Thursday, March 30, 2017

A message from Sam Heughan on Twitter

Sam Heughan tweeted this yesterday, and I just can't resist sharing it!

It makes me laugh out loud, even though he's not referring to me specifically.  Of course I'm picturing him saying that in character as Jamie! I think this is the perfect response:

Yes, I'm a Karen, too, for those of you who don't know. <g> You can follow me on Twitter at @karenh3a.

The weapons of OUTLANDER

ET Online has an exclusive video looking at some of the swords and other weapons used in the TV series.

(There's a tiny bit of video footage from Season 3 in this, but nothing I would consider really spoilerish.)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Past Prologue", a new story by Diana Gabaldon and Steve Berry

Diana Gabaldon announced recently that she has a new story called "Past Prologue", featuring Jamie Fraser, coming out on June 13, 2017. This story was co-written by Diana and Steve Berry, and it will be published in an anthology called MATCHUP, edited by Lee Child.

According to Diana's announcement on Facebook:
MATCH-UP is an anthology of mystery/crime/thriller/etc. (mine is sort of etc....) stories, each one written by a pair of writers: one male, one female. Steve Berry and I teamed up to write a story called PAST PROLOGUE (he thought up the title; I did the plot and the first draft, he did the rewrite and we both proof-read it. The rest is up to you, I'm afraid...), which pairs Steve's main series character, Cotton Malone, with...Jamie Fraser.
For more information about the other stories in this anthology, look here.

You can pre-order MATCHUP from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and it's also available from Amazon UK for those of you who live outside the US.

There is a brief excerpt from this story on Diana's Facebook page here.

And no, in case you're wondering, the fact that Diana Gabaldon has a story in this anthology is not slowing down her progress on GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Book 9 of the OUTLANDER series! Diana often says that she likes to work on multiple projects at once, to keep from getting writer's block.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

25th Anniversary Edition of DRAGONFLY IN AMBER

A special hardcover 25th Anniversary Edition of DRAGONFLY IN AMBER will be published on November 28, 2017!

Diana Gabaldon says this book will have the same type of faux-leather binding as the OUTLANDER 20th Anniversary Edition.

You can pre-order from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I'm sure signed copies will also be available through the Poisoned Pen bookstore.

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

American Revolution Museum in Yorktown

Today, March 23, is the Grand Opening of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, VA!

From the museum's website:
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown tells anew the story of the nation’s founding, from the twilight of the colonial period to the dawn of the Constitution and beyond. Exciting new indoor galleries feature period artifacts, immersive environments, interactive exhibits and films, including "The Siege of Yorktown," with a 180-degree surround screen and dramatic special effects.
This museum used to be called the Yorktown Victory Center.  When I visited there with my parents in 2013 (we had a wonderful time; see the detailed account here, with lots of photos), they were just beginning construction on the expanded museum that would one day become the American Revolution Museum, and my mom and I decided then that we would go back when the new museum opened.

I'm delighted to hear that it's opening at last, and I'm sure we will visit sometime soon, maybe later this spring.

If you like All Things 18th Century, as I know many of you do <g>, it's well worth a visit. The "living history" parts of the museum we saw in 2013 were excellent, very informative and fun, and I'm sure the new museum will have tons of interesting info about the Revolution and 18th century life.

It's located only a few miles from Williamsburg and Jamestown. (If you haven't visited Colonial Williamsburg, it's definitely worth seeing.)

On a related note, for those of you in the Philadelphia area, there is a new Museum of the American Revolution opening in Philly on April 19th.  I don't know much about it, but check out their website for more information.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Droughtlander Re-Watch: EP105 ("Rent")

Droughtlander Re-Watch, Week 5:  Episode 105 ("Rent")


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

This is a very entertaining episode that stands up well to repeated viewings.

What a gorgeous location for the opening scene! Just breathtaking.  I like Claire's hair worn loose over her shoulders like that.  It's a much more flattering look for her than we've seen through most of this season so far.

Bill Patterson is terrific as Ned Gowan. I can't watch the scene where Claire treats Ned's asthma without recalling how she treated the Duke of Pardloe in WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD.  But I liked the fact that she was able to help Ned.  This is also foreshadowing of the way Claire treats Alex Randall's breathing difficulties in Episode 212.

