Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Droughtlander Re-Watch: EP102 ("Castle Leoch")

Droughtlander Re-Watch, Week 2:  Episode 102 ("Castle Leoch")


If you haven't watched all of OUTLANDER Seasons 1 and 2, there are SPOILERS in this post.  Read at your own risk.

As they arrive at the castle, it's easy to pick out Murtagh, Rupert, and Angus. But I remember very well how hard it was to tell the clansmen apart, on the first few viewings.

Look at Murtagh in that first scene, and think about how he looked in the Paris scenes in Season 2, all cleaned up with his hair combed and his beard neatly trimmed. Looking at him here, it's almost hard to believe it's the same character. <g>

The scene with Jamie and Claire is very much as I always imagined from the book. But after Episode 106 ("The Garrison Commander"), it's impossible to see the scars on Jamie's back without remembering those horrific scenes of the flogging.

Jamie shows a little more humor here than in the book. ("They were holding me prisoner.")

Jenny looks very young in the flashback scene -- more so than I remembered. That whole scene was very well done. I had forgotten the bit with BJR rubbing his thumb over Jenny's face. Ewwww! <shudder>

When Jamie takes Claire into his arms for the first time and holds her as she weeps for Frank, I couldn't help remembering that this is the point where Jamie said much later that he fell in love with her. Awwww!

The dressing scene with Mrs. Fitz is just priceless, and very funny! My favorite part is the bit where Mrs. Fitz snatches the cup of broth out of Claire's hands before she's had more than a couple of sips. <g>

I hadn't realized before that the letter with "1743" on it was lying in plain sight on the desk.

The sight of Colum's legs is shocking, but very much as I'd imagined from the book. The use of CGI here is very clever.

"Is there ever a good reason for rape, Master MacKenzie?" Great line! I had forgotten about that.

"It was all second-hand knowledge, acquired from books, museums, paintings" -- and old Scottish songs, like "Loch Lomond"? <g> Look here for my thoughts on that from my first viewing of the episode in 2014.

When Claire walks into the Great Hall, my impression is that she's showing a lot more cleavage than strictly necessary. <g>  Another reminder of her "other-ness". It makes her look like a bit of a slut, by 18th-century standards, IMHO.

Colum's interrogation is very effective, no doubt about it.  Claire really is a very bad liar, and she's drinking quite a lot, even before the Rhenish makes its appearance.

And then Hamish shows up, and she puts her foot in it, in no uncertain terms! Oops. <g>

I love the thatched roofs on the little buildings Claire passes on the way to the stables.

"She's just a girl with spirit, is all. That's always a good thing." I love that line, and the way Jamie looks at her.

The whole conversation in the stable is taken almost word-for-word from the book. That's a pleasure to see.

"Try not to get flogged or stabbed today."
"No promises, Sassenach."

I like that very much. <g>

The scene with Claire and Rupert is terrific, a great addition. Listening to Rupert describe Angus, I can't help thinking of so many of the scenes to come involving Angus, up to and including the way he died. It's hard to remember that at this point in the story, he's just one of the clansmen in the background, and we don't know him at all yet.

I liked the scene between Claire and Dougal very much, too.  On re-watching, this seems like foreshadowing of several similar confrontations to come. (At St. Ninian's Spring in Episode 106, for example.)

Claire's introduction to Geillis is suitably mysterious.  "I know who you are, Claire" -- indeed, she may well know a lot more about Claire than Claire knows about her!  (Thinking about the notebook where she kept notes about mysterious occurrences near stone circles, including Claire's own disappearance.)

I had forgotten how much Gaelic is in this episode, particularly throughout the scene in the Hall.

Right before Jamie raises his voice to address Colum and the rest of the people in the Hall, you can see him and Murtagh talking quietly, while the crowd's attention is focused on Laoghaire. Murtagh is definitely not happy -- from his body language alone, you can tell that he knows what Jamie is about to do, and he doesn't like it, but he can't stop him. I totally missed that in previous viewings of this episode.

Jamie is so young here, young and cocky and fearless -- and evidently enjoying himself. <g> Very much as I've always imagined from the book.

I like the way Jamie grins at Rupert after the first blow, as if to say, "Is that all you've got?"

And then Rupert hits him very hard in the injured shoulder, and I gasped. Owwwww! "That's not fair!" I thought, and then I heard the much older Jamie's voice in my head, saying, "Dirty fighting is the only kind there is."

Claire seems much too willing to leave Laoghaire alone with Jamie. "I think someone would like to speak with you." On the other hand, she thinks she's leaving forever, and she has no idea that Jamie is falling in love with her.

