An Alpha Contest without Jamie Fraser? Not For Us!


Where (most of) our favorite alphas
meet—both the guys and the gals!
The annual Alpha Showdown has been going on over at the Vampire Book Club, and we’ve been agonizing over some of the choices we’ve been asked to make on the ballots. It’s always so difficult to choose between book boy (and girl) friends, and so unfair that we should even be asked to. Isn’t life hard enough? Can’t we just say they all win?

The other problem with this showdown is that Jamie Fraser isn’t a contestant. Seriously—in an alpha contest—the lethal, charismatic, and ruggedly handsome hero of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series doesn’t qualify?!?!? According to a quick Google search, an alpha is, just to get started: courageous, strong, persistent, a good protector, funny, humble, well educated, generous, loyal, respects the opposite sex, leads through example, lives by his or her principals, and is motivated by strong purpose (here’s the complete list). And I can think of no better personification of these qualifications than James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser.

So we’ve been pondering why Jamie Fraser was left off the otherwise stellar list of contestants. To me, he has got everything, seriously Every Single Thing, that Bones (Night Huntress) has...except he’s not an immortal vampire. He’s got a lot of what Jericho Barrons has, except that immortality thing again, though he’s infinitely more polite and doesn’t turn into a beast (all pluses for me, if I’m completely honest, though I won’t admit it while rereading Fever). He’s got a lot of what Ethan Sullivan (Chicagoland Vampires) has...excepting immortality. When I met Ethan, I thought of him as “Jamie Lite,” because Jamie had already figured out all that romance and humility that Ethan was learning. Reyes Farrow (Charley Davidson) has got me all sorts of intrigued right now, but I don’t know him well enough yet, and so far he has nothing on Jamie Fraser...except, you know, immortality.

Who could resist that come-hither look?
In the midst of our hand wringing about whom to vote for and whether we’d be technically unfaithful to Jamie if he wasn’t on the ballot, we found a fabulous blog post called He is a man and that is no small thing! This gave the Jamie-loving Wenches a chance to gush about our favorite alpha right along with all the other estimable candidates.

We had so much fun talking about the often underrated quality of being a Man—not a supe, just a real man—that we wanted to share. We hope you will enjoy our conversation and barely even notice that this is kind of a lazy way to write a post... (Real life is seriously interfering with our time to write Outlander posts, especially since we’re also rereading all the books in the series!) Then we hope you’ll let us know whether you agree that Jamie Fraser is a true alpha who can hold his own amongst the best of the best!

So click through to read a little fangirling by the Wench Outlanderholics about our favorite human alpha male, Jamie Fraser, King of Men. We’ll even add some of our favorite pictures of Sam Heughan as Jamie in the upcoming Starz TV series scheduled for August in the U.S. (Which we must say CANNOT come soon enough to suit any of us!!)



Monica shares Outlander Italy’s fan art with us!
It’s always a treat to chat with other Outlanderholics online. Since we live in vastly different time zones, it’s hard for everyone to join in. Here we managed to get comments from both old and new fans: Wench Merit, a fan of many years, Wench Kathi, a more recent convert who just finished reading the entire series for the second time, and Wenches Angela and Beta, who are currently reading the later books in the series for the first time. We were joined by a couple of guest Wenches in various stages of conversion: new diehard fan Diane, who squees with us regularly over every new reason she loves the books, and seasoned fan Monica, who feeds our addiction with a steady stream of news and eye candy from the TV show. And last but perhaps most interestingly, there was one fan who wishes to remain anonymous. She was brave and honest enough to join our discussion, but is a bit reluctant to face the hardcore zeal of Jamie’s huge fanbase that is currently verra restless for more Outlander. We’ll call her the Outlander Holdout.


Could we convince the Outlander Holdout to finish the books? Could we all agree that Jamie belongs in an alpha contest? Here’s what we had to say after reading the excellent blog post about Jamie:

Diane: OMG! All those reasons and more! All of those [things he did] were to either keep Claire safe or make her happy. He put her before himself every single time. He is so many things, and he is a man through and through!
Be careful! And stay away from Geillis Duncan...
I dinna want ye anywhere near her, Sassenach.
OH: I’m a little surprised the infamous spanking is on this list haha.

Diane: Haha I was too, oh the controversy! Lol

Merit: This is so good. And I think he is more Alpha than the others because he is human, has no superpowers or paranormal magic. But he enchants us anyway.

Diane: ^THIS! SO THIS!^

OH: I guess it’s just a matter of taste. He’s a sweet guy, but he doesn’t really rev my engine much. I mean, he’s dreamy. But nothing about him stands out to me, I guess? I will say since Sam was cast, I have been EXTRA in love with the idea of Jamie lol. I heart Sam.

Kathi: OH, yesterday you mentioned that Jamie didn’t do much for you, and maybe that was because you’d only read one book...

