Sunday, April 23, 2017

Jamie, BJR, and what happened at Culloden

As we wait for Season 3, here's something I have been thinking about recently:

* * * SPOILER WARNING!! * * *

If you haven't read VOYAGER (Book 3 of Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER series), there are spoilers below! This post also contains spoilers about the first episode of OUTLANDER Season 3. Read at your own risk.









If you've read the OUTLANDER books, you know that Jamie Fraser woke on the battlefield at Culloden with Black Jack Randall's corpse lying on top of him.
The body of a man lay across his own. Its dead weight crushed his left leg, explaining he absence of feeling. The head, heavy as a spent cannonball, pressed facedown into his abdomen, the damp-matted hair a dark spill on the wet linen of his shirt. He jerked upward in sudden panic; the head rolled sideways into his lap and a half-open eye stared sightlessly up behind the sheltering strands of hair.

It was Jack Randall, his fine red captain’s coat so dark with the wet it looked almost black. Jamie made a fumbling effort to push the body away, but found himself amazingly weak; his hand splayed feebly against Randall’s shoulder, and the elbow of his other arm buckled suddenly as he tried to support himself. He found himself lying once more flat on his back, the sleeting sky pale gray and whirling dizzily overhead. Jack Randall’s head moved obscenely up and down on his stomach with each gasping breath.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 1, "The Corbies' Feast". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
So Black Jack Randall died at Culloden.  That much, we know for certain.  But what we don't know is exactly how it happened.  As Diana Gabaldon put it in a post on Compuserve in 2008:
Jamie knows Black Jack Randall is dead--but not how.  Did he kill him?  If so--how, in what frame of mind?  In the grip of the Red Thing, as he might kill any enemy in battle?  Specifically, coldly, knowing who it was he killed?  In vengeance?  From mercy?  From simple necessity?  He doesn't know, and thus has only his own forgiveness as a shield.  But he both wants the truth and fears it--and his memory is coming back.
Fans have speculated about this for more than twenty years.  What exactly happened on the battlefield that day?  It's one of the great unresolved questions of the OUTLANDER series.

Here's where it gets interesting:
  • With OUTLANDER Season 3 premiering in September, we're going to see a version of these events play out on screen.  We know that they filmed the Battle of Culloden, and according to multiple people involved with the show, we will see that battle in the opening episode of Season 3.

  • Diana Gabaldon has said that she has written a scene for Book 9 (GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE) in which we find out What Really Happened at Culloden. She shared that scene with Ronald D. Moore and Maril Davis prior to the filming of that episode.
Here's what Diana said about that on Compuserve on September 25, 2016:
So, is the film version identical with the 'real' version?  No.  It's been adjusted for television <g>, in terms of visual drama--it's not nearly as messy and violent and grunting and confused as the real thing, but neither is it a sell-out or betrayal of What Really Happened.  It just does what the show always does--separates the elements of the original, plays some up and some down (occasionally omits things for time or dramatic flow--that wasn't done here), and gives you a reasonably good visual account of the original, though somewhat condensed and refracted.


I do want to put it on record though, that I wrote What Happened _before_ the show executed their version of it.
This poses a real dilemma for fans of the books, including me.  Will you watch the TV version of events, knowing that we won't get to read Diana Gabaldon's version until BEES comes out, possibly in 2018 or 2019?  Will you skip the battle scenes in Episode 301, and wait for the Definitive Version of Events as told in BEES?  Or do you fall somewhere in between?

How do you feel about the fact that the answer to a question that has fueled speculation among OUTLANDER fans for decades will be revealed first on the TV show, rather than in the books?  (Personally, I don't like that at all.)

Here's my take on it.  The version of What Happened at Culloden that we see on TV will be (like everything else in the show so far) the writer's/director's/actors' interpretation of events, not necessarily exactly the same as what actually happened. In my opinion, the only definitive version of what happened will be in the book -- in Diana's words, told exactly the way she wants to tell it.

