Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Article in Huffington Post

Here's a very interesting article in the Huffington Post about the OUTLANDER TV series, and the wedding episode in particular.

If you haven't seen Episode 107, "The Wedding", please note that there are SPOILERS in this article!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Episode 108: "Both Sides Now" (SPOILERS!)

Here are my reactions to Episode 108 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "Both Sides Now".


There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.









I liked the maps in the opening shot, emphasizing the contrast between 18th and 20th centuries even before the story starts.

My impression of Frank in the scene in the police station is that he's holding himself under very tight control at first, perhaps feeling that letting all his rage and frustration out in front of the police won't help. I like the contrast between his very dry, "My expectations of your department were low to begin with, and I can assure you that you have met those expectations at every turn" and the way he explodes, "My wife is NOT with another man!" at the end of the scene.

I love the scenery of the Highlands in this episode; the cinematography is really beautiful. You can feel the mist and damp in the air.

I was delighted to see this particular conversation between Jamie and Claire, taken straight from the book, complete with Jamie's uncharacteristic shyness and groping for words. I love the way they're sort of making love with their hands -- very sensual!

The scene with Hugh Munro is terrific! The little bow he gives Claire as she's introduced to him is exactly as I always imagined from the book. I like the way they've condensed things a bit here, so that Hugh presents Claire with the chunk of amber himself. (Yes, I miss the "Da mi basia mille" reference, but maybe they'll address that in a later episode.) The gaberlunzies are fascinating to look at. You can see more examples in my Friday Fun Facts post here.

Random thought: From Claire's POV, at this point in the story, it's Frank who is frozen in time like a dragonfly in amber.

"With my bride, Claire Fraser, Lady of Lallybroch." This is the first time we've heard Lallybroch mentioned by name in the TV series.

I love the bit where Claire notices her gold wedding ring, and the next shot shows Frank's hand wearing an identical gold ring -- nice touch!

I'm so glad they included the cork board in the Reverend's study! It's not as big as described in DRAGONFLY, but I love it. If you look closely, you can see a number of articles and photos about Claire's disappearance. Just to the left of the "MISSING" poster, an article says "Girl missing in Inverness." And to the right, just above the "Hurts Our Cause" headline, there is another article about Claire. Finally, notice the photographs of the area. Not just the standing stones, but the photo showing the trees in the woods near Craigh na Dun, as we'll see later in this episode. And another time reference -- seven weeks since Claire's disappearance.

Wee Roger is adorable. So cute!! I'm glad they didn't leave him out.

The scene in the pub took me by surprise. Who is this Sally, and how did she know Frank would be there? Has she been following him?

And again, connecting the two centuries, Frank's whisky glass and Angus pouring a drink for Rupert. I love these little connecting images throughout this episode -- really well done! <g>

I'm glad they kept the waterhorse story. Rupert does a good job telling it! Watching the way Jamie and Claire look at each other in this scene, my thought was that it's tough to spend your honeymoon surrounded by all those clansmen!

They're making a big deal of noticing the date: "It'll be Yuletide by the time we get back to Leoch." Just like in Frank's time, it's nearly Christmas, about 7 weeks after Claire's arrival.

That was quite a fight, but I love that it's Ned Gowan who saves the day with his pistol. "Did you see that shot? Twenty paces if it was one!" LOL.

Back to Frank: For a former MI6 agent, Frank seems pretty reckless in this scene. Going into a dark alley at night with a strange woman who claims to have information, who is clearly interested in the reward money, but won't give him any details? Surely it wasn't hard to see this was a trap? But of course, he's acting out of desperation. And he has much better hand-to-hand fighting skills than I expected. <g> I think he got carried away by "the red thing", just as Jamie has on occasion.

I liked the scene between Frank and the Reverend very much. You can see why the Rev. is a good minister, AND a good friend. "Let her go, just as she has let you go" -- but she didn't! (I'm starting to feel sorry for Frank.) The Sherlock Holmes quote is very apt.

Claire's sgian dubh lessons -- very good, and very much in the spirit of the way it's done in the book, even if some of the details are different, like the use of a sgian dubh instead of a dirk.

"See? Got it!" Watching Claire, you can tell she's not taking it as seriously as they are, even though she's cooperating and willing to learn. She thinks it's sort of a game, not a skill she will need in a life-and-death emergency.

The wedding photo in Claire's suitcase was an effective way to transition between one husband and the other.

The scene with Jamie and Claire and the deserters in the glade was just perfect!! Everything from their dialogue at the beginning ("Does it ever stop? The wanting you?") to the encounter with the deserters was exactly as I've always imagined. I liked the use of slow motion from Claire's POV, so you can almost see her thinking (very fast!) about how she's going to stab the man.

Meanwhile back at the manse... The scene with Mrs. Graham was excellent! It's not just a way to remind viewers what happened to Claire; it's also entirely plausible that Mrs. Graham would know the stories and legends of Craigh na Dun, and have her own suspicions about what's become of Claire.

"A place on the earth where the powers of nature come together" -- in other words, an intersection of ley lines, as Roger hypothesizes in ECHO.

Fascinating to think that Roger was raised by BOTH the Reverend ("Superstition!" "Dribble-drabble.") and Mrs. Graham. So maybe this is one reason why Roger seemed, in DRAGONFLY, more open to the idea of time-travel, more willing to believe Claire's story? Just a thought.

I love the way wee Roger looks up at his future father-in-law. Just adorable!

The scene after the fight with the deserters is very good. Claire going into shock was something I didn't expect, but it fits, and Caitriona does a great job of making us feel what she's going through. Her hands are shaking, but she's trying hard to calm herself. "If I started giving rein to my feelings, things would pour out of me that I wanted to keep locked away forever." -- terrific line, and she's right, it's much too early in the story for that! <g>

So sad to see Frank leaving Claire's suitcase behind!

The conversation between Jamie and Claire just before he leaves her is changed quite a bit from the book. Jamie's threat of what will happen if she disobeys him is never even implied, let alone stated outright. (I suppose because they want to leave that for the next episode....) And Claire's stubbornness is not as evident in this version of the scene. On the other hand, I liked this exchange:
"I'll be back. I promise."