The song the men are singing on the road is "The Maid Gaed to the Mill".  Of course the lyrics about a young woman "getting her corn ground" remind me of Dougal's line near the end of Episode 106, when he tells Claire, "The thought of grinding your corn does tickle me." (For more about the song, look here.)

I love watching Dougal in this episode. He's just riveting, a bigger presence (at this point in the series) even than Jamie.  And Graham McTavish appears to be really enjoying himself in this episode.

"Well, maybe Angus hates you. He hates everyone." I love the way Jamie smiles at Claire when he says this.

I'm impressed by the amount of detail in the villages they pass through on the road, not just the costumes, but the props, the livestock, the cottages with their thatched roofs, even the careworn faces of the crofters. The production team did a great job in this episode, recreating the feel of 18th-century village life in the Highlands.

They filmed parts of this episode at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore, Scotland. I didn't get to see it on my visit to Scotland last July (there just wasn't time), but it sounds like a fascinating place.

The wool-waulking scene is terrific, very entertaining. I liked the fact that the lyrics included "mo nighean donn" (my brown-haired lass), which will of course become one of Jamie's favorite endearments for Claire. You have to give Claire credit for being willing to participate in the whole experience, even pissing in a bucket in full view of the other women, and taking it all in stride. ("Geronimo!")

I loved Angus's entrance. He's really not at all a sympathetic character at this point in the series, and it's interesting to watch the way his attitude toward Claire changes over the course of this episode in particular.

Watching Claire struggling with Rupert over the goat, the thought occurred to me that she really does tend to get herself in a lot of trouble, without Jamie looking out for her.  Though Jamie is there, watching, he stays in the background, not interfering.

"Madam, is everything all right?" And here's our first look at Lt. Jeremy Foster. The first time I watched this episode, in 2014, I didn't immediately understand the reason for the clansmen's hostility toward him. Now, of course, it's obvious: they know he's a British soldier.  I liked Angus's reaction to him, in particular.

The next scene, with Dougal's first speech to the villagers, is very well done. Even though I don't understand more than a word or two of the Gaidhlig, Dougal manages to convey a great deal through his tone of voice and body language alone. Riveting, as I said earlier. And the moment when he rips Jamie's shirt, exposing his scarred back to the horrified onlookers, is just as shocking as it was in the book. Very well done!

Poor Jamie looks so miserable, humiliated, sitting there without saying a word.

I liked Dougal's line, "I'm not bloody doing it. The lad can wear rags from now on."  Here, in this scene, we see Dougal's cold-blooded ruthlessness on full display for the first time. Jamie's reaction, "I'll mend my own shirt", and the way he stalks out of the cottage, is just as I imagined from the book.

The mention of black pudding is a reminder of the scene in ABOSAA, of course.  The scenery here, by the water, is really beautiful.

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

I had forgotten about this exchange. LOL!

"Would I have to reconcile myself to spend the rest of my life among strangers, two hundred years in the past?"  I couldn't help thinking, "Oh, come on, Claire, it's not that bad, really!  You'll see."

The scene where they see the Watch burning crofts is not in the book, but I think it's a good addition. Notice the way Jamie takes off without a word as soon as he sees the men of the Watch.  Having seen some of those men at close range in Episode 113, "The Watch", I know they're not necessarily evil, but I had forgotten that they were as likely to terrorize the local citizens as to provide protection for them. Very dangerous!

"I don't sit with thieves!" This reminds me of Jamie, in ABOSAA, saying, "Ye were always bolder than was safe."  Here, it's only Jamie's intervention that saves her.  (Perhaps he learned something from the earlier scene?)  I like the way Jamie defuses the situation through his sheer physical presence -- "She doesn't want it." -- towering over Angus, and making the other man back down without so much as putting a hand on his dirk.

"You're not to judge things you don't understand." But of course, she does, constantly; she can't help it.  For that matter, so does everyone else -- Dougal and Angus in this episode in particular, but also the clansmen in general, who don't trust her, don't understand her motives, and therefore tend to view all her actions in the worst possible light, just as she is now doing.