On one hand, I don’t think you can really know Jamie based on one book, at least not why we babble on and on about him. I fell in love with him in that book, but over the years I have watched him become so much more. To me, lots of that stuff I love in other books is here in one series. Those gut-wrenching feels from Megan Hart, those incredibly romantic moments from Night Huntress, bravery and badassness from any number of our faves. Over the course of the books, we see Jamie do many, many of the most endearing, painful, brave, and tender things. We feel him go through them, we help him go through them. And that makes him who he is.

On the other hand, he is a man. He’s not a fantasy, and you’ve said you like fantasy. (Well, a man with Jamie’s level of “emotional literacy” might seem a bit of a fantasy to some, but that’s a different discussion.) Plus he exhibited all these characteristics in book 1, he was just young, like white zinfandel instead of aged cabernet savignon. It’s not like he became someone different in later books, just someone more. Someone whose patience, sacrifice, endurance, and integrity molded him into a beautiful work of art—but not someone essentially different. So if he didn’t flip your switch in book 1 enough to keep reading, and our endless fangirling hasn’t convinced you, maybe it isn’t worth slogging through the rest of the books to know him better. Then I don’t have to share him with yet another woman (!), and you still get to enjoy Sam’s portrayal of him.
Like this!
Looking back, I wouldn’t say I knew Ethan Sullivan after reading only the first book. But I did figure out enough about him to know I wanted to keep reading. Jamie’s like that for me, just in a whole lot more detail. We see his essential nature, more or less, in the beginning and then he learns lessons and improves upon the original. But if the author can’t grab you by the end of the first book, why not go on to one who can? I never got past book 1 of Kate Daniels’s series, and somehow my life goes on. I do love to read about why others like her, but something was definitely missing for me that kept me from getting emotionally attached to her.

I am kind of embarrassed to be such a one-note horn lately, but not enough to stop. A new book plus a TV show are just too much for me to keep quiet about. I’m just glad there are a few others here who are similarly obsessed, and I hope those who aren’t don’t get too annoyed. I look forward to future fangirling about some of the new guys in the alpha showdown I haven’t met yet. Because one day I really will be able to read some other books than Outlander. Maybe.

But in the meantime…Jamie, sigh. :-)

Diane: I have to agree with Kathi, Jamie’s growth and experiences are what made him THE man. What happened to him should have broken him and would have broken any other man (and almost did break him), but Claire knew what kind of man he was and would not let his spirit be broken. He is soft, hard, cold, menacing, cruel, proud, killer, and a man who would put not only his cloak over a puddle—but his body also—for his woman to walk over. Chivalry is not dead with his man. He dominates with his presence alone, without even speaking a word, and he is feared and respected. If that is not an Alpha male, I don’t know what is. He’s not a vampire, shifter, fae, or daemon. He is simply a human male doing what he has to do to survive; he is not a supernatural being who has no reason to fear dying quite simply because it cannot happen. Death can come so easily to Jamie, but yet he has no fear of it.

With that being said, I love my PNR men as well, but there is a debate to be had on what constitutes an Alpha. Jamie is no supernatural, but he can wield a mean sword with the best of them.

Sighing right along with Kathi!

He can also wield a verra braw pitchfork!
Kathi: Oooh, that’s something I love about the later books, Diane. He dominates with his presence. He is such a calming, unifying, or frightening force, depending on the occasion, just by standing there. Or being in the general vicinity. Even though he’s just a man. And, as we get reminded all along, very mortal, and life is fleeting and unpredictable.

Diane: Exactly! In the beginning of The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5), you can tell how much he is respected and feared, but at the same time, his mere presence is calming to all he knows. No one wants a piece of Jamie or wants to cross him. Pretty damn good and impressive for a mere mortal who does not possess supernatural powers. Lord, I sound obsessed! LOL

Kathi: Well, some of them do want a piece of him, but you’ll see that in the next book. The smart ones don’t want a piece of him!

OH: I think that might be my problem.. he’s just so perfect lol. I’m not being sarcastic. But even every apparent “flaw” of his eventually just demonstrates how perfect, noble, and irresistible he is, you know? Which is NOT a bad thing at all. But I like a lot of my characters genuinely flawed.. like something you can’t really do anything about, but you love them anyway. Terrible (from Downside Ghosts) is so very human too.. but FAR from perfect. (Well... supposed to be... I still think he’s perfect.) It’s those nicks and dents in the very fabric of these characters’ souls that make me feel for them and want to read more about them. Dark and twisted parts of their souls that have no redemption. No silver lining. In fact, Ethan might be the only exception to my perfection-is-boring rule, but possibly because he started off FAR from perfect and we slogged our way there with him lol. And because I think we SEE him as perfect along with Merit NOW. Even though he might not be. We know pride is his weakness, for starters.
There’s a problem with perfection?!?
That being said, the one-book rule never works in my experience. I always read at least the first two before I form judgments. The first Chicagoland Vampires book was okay, it laid all the groundwork, and there was a bit that kept me going until I was hooked. Fever was only okay for me until the very last couple of chapters of Darkfever, when I got hooked. So on and so forth. Which is why I can’t say what it is about the Outlander series that never made me pick up the second book (which I read half of) again. I will definitely be enjoying the TV series though, so you’ll have to put up with my completely off, non-book-fan commentary. :-) Mainly because Sam has already got me fangirling HARD over his version of Jamie.

