Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Season 2 Casting: Frances de la Tour as Mother Hildegarde!

I am thrilled by today's announcement that the part of Mother Hildegarde will be played by Frances de la Tour!  I've been saying for years that she would be perfect for the role (as you can see from this post on Compuserve dated May 15, 2009) and I'm just delighted to hear that it's going to happen!

Here's the way Mother Hildegarde is described when we first meet her in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER:
Hildegarde de Gascogne was the most suitable person I could imagine to be in charge of a place like L’Hôpital des Anges. Nearly six feet tall, her gaunt, rawboned frame swathed in yards of black wool, she loomed over her nursing sisters like a broomstick scarecrow guarding a field of pumpkins. Porters, patients, sisters, orderlies, novices, visitors, apothecaries, all were swept up by the force of her presence, to be tidied away into neat heaps, wherever Mother Hildegarde might decree.

With that height, plus a face of an ugliness so transcendant as to be grotesquely beautiful, it was obvious why she had embraced a religious life--Christ was the only man from whom she might expect embrace in return.

Her voice was deep and resonant; with its nasal Gascony accent, it bonged through the corridors of the hospital like the echo of the church bells next door.

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 12, "L'Hôpital des Anges".  Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.)
It has always seemed to me that Frances de la Tour fits that description very closely. I don't usually participate in the speculation about casting, but in this case, I really cannot imagine anyone else playing Mother Hildegarde, and I'm delighted to have got this one right!

Here's an interesting interview with de la Tour from a few years ago.  It's definitely worth reading.

(Please note: we still have no information about Brianna or Roger's casting. I promise I'll post here as soon as I hear anything.)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

In honor of this week's news

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this week to allow same-sex couples to marry, I can't help thinking of what Lord John Grey might make of this news.
"And what do you think love is, then, that it is reserved only to men who are drawn to women?"

(From LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 32, "The Path of Honor". Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Indeed!  Think of #LoveWins and similar messages on social media in the last 24 hours.
“I came this afternoon to give you some news of my own; I am to be married.”

“Married?” The shock was plain on Fraser’s face. “To a woman?”

“I think there are not many alternatives,” Grey replied dryly.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 59, "In Which Much is Revealed". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I think Lord John would be astounded (to put it mildly!) to hear that in our time, same-sex marriage has become not only possible, but accepted by so many people around the world.
"Do you ever wish that you were...not as you are?”

The question took him by surprise--and yet he was somewhat more surprised to realize that he did not need to think about the answer.

“No,” he said. He hesitated for a moment, but Percy’s asking of the question was enough. “You do?”

Percy glanced back at the portrait of Villiers, then looked down, dark lashes hiding his eyes.

“Sometimes. You must admit--it would make some things less difficult.”

Grey glanced thoughtfully at a nearby couple, evidently courting; the young woman was flirting expertly over her fan, giggling as her swain made faces, imitating the stuffed-frog expression of one portrait’s subject.

“Perhaps. And yet it depends, I think, much more upon one’s position in life. Were I my father’s heir, for instance, I should feel the pressure of an obligation to marry and reproduce, and should likely consent. As it is, my brother has met his obligations in that regard nobly, and thus it is a matter of indifference whether I should ever wed.”

(From LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 32, "Pictures at an Exhibition." Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I hope someday that it does indeed become a matter of "indifference" to society at large whether anyone -- gay, lesbian, or otherwise -- chooses to marry or not.  In my opinion, that's a matter of individual choice, and people should be free to make their own decisions. I think this week's Supreme Court decision is a huge step forward!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Gary Lewis and a website for learning Gaelic

Gary Lewis, who plays Colum MacKenzie in the OUTLANDER TV series, is promoting a website called LearnGaelic.scot that helps people learn Gaelic.

Gary says,
My role in Outlander has allowed me to gain my own respect for the language and the enhanced LearnGaelic.scot website is a great online resource which should help encourage other learners of the language.
I agree that LearnGaelic.scot looks like a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the language!