The rent-collecting scene at the next village is a somber affair, especially compared to the earlier scenes. I liked the scene with Torcall and Dougal very much.

"Christ, I'd die in my blood before I'd let that whey-faced Sassenach use me so."  And finally, we're back to the book. <g>

Effective use of flashback here, to fill in a little of the historical background for the benefit of viewers who aren't familiar with the Jacobites.  And I liked the bit of the "Skye Boat Song" playing in the background there. It's not just the OUTLANDER theme song; the original lyrics tell the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie fleeing into exile after the '45. Very appropriate!

The confrontation between Jamie and Dougal was well done, and the dialogue is almost word-for-word from the book, but I really wish we'd been able to hear it better! Their voices are so low in the first part of the scene that it's almost impossible to make out what they're saying unless you turn the volume way up, and I found that really disappointing, for such an important scene.

I liked Jamie's line, "My neck is my own concern! And so is my back."

The scene between Jamie and Claire is very good, except that in the book, the scene takes place right after the first time Jamie was forced to show his scars in public.  Not so in the TV version. "He'll use you like that again," Claire says, but of course the TV viewers already know that, having seen it a few times already.  Oh, well.

"A man has to choose what's worth fightin' for."  And before too much longer, Jamie will decide that Claire herself is worth fighting for. <g>

More gorgeous scenery. Matt Roberts called this episode "a love letter to Scotland", and it's really true.

The scene with the executed men is horrifying, but I found myself wondering if such things actually happened in Scotland at that time.

Dougal's speech that evening is just mesmerizing, no matter that I don't understand a word of it. Terrific performance from Graham McTavish!  It can't be easy to perform a scene that dramatic in a language you don't speak, and he did an amazing job.

The scene where Claire discovers Jamie outside her door is wonderful, just as I'd imagined it from the book -- except that I wonder why she went to sleep fully clothed, stays and all?  (But that's a minor point.)

I like this exchange between Claire and Ned:

"Outmanned we might be, but I would match our fighting hearts against the best army in the world."
"Fighting hearts don't stand a chance against cannons."

Ned's "History be damned" is also a great line.

The fight was very entertaining, and it's certainly an effective way to show that Angus will fight to defend Claire. But the way it's presented in the TV show, Jamie isn't even present for the fight, and he never gets a chance to show that he's had enough of Dougal's humiliation of him. So that conflict between Jamie and Dougal is left unresolved, and I didn't like that.

I like the way Claire finally relaxes enough to joke with the men a little bit.

The sight of Culloden Moor is very sobering, but I always have to smile a little at the sight of the (totally fictitious) Clan MacKenzie stone. When I visited Culloden for the first time in 2012, I asked our guide about the MacKenzies, and he said no, there is no stone for them there.

By the end of the episode, relations between Claire and the MacKenzies may have improved somewhat, but Dougal is still as suspicious as ever.

And here's Lt. Foster again.  "Are you here by your own choice?"  Wow, that's quite a cliffhanger, and one that took me completely by surprise on the first viewing.  Great way to end the episode!

Please come back next week for my reactions to Episode 106, "The Garrison Commander".

Friday, March 17, 2017

Memorable Irish characters in Diana Gabaldon's books

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I don't have a drop of Irish blood myself, but I'm reliably informed that everybody's Irish on St. Patrick's Day! So, in celebration of the day, here are my top 10 most memorable Irish characters from Diana Gabaldon's books, in alphabetical order.

* * * SPOILER WARNING! * * *

If you haven't read all of Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER and Lord John books, you will find SPOILERS below! Read at your own risk.









1) Bernard Adams. You may remember that Lord John gouged his eye out at the end of LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE. He later confessed to the murder of Lord John's father, the Duke of Pardloe.

2) Stephen Bonnet. One of Diana's most memorable villains. I think Brianna gave him a more merciful death than he deserved.

