Diana Gabaldon
Comments on Brianna



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Subject: Why is Bree Stupid?
Date: Wed, Mar 5, 1997 03:18 EST
From: DGabaldon

Message-id: <19970305081800.DAA19556@ladder01.news.aol.com>

Dear All--

Was zipping through one of the Book Central Outlander Group transcripts earlier, and was rather bemused to find several people insisting that Brianna is "stupid" or "a brat." I rather wondered exactly what--if you can tell me--makes you think that?

Someone mentioned that "she should have known what Bonnet was," as an example. Ummm....how? She met him for roughly thirty seconds, and there was nothing in his behavior to indicate that he was anything other than mildly flirtatious. No one told her anything about him; she has no reason to assume he's a bad guy--and yet she's cautious enough not to take him up on his offer to meet her later; instead she insists on meeting him in daylight, in (more or less) public.

Had Bonnet been an ordinary sort of captain, meeting him on his ship would have been perfectly safe; 18th century ship's captains customarily did business on their ships while in port (someone mentioned that Bree "should have been better prepared for the 18th century." What indicates that she wasn't prepared? She managed to find her way from the stones to Lallybroch without incident, and likewise to get to the Colonies in good shape--which is more than a good many inhabitants of the time could do. Had it not been for interference by a) Roger, and b) Bonnet (and remember that she tried to prevent Roger from following her), she would likely have gotten to Claire and Jamie without trouble. Anyway, she would have known that ship's captains did business normally from ships--and yes, it was perfectly appropriate--normally--for women to go aboard ships in that fashion.) It's only because Bonnet is who he is (and she has no way at all of knowing that, even though the reader does), and has the sort of hold over his crew that he does, that she's in danger.

Even if she had had cause to suspect Bonnet of anything--what should she have done, having found him with Claire's ring? She'd know her mother wouldn't give that up willingly. So what could have happened? She'd have to find out, no? And how else, other than by asking Bonnet?

Someone else mentioned her being "selfish," and "it's all about what she wants." I sort of don't quite see where you get that. Selfish? Going back through the stones to save her parents is selfish? Trying to keep Roger from suffering the passage through the stones is selfish? Accepting Lizzie as her servant to save her from "a fate worse than death" is selfish? Nursing Lizzie through malaria while dying to get on with her own quest is selfish? Keeping her baby--even though she thinks it's the product of rape, and knowing that keeping it condemns her to be stuck in the past more or less permanently--that's selfish?

Trying to arrange matters so that Roger won't feel an obligation to marry her is selfish? Trying to find forgiveness for both Bonnet and Jamie is selfish? Forcing Bonnet to rescue John Grey from the burning warehouse is selfish?

Goodness. So far as I can see, the only regard in which she pays the slightest attention to her own feelings is in insisting that she won't marry for the sake of anything but heart-felt love--not to give her child a name, not to take advantage of Roger's sense of honor--only for love. I hardly think that's extreme, in the circumstances.

But then, I could be biased. Still, I'd like to know just what makes those of you who have such a low opinion of her think that way.



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