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Rose Leslie And Theo James Defend ‘Grooming’ Plot In The Time Traveler’s Wife

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Rose Leslie And Theo James Defend ‘Grooming’ Plot In The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Time Traveler’s Wife has become a cult classic, warming the hearts of millions of readers and film fanatics across the world. Now the love story has been adapted for television starring Game of Thrones actress Rose Leslie and Divergent actor Theo James. 

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The six-episode limited series explores the relationship between Henry DeTamble (James) and Clare Abshire (Leslie), the former who has a genetic condition which enables him to spontaneously travel through time.

Clare has to cope with his frequent absences as Henry tries to get used to his new surroundings and find his way back home.

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One plot in the story that has divided fans, however, involves Henry travelling back in time to visit his wife when she’s six years old.

A debate around whether this plot, which originated in Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 novel, is a form of ‘grooming’ has confused fans for years.

In one popular Reddit thread titled 'The Time Traveller's Wife. I am an utter ruin', the post explains why the user feels conflicted. “I mean, time traveling man grooms little girl into becoming his wife? But eventually I figured that uneasiness is intentional as well,” they wrote.

Another Reddit user went even further, writing: “Henry is a downright criminal, Clare has much more obvious signs of having been groomed (creeped me TF OUT by the way).”

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Theo James plays Henry DeTamble. (Credit: Sky/HBO)
Theo James plays Henry DeTamble. (Credit: Sky/HBO)

The plot is carried over to the TV adaption, in which a 31-year-old Henry meets with Clare, six, in a clearing in the woods. The two stars have defended the plot and explained why it's important to their character’s love story as a whole.

“The conceit of the story is that he can’t keep hold of time, and now that he’s met this woman and fallen in love with this woman and married this woman, he gets thrown back in time to people and places that are most important to him,” Theo explained to Tyla.

Henry ends up travelling back in time to the devastating moment his mother dies, as well as other key events from his childhood.

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Rose Leslie stars as Clare Abshire. (Credit: Sky//HBO)
Rose Leslie stars as Clare Abshire. (Credit: Sky//HBO)

In the linear timeline, Clare finally meets Henry when she is 20 and he is 28. She instantly recognises him because future Henry met her as a child and their meetings continued well into her pre-teen years.

On Henry and Clare’s relationship, Theo added: “I don’t think there’s any problematic nature of that in terms of if I had known my partner and had been with them for 15 years and suddenly I’ve gotten a glimpse of the tiny version of themselves.

"That’s really all it is and it’s a metaphor for memory and how that revolves a relationship.

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“There’s a deeper, philosophical conceit about the chicken and egg. When did this relationship start? And I don't think that has anything to do with the appropriateness of the relationship. I think that’s more the conceit of time travel and the paradox of it.”

The stars defended the controversial storyline. (Credit: Sky/HBO)
The stars defended the controversial storyline. (Credit: Sky/HBO)

Rose agrees with this take, and uses the linear timeline to explain why Henry does not ‘groom’ Clare into falling in love with him.

“I second that theory wholeheartedly,” she says. “He has already met Clare, fallen in love with the person who she is. Therefore when he does meet her age six, there is nothing but compassion and care for this little person.”

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Niffenegger’s book was also adapted into a feature film in 2009 starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is available to watch from 16 May exclusively on Sky Atlantic and NOW.

Featured Image Credit: supplied

Topics: TV And Film, Books

Gregory Robinson
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