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Athena

Book 2: Dragonfly in Amber

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Synopsis: In 1968, Claire returns to Scotland with her daughter Brianna. Told in flashbacks, Claire recalls what happened post-book one to her in Jamie including life in Paris and 1745 Scottish Rising.

 

Please don't discuss book events beyond the first two books here. 

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The Rising covered in this book takes place in 1745.

 

One of my favorite DiA scenes is Jamie's horror at seeing Claire's newly-waxed armpits and the idea of body hair removal in general. Hilarious how that was what convinced him that Claire could be getting up to worse things than volunteering at a Parisian hospital. Makes me wish we could somehow witness his reaction to modern day manscaping!

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@Dejana Thanks and corrected. 

 

I really liked Jamie's opinion of body hair removal too. I really enjoyed the Paris section interlude: Master Raymond and Fergus were a great addition. This is the book where I realized that Gabaldon writes a lot of sexual violence.  

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This is the book where I realized that Gabaldon writes a lot of sexual violence.

*This* is the book where you realized that?  Nothing in book 2 disturbed me as much as Jamie's description of his treatment at the hands of Black Jack Randall at the end of book 1.  The assault on Claire and her young friend in the alley and Claire's encounter with King Louis in book 2, were creepy and and distasteful and upsetting but the story that Jamie tells at the end of book 1 comes close to crossing the line from a depiction of sadism to torture porn.  I have a hard time getting through that part.

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This is my least favorite of the books. I just had a hard time getting into the Parisian intrigue.  Having said that I still love the book.  All of the books have great parts and then parts that are skim-worthy. 

 

The waxing is funny! I love meeting Fergus, the nun whose name escapes me now, and seeing a grown up Roger.   Roger becomes my favorite character. 

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*This* is the book where you realized that?  Nothing in book 2 disturbed me as much as Jamie's description of his treatment at the hands of Black Jack Randall at the end of book 1. 

 

I said it as a Captain Obvious / understatement of the year thing.

 

Yes, those scenes were disturbing and some of the most disturbing in the whole series. I didn't mean to say it wasn't, but it feels as if nearly every single major character in this series is affected by sexual violence at some point. I didn't know when I read book 1 that it would be a major theme throughout the series.  The whole stuff with Fergus in this book creeped me out a lot too.  

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I like this book a lot but I'd be lying if I said there weren't a couple of points in there where I didn't want to just throttle Claire. 

 

She's fine with trying to change history when it's for what she considers a good reason, i.e. the entire Paris interlude of trying to prevent Bonnie Prince Charlie from invading Scotland and causing the Rising, but it's wrong when it would result in ridding the world of the Randall line as a side effect of killing someone who really needs to go.  I get that she was terribly conflicted and guilt ridden about her decision to leave Frank for good and worried about how his nonexistence would affect her place in the world.   But she wouldn't even try to see things from Jamie's perspective.  She unilaterally decided that his need for vengeance wasn't a good enough reason and couldn't wrap her mind around the fact that Frank was mostly a hypothetical he'd never met while Randall was very real to him.

 

Which made their interactions when they were all back in Edinburgh during the war so curious.  Alex Randall is a sympathetic character but that makes it okay for him to expect Jamie to hang out and be an official witness at his rapist's wedding?  Alex tells Clare at the end that he "knows" about his brother.  And Jamie mentions in Outlander that Randall cried and called him Alex during.  WTF exactly are we supposed to surmise about that relationship then?

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Oh gosh, I almost forgot about Fergus and his encounter with Black Jack in book 2.  Yes, you are right Athena, this is the book where you realize that no one is safe.  

 

There is that comical scene with Fergus when he thinks he's failed Jamie because he lets Claire get into a carriage with a strange man.  That scene almost lulls you into a false sense of security -- silly Fergus, being overprotective.  Then the comedy of that evening is contrasted with the terror of another walk home when even the combined efforts of Murtuagh and Fergus can't keep her safe.  People may be much more likely to die in Game of Thrones but physical assault is chronic in Outlander.

Edited by WatchrTina
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Alex Randall is a sympathetic character but that makes it okay for him to expect Jamie to hang out and be an official witness at his rapist's wedding?  Alex tells Clare at the end that he "knows" about his brother.  And Jamie mentions in Outlander that Randall cried and called him Alex during.  WTF exactly are we supposed to surmise about that relationship then?