I'm sure the battle as seen on TV will be visually exciting, very dramatic, well-acted, and riveting to watch. <g>  But I would be willing to bet that seeing it on TV won't have nearly the same emotional impact as reading about those events from Jamie's POV in the book, overlaid with his 30-plus years of remembering only fragments, wanting to know more, but fearing those memories at the same time.

I'm not going to avoid watching the TV version of events, but for me, the version in Diana Gabaldon's own words is the one I'm far more interested in.  And I'm positive it will be worth waiting for. <g>

What about the rest of you?

Monday, April 17, 2017

First official Season 3 trailer!

STARZ has released the first official trailer for OUTLANDER Season 3!

I think it looks terrific! What about the rest of you?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Culloden anniversary

Today is the 271st anniversary of the Battle of Culloden, which took place on April 16, 1746.

I like this video very much. (The song is "The Ghosts of Culloden", performed by Isla Grant.)


If you haven't read VOYAGER (Book 3 of the OUTLANDER series), there is a Major Spoiler below. Read at your own risk!

Diana Gabaldon noted in her blog post about her 2008 visit to Culloden that she saw the place where Jamie woke after the battle, thinking he was dead.  When I asked her on Compuserve if she recalled where that was, exactly, she said,
Jamie made it almost to the second government line.  He woke in a little swale or dip (you recall he was lying in water), about forty feet off the path that leads from the Visitors Centre--maybe a couple of hundred yards beyond the VC itself.
The photo below shows the area where the government lines were, marked with a red flag.

I was lucky enough to be able to visit Culloden in 2012, and again last July.  It's an amazing place, and the Visitors Centre is very well done.

Happy Easter!

Here are a couple of Easter-related quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books, just in time for the holiday.


If you haven't read all eight of the OUTLANDER books, there are spoilers below. Read at your own risk.

Easter Eggs

I like Roger's memories of Easter with his kids:
[Roger's] heart rose, in spite of his anxiety, when he came to the top of the pass and saw Lallybroch below him, its white-harled buildings glowing in the fading light. Everything lay peaceful before him: late cabbages and turnips in orderly rows within the kailyard walls, safe from grazing sheep--there was a small flock in the far meadow, already bedding for the night, like so many woolly eggs in a nest of green grass, like a kid’s Easter basket.

The thought caught at his throat, with memories of the horrible cellophane grass that got everywhere, Mandy with her face—and everything else within six feet of her—smeared with chocolate, Jem carefully writing Dad on a hard-boiled egg with a white crayon, then frowning over the array of dye cups, trying to decide whether blue or purple was more Dad-like.

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 29, "Return to Lallybroch". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I'm Jewish, so I don't celebrate Easter, but we did occasionally dye eggs when I was little, just for fun, and this bit makes me smile, remembering that.

The photo above shows the Easter vigil at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.  It looks very much as Jamie remembers:
"The church was all dark,” Jamie continued, “but the folk coming for the service would buy small tapers from the crones at the doors. It was something like this”--I felt, rather than saw, his motion at the sky above--“a great space above, all ringing wi’ the silence, and folk packed in on every side.” Hot as it was, I gave an involuntary shiver at these words, which conjured up a vision of the dead around us, crowding silently side by side, in anticipation of an imminent resurrection.

“And then, just when I thought I couldna bear the silence and the crowd, there came the priest’s voice from the door. ‘Lumen Christi!’ he called out, and the acolytes lit the great candle that he carried. Then from it they took the flame to their own tapers, and scampered up and down the aisles, passing the fire to the candles o’ the faithful.”

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 2, "In Which We Meet a Ghost". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Happy Easter to all of you who are celebrating today!

Friday, April 14, 2017

New Season 3 photos, and a trailer coming soon!

STARZ released two new photos from Season 3 yesterday! Click on the photos to enlarge them.

STARZ also announced that the first official Season 3 trailer will be shown on Sunday night (April 16) before the premiere of WHITE PRINCESS at 8pm ET/PT. I'll post the video as soon as it becomes available. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Season 3 Preview: VOYAGER PopToons!

