Friday, January 30, 2015

Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #12

Here are this week's Friday Fun Facts about Diana Gabaldon's books. This is a collection of some of my favorite items from previous FFF posts. Hope you enjoy it!

1) Charles Edward Stuart really did have a picnic set made of gold and sterling silver, shown above. This must be the same picnic set mentioned by Lord Lovat, Jamie's grandfather, when he was considering what gift to send to Charles Stuart:
"Ha," said his lordship with satisfaction.  "We'll send the gold and sterling picnic set.  That's rich enough, but too frivolous to be interpreted as political support.  Besides," he added practically, "the spoon's dented."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, chapter 41, "The Seer's Curse". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
As Roger explained in DRAGONFLY, Charles Stuart left the picnic set on the field at Culloden. It's currently on display in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. I saw it when I visited Scotland in 2012. Look here for more information.

2) Here's a song called "The Maid Gaed to the Mill", performed by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger.  You may remember it from the scene near the beginning of A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES:
Roger was, of all things, singing now, if one could call it that. Or chanting, at least, the words to a very bawdy Scottish song, about a miller who is pestered by a young woman wanting him to grind her corn. Whereupon he does.

“He flung her down upon the sacks, and there she got her corn ground, her corn ground...” Roger was chanting hotly in her ear, his full weight pinning her to the ground and the stars spinning madly far above.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 6, "Ambush". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
If you've seen Episode 105, "Rent", of the OUTLANDER TV series, you'll remember the clansmen singing this song on the road.

If the original Scots lyrics are too difficult to follow, you can see an English translation here.

3) The photo above shows a glutton, also known as a wolverine.  (Why does it have two different names?  Look here for a somewhat tongue-in-cheek explanation.)  Here's a member of Young Ian's Mohawk tribe impersonating a glutton:
Walking Elk was short and heavily built—not so much unlike a glutton himself, which made his imitations that much more entertaining.

He turned his head, wrinkling up his nose and growling through his teeth, as the glutton caught the hunter’s scent. Then he changed in a flash, became the hunter, creeping carefully through the brush, pausing, squatting low--and springing upward with a sharp yelp, as his buttock encountered a thorny plant.

The men around the fire whooped as Walking Elk became the glutton, who looked at first astonished at the noise, and then thrilled to have seen its prey. It leaped from its lair, uttering growls and sharp yips of rage. The hunter fell back, horrified, and turned to run. Walking Elk’s stubby legs churned the pounded earth of the longhouse, running in place. Then he threw up his arms and sprawled forward with a despairing “Ay-YIIIIII!” as the glutton struck him in the back.

The men shouted encouragement, slapping their palms on their thighs, as the beleaguered hunter managed to roll onto his back, thrashing and cursing, grappling with the glutton that sought to tear out his throat.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 69, "A Stampede of Beavers". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

The video above shows a brief excerpt about wolverines from the BBC's wonderful nature documentary series, "Planet Earth". For more information about wolverines, look here.

4) This diagram shows what an abdominal aortic aneurysm looks like. Just looking at the picture is a little scary!  It looks like a balloon that's about to pop, doesn't it?  Here's a brief video animation:

It's easy to see why such a condition would be fatal in the 18th century.
"How do you feel?” I asked.

[Grannie Wilson] put a trembling hand to her belly.

“I do feel that wee bit poorly,” she whispered.

I put my own hand on her abdomen, and felt it instantly. A pulse, where no pulse should be. It was irregular, stumbling, and bumping--but most assuredly there.

“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” I said. I didn’t say it loudly, but Mrs. Crombie gasped, and I saw her apron twitch, as she doubtless made the horns beneath it.

I hadn’t time to bother with apology, but stood and grabbed Roger by the sleeve, pulling him aside.

“She has an aortic aneurysm,” I said to him very softly. “She must have been bleeding internally for some time, enough to make her lose consciousness and seem cold. It’s going to rupture very soon, and then she’ll die for real.” 

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES, chapter 39, "I Am the Resurrection". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

5) This is what hyacinth looks like.  (Photo from Wikipedia.)  What beautiful flowers!  It really is a shame that Jamie's allergic to them.
"Are you all right?” I looked around for some means of disposal, and settled for dropping the sachet into a stationery box on my desk at the far side of the room.

“Aye, I’ll do. It’s the hya…hya…hyaCHOO!”

“Goodness!” I hastily flung the window open, and motioned to him. He obligingly stuck his head and shoulders out into the wet drizzle of the morning, breathing in gusts of fresh, hyacinth-free air.

“Och, that’s better,” he said with relief, pulling in his head a few minutes later. His eyes widened. “What are ye doing now, Sassenach?”