I always assumed Alex knew his brother was homosexual and in that time, that was a very big deal.  By convincing his brother to marry he may (as a clergyman) have even convinced himself that he was blessing his brother with the only hope he would ever have of having a family and a place in "decent society."  I don't think he has any idea that Jack has a weird, incestuous love for him, or that he's a sadist.  If he did, how could he entrust his beloved Mary to him?  I also assumed that he did not have the foggiest notion that Jamie even knew his brother.  Jamie is primarily "Claire's husband" as far as Alex is concerned.  The duel in Paris took place after Alex was fired by the Duke and I think he was gone from Paris by then.  No doubt Jack never told him the truth about the duel.

Edited by WatchrTina

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but it's wrong when it would result in ridding the world of the Randall line as a side effect of killing someone who really needs to go.

 

Of course we find out later that Frank would come to exist anyways, but I wonder if *she* wondered about the repercussions if Frank didn't exist - i.e. does that start some crazy time-hopping circle where she was never in Scotland to go through the stones to meet Jamie (to meet Randall, to have Jamie marry and defend her, to save Jamie from Randall, to make Jamie kill Randall ... and if he doesn't kill Randall then Frank does exist and she does go to the stones and meet Jamie  ....).  Could the same thing happen if they had actually changed major events (her not existing or going to the stones)?  Sure.  But contemplating it in the tiny circle of events makes it seem immediately very chancy to do.   Plus, of course, her feelings for Frank as a person.  It just always felt like there was more to it than making sure Frank existed as a person, more immediacy that she didn't consider as much in the changing of larger events.

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Oh, good point that Alex very likely doesn't know the full extent of the history between Jamie and Randall.  Maybe I'm mixing my books up then because I always got the impression that the duel was fairly infamous at least in part because of the severity and nature of Randall's wounding.  So I assumed at the very least Alex knows Jamie was responsible, and going on the belief that he knows Randal was homosexual that it wouldn't be a huge stretch to think that something must have happened to cause a man to wound another man like that.  Duels were fought for an offense given, after all.

 

I remember being surprised when I read Fergus' admission of what Randall had done to him and then thinking that I really shouldn't have been.  The random child or two working in brothels at that time period was a real thing.  I love Fergus.

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What happens to Fergus is just horrible in this book. 

 

One thing I thought was great about this book is how Jamie was written changed post Jack Randall abuse.  It's not a huge shift but enough to notice that he is not the same young man he was in Outlander.  He has a gravitas now and is growing into his role of a leader.  It is subtle.  He is still extremely young, I think he is 23-24 years old only!  

 

I'm excited to see Sam Heughan play this Jamie just as much as this season.

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I really enjoyed the Paris section interlude: Master Raymond and Fergus were a great addition.

 

I vaguely recall Diana Gabaldon saying once that she might write something separate about Master Raymond, but as far as I know she never did. I have always been disappointed about that.

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I vaguely recall Diana Gabaldon saying once that she might write something separate about Master Raymond, but as far as I know she never did. I have always been disappointed about that.

 

She has said this on her website. He's suppose to get a spinoff series, but she hasn't done anything about it yet so who knows. 

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Raymond shows up in "The Space Between:  An Outlander Novella," which follows two secondary characters (members of the extended Murray/Fraser family) as they travel from Scotland to Paris following one of the major events in Book 7.  I won't say more other than to note I'm fairly certain we haven't seen the last of Master Raymond in the series.

Edited by WatchrTina

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This is my favorite book in the series. I enjoyed the Paris intrigue, the hospital, Master Raymond. (Though I don't feel the need to meet his character again. I like the mystery of him and his just disappearing and remaining a mystery.)

And Brianna has not become insufferable yet. Annoying, but not insufferable. IMO, she's supposed to be the female version of Jamie but it just doesn't work for me.

Edited by DoughGirl
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Doughgirl, I am with you.  This remains my favorite of the books also.  I loved the Paris interactions, such interesting people introduced here.  Work at the hospital, the duel, baby Hope, the French king.....it is just chock a block full of so much!  But, to each their own I know.  My Sis, who just read the series in the past year didn't care for this one at all but loved Voyager...which is probably my least preferred.  :)
 

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What cracks me up in this book, is the way Claire keeps looking at her gold wedding ring..the way Marty McFly keeps checking the photo of himself and his siblings. Presumably, if Frank's line were to be interrupted, not only would her wedding ring be gone, but so would she..back to whatever life she would have been living had she never met him! She certainly wouldn't be hanging around 18th century Scotland! 