3) Father Donahue, the priest who baptizes Germain, Jemmy, and Joan in FIERY CROSS. He seemed a very pragmatic, adaptable sort of person, perfectly willing to baptize the children with whisky instead of water if that was the only option available. (And IMHO he gets extra points for managing to keep a straight face while listening to Jamie's confession involving Claire and the butter churn. <g>)

4) Father Michael FitzGibbons, abbot of Inchcleraun monastery, Ireland. The abbot is a decent man (despite his desire to get Jamie involved in the Jacobite scheme), with a curiosity about the natural world that I was surprised to see in a priest.

5) Jeffries, the Dunsanys' coachman in VOYAGER. Besides Jamie, and Lord and Lady Dunsany, he's the only other eyewitness to the death of the Eighth Earl of Ellesmere.

6) Aloysius O'Shaughnessy Murphy. Ship's cook aboard the Artemis, in VOYAGER. He makes a truly memorable (or should we say infamous?) turtle soup! <g>

7) The O'Higgins brothers, Rafe and Mick, who helped to smuggle Percy Wainwright out of prison near the end of BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE. They played only a relatively minor role in that book, but I thought they were pretty entertaining.

8) Tobias Quinn. He was certainly a memorable character in THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, although I found him somewhat irritating and a nuisance most of the time. I liked his sense of humor.

9) Finbar Scanlon. The apothecary in LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER. Among other things, he cured Maria Mayrhofer of syphilis by deliberately infecting her with malaria.

10) Gerald Siverly. He saved Lord John's life in "The Custom of the Army", but that's his only redeeming quality, as far as I'm concerned. He was a very memorable villain in THE SCOTTISH PRISONER!

And last but definitely NOT least, here's to our favorite Irish actress, the amazing Caitriona Balfe!!

Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day, everybody!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Droughlander Re-Watch: EP104 ("The Gathering")

Droughtlander Re-Watch, Week 4:  Episode 104 ("The Gathering")


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

This is one of my favorite episodes of the whole series so far.  What a pleasure to have an excuse to watch it again!

I like the opening scene very much. It's suspenseful, and I liked the way the dramatic tension is broken by the sound of children's laughter. Angus's sudden appearance ("Somethin' catch your eye there, lass?") made me laugh.

Rupert's accent is more difficult to understand in this episode than it will be later.

Claire is a pleasure to watch in this episode: intelligent and resourceful, and with a wry sense of humor that we haven't really seen in her before. I loved the fact that she spent much of this episode making detailed plans for her escape, and doing her best to carry them out.

The chemistry between Rupert and Angus is really starting to shine through in this episode, and they're very entertaining.

I had forgotten about the 1940's music, in the stable scene and especially during Claire's walk through the castle afterwards.  I understnd that it's meant to show that she's still thinking like a 20th century person, but I found it really distracting, and much too loud -- to the point where it's almost impossible to hear what Geillis says to Claire as she enters the surgery.  When I commented on this on Compuserve after the episode was first broadcast in 2014, Diana Gabaldon said, "I think you're right about the volume."

"With bairn" is a very awkward phrasing, and I found it jarring.

Notice that they're talking about valerian root. This is the same medicinal plant that Master Raymond recommends, in Season 2, to help Jamie sleep when he's troubled by nightmares.

"The Highlands are no place for a woman to be alone. You'd do well to remember that."  Good line from Geillis.  I also liked her line, "A promise is a serious thing in this country", with its foreshadowing of future events, like Claire's promise to stay put while Jamie goes off in search of Horrocks.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, I like the way Mrs. Fitz startles Claire in the midst of her preparations for escape, making her jump.

Ron Moore looks very handsome indeed in 18th century costume! <g>

Diana Gabaldon's brief cameo is very entertaining, and fun to watch, no matter how many times I've seen it before. She did a great job!  The part where she shushes Murtagh always makes me laugh.  ("Hey! I wrote this. Be quiet and listen!" <g>)

The oath-taking is just magnificent, very close to the way I've always imagined it from the book (especially the scene where Dougal swears his oath to Colum).  The costumes are gorgeous.  I think it works well to have Murtagh up in the gallery, translating for Claire.  He's not a MacKenzie, after all, and it's probably safer for him to be well away from the rest of the clansmen.