"You shouldn't make promises you can't keep." (Echo of Geillis in Episode 104, "A promise is a serious thing in this country.")

"Swear you'll be here when I get back."

"Fine, I promise." (Ha!)
Patton's death announced on the radio pins down the date very precisely: it's December 21, 1945, the winter solstice, and the portal is open. Very good attention to detail there! <g>

I love the Craigh na Dun sign on that boulder. And there's Frank's ring again. He doesn't believe it, but can he afford not to try? He has nothing to lose, at this point, by going to have a look.

(Side note: it's mid-December in the Highlands, and Frank is driving around with the car top down? Wouldn't it be freezing cold?)

Remember the trees I mentioned earlier in the newspaper photo on the Reverend's corkboard? They look just like the ones we see here, as Claire wanders through the woods. I like the music as Claire sees the stones, bringing back the eerie song of the dancers from Episode 101.

The juxtaposition of Frank and Claire at Craigh na Dun is really well done, and fascinating to watch! So sad to see Frank crying. I liked seeing Claire's shawl still at the base of the stone where she left it seven weeks before.

The idea that Claire can actually hear Frank through the stones -- and maybe vice versa -- is just electrifying! Riveting. As she came closer to the stone, I started yelling at the TV: "No. No! NO!!!" Because I'm certain she WOULD have gone through, if she'd touched the stone at that point. (It's weird to feel grateful to the redcoats for stopping her just in time, but I do. <g>)

And what is Frank supposed to think now, that he's been hallucinating or something? Poor man. I really do feel sorry for him.

I love the bit with the redcoats taking Claire down the hill toward the wagon, while simultaneously Frank goes back to his car. The way they set up that shot, with the same lichen (?)-covered boulder separating the two characters in two different centuries, was very clever and well done.

Beautiful scenery, and Fort William looks scary and forbidding, just as it should.

The interrogation scene was well done. Tobias is absolutely riveting as BJR, of course.

"We MacKenzies are all loyal subjects" -- notice the "WE". And I liked Claire's little smile right before she mentions the Duke of Sandringham. The woman really does have a glass face! You can tell she's thought of something clever to say, before she says it.

The bit where Claire unwraps and reties BJR's stock was startlingly intimate, and I definitely didn't expect it.

I like the way BJR rubbed his forehead again, just like in EP106, as though her lies are giving him a headache. But he manages to trip her up pretty easily with the reference to the "duchess". Oops!!

Say one thing for Claire (and Caitriona): she screams VERY loud!! <g> The bodice-ripping bit was intense, and very reminiscent of the scene between BJR and Jenny from an earlier episode. You really get the impression that he could have cut off her nipple.

Then Jamie shows up JUST in the nick of time, of course. <vbg> The way they played that was exactly as I have always imagined it -- just perfect! And the perfect cliffhanger on which to end this episode and this half of the season.

I really enjoyed this episode and I think they did a terrific job adapting it for TV. I was a little taken aback at first by the switch to Frank's POV (we've been told so often over the course of the filming that this is Claire's story, that Caitriona is in virtually every scene in the entire show), but it was very effective, and I'm glad they did it this way. The constant switching back and forth between Claire's POV and Frank's added to the tension and the suspense (even for those of us who know the book really, really well). You really feel Frank's pain in this episode, and it helps a great deal to emphasize how conflicted Claire is.

Finally, I don't think anyone watching this can deny that Frank and Claire truly love one another.

I hope you enjoyed this recap. You can see my comments on the previous episodes here:

Episode 101: "Sassenach"
Episode 102: "Castle Leoch"
Episode 103: "The Way Out"
Episode 104: "The Gathering"
Episode 105: "Rent"
Episode 106: "The Garrison Commander"
Episode 107: "The Wedding"
Episode 109: "The Reckoning"
Episode 110: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"

Friday, September 26, 2014

Second half of Season 1 begins April 4!

The OUTLANDER TV series will go on hiatus after Episode 108 ("Both Sides Now") airs this Saturday. STARZ announced yesterday that the second half of Season 1 (eight more episodes) will be shown starting April 4, 2015.  Look here for the press release.

I know a lot of people will be very disappointed at the news of a six-month hiatus before we see the second half of Season 1.  But my own reaction was one of relief, oddly enough.  It's all I can do these days to keep up with the discussions in the Diana Gabaldon folder on Compuserve, while juggling the demands of work and my personal life -- not to mention the effort I put into this blog!  The volume of posts on Compuserve has not really let up since early June when WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD was published.  And after four very hectic and stressful (but fun!) months, I need badly to slow down, to take some more time for myself and my family.  This six-month hiatus will give me the opportunity to do that.

After a full year of filming on Season 1 (they finished filming the last bits only a couple of days ago), I'm sure the main cast members and the production team are also very much in need of a break. The last thing we need is for Caitriona or Sam to get burned out!

This long break will also give people who are new to OUTLANDER a chance to read the books for themselves.  I think that can only be a good thing. <g>

If you can't afford to keep your STARZ subscription going during the hiatus, talk to your cable or satellite provider. You may be able to drop STARZ temporarily and sign up again in a few months.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Last day of filming for Season 1!

Congratulations and a HUGE thank you to the entire cast and crew of the OUTLANDER TV series, as they wrap up filming on Season 1 today!! I hope they enjoy their well-deserved break.

Here's what Diana Gabaldon had to say on Facebook:
HUGE applause (and a blown kiss) to the cast, crew, writers, producers, drivers, caterers and everybody else connected with OUTLANDER The Show! Today's the final day of filming for Season One, and it's been amazing--huge thanks to Starz, for doing so much to share the "making of", the anticipation, and the adventures with us along the way!
I agree wholeheartedly!!  It's been an amazing year.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Some thoughts about the ring

Here are some more thoughts about Claire's wedding ring as shown in Episode 107 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "The Wedding".


There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.