 

I did enjoy all the French intrigue and the court at Versailles. I hope we get to see Jamie all tarted up with the wig and beauty spot! I loved Master Raymond and mother Hildegard also, as well as Fergus. Children were so..expendable in those days, in big cities especially. Fergus was very lucky to have found a friend and protector in Jamie. 

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baby Hope

I think you meant baby Faith.  :)

 

 

hope we get to see Jamie all tarted up with the wig and beauty spot!

I don't think you'll get to see that in season 2.  I don't recall Jamie dressing that way in book 2.   I'm almost certain he wears his own (long) hair uncovered in Paris -- right up until he cuts it off as part of his pre-duel prepearations.  What I think you are thinking of is

a scene from book 3 where he attends a reception in another location (not Paris) disguised as a fussy Frenchmen, complete with wig (to hide his red hair) facial powder and a beauty spot.

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What cracks me up in this book, is the way Claire keeps looking at her gold wedding ring..the way Marty McFly keeps checking the photo of himself and his siblings. Presumably, if Frank's line were to be interrupted, not only would her wedding ring be gone, but so would she..back to whatever life she would have been living had she never met him! She certainly wouldn't be hanging around 18th century Scotland!

 

She might still be there as long as she didn't go back. If she went back, then her life would be different, but as long as she was still mid-time travel, she could know about both universes. It depends on how this particular time travel universe works. (Yes, I read too many time travel books. That's why I first started this series.)

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I like this book a lot but I'd be lying if I said there weren't a couple of points in there where I didn't want to just throttle Claire. 

 

She's fine with trying to change history when it's for what she considers a good reason, i.e. the entire Paris interlude of trying to prevent Bonnie Prince Charlie from invading Scotland and causing the Rising, but it's wrong when it would result in ridding the world of the Randall line as a side effect of killing someone who really needs to go.  I get that she was terribly conflicted and guilt ridden about her decision to leave Frank for good and worried about how his nonexistence would affect her place in the world.   But she wouldn't even try to see things from Jamie's perspective.  She unilaterally decided that his need for vengeance wasn't a good enough reason and couldn't wrap her mind around the fact that Frank was mostly a hypothetical he'd never met while Randall was very real to him.

 

Which made their interactions when they were all back in Edinburgh during the war so curious.  Alex Randall is a sympathetic character but that makes it okay for him to expect Jamie to hang out and be an official witness at his rapist's wedding?  Alex tells Clare at the end that he "knows" about his brother.  And Jamie mentions in Outlander that Randall cried and called him Alex during.  WTF exactly are we supposed to surmise about that relationship then?

I had the same thought, but Roger made a comment about how they only had a half dozen or so first names. And the previous guy Randall raped who hung himself was also named Alexander, so who knows who he actually meant.

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I have a question. I've just finished reading book 2, and I was wondering how Master Raymond healed Claire after she gave birth. Did he use techniques from the future or was it 'magic'?

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I think Master Raymond has remained a mystery.

My fav character of all, by the way- I hope his series of books actually happens.

I am convinced that when someone kisses him  he'll turn into a Prince.

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...  People may be much more likely to die in Game of Thrones but physical assault is chronic in Outlander.

 

Oh gosh, yes.  One one of the Outlander Book Club boards, there's a thread discussing how few people are left in the series who *haven't* been

raped. Of the adult characters, Roger seems to be the only one left who hasn't!

.  Quite sad, and quite a testament to how violent things were generally back then.

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Oh gosh, yes.  On one of the Outlander Book Club boards, there's a thread discussing how few people are left in the series who *haven't* been

raped. Of the adult characters, Roger seems to be the only one left who hasn't!

.  Quite sad, and quite a testament to how violent things were generally back then.

And even Roger has been through some physical trauma. Being unsuccessfully hung is no small thing

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This is probably not the best thread for this question but the character threads are no book spoilers so I figured I should ask here just in case.  

