remain undetected. Fate brings Claire and Jamie together and after a rough patch in their new marriage, they re-connect. In a moment that brought me to tears, Jamie vows to Claire, “you are my home now.” This is huge.
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So, home is no longer a physical place, but a person – the love of your life, the one to which you surrender your heart and soul. It’s an amazing transition because it brings a whole new sense of commitment and dedication to Claire and Jamie’s marriage. It no longer matters where they are or where end up – it just matters most that they are together. The two of them have become a home.
Claire witnesses this jarring reality in the season two finale when she visits Lallybroch 20 (and 200!) years later. It is locked, shuttered and in disrepair. Memories of happier times play in her head as she sits on the steps. Of course, she mourns what Lallybroch has become, but it’s the people and her participation in their lives that she truly mourns.
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Claire visits places that tug at her heart, like Lallybroch and Culloden Moor. But it’s not the buildings or the bogs she’s drawn to; it’s the connection with Jamie that pulls her there. The physical locations are a means to an end. It’s Jamie she’s looking for – her home. They spoke of it before Jamie brought Claire to Craigh Na Dun. “You are my home,” she told him, protesting his decision to send her back through the stones, and echoing his earlier sentiments back to him. “And you are mine,” he answered, “but this home is lost.” If you’ve seen the finale, you know that Jamie survived Culloden, and Claire intends to go back through the stones to find him. He is her home, wherever, whenever.
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What is home to you – the people or the places?
And more obvious, but please share anyway – how anxious are you for these two to find their way back home?