In my recap of Episode 107, I made the following comments:
I am not unduly worried about the ring. It seems pretty clear to me that this is a "placeholder" ring, just something temporary that she can wear until Jamie manages to buy her something better. They must have decided that TV viewers needed a visual reminder of Claire's divided loyalties, and it's going to be a while yet before they get back to Leoch and Jamie can buy her a decent ring with his own money. I am confident that he WILL do that, when the time comes. Claire isn't going to go through the whole series, multiple seasons, wearing a crude iron ring fashioned from an old key. <g> Don't worry. The people in charge of this show are fans (this episode made that abundantly clear!); they know very well how important that silver ring is going to be, and they won't forget it.
Unfortunately, it turns out I was wrong. This ring (or rather, a sterling silver version of the ring shown in Episode 107) is now being offered for sale as "Claire's Wedding Ring Replica" on the official Outlander Store.

It's selling for $249.99, which seems really excessive to me (do they really think the fans will love it enough to pay that much??), but that's not the main reason I'm mentioning it here.

The photo above shows Claire's ring from the Author's Attic site. (The direct link to the Claire's Ring page is here. As you can imagine, that site has been overwhelmed with traffic in the last couple of days, so if you can't get to it, please try again later.) The design for this ring was used with Diana Gabaldon's permission. It's based on a sketch that appears on page 349 of the OUTLANDISH COMPANION, and it matches the description in the scene where Jamie gives Claire the ring:
Reaching, he took the package from my lap and tore away the wrapping, revealing a wide silver band, decorated in the Highland interlace style, a small and delicate Jacobean thistle bloom carved in the center of each link.

So much I saw, and then my eyes blurred again.

I found a handkerchief thrust into my hand, and did my best to stanch the flow with it. “It’s…beautiful,” I said, clearing my throat and dabbling at my eyes.

“Will ye wear it, Claire?” His voice was gentle now, and his use of my name, mostly reserved for occasions of formality or tenderness, nearly made me break down again.

“You needna do so,” he said, looking at me seriously over his cupped palm. “The marriage contract between us is satisfied--it’s legal. You’re protected, safe from anything much save a warrant, and even from that, so long as you’re at Leoch. If ye wish, we may live apart--if that’s what ye were trying to say wi’ all yon rubbish about Laoghaire. You need have little more to do wi’ me, if that’s your honest choice.” He sat motionless, waiting, holding the tiny circlet near his heart.

So he was giving me the choice I had started out to give him. Forced on me by circumstance, he would force himself on me no longer, if I chose to reject him. And there was the alternative, of course: to accept the ring, and all that went with it.

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 23, "Return to Leoch". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
That scene has always been one of my favorites. Listening to it in the audio version often brings tears to my eyes. And as anyone who's read the books will recall, the silver ring goes on to be even more important as the series progresses. During those long, aching years of separation, it was one of Claire's very, very few tangible reminders of Jamie:
His fingers touched the silver ring and stopped there, holding the metal lightly between thumb and forefinger.

“I never took it off,” I blurted. It seemed important he should know that. He squeezed my hand lightly, but didn’t let go.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 24, "A. Malcolm, Printer". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The silver ring with the Celtic interlace pattern is beloved by OUTLANDER fans around the world. Why would they mess with that in the TV adaptation?

The answer, according to Ronald D. Moore and Terry Dresbach in the Episode 107 podcast, was that they wanted to give Angus and Rupert a role to play in the wedding preparations. And the key from which the ring was made is apparently supposed to be the key to the front door of Lallybroch, or something like that.

To say that I am disappointed with this decision is a severe understatement! This ring made from an old iron key is, frankly, not aesthetically appealing. I've seen comments calling it ugly; I wouldn't go that far, myself, but I certainly don't find it attractive. It might be something that Rupert or Angus would consider fitting for a Sassenach, but to say, "This is what Jamie wants"?? No. The Jamie we know from the books would want a ring as beautiful as Claire is!

And on a lighter note: Did no one point out to them that iron rusts? Considering how often Claire bathes or washes her hands, I'm betting that it will rust to pieces within a year. <g>

But there it is. This is the design they chose to use, we're stuck with it whether the majority of fans like it or not, and I suppose we'll get used to it in time.

I still loved the wedding episode. I think they did a fantastic job adapting it for TV, and I am determined not to let my disappointment with the ring affect my view of Episode 107 as a whole or the series in general.

And it's worth remembering that for those TV viewers who have not read the books, this IS Claire's ring, and always will be. The look of it, the details of its composition, are not nearly as important as the symbolic value of it <understatement!!>, and I'm quite sure that this ring will be just as meaningful as the original, to both Jamie and Claire. In the end, that's what matters.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Episode 107: "The Wedding" (SPOILERS!)

Here are my reactions to Episode 107 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "The Wedding".


There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.









Watching the opening scene with Frank and Claire, my first reaction was, "WTF??" Frank seems in an awfully big hurry to get married, and this isn't at all the way it happened in the book, not even close. But I liked Frank's line, "The only family I care about is you, and the family we will make, together."  I think he really meant that.

The scene seems almost shot in black and white -- like parts of the opening scenes in Episode 101 ("Sassenach"), only more washed out, drained of color. I'm sure that's deliberate.

And when they showed a brief clip of Jamie and Claire -- "You may kiss the bride" -- I said, "Hey, wait a minute!!"

Claire's voice-over about the metaphorical string of pearls "rolling into dark corners, never to be found again" is clearly meant as foreshadowing of the very end of the episode.

You can't help but notice that Claire is drinking an awful lot already. <g>

They didn't promise honesty to one another (and yes, I miss that bit!), but Jamie is giving her honesty anyway.  I wonder if they left that out because of all the emphasis in last week's episode about truth vs. lies, and the uncertainty about who Claire really is.

I thought the use of flashbacks throughout this episode to show events from Jamie's and the clansmen's point of view was very effective.  I really enjoyed the scene with Ned, Dougal, Jamie, and Murtagh.

"If Claire does become my wife, I'll thank ye to stop talking and thinking of her like some common whore." - good line! And Dougal's reaction was just right.

"You have my name, my clan, my family, and if necessary, the protection of my body as well." - Jamie looks so earnest, dead serious, and so young, looking up at her like that.

I like that they started off very slowly, just holding hands.  Jamie wants so badly to kiss her, but instead it's "Tell me about your family".  LOL!

The "montage" effect was well done, IMHO. There's a lot of talk in this part of the book, a lot of back story to cover, but no need to go into the details here. (Just as an aside, Jamie referring to Brian as a "younger half-brother" of Young Simon is incorrect -- Brian is considerably older -- but don't blame the scriptwriters; this is taken straight from the book.)