“Washing,” I explained, struggling with the back laces of my gown. “Or getting ready to, at least. I’m covered with oil of hyacinth,” I explained, as he blinked. “If I don’t wash it off, you’re liable to explode."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 11, "Useful Occupations". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
For more information about hyacinths, look here.  There are a number of interesting facts on that page, including the following:
An ancient Greek legend describes the origin of the Hyacinth. Two of the gods, Apollo and Zephyr, adored a handsome young Greek called Hyakinthos. Apollo was teaching Hyakinthos the art of throwing a discus.

Zephyr, who was the god of the west wind, was overwhelmed with jealousy and he blew the discus back. It struck Hyakinthos on the head and killed him. From his blood grew a flower, which the sun god Apollo named after him.
I hope you enjoyed this 12th installment of the Best of the Friday Fun Facts! Here are the previous collections:

Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #1
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #2
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #3
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #4
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #5
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #6
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #7
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #8
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #9
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #10
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #11

Look here to see all of my Friday Fun Facts blog posts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

More official OUTLANDER merchandise coming soon!

Knockout Licensing has announced its first deals for official OUTLANDER-related merchandise.

According to the press release, the products will include:
  • Cryptozoic Entertainment playing cards as well as a collectible trading cards and trading card binders.
  • EMCE Toys, a division of Fourth Castle Micromedia, for novelty items including car signs, car air fresheners, bookmarks, mugs, magnets, button sets, postcard sets and e-reader covers.
  • Factory Entertainment for a wide range of items inspired by or using imagery from the television series including pillows, towels, stationery, lithographs, drink bottles, jewelry replicas and costume accessory replicas.
  • Funko for Pop! Vinyl figures based on characters from the series.
  • North American Bear Company for a line of collectible bears inspired by Jamie, Claire and other Outlander characters.
  • Ripple Junction for a line of men’s, women’s and girls' tops including tees, tanks, sweaters, fleece, jackets and more.
If you want to get an idea of what some of these products might look like, check out this post by ThreeIfBySpace.

We have no idea yet what this might mean for established sites like The Author's Attic which sell OUTLANDER-themed products.  If I find out anything, I'll post here.

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

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Happy Robert Burns Day!

In honor of Robert Burns Day, here's the quote that led Roger, in VOYAGER, to pinpoint Jamie's exact location in the past.  It comes from the final stanza of a poem called "The Author's Earnest Cry and Prayer", which Robert Burns wrote in 1786.
Scotland, my auld, respected mither!
Tho' whiles ye moistify your leather,
Till, whare ye sit on craps o' heather,
Ye tine your dam;
Freedom an' whisky gang thegither!
Take aff your dram!
As Roger explained to Claire:
"Here it is”--his racing finger stopped suddenly on a phrase-- “‘for as has been known for ages past, “Freedom and Whisky gang tegither.” ’ See how he’s put that Scottish dialect phrase in quotes? He got it from somewhere else.”

“He got it from me,” I said softly. “I told him that--when he was setting out to steal Prince Charles’s port.”

“I remembered.” Roger nodded, eyes shining with excitement. “But it’s a quote from Burns,” I said, frowning suddenly. “Perhaps the writer got it there--wasn’t Burns alive then?"

"He was," said Bree smugly, forestalling Roger. "But Robert Burns was six years old in 1765."

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 21, "Q.E.D.". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Here's Karen Matheson and Paul Brady performing "Ae Fond Kiss". The lyrics come from a poem written by Robert Burns in 1791. You may remember that Diana used "Ae Fond Kiss" as the title of Chapter 19 of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, in which Claire encounters Tom Christie.

And here's "The Sheriffmuir Fight", performed by the Corries. The lyrics come from Burns' poem, "The Battle of Sheriffmuir". I think this version of the song sounds exactly as Roger recalled it in WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, including the bodhrans:
“Oh, that’s braw, man!” Fraser exclaimed. “Though yon poet’s got the devil of an accent. Where’s he come from, d’ye ken?”

“Er . . . Ayrshire, I think.”

Fraser shook his head in admiration and sat back.

“Could ye maybe write it down for me?” he asked, almost shyly. “I wouldna put ye to the trouble of singin’ it again, but I’d dearly love to learn the whole of it.”

“I--sure,” Roger said, taken aback. Well, what harm could it do to let Robert Burns’s poem loose in the world some years in advance of Burns himself? “Ken anyone who can play a bodhran? It’s best wi’ the drum rattlin’ in the background.”

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 31, "The Shine of a Rocking Horse's Eyes". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
UPDATE 1/26/2015: Diana Gabaldon commented on Facebook:
I especially like the recording/video of "The Sheriffmuir Fight," by the Corries (this is my favorite version of the song--and the one I had in mind when I wrote the scene in MOBY that Karen quotes from).
Scotland's most famous poet would be 256 years old today. <g> Happy Burns Day to all of you!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

STARZ to show 1st scene of EP109 on Saturday

STARZ will be showing the first scene of Episode 109 on Saturday, Jan. 24, at 9pm!

