Don't Trust Amaranthus In 'Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone'? Neither Does Diana Gabaldon

- Outlander -
Don't Trust Amaranthus In 'Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone'? Neither Does Diana Gabaldon

Major spoilers ahead for Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.

With the Greys tracking her down in Written in My Own Heart's Blood, Amaranthus became a major player in the latest Outlander book. She very poorly played the part of grieving widow as she took up residence with Lord John Grey in Savannah. But if you, dear reader, weren't as willing to welcome her into your heart and home as Lord John, Hal, and William were (particularly William), your instincts weren't wrong. In fact, in an interview with The Dipp, author Diana Gabaldon advises that readers should not trust Amaranthus in Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.

Amaranthus Cowden Grey's introduction to the Outlander story was marked with questions. But readers at least got some insight (key word being "some") into Amaranthus in Bees. Turns out, she really was married to Hal's son Ben and had a child, Trevor, with him. But when Ben chose to switch his loyalties in the American Revolution from Loyalist to Patriot, she helped her estranged husband fake his death, complete with the fake grave that poor William dug through in MOBY.

Though that in itself is quite shady, Gabaldon says that Amaranthus's reaction and response to Ben becoming a traitor was "reasonably fair."

"If Ben is openly a turncoat and going around declaring it to people, the entire family will be disgraced, including her and her child, who is Ben's heir, and, of course, Hal's heir. She doesn't want that," she says.

But from there, readers — and the Greys — would be right to doubt Amaranthus's sincerity.

"I'd be questioning it right, left, and sideways if I were the Greys at this point," Gabaldon says.

Amaranthus's motivations, including why she married Ben, are murky. "Possibly she married Ben because she loved him. William certainly thinks so," the author says. "But the fact that he was the heir to a dukedom might have had something to do with it. Since he has now ditched that, she's still the mother of a potential duke, but it will be worth a good deal less if he has disgraced the family by what he's done."

If she did marry Ben for this title, it could explain why Amaranthus early on offered to have a child with William. Because even if William is disinterested in his role as the Ninth Earl of Ellesmere, if she had a son with him, then she'd potentially be the mother to a duke and an earl. Not too shabby. But there seems to be more to Amaranthus than just social climbing, especially as her appearance in the Greys' lives seems to cause them trouble — whether directly or indirectly.

William gets himself into quite a few snags on Amaranthus's behalf in Bees, including being briefly imprisoned by her estranged-but-not-dead husband, his step-cousin Ben. As General Raphael Bleeker, Ben's response to William's appearance at Wick House was rather extreme. But Gabaldon chalks that up to Ben's lingering feelings for his not-so-ex wife. "He is a man and he's probably still jealous of Amaranthus, regardless of what he may or may not have done otherwise."

Both Ben and Amaranthus have the same story when it comes to Ben changing his loyalties, so readers can presume that aspect of Amaranthus's tale is true. But was Amaranthus telling the truth when, later at her father's bookstore, she said that Ben had pulled a Claire by dabbling in bigamy and remarrying?

"Well, that's assuming that you take Amaranthus's word for it," Gabaldon says of Ben's alleged remarriage. Considering that hearing about Ben remarrying was what prompted William to propose to Amaranthus, this could be another ruse just as Ben's "death" was, to trick William into marrying her.

William's most likely willing to believe Amaranthus (or, at minimum, overlook her glaring sketchiness) in part because he's distracted by his desire for her. But what excuse do the typically astute Lord John Grey and Hal Grey have? They've seemed incredibly accommodating to this woman who claimed to be their niece-in-law and daughter-in-law, respectively.

"She was, as far as they knew, Ben's wife and then his widow," Gabaldon explains. "They had a good deal of sympathy for her, being bereft and with a child. And the child is Hal's heir, whether or not his father is a turncoat or alive. So they definitely have an interest in preserving her and her welfare, if only for little Trevor's sake."

Although their instincts to protect Trevor and his mother are righteous, the Greys should absolutely have been more skeptical of Amaranthus in Bees... book readers sure have been. Since Bees came out in November, there have been multiple theories about Amaranthus, including that she's a spy or even a time traveler.

Amaranthus claims to be a staunch Loyalist, but if she's spying for the Americans, that could explain why she lived with Lord John at Number 12 Oglethorpe Street rather than living with her father in Philadelphia. Or, rather than the Americans, could she be working for Ezekiel Richardson?

The poisoned brandy that Hal seemingly asked Claire for is one of the bigger mysteries of Bees. Amaranthus kept pushing brandy when Percy Wainwright came visiting with the information that Lord John's being held captive on the Pallus. With Amaranthus talking about the poisoned brandy with William earlier, it seems quite possible that Amaranthus set it up so Percy would be poisoned. (It's still unknown if Percy died or not.) That could mean she may be complicit in Lord John Grey's capture. And, if she is in cahoots with Richardson, that might give a little more credence to the theory that she's a time traveler. (If you're a member of the Official Outlander Book Club on Facebook, here's a post featuring some potential clues that Amaranthus is a time traveler.)

Whether Amaranthus is simply a woman trying to make the best out of her precarious position or a calculated villain targeting the Greys remains to be seen. But Gabaldon does offer this warning: "We only have Amaranthus's word for a lot of things, and you would do well to doubt it." So if Herself says readers should doubt Amaranthus, William better start doubting her too.

Images: Starz

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