The site has been around since 2011, but I'm sure it won't surprise any of you to learn that it's had a tremendous surge in interest over the past year, due in large part to the TV series. For more information about the site, look here.

I think Gary Lewis does a wonderful job with the Gaelic on the show. I was particularly impressed with his speech welcoming the clansmen in Episode 104, "The Gathering". I don't have a video clip of that scene, but here's Part 9 of the "How to speak OUTLANDER" video series.  This one features Gary Lewis (Colum) and Graham McTavish (Dougal) teaching the rest of us the correct way to say the MacKenzie war cry, "TÙLACH ÀRD!"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day quotes from the OUTLANDER books

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!  In honor of the day, I thought I'd post a selection of my favorite quotes about fathers and fatherhood from Diana Gabaldon's books.  Hope you enjoy them!

"I hadna realized until I saw him just how alone I’d felt there--or how scairt. The soldiers would not give us any time alone together, but at least they let me greet him.” He swallowed and went on.

“I told him I was sorry--about Jenny, I meant, and the whole sorry mess. He told me to hush, though, and hugged me tight to him. He asked me was I hurt badly--he knew about the flogging--and I said I’d be all right. The soldiers said I must go then, so he squeezed my arms tight, and told me to remember to pray. He said he would stand by me, no matter what happened, and I must just keep my head up and try not to worrit myself. He kissed my cheek and the soldiers took me away. That was the last time I ever saw him."

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22, "Reckonings". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 

“I wondered a bit,” he said thoughtfully, “whether my father was the sort of father he was because of the way old Simon treated him. I didna realize it at the time, of course, but it’s no so common for a man to show his feelings for his sons.”

“You’ve thought about it a lot.” I offered him another flask of ale, and he took it with a smile that lingered on me, more warming than the feeble autumn sun.

“Aye, I did. I was wondering, ye see, what sort of father I’d be to my own bairns, and looking back a bit to see, my own father being the best example I had. Yet I knew, from the bits that he said, or that Murtagh told me, that his own father was nothing like him, so I thought as how he must have made up his mind to do it all differently, once he had the chance."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 40, "The Fox's Lair".  Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.)

Willie knew how an earl should behave; he was making a masterful effort to subdue his tears, sniffing ferociously and swiping at his face with a sleeve.

“Allow me, my lord.” Jamie did kneel then, and wiped the little boy’s face gently with his own coarse handkerchief. Willie’s eyes looked at him over the cotton folds, red-rimmed and woeful.

“Have you really got to go, Mac?” he asked, in a very small voice.

“Aye, I have.” He looked into the dark blue eyes, so heartbreakingly like his own, and suddenly didn’t give a damn what was right or who saw. He pulled the boy roughly to him, hugging him tight against his heart, holding the boy’s face close to his shoulder, that Willie might not see the quick tears that fell into his thick, soft hair.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 16, "Willie".  Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.)

“You can...call me Da,” he said. His voice was husky; he stopped and cleared his throat. “If--if ye want to, I mean,” he added diffidently.

“Da,” she said, and felt the smile bloom easily this time, unmarred by tears.

“Da. Is that Gaelic?”

He smiled back, the corners of his mouth trembling slightly. “No. It’s only...simple.”

And suddenly it was all simple. He held out his arms to her. She stepped into them and found that she had been wrong; he was as big as she’d imagined--and his arms were as strong about her as she had ever dared to hope.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 41, "Journey's End".  Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.)

Roger had sworn an oath to take Jemmy as his own, no matter what the little boy’s true paternity might be; he was an honorable man, Roger, and he meant it. But the speech of the heart is louder than the words of any oath spoken by lips alone.

When I had gone back, pregnant, through the stones, Frank had sworn to me that he would keep me as his wife, would treat the coming child as his own--would love me as he had before. All three of those vows his lips and mind had done his best to keep, but his heart, in the end, had sworn only one. From the moment that he took Brianna in his arms, she was his daughter.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 13, "Beans and Barbecue".  Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 

Jem was heavy in his arms, and groggy. He stirred, lifted his head, and blinked, blue eyes glassy with sleep.