The scene with Colum and Claire is terrific! Claire really underestimated him.

"You'll remain here, as my guest."
"You mean as your prisoner, don't you?"
"Only if you try to leave."

What a chilling, and subtly terrifying, way to end the episode! I really felt sorry for Claire at the end, more alone now than she's been since she came through the stones.

Please come back next week for my reactions to Episode 103, "The Way Out".

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Droughtlander Re-Watch: EP101 ("Sassenach")

Looking for a way to pass the time until OUTLANDER Season 3 returns in September?  Here's a suggestion that was posted on Compuserve the other day.

There are 29 weeks between now and the beginning of September.  By coincidence, there are 29 episodes in Seasons 1 and 2.  So the idea is to watch one episode per week, starting from the beginning, and post your impressions.  For example:
  • Has your reaction to the episode changed over time?
  • Did you notice things on re-watching that you didn't catch before?
  • Is there anything in the episode that seems like foreshadowing of future events?
  • What are your favorite (or least favorite) scenes, lines, or moments in the episode?
To start things off, here are my comments on the first episode:

Droughtlander Re-Watch, Week 1:  EP101 ("Sassenach") 

If you haven't watched all of OUTLANDER Seasons 1 and 2, there are SPOILERS in this post.  Read at your own risk.

The opening shot, of the gorgeous Highland scenery, is just breathtaking! In many ways the first season is a "love letter to Scotland", as I think Matt Roberts said of EP105, and this was our first taste of it.

I haven't seen the opening credits of the first half of Season 1 in a long time, and I had forgotten some parts of it, like the glimpse of Frank and Claire sitting on the dock. Seeing Diana's name in the opening credits reminds me what an enormous thrill it was to see this, the first time.

The bit with Frank remembering how he used to doodle the lines in Claire's hand on official reports is cute, and serves to humanize him more than in the book.

Seeing the half-destroyed 1940's Castle Leoch was a shock.  I had forgotten that.  It looks really WRONG, especially now that i've seen Castle Doune, where they filmed it, with my own eyes.

"You can give me a bath."  I still don't care for this. It has to be one of the most un-romantic places ever, for a sex scene! <g>

Good to see the Reverend and Mrs. Graham again.  Of course I can't watch the tea-leaf reading scene without hearing the echo of it in Claire's fortune-telling in EP114, "The Search", where she borrows heavily from everything Mrs. Graham told her in this scene.

The mention of Sandringham's death (with the conveniently timed rattle of dishes <g>) now conjures up a whole host of images and bits of dialogue from EP211, of course.

I still don't like the ghost scene. It's nearly impossible to make out the ghost in the dark, and I for one can't tell what he's wearing.  Maybe Frank just has much better eyesight than I do?

"I love you, and nothing you could ever do could stop my loving you."  I know it's a quote from OUTLANDER, but it occurred to me, watching this, that Jamie said something very similar to her in MOHB. <g>

The scene with the dancers at Craigh na Dun is just mesmerizing, eerie and beautiful, and I love the music as much as I did the first time I saw this episode.  Watching the sun rise over Craigh na Dun now makes me think of the final scene of Season 2, of course, with the dawn lighting Claire's face as she realizes Jamie didn't die at Culloden after all.

I had forgotten about "Run, Rabbit, Run." <g>  I love the long, lingering look Claire gives Frank as he leaves -- take a good look, you won't see him for a while!

Even though I knew it was coming, I still jumped at the sound of the gunshot.  Yikes! The music in the chase scene is just wondeful.

The scene with Claire and BJR is terrific!  And I had to laugh, this time, when Murtagh whacked Claire over the head -- his specialty, as we found out later. <g>

When I first watched this episode in 2014, I found it nearly impossible to tell the clansmen apart. Now, of course, it's easy to spot Rupert ('We could put her to the test") and Angus.

The first meeting between Jamie and Claire is just wonderful, every bit as I had always imagined it from the book!

And here's the Jamie and Claire theme music, for the first time. <g>  I love that!

As they mount up to ride away, it's absolutely pouring rain. I hadn't remembered that, and I feel sorry for the actors having to film in those conditions.  But Jamie's "You're shakin' so hard it's making my teeth rattle" is a great line!

When Jamie intercepts Claire as she's trying to escape, I thought of the big argument by the roadside in EP109, "The Reckoning".  You can see flashes of that here, especially in Claire's facial expressions and body language.