I love the look on Jamie's face when he tells Brian and Ellen's story. <g>

Angus and Rupert barging in -- once again, they're comic relief, but it's fine, it helps to break the tension between Jamie and Claire. And the two of them are hilarious and always fun to watch.

I just LOVED the undressing scene!!  The gown is lovely, especially the bodice. Magnificent.  And the way Jamie touches her -- gentle, tentative at first -- seems just right.  I'm not sure if his hands actually trembled when he touched her, but it's not hard to imagine that they did. Very sensual scene!

The kiss, and Jamie's line, "I said I was a virgin, not a monk", was just right, every bit as I have always imagined it. <g>  And you can see at first that he's going to take her from behind, "like horses", but she turns around just in time.

The awkwardness of that first sex scene seems just right, and very much as described in the book. Claire's "Jamie, you're crushing me!" is not a direct quote from the book, but it totally fits.  (I miss Jamie's "Holy God!", but I'm sure he was thinking it.)

I love Claire's reaction to Jamie telling her he thought it would be "like horses".  (Have we seen her laugh before in the series?  I can't remember, but I hope she does it more often in future episodes. <g>)  Her hesitation when Jamie asked if she liked it was a little unexpected -- I was taken aback a little to think that Jamie actually believed for an instant that she hadn't enjoyed it -- but I see now that she hesitated out of guilt over betraying Frank (totally understandable), and I like the way they made that clear with the voice-over: "Not only was I a bigamist and an adulteress, but I'd enjoyed it."

The scene with the lads is pretty much as I'd always imagined.  Very funny!  I like the way Murtagh punches Jamie casually on the shoulder, in an avuncular gesture of congratulations and, maybe, pride in the way his godson is growing up. <g>

"I said I was completely under your power and happy to be there." -- Good line!

Once again he tries to touch her and she shies away. Then he finds the right words -- "mo nighean donn" (awwwwww, I just LOVE the way he says that!) but she still doesn't want to be touched. He's so gentle with her, so tender. Just perfect!

I like the colors of the Fraser tartan.  (No, it's not scarlet and black.  That's a modern invention.  Look here for an article Diana Gabaldon wrote in 2009 about the history of clan tartans.)  And I really enjoyed Murtagh's explanation of how he got the kilt, along with the reminder that Jamie is still very much a wanted man, and Randall is not far away.  Gotta love Murtagh, who always has Jamie's best interests at heart. <g>

"I plan to be wed but one time, Murtagh. So I'll do so in a way that would make my mother proud." - good line.

"Your mother had the sweetest smile. It would warm a man to the backbone just to see it." I was startled to hear this line here, rather than at the Abbey much, much later, but I like the next bit: "Claire's smile is just as sweet."  Murtagh is not nearly as dour as he appeared in the book. He's turning into a very likeable character!

I loved Dougal's reaction to Jamie's three conditions: "Christ, it would be easier to kill ye both." "But much harder to explain." LOL!

I liked the added scene with the priest. He's a stubborn man, every bit as much as they are!  And it's good to see young Willie again, taking a more active role this time.  "If you'd learnt your catechism from Father Bain, you'd ken your Bible verses, too." - this line made me laugh.

(Just a side note: That candelabra on the mantel in Jamie and Claire's room is lovely.)

Now, to this business about the ring.  This is the one part of this episode that I didn't really care for.  So the blacksmith offers to make them a silver ring, but Rupert says no, it has to be made from this (iron) key - but he doesn't want to give up the part that goes in the lock.  The clear implication being that he still needs that key.

"This is what Jamie wants."   Assuming he's telling the truth about that -- WHY??

"Just...something I had in my sporran."  I'm thinking that it's the key to the front door of Lallybroch.  I could certainly be wrong, but it's the only explanation I can think of that makes sense.

I am not unduly worried about the ring.  It seems pretty clear to me that this is a "placeholder" ring, just something temporary that she can wear until Jamie manages to buy her something better. They must have decided that TV viewers needed a visual reminder of Claire's divided loyalties, and it's going to be a while yet before they get back to Leoch and Jamie can buy her a decent ring with his own money.  I am confident that he WILL do that, when the time comes.  Claire isn't going to go through the whole series, multiple seasons, wearing a crude iron ring fashioned from an old key. <g>  Don't worry.  The people in charge of this show are fans (this episode made that abundantly clear!); they know very well how important that silver ring is going to be, and they won't forget it. We will just have to wait and see.

[UPDATE 9/23/2014 6:21 am: Unfortunately, it turns out I was completely wrong about this. See my post about the ring here.]

Moving on.... I liked the scene with Ned Gowan in the whorehouse. Very cute!  I loved the explanation of how the madam acquired the gown, and I agree completely that it's much better for Claire to have a dress for her wedding that's never been worn before.

I love the way Claire wakes up with a massive hangover. "Ye hardly want to get married looking like a melted candle" (Murtagh) - good line.

Not surprising at all that Jamie remembers every second of the wedding.  So do many of us fans! <g>

That gown is magnificent!!  Terry Dresbach did a superb job with it.  The stomacher (the triangular piece in front) is particularly gorgeous, as is the embroidery on the petticoat. Wow!

"And suddenly the sun came out" - nice twist on the line from the book, in that we are seeing all this from Jamie's point of view.  I love the bit where Jamie bows formally to Claire. He looks so young! "A Highlander in full regalia", indeed.  He looks every bit as splendid as Claire, in his own way.  I like his coat very much, and the colors of the Fraser tartan.

I love the way he says "James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser", slowly, just as described in the book.  And the way Claire responds is also just like the book.

I didn't care for the way Claire took Frank's ring off and tucked it into her stays. It seemed like she was trying to deny his existence, as though that was the only way she would be able to get through the ceremony.

The blood vow is done EXACTLY as described in the book -- just wonderful!!

Right before Jamie kisses her, Claire looks utterly miserable. "And when you kissed me like that, well, maybe you weren't so sorry to be marrying me after all." - good line.

Seeing Jamie naked for the first time, my reaction was, "My God, Claire was right, he IS beautifully made!"