 

In Dragonfly, Gabaldon describes Brianna's eyes as triangular, especially when she smiles.  Jamie's are also described this way in future books.  I got the slanty cat eye description but for the life of me, I cannot figure out this triangular eye description.  I literally spent an hour looking at pictures of eyes on google and can't figure out what sort of eyes Gabaldon was attempting to describe.  Can anyone point me to a link that somewhat illustrates this triangular eye thing?  

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During the panel discussion at the 92nd Street YMCA in NYC (the best panel of the whole promotional media blitz IMHO) someone asked the actors if they were reading ahead and Tobias says "I was interested to note that Black Jack's brother turns up in book 2" whereupon Sam quickly interjects "You're not playing him!"  Hey Sam, jealous much?

 

So . . . do you think it would be possible for Tobias to play Jack's younger brother Alex as well?  It would make for some technical difficulties since Jack and Alex have important scenes together, not the least of which being Black Jack's wedding, with Alex as officiant.  But hey, all they have to do is have the folks from Orphan Black give them a few tips and they could totally pull that off.  And you just know Tobias would LOVE the challenge.

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This is probably not the best thread for this question but the character threads are no book spoilers so I figured I should ask here just in case.  

 

In Dragonfly, Gabaldon describes Brianna's eyes as triangular, especially when she smiles.  Jamie's are also described this way in future books.  I got the slanty cat eye description but for the life of me, I cannot figure out this triangular eye description.  I literally spent an hour looking at pictures of eyes on google and can't figure out what sort of eyes Gabaldon was attempting to describe.  Can anyone point me to a link that somewhat illustrates this triangular eye thing?  

I always think of Patrick Stewart when I hear "triangular eyes."

I don't know why, and perusing photos just now even I think I'm crazy.

But the thought persists nonetheless.

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So . . . do you think it would be possible for Tobias to play Jack's younger brother Alex as well?  It would make for some technical difficulties since Jack and Alex have important scenes together, not the least of which being Black Jack's wedding, with Alex as officiant.  But hey, all they have to do is have the folks from Orphan Black give them a few tips and they could totally pull that off.  And you just know Tobias would LOVE the challenge.

 

I'd like to see this too.  They do look enough alike that Claire thinks that it's Jack, even though she 'knows' he's dead.  If he's not played by Tobias Menzies, they're going to have to find someone that looks very similar.  Also, I just assume that they're going to want to keep him onscreen and as Jack Randall is in the story less, this is a way to give a big name actor more time onscreen.  Of course, I don't have any experience with trying to play that many characters, so I'm not sure how challenging it would be for him.

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I thought Alex also strongly resembles Jamie. And isn't he younger than Claire (I can't remember if both him and Mary were younger, or just Mary.) I mean if they cast Tobias as Alex too, they may as well put Sam in a wig and have him play Brianna.

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I would prefer Tobias *not* play another character. Hopefully, Outlander will become more and more popular and gain artistic recognition so that Ron Moore and company will have no problem attracting worthy actors, whether well-known to the public or not. In fact, I look forward to seeing more good actors coming into the fold to portray all these wonderful characters.

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I don't think Tobias would play him.  I saw that panel, and they were all pretty much joking around.  I thought it was kind of adorable.  Sam was teasing him, I didn't see it as jealousy at all.

 

I am trying to figure out in my head who would make a good Brianna, and nothing comes to mind. 

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Just like Sam, hair color can be changed, so who ever they find for Brianna can be "adjusted" to fit the physical image.  I expect (or hope) they will go with someone relatively unknown, or at least not connected to another role. Sam H was a nice surprise. 

 

As far as Tobias Menzies playing yet another role, although that would be awesome for him, (3 paychecks!) I hope they don't go there.  I think makeup, hair and clothing has made Frank and Black Jack look just different enough but I don't think a 3rd relative should be that close in appearance.  Everyone has a doppelganger so I hope they can find TM's. 

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Just like Sam, hair color can be changed, so who ever they find for Brianna can be "adjusted" to fit the physical image.  I expect (or hope) they will go with someone relatively unknown, or at least not connected to another role. Sam H was a nice surprise.

 

 

What's so funny is I saw "A Princess for Christmas" so many times on Hallmark or Lifetime around X-mas, as soon as they announced who they cast for Jamie, I knew immediately who Sam was. Tobias Menzies, on the other hand? Once I saw him on the show, I knew who he was but I hadn't actually watched his work in ages.