I love the scene with Claire and Angus. "It's a sedative."  "Is that Spanish?"  Hilarious!

It's hard to watch the scene with Claire and Laoghaire now, without thinking about what will come later.  Laoghaire is actually being polite and friendly to Claire, and what does she get in return?  A "potion" of dried horse-dung. LOL!  Unfortunately, Laoghaire won't forget that anytime soon.

Once again, Claire is waylaid before she can make her escape.  The use of Gaelic in the scene in the corridor is very effective as a means of escalating the tension. Bad enough to be accosted by several drunken clansmen, but the fact that Claire doesn't speak their language makes it even more frightening.

The bit where Claire hits Dougal over the head with a stool is not in the book, but I think it's a great addition -- a reminder that Claire is not a woman to be messed with, ever.

It's rather startling to realize that half the episode has gone by before we see Jamie.  The scene in the stable with the two of them is very good.

"I may have walloped him over the head with a chair or something."  Great line, and I believe it's the first time we've seen Jamie laugh in the series so far.

"It's me should be thanking you, for all your healing of my scratches."  I like the way Jamie said that.

The scene where Jamie appears before Colum at the oath-taking is really good: well-written (the dialogue comes almost word-for-word from the book <g>), well-acted, and suspenseful. It's even better in the extended version of this scene on the Season 1 Blu-ray.

When Murtagh says to Jamie, "I'm gettin' too old for this," I thought, "You ain't seen nothing yet!"

The boar-hunt is dramatic and suspenseful. I love watching Claire in her role as medic, and I think Cait did an amazing job in the scene where she finds herself all alone in the woods with a dead boar landing literally right at her feet. She's practically gibbering, so frightened that she can't even catch her breath -- and then she hears the wounded man cry out, and you can almost see her nurse's training kicking in, as she pulls herself together and readies herself to face the latest emergency.

The scene with Geordie, the man fatally wounded in the tynchal, is very good, and I appreciated very much the use of Diana's exact words from OUTLANDER chapter 10, "The Oath-Taking":
A better death, perhaps, was what Dougal was giving him--to die cleanly under the sky, his heart’s blood staining the same leaves, dyed by the blood of the beast that killed him.
Dougal is really good in this scene. Quite a refreshing contrast with the Dougal we saw toward the end of Season 2, that's for sure. I had forgotten that he also has a gentle and compassionate side, and it's heartbreaking to watch him tending his dying friend.

The shinty game was fun to watch, but it went on much too long for my taste.

I liked the final scene between Claire and Dougal quite a bit, and it leads very smoothly into next week's episode.

Please come back next week for my reactions to Episode 105, "Rent".

Monday, March 13, 2017

ABC's of Brianna

ABC's of Brianna

I borrowed this idea from a writer's exercise that was posted on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community a few years ago. The idea is to list one word pertaining to the character for each letter of the alphabet, along with a brief explanation. Here's my alphabet for Brianna.

All quotes from the OUTLANDER books are copyright © Diana Gabaldon, of course.

* * * SPOILER WARNING!! * * *

If you haven't read all of the OUTLANDER books, you will find Major Spoilers below! Read at your own risk.









A for Artistic. I like Bree's artistic side very much, especially because it's something that she did not inherit from either of her parents.

B for Boston, where Brianna was born and raised.

C for Catholicism.  Bree attended parochial schools as a child, and her Catholic faith is important to her, but she's not bothered by the fact that Roger is a Presbyterian.

D for the Dreambook, in which Bree records her dreams and her most private thoughts. She can be a hard person to get to know, and I think the Dreambook helps, by giving us a glimpse into a part of herself that she won't talk about, even to Roger.

E for her Engineering skills:
Before being forcibly returned to the surgery, Jamie had estimated the buffalo’s weight at something between eighteen hundred and two thousand pounds. Brianna had nodded at this, handed Jemmy to Lizzie, then walked slowly around the carcass, squinting in deep thought.

“Right,” she’d said, and as soon as the men began to appear from their homesteads, half-dressed, unshaven, and wild-eyed with excitement, had issued cool directions for the cutting of logs and the building of a pulley-frame capable of hoisting and supporting a ton of meat.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 92, "I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
F for Frank Randall, the man who was "Daddy" to her all her life. He may not have been her biological father, but there's no doubt that he loved her very much.