The sex scene was very well done.  Almost dreamlike, in places.  But tasteful, if you know what I mean -- not overdone.  (And very hot.  Oh, yes. <g>)

I liked that Claire went downstairs wrapped in the Fraser plaid.  I didn't care for Dougal making advances toward her, though.  Still, it's her first opportunity to say clearly, "I'm Jamie's wife."  When Rupert says, "Young Jamie may not have much experience, but that one looks well-ridden", why did Dougal hit him?  Was Dougal defending Claire's honor, or only jealous that he wasn't the one who got to bed her?  Maybe both, I'm not sure.

I was wondering if they'd forgotten about the pearls.  I like the idea that Jamie gave her the pearls in private, even though it doesn't happen that way in the book.  (The look of the necklace is different from what I always imagined, but that's a minor point.)

"Very precious to me. As are you, Claire." - good line!

I like this exchange:

"If I don't get something to eat soon, I might have to take a bite out of you."
"I believe you've already done that."
"And I look forward to doing it again soon."


And just when I'd managed to forget all about Frank (Frank who??), we get a very vivid reminder in the final scene.  I liked seeing Claire's reflection in the gold ring - nice touch!  And the expression on Claire's face at the end, staring at the rings on her hands, is eloquent.  To me, it says very clearly, "Frank! Oh, God, what have I done!"

To summarize my reaction to Episode 107:  I thought it was WONDERFUL!!! Sam and Caitriona were both AMAZING. <g> The writing was terrific, and I'm delighted that they included so many of the best lines from this part of the book.

Clearly they knew the fans would be watching this episode very, very closely, and with so much riding on it, IMHO, they knocked it out of the park! (That's my own personal opinion.  The rest of you are certainly free to disagree.)

I think they did exactly what a good adaptation is supposed to do: they captured the spirit of the book, even if many of the scenes are rearranged or presented differently from the way they are in the book, and some of the details have been omitted or changed.

I couldn't be happier with the way this episode turned out. Kudos to the whole cast and crew!

I hope you enjoyed this recap.  You can see my comments on the previous episodes here:

Episode 101: "Sassenach"
Episode 102: "Castle Leoch"
Episode 103: "The Way Out"
Episode 104: "The Gathering"
Episode 105: "Rent"
Episode 106: "The Garrison Commander"
Episode 108: "Both Sides Now"
Episode 109: "The Reckoning"
Episode 110: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"

Please come back next week for my recap of Episode 108!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Help celebrate the #OutlanderWedding on Twitter!

In honor of Jamie and Claire's upcoming wedding in Episode 107 of the OUTLANDER TV series, we are having an #OutlanderWedding Twitter party on Saturday, September 20, starting at 8pm ET (5pm Pacific, 1 am in the UK).

Details here. If you're on Twitter, please tag your tweets with #OutlanderWedding on Saturday. Let's see if we can get it trending!

There have been a number of these OUTLANDER-related Twitter campaigns in recent months, some of them quite successful. I was the one who came up with the idea for this one. <g> I suggested it to Outlander Ambassadors after seeing the hashtag in the wedding invitation that STARZ posted the other day (pictured above -- click on the image for a bigger view), and I'm delighted to see that they took my suggestion and ran with it.

Hope you'll join us on Saturday! Please spread the word to anyone else you know who may be interested. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Diana Gabaldon's article in the Telegraph

Here's an interesting article by Diana Gabaldon in the UK Daily Telegraph, titled "Outlander's Diana Gabaldon: What the Jacobite risings can tell us about Scottish Independence".

Note to those of you in the UK: at the very end, it says "UK broadcast arrangements are still being finalised."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Getting ready for the wedding!

Jamie and Claire's wedding is coming up soon! Are you going to do anything special to celebrate the occasion?

Click on the picture for a bigger view. Note the #OutlanderWedding hashtag at the bottom. Wouldn't it be great to see it trending? We're planning another Twitter campaign on Saturday, using that hashtag. Details here.

Monday, September 15, 2014

OUTLANDER is coming to Ireland!

OUTLANDER is coming to Ireland!

The OUTLANDER TV series will be shown on RTÉ 2 in the Republic of Ireland.  I don't have the exact premiere date, but their new programming starts the week of September 22.  Look here for details.

Please help spread the word to anyone you know who may be interested. Thanks!

For more information about the OUTLANDER TV series, including a list of countries that will be showing the series, see my FAQ page here.

NOTE TO UK FANS: We still have no news about when OUTLANDER might be available in the UK. I promise I'll post here as soon as I hear anything!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Episode 106: "The Garrison Commander" (SPOILERS!)

Here are my reactions to Episode 106 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "The Garrison Commander".


There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.









I liked the drums at the very beginning, and the close-up look at the officer's coat.

The scenery as they ride to Brockton is just gorgeous!

"It felt liberating to be looked upon with respect" - I like that. Interesting point, that Dougal is the "outlander" here, surrounded by the enemy.

I really enjoyed watching Brig. Gen. Thomas, played by John Heffernan.  He's a good actor, and his role is very effective in illustrating how the English felt about the Scots.  Interesting contrast between Dougal, who sees the general as his equal, and the general, who refers to Dougal as a "creature"; plainly he thinks all Scots are such barbarians that they are not really human beings at all.

"If only you behaved like the loyal British subjects you're supposed to be" - it's very hard to hear this without thinking of the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence, of course.

"You pull that needle and we'll see who pricks who" -- good line!  Despite being vastly outnumbered, Dougal is not intimidated in the slightest.

"You do know how to order men about." "Aye, she does that." - another good line.

I liked the harpsichord music during the dinner scene. Very appropriate.

So BJR just barges in without even knocking?  No wonder the general was annoyed!  I love the way BJR and Claire stare at each other.

The story of Private McGreavey was chilling. "Give ye your head in your hands to play with" is a phrase we've heard more than once in the books, but obviously it's more than just a figure of speech!

I like that window with the round panes very much. <g>

The amputation scene was suitably graphic, bloody and horrifying. <shudder>  But I was glad that a surgeon showed up in time to perform the actual amputation. (Claire is, after all, not yet a doctor.)  This was an effective way to get rid of the general and the rest of the English officers.