“It’s okay,” Roger whispered, patting his back. “Daddy’s here.”

Jem sighed like a punctured tire and dropped his head on Roger’s shoulder with the force of a spent cannonball. He seemed to inflate again for a moment, but then put his thumb in his mouth and subsided into that peculiarly boneless state common to sleeping children. His flesh seemed to melt comfortably into Roger’s own, his trust so complete that it was not necessary even to maintain the boundaries of his body--Daddy would do that. 

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 29, "Perfectly Fine".  Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 

"For a long time,” he said at last, “when I was small, I pretended to myself that I was the bastard of some great man. All orphans do this, I think,” he added dispassionately. “It makes life easier to bear, to pretend that it will not always be as it is, that someone will come and restore you to your rightful place in the world.”

He shrugged.

“Then I grew older, and knew this was not true. No one would come to rescue me. But then--” He turned his head and gave Jamie a smile of surpassing sweetness.

“Then I grew older still, and discovered that, after all, it was true. I am the son of a great man.”

The hook touched Jamie’s hand, hard and capable.

“I wish for nothing more."

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 18, "Pulling Teeth".  Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 

Seized by an urgency greater than any he’d ever known, he turned and ran. Ran heedless of footing, of dark, of Buck’s startled cry behind him.

Jerry heard his footsteps on the grass and whirled round, startled himself. Roger grabbed him by both hands, squeezed them hard enough to make Jerry gasp, and said fiercely, “I love you!”

That was all there was time for--and all he could possibly say.

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 101, "Just One Chance".  Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 
Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 19, 2015

OUTLANDER coloring book coming in October

And now for Something Completely Different....

An OUTLANDER coloring book (intended for adults) will be published by Penguin Random House later this year, "featuring 45 original black-and-white illustrations inspired by the characters, scenes, and other iconic imagery from Gabaldon's bestselling Outlander book series."

Diana Gabaldon is listed as the author, but I don't know what contribution, if any, she will be making to this book. (I'm sure they'll have a professional artist doing the drawings.)  If I find out more information, I'll update this post.

UPDATE 6/19/2015 7:27 pm:  Here's Diana's response when I asked on Compuserve about how involved she's going to be in the project:
Dear Karen--

   They'll have _lots_ of artists doing it--5 to 8, they said; necessary in order to have the coloring book ready for release along with the OC II  (didn't know that's what they were aiming for, until they told me just now).

   I probably get approval of the images--along with all the RH [Random House] editorial/art people. <g>  But beyond giving them permission to do it, I theoretically have no particular involvement.

Some of you may have heard about this trend of coloring books for adults.  Apparently they've become extremely popular, but I find the idea rather baffling, myself. I certainly don't mind if others enjoy coloring for fun or relaxation, but I haven't done that sort of coloring since I was maybe nine years old, and the idea just doesn't appeal to me, personally. <shrug>

So I don't plan to purchase this OUTLANDER coloring book, though I'll probably glance at it in the bookstore, just to see what it is.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the coloring book will be published on October 27, 2015, the same day that the long-awaited OUTLANDISH COMPANION Volume II comes out.

What about the rest of you?  Do you enjoy coloring? Would you buy this OUTLANDER coloring book? Feel free to leave a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More Season 2 casting news!

Here's the latest OUTLANDER Season 2 casting news:

Laurence Dobiesz will play Alex Randall, younger brother to the notorious Black Jack Randall. The casting team continues to do a fantastic job! I am amazed at how much Dobiesz resembles Tobias Menzies, especially around the eyes.

You can follow him on Twitter here.

Also, it was announced a few days ago that Margaux Chatelier will play Annalise de Marillac. If you've read DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, you'll recall that Jamie tells Claire how he fought his first duel in Paris at the age of 18 over Annalise de Marillac.  She's not precisely an "ex-girlfriend", at least in the book, but Jamie certainly had a major crush on her.