Here's Sam and Caitriona inviting us all to watch.

I'm really ambivalent about this, personally.  I might watch with the sound off, as I've done for several of the recent trailers, but I really would much rather experience the whole episode all at once in April. But that's just my own personal preference.  What about the rest of you?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

OUTLANDER Season 1 Vol. 1 on DVD and Blu-ray!

It's official!! The DVD and Blu-ray versions of OUTLANDER Season 1, Volume 1 (covering the first 8 episodes) will be released in the US on March 3, 2015!!

The pre-order links on Amazon are here:



Look here for a detailed description of the additional features available with each edition. I don't know about the rest of you, but I love watching the extra features on DVDs of movies and TV shows in general, and I really can't wait to see the "goodies" they've included with OUTLANDER!

NOTE IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE THE US:  The links above are for the US version only.  The DVD is available for pre-order in several other countries, including Canada, Australia, and Germany, but check with DVD sellers in your country to confirm availability.

Finally, Diana Gabaldon mentioned on her Facebook page today that Sony will be releasing a "Digital HD" version of OUTLANDER on February 9, 2015.  She says,
I think they mean by "Digital HD", that it will be available from iTunes, etc. on Feb. 9th.
So that may be an option for some of you. I have no more details at this time.

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

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Update on the TV series

Here's a brief update on the OUTLANDER TV series.

1) OUTLANDER Soundtrack, Volume 1, featuring music by composer Bear McCreary, will be released on February 10, 2015.

Tracks include:
  1. People Disappear All The Time
  2. Outlander The Skye Boat Song (feat. Raya Yarbrough) [Castle Leoch version]
  3. Dance Of The Druids (feat. Raya Yarbrough)
  4. Fallen Through Time
  5. Castle Leoch
  6. Comin' Thro The Rye
  7. The Woman Of Balnain (feat. Gillebrìde MacMillan)
  8. Mrs. Fitz
  9. The Losing Side Of History
  10. Clean Pease Strae
  11. The Marriage Contract
  12. The Wedding
  13. The Veil Of Time
You can pre-order from Amazon here. I'm assuming that it will also be available for download on iTunes, but I have no information on that yet. The press release is here if you're interested.

2. Good news for Canadian fans! Showcase announced last week that the OUTLANDER TV series will return on Sunday, April 5th, just one day after the show resumes in the US. Click on the video above to watch a brief trailer from Showcase.

3) It is looking very likely that the DVD of OUTLANDER Season 1, Volume 1 (covering the first 8 episodes) will be released in the US in early March.  It's available for pre-order in various places (including Canada and Australia).

*** UPDATE 1/20/2015: The DVD and Blu-ray will be released in the US on March 3, 2015! Please see this announcement about the DVD release for more details. ***

Finally, to those of you in the UK:  We still have no news about when OUTLANDER might be available in the UK or which network will show it.  I can only repeat what I've said before: the moment we hear anything, I'll post an announcement here.  Please try to be patient a while longer.

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Updated version of the OUTLANDISH COMPANION coming March 31!

Diana Gabaldon announced today that an updated version of the OUTLANDISH COMPANION will be published on March 31, 2015 in the US.

What's new in this edition of the book?
I removed a few chunks of obsolete material and replaced them with new material, including a couple of essays and a section on "Book to Film: How we Got from There to Here" (including hitherto-unreleased photos from the Starz TV show, and "A Brief Account of My Career as a TV Actor").
Please note, this is NOT the long-promised OUTLANDISH COMPANION Volume II!  The book that's coming out March 31 is an updated edition of the original OUTLANDISH COMPANION, first published in 1999, covering the first four books in the OUTLANDER series.

As Diana explains,
There will be a SECOND OUTLANDISH COMPANION, which covers the series from THE FIERY CROSS through WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, plus material on the Lord John novels, THE EXILE, and the assorted novellas. With luck, this might be out in the fall of this year.
The updated OC is available for pre-order in print and e-book editions:


Barnes & Noble

I don't have any information yet about international availability of this book, but I'm sure you will be able to order signed copies through the Poisoned Pen bookstore. The Poisoned Pen is Diana Gabaldon's local independent bookstore in Arizona, and they ship all over the world.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Episode titles for the 2nd half of Season 1

Episode titles for the second half of OUTLANDER Season 1 are listed on the STARZ website here.  Thanks to @OutlanderAddict on Twitter for the heads-up!