"That ride through the dark together....", as Jamie recalls much later.<g>   Cait is more or less channeling Claire in the scene where she dresses Jamie's wound, and it's amazing to see.

When Claire reached down a hand to help him up, I thought at once of the scene in EP201 where Claire comes down off the plane and we're suddenly in 1744, with Jamie's hand reaching up to clasp hers. <g>

And that "Thank you, Sassenach. Truly." is just wonderful!  I've always felt that Jamie was speaking on behalf of all of the fans who waited so many years to see this story come to life on TV.

"On your horse, soldier."  It's impossible to hear that now without thinking of the other times TV Claire has said similar things to Jamie.  Although, as Claire says in the voiceover that ends this episode, "How could I remember something that hadn't happened yet?" <g>

I plan to continue posting these each week until September.  Please come back in a few days to see my impressions of Episode 102.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A message from Jeff Woodman

We had a surprise visitor on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community yesterday.  Jeff Woodman, who narrates the Lord John audiobooks, popped in to say hello:
I've retired from audiobook narration, but will continue to do the Lord John books as they emerge because I just LOVE them!
I'm very glad to hear that he will continue to do the narration for any future Lord John books or stories. Diana Gabaldon has said that his voice for Lord John sounds exactly like what she hears in her head.

Here's a very interesting interview from a few years ago where Jeff Woodman goes into some detail about what it's like to be an audiobook narrator.

UPDATE 2/19/2017 7:10 pm:  Jeff Woodman has been posting some very interesting comments in the thread on Compuserve.  I would really encourage you to take a look.

If you've never listened to the Lord John audiobooks, I would definitely recommend them!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

OUTLANDER Season 3 will premiere in September!

STARZ announced today that Season 3 of OUTLANDER will premiere in September 2017.

From the press release:
Carmi Zlotnik, President of Programming for Starz said “While ‘Droughtlander’ will last just a little longer, we feel it is important to allow the production the time and number of episodes needed to tell the story of the ‘Voyager’ book in its entirety. The scale of this book is immense, and we owe the fans the very best show. Returning in September will make that possible.”

Steve Kent, Senior Executive Vice President, Programming, Sony Pictures Television said, "With the scope of the production and all of the intricate details that go into the Emmy®-nominated sets and costumes, we had to make sure everything is kept to the high standard of the previous seasons and Diana Gabaldon’s beautiful story. We’re so proud of the incredible work that Ron and the Outlander team have done.”
I know a lot of fans will be disappointed to hear this, but just speaking for myself, I'm glad to hear that they won't have to rush the production to meet an arbitrary deadline, and that they're taking the time they need to do justice to the story.

VOYAGER has always been one of my favorite books in the series, as it is for so many OUTLANDER fans all over the world, and I am really encouraged that they are going to take the time they need to do the best possible adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's wonderful story.

And I admit to being relieved that for the first time since 2013, I'll be able to enjoy the spring and summer without spending all my spare time managing "thread explosions" on Compuserve.

To those of you who may be tempted to take out your frustrations on social media by attacking STARZ, Ronald D. Moore, Maril Davis, Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, or anyone else involved in the production of the TV series:  PLEASE DON'T!!  They are working very hard to bring VOYAGER to life for fans all over the world, and getting mad at them because of this delay isn't going to help.

Here's a bit of Gaelic that some of you may have heard before: "Fuirich agus chi thu", which means "Wait and see." It's one of Diana Gabaldon's favorite phrases.

Yes, it will take a while longer, but Season 3 will be worth the wait. I'm sure of it!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

VOYAGER fan video

If you've read Diana Gabaldon's VOYAGER, book 3 of the OUTLANDER series, you'll love this video

If you haven't read the book, there are SPOILERS for part of Season 3 here, so don't say I didn't warn you!

Favorite romantic quotes from the OUTLANDER books

In honor of Valentine's Day, here are some of my all-time favorite romantic Jamie quotes from Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER books.  It was hard to pick just one per book! I hope you enjoy them.


"Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone. I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One. I give ye my Spirit, 'til our Life shall be Done."

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 14, "A Marriage Takes Place". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


"I'm honest enough to say that I dinna care what the right and wrong of it may be, so long as you are here wi' me, Claire," he said softly. "If it was a sin for you to choose me...then I would go to the Devil himself and bless him for tempting ye to it."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22, "The Royal Stud". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


"To have ye with me again--to talk wi’ you--to know I can say anything, not guard my words or hide my thoughts--God, Sassenach,” he said, “the Lord knows I am lust-crazed as a lad, and I canna keep my hands from you--or anything else--” he added, wryly, “but I would count that all well lost, had I no more than the pleasure of havin’ ye by me, and to tell ye all my heart."