Annalise de Marillac only appeared very briefly in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, so it will be interesting to see whether they've expanded her role for the TV series.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

POP! Vinyl OUTLANDER figures

Check out the new POP! Vinyl OUTLANDER figures from Funko!  They'll be available in October 2015, but you can pre-order now for $9.99 each.  Click on the link below each image to go to the pre-order page. (I have no idea if they ship outside the US.)




Black Jack Randall

Frank Randall

Sunday, June 14, 2015

#EmmysForOutlander on Twitter!

For those of you who are on Twitter:

Please tag your tweets with #EmmysForOutlander on Monday, June 15, from 1-2pm ET (10am-11am PT, 6-7pm in the UK).

We are going to try to get #EmmysForOutlander to trend! For more information, look here.

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

Saturday, June 13, 2015

MOHB paperback on the NY Times Bestseller List!

The trade-paperback edition of Diana Gabaldon's WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD (that's the large size paperback) is #5 on the NY Times Bestseller List this week, in the Paperback Trade Fiction category.

Congratulations, Diana, and may it stay on the list for a long time!

For those of you who haven't yet read it, WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD (aka MOHB or MOBY) is a terrific read, one of my favorites in the entire series, and highly recommended!  For more information about this book, see my Book 8 FAQ here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Great Thread Explosion of 2015 is finally over!

As many of you know, I'm Section Leader (moderator) of the Diana Gabaldon folder on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community, which is the online forum where Diana hangs out.  We have a very active group of OUTLANDER fans on Compuserve, ranging from people who found Diana's books 20+ years ago to people who just discovered the books as a result of watching the TV series, and we love to talk about anything and everything OUTLANDER-related.

All of the staff members on Compuserve are volunteers.  I'm on the forum every day, keeping things organized, greeting new members, and participating in discussions.  I've been doing this almost seven years now, "herding the bumblebees" as Diana Gabaldon puts it, and for the most part I really enjoy it.

This past year has been by far the busiest year I've ever had on the forum, with three separate "thread explosions" (my term for an enormous spike in the volume of posts), starting exactly a year ago with the release of WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD.  Then, of course, we had a flood of posts starting in August when the OUTLANDER TV series premiered.  And the Great Thread Explosion of 2015 (as I like to refer to it) has kept me incredibly busy ever since the TV series resumed in April, taking up virtually all my free time for the last couple of months.  (I'm actually looking forward to a nice long #Droughtlander, to give me a chance to recover.)

Things have finally started to slow down on Compuserve in the last few days, and on Monday I posted a message of thanks to everyone who participated in the TV-series discussions. I've been delighted and very gratified by the responses in that thread.  Not least of which was a message from Diana Gabaldon:
Dear Karen--

   It certainly wouldn't happen without _you_! <g>  Many, MANY thanks, from all of us!
-- Diana
Naturally I was thrilled to see that!

You're welcome to come and check out the forum for yourselves.  You need to sign up for an account in order to post, but it's free.  Look here for the links to the TV-series discussions, but also take a few minutes to look around and see what else is available there.

More Season 2 casting news!

More OUTLANDER Season 2 casting announcements today!

Romann Berrux will play young Fergus.

Andrew Gower will play Charles Edward Stuart, otherwise known as Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Rosie Day will play Mary Hawkins.

Dominique Piñon will play Master Raymond.

And finally, it was announced a few days ago that Audrey Brisson will play Sister Angelique, one of the nuns at L'Hôpital des Anges.

For more information about these actors, look here and here.  You can see previously announced cast members for Season 2 here.

That's all we know about Season 2 casting at this point. I will post further updates as more information becomes available. It's very exciting to see the cast coming together!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Which episode is your favorite?

This month's poll is all about your favorite episodes from the second half of OUTLANDER Season 1.  But I thought it would be fun to talk about everyone's favorite episodes from the entire season.