G for the Gathering at Mt. Helicon, where Bree and Roger were married.

H for Hunting.  Bree is a surprisingly good shot with a musket.
She swung around, sighted on it as it left the ground, caught the black blob outlined for a split second against the brilliant sky, and blasted it in the tail feathers. It dropped like a sack of coal, and hit the ground forty yards away with an audible thud.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 20, "Shooting Lessons". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I for Ingenuity and Inventions. My favorite example is the the snake-fang syringe, which saved Jamie's life after he was bitten by a snake in FIERY CROSS, by giving Claire a way to inject penicillin directly into his bloodstream.

J for her son, Jem. And for Jamie, of course.

K for the Kiln she built on the Ridge, to make clay pipes to carry water. Also for Bree's habit of Kicking solid objects, like trees, when she gets angry or frustrated.

L for Lallybroch. Also for Lizzie, who accompanied Bree to America and became a valued member of the Fraser's Ridge community.

M for her daughter, Mandy.  Also for Matches, a 20th-century invention that Bree introduced in A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES.

N for the Newspaper clipping announcing the deaths by fire of Jamie and Claire on January 21, 1776. If it hadn't been for that newspaper clipping, Bree might never have gone back through the stones, Roger would never have come after her, and all that followed would never have happened.

O for Only child. Like Roger and Claire, Bree grew up without siblings. When she visits Lallybroch in DRUMS, she experiences for the first time what it's like to be part of a large family.

P for Parents. Brianna loves all three of her parents -- Claire, Jamie, and Frank -- very deeply. I love watching the way her relationship with Jamie evolves over the course of the series.

Q for Quest. It took many months, including a trip through the stones and a long sea voyage, but Bree found Jamie Fraser at long last.
"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.)
R for Roger, of course.  Also for Resourceful. Bree is a good person to have around in a crisis.

S for Stephen Bonnet. The rape had a profound impact on Brianna for years, but in the end she showed mercy by shooting him in order to keep him from drowning.

T for Time-Travel, without which Brianna might not have survived to be born in the first place.

U for Underwear, or the lack of it.
"I got out of the habit in the eighteenth century,” she snapped, plainly taking the huff. “I only wear knickers for ceremonial purposes anymore."

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 28, "Hilltops". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
V for Virgin. Bree was a virgin on her hand-fasting night.

W for Work. Having a career is important to Brianna, just as it has always been for her mother. I like the echoes, in this scene, of Claire and Jamie's argument in DRAGONFLY about working at L'Hรดpital des Anges.
"Job?" [Roger had] said stupidly.

"Job," she’d repeated, narrowing her eyes at him.

He had been swift enough to suppress the automatic "But you’ve got a job" that had sprung to his lips, substituting a rather mild--he thought--"Why?"

Never one for quiet diplomacy, she’d fixed him with a stare and said, "Because one of us needs to work, and if it isn’t going to be you, it’ll have to be me."

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 16, "Unarmed Conflict". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
X for her eXplosive temper.
"Now, sweetheart..." Roger began. I could have told him this was a mistake; Frasers in a fury tended to pay no attention to honeyed words, being instead inclined to go for the throat of the nearest party unwary enough to speak to them.

"Don't you 'sweetheart' me!" she snapped, turning on him. "You think so, too! You think everything I do is a waste of time if it isn't washing clothes or cooking dinner or mending your effing socks! And you blame me for not getting pregnant, too, you think it's my fault! Well, it's NOT, and you know it!"
(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 21, "We Have Ignition". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Y for Young. Bree was only nineteen years old when we first met her in DRAGONFLY, naive and inexperienced in many ways, and certainly not the seasoned world-traveler that both of her parents were at the same age. She's changed quite a lot in the last few years!

Z for the Zipper of her jeans, which she used as a weapon to fend off Rob Cameron.

