Time Traveler’s Wife: Why Henry Lied To Clare About Being Her Husband

Warning! This article contains spoilers for The Time Traveler’s Wife episode 3.

HBO’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, Episode 3 poses an intriguing question: Why does Henry lie about being Clare’s husband? As the central conceit of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Episode 3, an older version of Clare looks back on their history together and muses on its meaning, Henry’s motivations, and her actions. The episode spends the bulk of its time telling the story of Clare’s youth and how Henry’s presence and his absences impacted her.

While having one of their regular visits in Clare’s meadow, Clare at 13 tells Henry that she’s put it together: he’s mentioned that he meets her family at some point in the future and that his wife is named Clare. She says she thinks he’s married to her. While this is the obvious truth and both Henry and the audience know it, he goes on to lie to her and tell her that the two of them aren’t married in the future. Clare is crushed, though she tries to hide it. It isn’t until later in Moffat’s adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife that Clare’s timeline that their true relationship is revealed. The 2009 The Time Traveler’s Wife movie has a similar scene where a younger Clare hopes that Henry might be her husband, though it doesn’t dive as deeply into the concept.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

The older Clare that narrates The Time Traveler’s Wife, Episode 3 explicitly states what she believes is Henry’s reason for lying to her about their marriage: he’s a decent man. Through this, Clare is implying that to tell her at such a young and impressionable age would have been inappropriate and predatory, an important nod to the potentially problematic relationship the two share. Henry tells a Clare who is concerned that he might be out there dying somewhere in time that all futures end in a brick wall and that’s reason enough to not want to know what’s coming. He implies that knowing the future—predetermined or not—is an undesirable state. Henry’s experience as a time traveler paints his worldview. Audrey Niffenegger’s novel deals with the relationship in similar ways, with much of episode 3 being adapted straight from its pages, whereas the 2009 film only touches on Henry’s motivations in lying to Clare tangentially.

The Time Traveler’s Wife film may not plumb the depths of Henry’s lying, but it explores it a bit with Clare denying Henry’s proposal just to see if she can, then immediately accepting because she says her free will wants Henry. Knowing or not knowing doesn’t change what she wants, but the feeling of being stuck on a path by destiny is clearly part and parcel of why Henry doesn’t tell a young Clare that she’ll one day marry him. Using The Time Traveler’s Wife, Episode 3 to more faithfully and fully adapt Niffenegger’s novel allows the story room to breathe and stretch, explaining the characters’ motivations more fully than the film did.

Henry and Clare don’t have a storybook fluffy romance. Their love is frequently difficult, messy, and uncomfortable. It makes sense that Henry, knowing this, would desire for Clare to have as normal a childhood as possible, despite his presence and influence. It speaks well of HBO’s The Time Traveler’s Wife that it isn’t just brushing these deeper relationship questions to the side to focus on their love story.

New episodes of The Time Travelers Wife release on HBO every Sunday evening. Subscribe to HBO Max here.


More information about Time Traveler’s Wife: Why Henry Lied To Clare About Being Her Husband

Warning! This article contains spoilers for The Time Traveler’s Wife episode 3.
HBO’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, Episode 3 poses an intriguing question: Why does Henry lie about being Clare’s husband? As the central conceit of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Episode 3, an older version of Clare looks back on their history together and muses on its meaning, Henry’s motivations, and her actions. The episode spends the bulk of its time telling the story of Clare’s youth and how Henry’s presence and his absences impacted her.
While having one of their regular visits in Clare’s meadow, Clare at 13 tells Henry that she’s put it together: he’s mentioned that he meets her family at some point in the future and that his wife is named Clare. She says she thinks he’s married to her. While this is the obvious truth and both Henry and the audience know it, he goes on to lie to her and tell her that the two of them aren’t married in the future. Clare is crushed, though she tries to hide it. It isn’t until later in Moffat’s adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife that Clare’s timeline that their true relationship is revealed. The 2009 The Time Traveler’s Wife movie has a similar scene where a younger Clare hopes that Henry might be her husband, though it doesn’t dive as deeply into the concept.
SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
The older Clare that narrates The Time Traveler’s Wife, Episode 3 explicitly states what she believes is Henry’s reason for lying to her about their marriage: he’s a decent man. Through this, Clare is implying that to tell her at such a young and impressionable age would have been inappropriate and predatory, an important nod to the potentially problematic relationship the two share. Henry tells a Clare who is concerned that he might be out there dying somewhere in time that all futures end in a brick wall and that’s reason enough to not want to know what’s coming. He implies that knowing the future—predetermined or not—is an undesirable state. Henry’s experience as a time traveler paints his worldview. Audrey Niffenegger’s novel deals with the relationship in similar ways, with much of episode 3 being adapted straight from its pages, whereas the 2009 film only touches on Henry’s motivations in lying to Clare tangentially.

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The Time Traveler’s Wife film may not plumb the depths of Henry’s lying, but it explores it a bit with Clare denying Henry’s proposal just to see if she can, then immediately accepting because she says her free will wants Henry. Knowing or not knowing doesn’t change what she wants, but the feeling of being stuck on a path by destiny is clearly part and parcel of why Henry doesn’t tell a young Clare that she’ll one day marry him. Using The Time Traveler’s Wife, Episode 3 to more faithfully and fully adapt Niffenegger’s novel allows the story room to breathe and stretch, explaining the characters’ motivations more fully than the film did.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr3’); });

Henry and Clare don’t have a storybook fluffy romance. Their love is frequently difficult, messy, and uncomfortable. It makes sense that Henry, knowing this, would desire for Clare to have as normal a childhood as possible, despite his presence and influence. It speaks well of HBO’s The Time Traveler’s Wife that it isn’t just brushing these deeper relationship questions to the side to focus on their love story.
New episodes of The Time Travelers Wife release on HBO every Sunday evening. Subscribe to HBO Max here.

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