The shaving scene was terrific! <g> I liked the brief flashback; fascinating that Frank had that very razor in his possession.  And the bit where BJR holds the razor to his aide's throat was scary. I felt sorry for the young man. Can you imagine working for BJR??

"Lord Thomas is an utter arse." - good line

"There are no Beauchamps in Oxfordshire" - nearly halfway through the episode, and finally we're back to the book! (This is not a complaint, btw, just an observation.)  Interesting that they don't subtitle the French bits, although I had enough French in high school that I had no trouble understanding what they were saying.

"What was your maiden name?" made me laugh, a bit nervously.

For someone with a "glass face", Claire does a pretty good job of making up that story about an "affair of the heart".  Unfortunately, it's clear he doesn't believe a syllable of it.  I love BJR's reaction, as though listening to her lies is giving him a headache.

I really didn't expect the bit with the drawing.  The notorious Black Jack Randall, an artist?  It gives him a little more of a human side, IMHO.

"I would not believe you if you told me that night is dark and day is bright." - good line!

Claire referring to Jamie as "a poor Highlander boy" took me aback a little, until I realized that she has no idea, yet, that Jamie is a laird.

The sight of Jamie's fresh scars made me gasp. And when BJR poked him -- owwwww!

"I prefer to work on a blank canvas. It makes one more able to mark the progress of the damage inflicted." - this is really chilling, especially the matter-of-fact way he says it.

I liked that it was BJR telling the story of the flogging, rather than Dougal. It's far more immediate and personal, somehow, seeing it through his POV.  When he said, "It made my stomach flutter and my legs shake", I thought, "and your cock stiffen, too, no doubt. You sick bastard, may you rot in hell!" (Jamie may have found a way to forgive BJR. I don't think I ever will. For Wentworth OR for this.)

I watched most of the flogging through my fingers <g>, but I didn't really look away.  It's a VERY intense scene, as well it should be.

I liked the way Jamie's feet slipped in the blood. Just after that, we get a good look at Brian Fraser (standing behind Dougal on the left in this photo, wearing a leather jacket). Some people have said they're surprised that Brian didn't show more emotion, watching his son being flogged. I disagree. I think Brian shares Jamie's habit of putting on an expressionless mask to hide strong emotions. It absolutely doesn't mean he's not feeling anything; quite the contrary! (And I'm not surprised that we didn't actually see Brian collapse during the flogging. We're seeing this from BJR's point of view, and he was in no condition to notice the bystanders by that point, even if one of them fell to the ground almost dead.)

"That boy and I, we were creating a masterpiece. An exquisite, bloody masterpiece. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." - this is a terrific bit of writing, and reveals a lot about BJR's true character.

And after hearing all this, after seeing Jamie's scars for herself, Claire still has hope for BJR's soul??  ("It is not too late to win back your humanity", etc.)  She seems so innocent, naive, seeing only what she wants to see.

That blow took me by surprise, even though of course I knew it had to be coming.  I think I was caught off guard because what came just before it wasn't in the book. I love Claire's reaction, lying on the floor gasping for air and looking totally shocked. "Kick her!" was a great addition to the scene.

Dougal to the rescue, thank God! <g>

The scene at St. Ninian's Spring was just perfect.  I love the way Claire says, "I am NOT a spy!"  And her reaction to the idea of marrying Jamie was very well done.

In the next scene, I like the way the close-up of Claire reading the marriage contract shows the gold wedding ring very clearly.  A subtle reminder of Frank, but effective.

The final scene with Jamie is terrific.  He seems shy, even a bit nervous, but with an air of suppressed excitement (or maybe I am projecting my own reactions onto Jamie <g>). The "Does it bother you that I'm not a virgin" exchange was just perfect. <g>  And I love the way Claire stalks back through the crowd of men, bottle in hand.

I loved this episode! Well-written, VERY well-acted (Tobias Menzies was just mesmerizing as BJR!!), and riveting throughout.  Can't wait for the wedding next week!

I hope you enjoyed this recap.  You can see my comments on the previous episodes here:

Episode 101: "Sassenach"
Episode 102: "Castle Leoch"
Episode 103: "The Way Out"
Episode 104: "The Gathering"
Episode 105: "Rent"
Episode 107: "The Wedding"
Episode 108: "Both Sides Now"
Episode 109: "The Reckoning"
Episode 110: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"

Please come back next week for my recap of Episode 107!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Easton Press special edition of OUTLANDER!

Easton Press is offering a special leather-bound hardcover edition of OUTLANDER, signed by Diana Gabaldon!

Very cool! I just wish the site included a photo of the actual book, not just the page with Diana's photo and signature on it, so we can see what the cover looks like.  Personally I wouldn't pay $89 for a book, even a "fine leather-bound" edition of OUTLANDER, without at least a chance to see what I'd be getting.  (But that's just me. <g>)

(UPDATE 9/25/2014 6:42 am: The photo above comes from @BarbaraJIrvine, on Twitter.)

I have no further details. I don't know how long this special edition will be available, how many copies were printed, or whether they will ship outside the US.  But I will update this post if I find out more.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

OUTLANDER on Pinterest!

The OUTLANDER TV series now has an official Pinterest page, including stills from the TV series and photos of some of the objects, plants, and animals featured on the show.

I have been collecting OUTLANDER-related content on Pinterest for about 2 1/2 years, and I have almost 1500 pins, on a variety of different OUTLANDER-related topics.  I thought the rest of you might like to see my collection.

Click on the image below to go to my main Pinterest page.

Follow Me on Pinterest

I have 15 different OUTLANDER-related boards at the moment:

Outlandish Observations - this is where I put pictures relating to me, my blog, Diana Gabaldon's books, and OUTLANDER fandom in general.

OUTLANDER: Historical Figures
OUTLANDER: Standing Stones
OUTLANDER: Men in Kilts
OUTLANDER: Gemstones
OUTLANDER: Food and Drink
OUTLANDER: Medicine and Surgery
18th Century Clothing
Scotland Pictures
From my Zazzle Store!

You will find the vast majority of the photos from my Friday Fun Facts and other blog posts on these boards.  I add new content almost every week, so please come back from time to time to see what's new.