I hope you enjoyed these! Here are the other posts in this series:

ABC's of Jamie Fraser
ABC's of Claire Fraser
ABC's of Roger
ABC's of the OUTLANDER TV Series

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Droughtlander Re-Watch: EP103 ("The Way Out")

Droughtlander Re-Watch, Week 3:  Episode 103 ("The Way Out")


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

My first thought on hearing the train, and seeing Claire and Frank in WWII uniform, was, "Oh, I forgot all about that!"  This little flashback is well done, and a good addition.

The next scene, where Claire imagines what would happen if she told Mrs. Fitz the truth about being from the future, is also very well done, and I liked it very much!  I couldn't help thinking about the scene in Season 2, in Paris, where Murtagh learns that Claire is from the future. He too has a lot of trouble wrapping his mind around it!

Good to see a bit of Claire's healing skills here.  I liked watching Angus and Rupert, hovering in the background.

The scene with Colum and the tailor is just terrific, one of my favorite Colum scenes in the whole season.  I love the way he pulls the dirk on the other man, making it abundantly clear that he's the one in charge.  And I was fascinated by the way they portrayed Colum's "shockingly bowed and stumpy legs".

In the scene in the Hall, finally we're back to the book. <g>  This scene is very much as I always imagined it, except that I was a little taken aback to see Claire being so friendly toward Laoghaire.  (She'll come to regret that soon enough!)

The scene with Jamie and Claire alone together is terrific, full of understated sexual tension, and I loved watching the way they look at each other.

I didn't like the "demonic possession" plotline at all the first time I watched this episode, although I've gotten used to it over time.  I don't like it when the writers stray so far away from the book.

"Have you ever found yourself in a situation with no earthly explanation?" Geillis asks.  So she's dropping hints, from the early days of their relationship, that she suspects Claire is a time-traveler.

"A priest once told me my healing skills were a gift from God."  Good line, and it shut Angus up instantly!

Father Bain is a very imposing figure, much more so than in the book. It's difficult to watch him in this episode without recalling his very dramatic appearance at the witch-trial.

When I saw Jamie kissing Laoghaire in the alcove, my first reaction was to feel sorry for Claire. She's so alone there, and now even Jamie seems more interested in L (at least for that moment).  I also thought of Jamie, in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, sternly warning Claire to stay away from alcoves. <g>

Angus's reaction when he returns to find Claire sitting where he'd left her is just priceless.  "Good. Verra good. You know how to obey a man's orders, for once."  That made me laugh.

The scene with Murtagh, Claire, and Jamie is excellent, very close to the book. It's also our first good look at Murtagh.  I think giving Murtagh Old Alec's lines in this scene works very well, and you can tell, even at this stage, that Murtagh cares deeply for Jamie.

I like the interior of Geillis's room very much.  And again she's dropping hints:  "It can't be easy, being a Sassenach in the Highlands -- assuming that's what you mean."

I had forgotten about Arthur Duncan.  His performance in this scene is way over the top, but very entertaining.  (He reminds me a bit of Simon Callow as the Duke of Sandringham, in that respect.)  I also liked the way Geillis pleads with Arthur to show lenience to the tanner's lad.

Jamie looks terrific in the scene where he shows up at Geillis's house. And I loved the way he rescues the tanner's lad -- very much as described in the book, but Sam looks like he's enjoying himself.

"Would you be willing to risk helping me again?"  This is an effective segue back to the Black Kirk storyline.

The scene at the Black Kirk is one of the first that takes place on a sunny day. <g> Good to see that it doesn't rain all the time in Scotland!

I was rather startled by Father Bain's "I am the Lord's disciple!"  It's ben a long time since I last saw this episode, and I wasn't expecting that much vehemence from him.

I loved Mrs. Fitz's line: "This is my sister's house, and my father's before that, and we will decide what is done under its roof."  Good for her!

"God will have the last word. I promise you that."  Foreshadowing -- Father Bain will be back!

I loved seeing Claire with her hair down in the final scene.  It's a much less severe look than we've seen since she arrived at the castle, and I can't help thinking that Jamie must prefer it that way, too. <g>

The scene with Gwyllyn the bard singing about the wife of Balnain is enjoyable, but I wish they hadn't tried to make so many of the details in the ballad match Claire's story exactly. I don't think they needed to beat the audience over the head with it.  Give the viewers a little credit for being able to figure things out for themselves!

