- Confidence – One of the first things one might notice about Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser is her confidence in herself. She’s an educated woman who worked on the front lines during World War II so she had to be confident in her skills in order to survive in such an environment.
- Ability to adapt – With that confidence seems to come the ability to adapt to whatever situation she finds herself in. When she emerges from the stones after being transported back to 1743, she doesn’t fold like a ten-dollar tent; she quickly assesses the situation she’s in, appreciates the precariousness of the unknowns, and then does her best to survive in this strange environment. It’s her ability to adapt and her confidence in her skills that seems to make her well-suited for living in a time that’s not her own.
- Knowledge & wisdom about using it – One thing about being a time traveler: Claire’s got knowledge about events and so much rides on her ability to use it. Clearly, confessing what she knows about the future while in the era she’s sent back to could get her locked up, or worse, burned as a witch. Claire is judicious about what she knows and takes care to give little bits of information when it’s necessary, even to Jamie Fraser, the love of her life.
- Passionate nature – Claire understands the calling she has as part of the medical field so she is understandably passionate about treating people and doing whatever she can to heal someone who is sick or injured, even someone who might be willing to harm her or Jamie. This passion for healing and this understanding of herself as a woman called to do that is so much a part of Claire that she exercises it no matter what time she is living in. It is this passionate nature that also informs her relationship with Jamie Fraser and the lifelong love the two share.
- Fearlessness – At one point in the Outlander series (the books), a character comments on the difference between Claire as a 20th century person and women of the 18th century, the era she travels back to: she is not afraid of men. Really, sometimes to the dismay of the reader and of her husband Jamie, Claire Fraser shows little fear in many situations. Though she may confess some fear about a given moment, she rarely seems to show much fear beyond that moment. She shows this fearlessness in so many ways, especially in trying to reclaim her husband’s broken soul after he is tortured at the hands of Black Jack Randall.
- Outspoken – I’ll admit that this side of Claire makes me cringe at times because outspokenness has its consequences. Yet Claire shows her fearlessness not only in deeds, but in words and takes many opportunities to speak her mind about a situation. In the Starz version of Outlander, Claire believes that one of the boys who ventured up to the Black Kirk was poisoned, not possessed, and speaks out about it, even though it raises the ire of the parish priest, Father Bain. Claire does try to be prudent about her words, but she will not let a chance to speak up escape her if she feels strongly about a situation.
- Stubbornness – Like her tendency to be outspoken, Claire’s stubbornness has its consequences, but she is loath to back off from a decision or a situation unless absolutely necessary. While that can have its repercussions, Claire rarely shrinks from an adverse situation. Her stubbornness and unwillingness to compromise might drive the reader and Jamie Fraser crazy on occasion, but it has become one of those quirks of character that makes Claire a relatable and real character for Sassenachs.
- Her sexuality – Another relatable characteristic about Claire is her sexuality. As a modern woman sent back in time to a time that was more rigid about the role of women and sexuality, she doesn’t surrender that piece of herself. When she and Jamie Fraser marry out of necessity, she uses her knowledge about her own sexuality and that of a man to bridge the gap between them and to suss out for herself the true nature of the man that she’s married. She finds a real partner in Jamie, both in the bedroom and out, and he rises (haha!) to the challenge of satisfying her his whole life.
- Her love for Jamie – Though she didn’t expect to fall in love like she does, Claire’s love for Jamie defines and solidifies so many things about her. She finds a true partner, learns from him as she teaches him about love, and creates a love story for the ages. Her passion for him brings her back to him time and time again. She mourns him when they are separated and cherishes him when they are together. She loves him truly as a man and as her equal, so much that she’s willing to stay in the precarious era of the Rising and its aftermath rather than be separated from him.
- Good role model – Lastly, I think all of the things above make her a good role model for, well, anyone, regardless of age or gender. She works hard, lives harder, and loves the hardest of all. She’s not afraid to know herself or to change and that makes her one of the more finely drawn characters I’ve encountered as a reader. She sounds like a real person, someone who learns, someone who makes mistakes, as we all strive to do as we live our lives through the many versions of ourselves.
Why do you love Claire Fraser? Let me know in the comments.