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Everyone has a doppelganger so I hope they can find TM's.

That's true.  Look what a great job they did on "Once Upon A Time" finding a young actress to play young Snow White.  The resemblance to the lead actress playing grown up Snow White is startling.  I wonder if Tobias has a younger brother?  

 

But as for that scene in Paris where both Jamie and Claire mistake Alex for Black Jack, I'm sure the writer, director of photography and the director can cook up something where perhaps we hear someone call out "Randall!" and then we see Tobias from the rear and in profile -- fleeting glimpses -- maybe we'll even hear his voice -- only to reveal that it is, in fact, someone else when we see him full in the face.  Happens all the time in movies -- people imaging they see someone they know with shots of the that person being "cheated" into the cut -- only to have the person turn around and be someone else.

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I just finished re-reading this one, and I am wondering if I missed something... was it ever made clear just exactly what Master Raymond did to heal Claire after she lost the baby? And I thought it strange that Claire didn't seem to wonder about it either. At any rate, wow that was a long book. And there was a ton of stuff that I either missed the first time or had forgotten about.

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I just finished re-reading this one, and I am wondering if I missed something... was it ever made clear just exactly what Master Raymond did to heal Claire after she lost the baby?

No explanation.

I vote "magic" and by the way, Master Raymond is my favorite character in the entire series.

I'd bet that if a Princess had kissed him he would have turned into a Prince.

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I just finished re-reading this one, and I am wondering if I missed something... was it ever made clear just exactly what Master Raymond did to heal Claire after she lost the baby? And I thought it strange that Claire didn't seem to wonder about it either. At any rate, wow that was a long book. And there was a ton of stuff that I either missed the first time or had forgotten about.

I always thought of it as akin to "laying on of hands" healing or faith healing. I thought of the blue light as healing energy.

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I always think of Patrick Stewart when I hear "triangular eyes."

I don't know why, and perusing photos just now even I think I'm crazy.

But the thought persists nonetheless.

I actually think PS is a pretty good example of triangular eyes.  I mean, three straight-ish sides, I think PS comes about as close to that as you can get with eyes which generally do not have a lot of straight lines at all. 

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Since the pearls have made their appearance on the show, there's something I was always a bit confused about, although I may have just missed a detail. In Dragonfly doesn't Claire pawn the pearls to buy blankets for the Fraser men while their imprisoned? When does she get them back? Because isn't that one of the reveals at the end of the book that she still has the pearls?

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Yes I always wondered where the retrieval of the pearls happened.  Someone pointed out some where that it was almost a throwaway line.

 

“I am a fool,” Jamie grumbled, climbing the steep, cobbled streets to the wynd where Alex Randall had his lodgings. “We should have left yesterday, at once, as soon as we got back your pearls from the pawnbroker! D’ye no ken how far it is to Inverness? And we wi’ little more than nags to get us there?”

Gabaldon, Diana (2004-10-26). Dragonfly in Amber (p. 856). Dell. Kindle Edition. 

 

It's the first paragraph of the part where Claire and Jamie are going to be witnesses for BJR and Mary's marriage in Edinburgh before they head up to Culloden.

 

Edit: Duh, she married BJR not Alex.

Edited by Glaze Crazy

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Thank you! I was so confused when they showed up in the end, because I knew she had given them away, but I had listened to it as a book on tape so it was impossible to investigate!

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I can't remember, does Hugh Munro show up in this book? If so where and why?

I'm completely drawing a blank on this and saw somewhere that he has been in another book.

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He shows up when Claire is being held by the Duke of Sandringham during the Rising.  The duke's men hang him (for some reason I can't remember) before Jamie and the boys show up to rescue her and inadvertently Mary Hawkins.  Murtaugh retaliates by going back and beheading the duke and carrying his head around in a sack.

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I think he gets hanged as a poacher in the Duke's private park/grounds.  I'm not sure if he was there at Jamie's request or just happened to be in the area when he sees Claire being brought up the drive to the house.

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I think about all those little things that might have turned the tide for the Scots.  Was it already too late when Murtagh killed the Duke or was killing the Duke the thing that made the end result inevitable?

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