Feel free to look around and repin any of these photos for yourselves.  Hope you enjoy them!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Episode 105: "Rent" (SPOILERS!)

Here are my reactions to Episode 105 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "Rent".


There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.









Interesting opening shot with the horses' hooves.  And what a breathtaking view of the scenery to open the episode!  I like Claire's coat, too -- very striking.

I had never heard the John Donne poem before, but it's appropriate.
ABSENCE, hear thou my protestation    
    Against thy strength,    
    Distance and length:    
Do what thou canst for alteration,    
    For hearts of truest mettle
    Absence doth join and Time doth settle.
Bill Patterson seems perfectly cast as Ned Gowan. He's totally convincing, and I liked him immediately.  I didn't expect the asthma, but I laughed at the (inadvertent, I'm sure!) connection to Hal's problems in MOHB. I was half-expecting Claire to prescribe joint-fir boiled in coffee. <g>

I really enjoyed the "Maid Gaed to the Mill" song, which I included in my Friday Fun Facts in April 2013. There's a video of the song here if you're interested.

You can really feel Claire's loneliness and isolation. But I love Jamie's comment, "Maybe Angus hates ye. He hates everyone." And the way Jamie smiles at her makes me melt! <g>

I love the details of the rent-collecting, the crofts, the livestock, the tenants (both the way they look and how they are dressed), etc. Seeing how the ordinary people lived really makes the 18th century come alive before my eyes, in a way that the scenes in the castle did not, and I think it's fascinating.

The wool-waulking scene is terrific! I like the fact that all the women's faces, especially the older ones, look like they've had hard lives with plenty of hard work, in contrast to Claire with her perfect skin.

Angus really surprised me in the scene where he drags Claire out of the wool-waulking, since we've only seen him as comic relief up to this point. He's becoming a more realistic, fully-fleshed-out character, and I think that's good. "She's slippery as an eel" -- good line!  I also liked the way Claire reacted in this scene, untying the goat, etc.  I think it's very much in character, even though it's not in the book.

Watching this episode the first time, I didn't realize the young man (later identifiied as Jeremy Foster) was an Englishman until I saw the red coat.  But it definitely explains the clansmen's hostility toward him!

When Dougal ripped Jamie's shirt the first time, I actually yelled at the TV, "Hey, cut that out!!" I felt awful for Jamie, and you can tell Claire does, too.

"I'm not bloody doing it. The lad can wear rags from now on." Cold as ice, and Jamie's reaction is just as I always imagined from the book.

I love watching Dougal in this episode, btw. He's just mesmerizing, more so even than Jamie. <g>

I liked the "black pudding" scene - good to see Claire with her hair loose once in a while, and this exchange between Ned and Claire is great:

"It's a pity they don't allow women to practice law."
"Not yet."
"It'll be a few centuries before that happens."
"Only two."

Again, the scenery is just magnificent!

"Would I have to reconcile myself to live the rest of my life among strangers, two hundred years in the past?"  As much as I feel for what she's going through, part of me is saying, "Oh, it's not that bad, you'll see!" LOL.

Notice that the instant "The Watch" is mentioned, Jamie takes off, without a word to anyone.

Claire: "I don't sit with thieves."
Angus: "I will not be judged by an English whore!"

I like how Jamie comes to her defense here, towering over Angus, and making him back down without ever raising his voice or laying a finger on Angus. Just the implied threat is enough.

"Todger" is a new word to me. <g>

I liked the exchange between Claire and Jamie here:

"Angus can kiss my English arse!"
"You're not to judge things ye don't understand." (But she does, constantly; she can't help it.)

I like the stone building in the next village very much. And the bit with Torcall was very good, showing that Dougal does have some humanity after all.

"Christ, I'd die in my blood...." - it's good that we're back to the book, if only briefly.

I like the flashback scene with Frank and the Reverend. Claire's recitation of the historical facts made me laugh -- she has a good memory!  Interesting use of the series theme music here, a vivid reminder of the original lyrics of that song, which are all about the aftermath of Culloden.

I was really disappointed that the first part of the scene with Jamie and Dougal is so hard to hear! I wanted very much to see that, but I could barely make out what they were saying. How are viewers who don't know the book supposed to understand what's going on there if they can't hear what the characters are saying?

It got much easier to hear toward the end (the close-up shots are very good) but I really didn't like the fact that they changed the bit about kicking trees from the way it's done in the book. In the book, Claire's saying, "You need to hit something", and more important, Jamie actually taking her advice and finding it sound <g>, is a small step in the evolution of their relationship. It's missing here, and I think that's a shame.

Also, the way they've changed the timing of this scene from the book means that Claire's line, "He'll do that again" makes no sense in context.  Of course they both know Dougal will do it again! He's done it a few times already by the time we see them here.

On the bright side, I just love the look that passes between Jamie and Claire when he says, "As ye ken well."

More gorgeous scenery.  The tourist industry in Scotland is going to get a huge boost from this episode, I think. <g>

The scene with the executed men was chilling. I wonder if that's historically accurate?

I liked Dougal's speech in the next scene, angry and defiant, even if I don't understand a word he's saying. <g>

And all of a sudden, we're back to the book! <g>  The scene with Jamie and Claire in the room at the inn is exactly as I've always pictured it, except that I can't figure out why Claire is still fully dressed, rather than in her shift. Wasn't she asleep when she heard the door creaking?  (This is a minor point.)

Sam absolutely NAILED Jamie's trademark "one side of his mouth quirked up in a half-smile" expression. <g>  I love it!

I liked the scene with Ned and Claire. "Fighting hearts don't stand a chance against cannons" - good line.

Interesting that it's Angus who starts the fight. In the earlier scene with Jamie and Claire by the campfire, he's the one calling Claire a whore, and now he ends up defending her honor against the very same insult. Very clever bit of writing there, and it works in the context of the TV series, where the focus is mainly on Claire's situation, but I think something important has been lost by the way it's portrayed here.

In the book, the big fight scene in the tavern is started when Jamie finally has had enough and fights back against the insults of the villagers -- and his victory in that fight both earns the respect of the others AND puts an immediate stop to Dougal's using him that way.  In the TV-series version of the scene, Jamie isn't even present during the fight (having excused himself early on to go tend the horses).  So we don't see Jamie standing up for himself or putting an end to Dougal's public humiliation of him.