Diane: I will be okay with that, OH! I bet you go back to the book series after you start the show! Jamie is flawed and majorly so, but it is how he handles situations that make him so special. I guess you would have to read more about him in later books to get what we mean. He is hard to explain, really.

Monica: Jamie Fraser: The King of Men. I mean, I read A LOT. I have fallen for many characters, and they are usually the typical and stereotyped alpha male (and nothing wrong with that!), but no one, and I mean no one, is like Jamie. And the thing is, he may seem perfect or too sweet, but he’s real, he comes from a real time, and he lives in a real contest. Jamie Fraser has his own category, and I’ve never loved any other fictional character like him. The closest to Jamie’s personality is Bones from Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress, and that’s because Jeaniene loves Diana and the Outlander series. Eight books of an epic journey. Besides, the Outlander series is more than Jamie & Claire’s story. They’re almost 60 years old in the last [most recent] book. Many readers have had difficulties with this series because they mistakenly think it is a romance and they expect more sex, more sweet-talk moments, and all that kind of stuff you usually read in a typical romance. But that isn’t Outlander. It’s....it’s...idk...more than that. I’m very jealous and possessive of this series, but at the same time I hope that, with the upcoming TV series, many more fans will fall in love with this epic book series. Also...the spanking scene....bring it on, baby! I’m dying to see Sam & Cait in that scene! And the wedding. And the first night after the wedding. And...okay, I’ll shut up! LOL

Angela: Interesting, OH. See, I think Jamie is flawed. The more you get to know him and experience some of the agonizing decisions he has had to make, you realise he’s not so perfect. Imagine knowing the future and also knowing that you have failed to change it. Imagine realising that you can’t change it. Part of the essence of the series for me is that Jamie is a survivor. He has had horrible, horrible things done to him and still he lives. Of course he has to, but it just makes him endeared to me. There is one scene too in A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #6) that shows that Jamie is also a killer. When you see these darker sides of his personality, to me he isn’t perfect. I like that he feels more realistic to me. I never got into Chicagoland Vampires, because I don’t like my characters so glossy. That’s how I found Ethan, and I read the first three books. Isn’t it funny how we read the same things, yet our perspectives can be so different?! I also like that Jamie doesn’t have a super power, but man, can he fight.

Diane: Oh, hell yeah, he can fight! I found him to be very flawed as well. Between bootlegging and basically treason, in a manner of speaking. Realistic is a great way to describe him, he is a real man! After all he endured, you have a soft spot for him, and it kind of blinds you to how ruthless he can be, or rather makes you understand him better. Claire gets him, and so do I.

OH: Angela, I think you’re the first person to tell me Jamie changes the more you get to know him! Which actually inspires one to read on. Hehe. And the human/non-supernatural thing has nothing to do with it, since Terrible is one of my absolute faves (and a plain ol’ human guy) and uses his fists in all his fighting in a very human way. That doesn’t bother me at all. Like I said, I like Jamie. I am just not completely in flove with him like the rest of you are. Plus the paragraphs and paragraphs of his virtues and “flaws” I’ve come across are a wee bit repetitive lol. Might have gotten my fill from those. :-P Although, I will add, Jamie was my favorite thing about the books. Claire...not so much.

I am definitely looking forward to the TV series, though. And like Diane said, I’ll probably be inspired to keep reading after I get a taste of it on screen!
I know where I’ll be...
Angela: That’s good to know. It’s hard to explain him to you, because I think books 4 and 6 were my favourites. Kathi was my wingman, as I couldn’t have read through Dragonfly in Amber or The Fiery Cross without her (Kathi, I’m serious btw). But on reflection, the direction of those two books that I found the hardest to read does make sense in the long run.

Kathi: I’m so glad you think it was worth not giving up on these books, Angela! You’re why I wrote A Tribute to The Fiery Cross. Trying to come up with reasons why you needed to keep reading helped me enjoy my reread of that book so much more than my first read, so thank YOU!

Diane: I am still having a hard time with The Fiery Cross, but once I get through the longest day in history I think all will be well! So I have been told. My mum is on Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) right now, so I’d better get going on it or we will be on the same book at the same time—but that might not be a bad thing.