EP109: "The Reckoning" (to be shown April 4, 2015, in the US)
EP110: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"
EP111: "The Devil's Mark"
EP112: "Lallybroch"
EP113: "The Watch"
EP114: "The Search"
EP115: "Wentworth Prison"
EP116: "To Ransom a Man's Soul"

If you've read OUTLANDER or CROSS STITCH, it seems clear they're following the structure of the book pretty closely. I can't wait!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Happy Birthday, Diana Gabaldon!!

Wishing a very happy birthday to Diana Gabaldon, author of the OUTLANDER series, who turns 63 years old today!

Thank you so much for creating this AMAZING story!!

To celebrate Diana's birthday, we're going to try to send the hashtag #HappyBdayDG around the world on Twitter.  Please tag your tweets with #HappyBdayDG TODAY, January 11, from 7pm - 9pm in your local time zone. Let's see if we can get it trending!  (And feel free to use the hashtag for ALL your tweets today, if you want to.  This is just for fun, after all.)

Friday, January 9, 2015

New trailer for 2nd half of Season 1!

STARZ has released a new trailer for the second half of OUTLANDER Season 1, and it's terrific!  Longer than I expected (about 2 minutes), with lots to absorb.

You can also see the trailer on the STARZ website here.

(Note for those of you outside the US: try this version instead.)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

OUTLANDER wins the People's Choice Award!

OUTLANDER has won the 2015 People's Choice Award for Favorite Cable Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show!


Here's Diana Gabaldon's reaction on Twitter last night:

Sam and Caitriona on the red carpet last night. Don't they look fabulous?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Help celebrate Diana's birthday on Jan. 11!

Diana Gabaldon's birthday is coming up this Sunday, January 11.  She will be 63 years old, believe it or not!

To celebrate Diana's birthday, we're going to try to send the hashtag #HappyBdayDG around the world on Twitter.  Please tag your tweets with #HappyBdayDG on Sunday, January 11, from 7pm - 9pm in your local time zone. Let's see if we can get it trending!

Credit for this idea goes to Tracey Randinelli of My Outlander Purgatory, who came up with it in January, 2011, during one of our Monday-night OUTLANDER chats on MOP. We've made it an annual tradition ever since, and it's always a lot of fun. This will be our 5th year doing it.  Things are Very Different now, of course, and I hope we'll get a lot more people to participate.

If you're not on Twitter, there will still be lots of ways to celebrate! Many OUTLANDER fan-sites and Facebook groups will be taking part in the festivities. <g>

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

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Diana to speak at Oxford March 22

Diana Gabaldon will be appearing at the Oxford Literary Festival on Sunday, March 22, 2015.

I thought Diana's comment on Twitter about it was interesting, and I'm glad she's getting this opportunity! I can't help thinking that Frank and Roger would be proud. <g>

Here's Diana's announcement on Facebook:
Ever since reading Dorothy L. Sayers's GAUDY NIGHT (to say nothing of Colin Dexter's wonderful Morse novels), I've had an ambition to be invited to speak at Oxford University. Am thrilled to the marrow to say that this ambition is about to be realized this March.
Congratulations, Diana!!

I have no information about any additional appearances Diana may be making on this trip, but keep checking the Appearances page on her website for the latest updates.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

December poll results

Happy New Year! Here are the results of the December poll, which asked the question, "What is your favorite gift from the OUTLANDER books?"
  • 18.73% - Brianna's photos
  • 16.15% - The pearl necklace Jamie gave Claire on their wedding day.
  • 15.39% - Claire's silver wedding ring
  • 10.54% - Fergus's last name
  • 8.49% - Adso the kitten
  • 7.66% - The medicine box Jamie gave Claire for their anniversary
  • 6.44% - The cherrywood snake Jamie's brother made for him
  • 4.70% - The rosary Jamie gave Willie as a farewell gift
  • 4.47% - Hugh Munro's dragonfly in amber
  • 4.32% - The poison ivy bouquet
  • 1.59% - The vrooms Roger made for the children
  • 0.23% - The bracelet Roger gave to Bree
  • 1.29% - Other:
Here are the results for "Other":
  • Ellen's bracelets from Murtaugh
  • all of the above, for different reasons
  • all of them
  • Works-with-her-hands'(Emily's) bracelet given to Ian, laid down to marry Rachel
  • Lord John Gray's gift of painting of William
  • ALL!
  • Too many to choose from. They are all so well thought out.
  • All of the above!! All so perfect in their own way. :)
  • each is so special I can't choose
  • All of the above!
  • boar's tusk bracelet given by Jamie;s god father to Jamie's mother
  • I love all of them, for different reasons :)
  • all of the above
  • Theyare all so special I can't choose.
  • I just can't choose one! They are all too memorable!
  • the medicine box LJG and Will gave Claire
There were 1319 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated! Please take a moment to vote in the January poll, which is all about your favorite supporting characters (EXCLUDING Jamie and Claire) in the OUTLANDER TV series.