On the one hand, I can understand this: Jamie has been through so much (physically) already in the series that showing him being beat up for the third time in 5 episodes might be just too much for TV viewers to take.

On the other hand, since we never get to see Jamie standing up for himself, fighting back, the impression you get is that Jamie will put up with this treatment from Dougal forever.  That makes him look weaker and less confident than the Jamie we know from the book, and I didn't care for it.

I did like the fact that after the fight, Claire seems more relaxed, and even teases Rupert a bit. That bit was hilarious! <g>

The views of Culloden were very sobering.  I like the way they used the flashback to have Frank give the viewers the historical background.

The Clan MacKenzie stone made me smile.  Yes, it's in the books (Roger mentions it in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER), but when I visited Culloden in 2012, I made a point of asking our tour guide if there was a MacKenzie stone somewhere, and he said no.  So just keep in mind that the one we see here in this scene is fictional.

That got me thinking: if there is a MacKenzie clan stone at Culloden, who is buried under it?  Dougal?  As far as we know, there were no other MacKenzie fatalities at Culloden, right?  (Just speculation, but it's interesting to think about.)

Interesting that the rest of the clansmen are willing to trust Claire a bit more now, give her more freedom of movement, but Dougal obviously still doesn't trust her at all.  Maybe less now than he ever has.

I didn't expect the arrival of the English soldiers at all.  Hope Jamie managed to hide before they spotted him!

"Tell me, Madam, are you here by your own choice?"  Wow, talk about a cliffhanger! <g>

Overall, I thought this episode was quite enjoyable, and whoever called it a "love letter to Scotland" is absolutely right.

I hope you enjoyed this recap.  You can see my comments on the previous episodes here:

Episode 101: "Sassenach"
Episode 102: "Castle Leoch"
Episode 103: "The Way Out"
Episode 104: "The Gathering"
Episode 106: "The Garrison Commander"
Episode 107: "The Wedding"
Episode 108: "Both Sides Now"
Episode 109: "The Reckoning"
Episode 110: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"

Please come back next week for my recap of Episode 106!

Monday, September 1, 2014

OUTLANDER is coming to Latin America!

Great news for OUTLANDER fans in Latin America!

The OUTLANDER TV series will premiere on September 20 (Saturday) on MovieCityPlay (online), and September 28 (Sunday) at 10PM on the MovieCity channel on TV.

The announcement was posted today on MovieCity's Facebook page.  Click on the image above for a bigger view.

According to the MovieCity website, the service is available in the following countries:

Costa Rica
El Salvador
Dominican Republic

UPDATE 9/7/2014 7:22 pm: The series will be available in Spain on a service of Telefónica de España, very similar to Netflix, before the end of 2014. See the announcement here.

For more information about the OUTLANDER TV series, see my FAQ page here.

Poll results

Here are the results of the August poll, which asked the question, "Would you go through the stones, if you could?"
  • 34.31% - Of course, if Jamie Fraser was waiting for me!
  • 19.51% - Maybe for a short visit, but not to live there permanently.
  • 13.38% - Yes! I'd love to see the 18th century.
  • 8.01% - Yes, but I'd have to bring some essential items with me.
  • 5.61% - No. I like reading about it, but I have no desire to time-travel myself.
  • 5.51% - No, I couldn't leave my family and friends here.
  • 3.35% - No, I'd miss the conveniences of modern life too much.
  • 3.30% - No, I wouldn't survive in an earlier time.
  • 1.93% - No, it took a lot of hard work to live in the 18th century.
  • 1.70% - I'm not sure.
  • 0.85% - I don't believe time-travel is possible.
  • 0.28% - No, it sounds too dangerous.
  • 2.26% - Other
Here are the responses for "Other":
  • Yes if I could bring my family and soap and herb guide
  • I'm much too assertive to be able to blend in an earlier time !
  • Yes, if a return trip was possible.
  • yes--i'd love to see my fathers home and my heritage. my father was James Fraser
  • I am far too accustomed to AC and indoor plumbing; I'd never make it.
  • no, times were rough for black folk, we're barely making it in 2014!
  • Only if I could go forward!
  • Yes, but only if I can go to American 1890's
  • Yes, but only if I could bring a friend!
  • I would love to but am on medication I can not live without.
  • scotland fascinates me
  • No. My love is here. :>)
  • No, what would they do with a deaf person?
  • Yes, but I'd prefer if my husband could travel in time with me.
  • No being burnt at the stake does not thrill me
  • I would if I could go back and forth easily
  • no. I am finally going to be a grandmother and don't want to miss the baby!
  • Only if my son could go with me!
  • Yes but I'd have to bring my glasses.
  • Is young Ian on the other side?
  • If I were 40 yrs younger, I'd be bullet - proof. So yes, I'd go.
  • No, due to my astigmatisim/nearsightedness, I would not be able to see anything.
  • I'd go, but I wouldn't survive!
  • yes, bringing medicines with me, and only if I could come back1
  • Only if I could take all my Outlander books with me
  • yes, no hesitation
  • Yes to meet Jamie and Claire and come right back.
  • if all my family could come
  • medication I need to survive wasn't available back then...
  • I'm black, wish I could but it'd be a terrible idea.
  • I am to old for that period of time.
  • If I get to choose when.
  • can i take my dentist?
  • Yes, if my kidney transplant would continue without the meds:(
  • I am too old for all that adventure and horse riding!
  • I'd love to, but I really consider 65 too old for that kind of change
  • Only if I were Claire
  • Only If I could choose the time period and go back & forth at will without harm
  • Only in my mind when reading about it, I am when and where I belong.
  • I'd like to, I'd be burned as a witch to outspoken
  • Only if my husband was there waiting for me !
  • I'll go wherever I'm needed.
  • YES! But I would bring my family. All 3 of my men would fit in just fine!
  • Absolutey - If my kids were grown!
  • Yes, but 1890 in America!
  • Yes, if I could visit each of the periods I love and come back each time.
  • Yes - if I was sure I could get back.
  • If my husband was on the other side.
There were 2122 responses to this poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!

Please take a moment to vote in the September poll, which is all about visiting Scotland.