Kathi: Jamie has screwed up big time, he is definitely flawed. But he learns from his mistakes, and he definitely owns them and tries to make amends. He is such an interesting mix of ruthless killer and deeply caring lover, parent, grandparent, friend, laird. I love how in sync he and Claire become over the years. When they encounter a threat, they know how to read each other’s signals and work as a team, yet he is ever mindful that he kills to protect the vow she made as a physician. The way he protects her is a-maze-ing to me, and more so over the years, in ways I’d have never predicted. Anyway...I felt kind of the same about Ethan, Angela. I do like Chicagoland Vampires very much, and I do read all the books, but the detail is missing for me. I don’t know the characters like I know Claire and Jamie. The story is “painted with broader brush strokes,” but I do see lots of similarities in Ethan and Jamie.

Given that Jamie was in his mid 20s in Dragonfly in Amber, I do think he changes immensely after that. But still, he’s Jamie to me. And I don’t see him becoming anything I didn’t see the seeds of back in his early years. (And yet I don’t think either Jamie or Claire would have become all that they became without each other.) But thank heavens he got better at formulating winnable strategies before jumping into the middle of things! I think older Jamie’s hard-won wisdom is incredibly sexy.
Younger Jamie isn’t bad either...
Kathi: Diane, just remember that Claire and Jamie don’t get much time to relax and enjoy themselves in this series. Other than their idyll at Lallybroch in Outlander, The Fiery Cross is kind of it. That makes The Fiery Cross less exciting—and therefore slower—to read, but there’s also a lot to enjoy. So just think of it that way! They all get to be together and be a family for a while. BTW, there’s another verra long day too. <g> Good luck! When that book’s over, the shit hits the fan pretty fast...if that helps inspire you to read faster. ;-)

Angela: ^That^ does it ever. Diane, book 6 is really, really good. It has so many WTF moments: angst, drama, and a few reveals that are surprising.

Diane: Thanks, ladies, I am in it for the long haul. I like the details we get about the characters. Some characters are so secretive it is like pulling teeth to know something about them. I will look at The Fiery Cross like they are getting some relaxing moments.

Beta: Oh man, I missed out on such an amazing conversation! I’ve been nodding my head in agreement as I read the reasons for why Jamie is Alpha all the way. I think Google must’ve read the Outlander series and based the description of an Alpha on that...and the other three gentlemen on my Top Four list. I have to say that I agree with OH about being surprised that the infamous spanking made the list. Don’t get me wrong, even though I hated it, I understood why he did it, considering the times (and so did Claire, afterwards). But I can’t say that I would’ve used that scene as an example of what makes a man, a man. But I imagine that not many men in those days would’ve promised not to spank her ever again, let alone to keep that promise.

One of the things that makes Jamie so perfect is that he’s not perfect; he grows and he learns from his mistakes and learns by paying attention to the people around him. He also goes with his gut feeling no matter what other people say, and his gut feeling is often wise. Among other things, he’s an honorable and a loyal man, especially to the people he loves, and especially to the woman he loves and respects.

Anyway, I agree with so many things that have been said here, but whether we think he’s Alpha Showdown material or not, I’m not so sure Jamie would want to be a contestant. He has nothing to prove to anyone. As long as he gets to be Claire’s man, he’s the happiest.
“But here,” he said, so softly I could barely hear him, “here in the dark, with you…I have no name.”
~ Voyager

Kathi: Merit commented last night that this thread might make a good blog post, and we’ve been worrying that we didn’t have time to write blog posts, so hmmmm. In the meantime, squeeeee! Here’s a nice new photo of Cait and Sam that Monica shared!! Especially nice of Sam. (Cait still looks a little miffed about being stuck in the past, ha ha.) Yum. That right there is alpha extraordinaire Jamie Fraser for me!
Not sure we’re gonna survive the anticipation until August...

So what do you think, Saucy Outlanderholics? Do you think Jamie Fraser is the King of Men Alphas? Or at least high on the list? Can he hold his own against the likes of Barrons, Bones, Ethan, Kate Daniels, and Reyes Farrow in your heart?

Comments

  1. I just love this whole post. It was a great conversation.

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  2. Epic post! Thank you for including me girls! I'm SO looking forward to august 9 (and June 10 for MOBY). Jamie Fraser has my heart and I don't need it back! :)

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  3. He's the King! No one else!

    charlene
    gmgypsiesf1@aol.com

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  4. Oh, this conversation as aces! I remember every bit of it (and the others since then) and love the book talks we have. I think it would be worth seeing if 'Our Jamie' was up against the likes of those Alphas, him being just a man with no supernatural powers at all!

    Can we make it happen for next years showdown? I am down! By the way, congrats on your champion, Reyes winning the Alpha Showdown!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!! Though I still can't vote between Reyes and Barrons... :-/

      Looking forward to many more Outlander talks! So much good stuff coming up!

      Delete

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