On the other hand, I liked Claire's voiceover at the very end, including her determination to get back to the stone circle "or die trying", which sets up things very nicely for the next episode.

Overall, I like this episode a lot better than I did when I first saw it.  On re-watching, I'm struck by how many scenes were taken straight from the book. At this point, after two seasons, I no longer take it for granted that the show will include a lot of the original dialogue from the book, and it's a pleasure to see it here.  That's quite different from my original response to this episode, when I was bewildered and annoyed by the Black Kirk subplot, the first time the writers had strayed so far away from the book.

Please come back next week for my reactions to Episode 104, "The Gathering".

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Video of Sam and Cait at ECCC

Here's the video of the OUTLANDER panel discussion with Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe at Emerald City Comic Con on March 3, 2017.

It's about an hour long, but definitely worth watching! I enjoyed it very much, and I think you will, too.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Most suspenseful moments in the OUTLANDER books

What are the most suspenseful moments in Diana Gabaldon's books?  I'm talking about a scene or a situation that leaves you riveted to the page, desperate to find out what's going to happen next.
Here are a few examples of what I mean.
* * * SPOILER WARNING!! * * *
If you haven't read all 8 of the OUTLANDER books, there are Major Spoilers below! Read at your own risk. 
OUTLANDER - The last part of the witch-trial, up to and including Jamie's "cavalry coming over the hill in the nick of time" entrance.  Also Claire vs. the wolf.
DRAGONFLY IN AMBER - The duel and the miscarriage.
VOYAGER - Claire on the Porpoise as it begins to sail away, trapping her on a plague ship against her will, with no way to get back to Jamie.
DRUMS OF AUTUMN - The scene on the Gloriana where they throw the sick passengers overboard.  Also Roger's first encounter with Jamie.
THE FIERY CROSS - Roger's hanging (of course). Jamie's snakebite.
A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES - The scene in the middle of the abduction where Claire nearly suffocates, and has to find a way to breathe, despite the gag and her broken nose.
AN ECHO IN THE BONE - William, Rachel, and Denny facing an ax-wielding maniac. Also, Mandy waking in the middle of the night, yelling, "He's gone! He's GONE!"
WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD - Claire getting shot.  Also the scene with Bree battling the intruders at Lallybroch.
What about the rest of you?  I'm sure you can think of lots more! <g>

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

February poll results

Here are the results of the February poll, which asked the question, "Do you read excerpts or #DailyLines from Diana Gabaldon's upcoming books or stories?"
  • 65.52% - Absolutely! I will gladly devour any excerpt or #DailyLine I can find.
  • 8.13% - Yes, and I wish Diana Gabaldon would post them more often!
  • 8.13% - No, I would rather wait and see those bits of the story in their proper context, when the book comes out.
  • 6.64% - Sometimes.
  • 2.75% - I used to read them, but I don't anymore.
  • 1.83% - I read excerpts, but only for certain books or stories.
  • 1.83% - I'm addicted to the #DailyLines!
  • 1.37% - No, I am trying hard to avoid the excerpts and #DailyLines.
  • 1.37% - What excerpts? Where can I find them?
  • 1.15% - What are #DailyLines?
  • 1.26% - Other
Here are the results for "Other":
  • I am weak and cannot resist.
  • I try hard to avoid them but indulge the odd time!!!
  • Don' want to ruine the new book experience by reading excerpts
  • used to read them, wait and see, & trying to avoid
  • I read the last chapter first in every book too!
  • Absolutely, because I have no will power.
  • What are excerpts and daily lines?
  • Yes until a release date is announced, then no!
  • Yes, but I feel a little guilty about it!
  • Yes, now that I have read all the books/novellas
  • YES!! I read them the min she post them!!
There were 873 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated! I didn't vote in the poll myself, but I have been an excerpt-avoider since 2008.

Please take a moment to vote in the March poll, which asks the question, "What are you doing to pass the time until the OUTLANDER TV series returns" Thanks!