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 27, "Up in Flames". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


"And when my body shall cease, my soul will still be yours. Claire--I swear by my hope of heaven, I will not be parted from you."

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 16, "The First Law of Thermodynamics". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


"When the day shall come, that we do part," he said softly, and turned to look at me, "if my last words are not 'I love you'--ye'll ken it was because I didna have time."

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 111, "And Yet Go Out to Meet It". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


"Claire," he said, quite gently, "it was you. It's always been you, and it always will be."

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 31, "And So To Bed". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


"Ever heard of coup de foudre, Sassenach? It didna take me more than one good look at you."

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 68, "Despoiler". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


"I have loved ye since I saw you, Sassenach," he said very quietly, holding my eyes with his own, bloodshot and lined with tiredness but very blue. "I will love ye forever. It doesna matter if ye sleep with the whole English army--well, no," he corrected himself, “it would matter, but it wouldna stop me loving you."

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 24, "Welcome Coolness in the Heat, Comfort in the Midst of Woe". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

And here's a bonus quote from TV Jamie, from OUTLANDER Episode 107 ("The Wedding"):

"To a lady of grace, a woman of strength, and a bride of astonishing beauty."

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

What scenes are you most looking forward to in Season 3?

The OUTLANDER cast and crew wrapped up filming in Scotland this week.  Now they head to South Africa, to film the remaining episodes of Season 3.

While we wait, I thought it might be fun to talk about the scenes from VOYAGER that we're most looking forward to seeing brought to life on TV in Season 3.


If you haven't yet read VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon (Book 3 of the OUTLANDER series), there are Major Spoilers below!  Read at your own risk.









My personal list includes:
  • The reunion! (Of course)
  • Turtle soup
  • The "Daddy" scene and Jamie and Claire's big argument afterward
  • Claire's terrible, horrible, very bad day home alone with baby Bree
  • Claire and Frank's fight on the night Frank died
What about the rest of you?  Which scenes are you most looking forward to, and why?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January poll results

Here are the results of the January poll, which asked the question, "Which of Diana Gabaldon's books are you currently reading or listening to?"
  • 19.35% - VOYAGER
  • 11.24% - DRUMS OF AUTUMN
  • 9.96% - THE FIERY CROSS
  • 6.54% - AN ECHO IN THE BONE
  • 1.85% - THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION (Volume 1 or 2)
  • 3.84% - A TRAIL OF FIRE, VIRGINS, or one of the novellas or short stories.
  • 14.08% - I'm reading other things right now.
  • 4.84% - Other
Here are the responses for "Other":
  • A Plague of Zombies audiobook
  • gyuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
  • Reading VOYAGER, listening to DRUMS OF AUTUMN :)
  • Rereading all for 4th time from beginning
  • Wish I had time to read but I'm sewing for our high school musical
  • I have read all of Diana's books, even with increasing #s, once a year since 199
  • The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel
  • Your website, since I've read the series and the novellas and need a teensybreak
  • listening to & watching Outlander, re reading LJ #2 and rereading DofA, Crazy!
  • I'm reading, or listening to movie scores & recorded books of the 1st 3 novels,
  • I have read all the books twice but I'm now the fiery cross for the third time.
  • Always listening. Love Davina Porter.
  • planing to start a re-read
  • Sixth time around with the series. Currently listening to Drums of Autumn.
  • Im reading ALL of them - I pick up one at random.
  • 2nd time
  • I already read it all
  • Fogmeister from The Highway Kind
  • have already read all books and novellas at least 3 times. Waiting for Bees.
  • Listening to Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins Series
  • I Give You My Body
  • Read them all
  • As soon as Virgins arrives, I'll be reading it.
  • Waiting for 9
  • I'm reading The Exile graphic novel.
  • I'm rereading all the books. Now I'm reading Voyager.
  • Watching S2 again
  • I'm listening to "Voyager" and "LJ & Brotherhood"
  • Just started re-reading the series. Again.
  • (Second reading, plus 1cycle of the audio books)
  • Voyager and Moby
  • This is perhaps the 5th or 6th read thru all books
  • Just started rereading the "big books." Book 1!
  • Read them all so I am reading other books
There were 703 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated! I didn't vote in the poll myself, but I am currently re-listening to VOYAGER.

Please take a moment to vote in the February poll, which asks the question, "Do you read excerpts or #DailyLines from Diana Gabaldon's upcoming books or stories?" Thanks!