My personal favorites include:

Episode 104: "The Gathering"
Episode 107: "The Wedding"
Episode 108: "Both Sides Now"
Episode 109: "The Reckoning"
Episode 111: "The Devil's Mark"

What about the rest of you? I'd like to know what you think. Please leave a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

What were Murtagh and Jamie saying in Gaelic?


There are SPOILERS for OUTLANDER Episode 116 below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.









Those of you who have seen OUTLANDER Episode 116, "To Ransom a Man's Soul", will remember the scene between Murtagh and Jamie at the Abbey.

It's clearly a very heated conversation, but they're speaking in Gaelic, and as with all the Gaelic in this show, it's presented without subtitles.

Many of us have been wondering what exactly Murtagh and Jamie were saying to each other. My friend Mandy Tidwell has posted a translation of the Gaelic in Episode 116 on her Great Scot Blog.  I would really encourage you all to take a look at it!  The dialogue may surprise you.  I found it beautiful, heartfelt, and very moving.

I am hoping that they will include this scene (with English subtitles!) in the "extras" on the Blu-ray, or at least release a subtitled version on YouTube so that everyone can follow what Jamie and Murtagh are saying.  You can get some of it from their body language, tone of voice, etc., but the scene has much greater emotional impact if you know what the words mean.

Check out Mandy's translation here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

OUTLANDER Casting: Jared Fraser and the Comte St. Germain

Here's the latest OUTLANDER Season 2 casting news!

Robert Cavanah will play Jamie's cousin, Jared Fraser, a wine merchant in Paris.

Stanley Weber will play the Comte St. Germain. You can follow him on Twitter at @sweber_official.

And for those of you who may have missed it, Maril Davis (@TallShipProds on Twitter) announced on May 8, 2015, that they've cast Bouton.

That's all we know about Season 2 casting at this point. I will post further updates as more information becomes available.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD is out in paperback!

Diana Gabaldon's WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD (Book 8 in the OUTLANDER series) is now available in trade-paperback format -- that's the large size paperback -- in the US and Canada.  Congratulations, Diana!

You can find it online here:


Barnes & Noble

For those of you who haven't yet read it, WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD (aka MOHB or MOBY) is a terrific read, one of my favorites in the entire series, and highly recommended!  For more information about this book, see my Book 8 FAQ here.

(Note to those of you outside the US: Some of you have had access to the paperback of MOHB for a long time, but this is the first time it's been available to US readers.)

Monday, June 1, 2015

May poll results

Here are the results of the May poll, which asked the question, "Who is your favorite villain in the OUTLANDER series?"
  • 36.64% - Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall
  • 16.69% - Dougal MacKenzie
  • 12.74% - Stephen Bonnet
  • 10.77% - I don't have a favorite.
  • 10.03% - Geillis Duncan
  • 3.21% - William Buccleigh MacKenzie
  • 2.48% - Arch Bug
  • 2.2% - Laoghaire MacKenzie
  • 1.58% - Malva Christie
  • 1.13% - Phillip Wylie
  • 1.01% - The Duke of Sandringham
  • 0.34% - Harley Boble
  • 0.23% - Rob Cameron
  • 0.96% - Other
Here are the responses for "Other":
  • Mrs. Bug
  • Horrocks
  • Diana
  • Le Compt St Germain!
  • all of the above
  • Comte St. Germain
  • Dislike them all. Some more than others.
  • Horrocks
  • I hate them all so I can't call them favorites.
  • Comte de St. Germain
  • I hate them all!
  • I never "favor" villians so I can't have a favorite
  • I hate them all, but I'd turn BJR over to the Mohawks
  • St. Germain
  • Diana's villains are so evil, I dislike them all equally.
  • My favorite changes with every re-read.
There were 1774 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated! Please take a moment to vote in the June poll, which is all about your favorite episodes in the second half of Season 1 of the OUTLANDER TV series (Episodes 109-116). Thanks!