As we continue to wait for OUTLANDER Season 3, I thought many of you would enjoy this series of "PopToons", telling the story of VOYAGER. I think they're hilarious, and very creative!

Credit (and many thanks!!) goes to @SummerPic and @purpleiris13 on Twitter.

* * * SPOILER WARNING!! * * *

If you haven't read Diana Gabaldon's VOYAGER (Book 3 of the OUTLANDER series), there are Major Spoilers below! Continue at your own risk, and don't say I didn't warn you!









First, a brief look at Jamie and Claire in their years apart:

OK, enough of that, on to the REUNION!!

There's more, but I'm skipping ahead to....

If you like these, check out @purpleiris13 and @SummerPic on Twitter for more!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Happy Tartan Day!

In celebration of Tartan Day, I'm reposting this collection of pictures related to men in kilts.  Hope you enjoy them!


The very tall man on the right in the photo below is Simon Fraser, clan chief of the Frasers of Lovat. Diana Gabaldon met him in Scotland a few years ago.

Here's Richard Rankin, who plays Roger Wakefield on the OUTLANDER TV series!

And last but definitely NOT least....

Here's the deleted scene from Episode 114 ("The Search") where Jamie demonstrates how he puts on his kilt.

Happy Tartan Day, everyone!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Diana Gabaldon's visit to the OUTLANDER set in South Africa

Diana Gabaldon is in South Africa this week, visiting the set of the OUTLANDER TV series! (For those of you who don't know, the production has relocated to South Africa to film the final episodes, including the seagoing scenes, for Season 3.)

Here's Part 1 of Diana's account of her trip.
And here is Part 2.

I'm sure she'll post more as time permits!

The photo above was taken by Matt Roberts, one of the OUTLANDER writers. (Click on the photo for a bigger view.) Isn't it beautiful?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Have you tried to get other people to read or watch OUTLANDER?

Diana Gabaldon often says that these are "word-of-mouth books, because they're too weird to describe to anybody."   This month's poll asks the question, "Have you tried to get other people to read the OUTLANDER books or watch the TV series?" Please take a moment to vote.

I got my sister addicted to the books a few years ago, and I certainly have done my bit as an "OUTLANDER ambassador", helping to spread the word about the series in all its various forms. Here I am in 2010, on my first visit to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in NC, with a handmade OUTLANDER sign.

What about the rest of you? If you've had some success with getting people hooked on OUTLANDER (books, TV show, or both), please leave a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page, and tell us about it.

April poll results

Here are the results of the March poll, which asked the question, "What are you doing to pass the time until the OUTLANDER TV series resumes?"
  • 35.53% - All of the above.
  • 17.76% - Reading (or re-reading) Diana Gabaldon's books.
  • 7.46% - Listening to the OUTLANDER audiobooks.
  • 7.46% - Reading books by other authors.
  • 6.36% - Watching Seasons 1 and 2 again.
  • 5.48% - Following various OUTLANDER fan-sites, including Outlandish Observations.
  • 4.82% - Devouring any information I can find (trailers, photos, interviews, etc.) about the TV series.
  • 3.51% - Pursuing other hobbies or interests not related to OUTLANDER.
  • 3.07% - Focusing on family, work, or other commitments.
  • 2.41% - Hanging out on Diana Gabaldon's Facebook page or Compuserve.
  • 1.54% - Trying to get other people to read the books or watch the TV series.
  • 0.88% - I'm not interested in the OUTLANDER TV series.
  • 3.73% - Other
Here are the results for "Other":
  • Special Outlander project!
  • Do my Taxes ????
  • Spending time with friends met through Outlander groups
  • watching, re-reading, listening, following websites, buying book one for others.
  • #'s 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, above
  • Re-reading the books verrrrry sloooowly!
  • This is my hobby, my very first ever.
  • Watching Mercy St. (With Geneva)+ Victoria(with Laoghaire)
  • Most of the above!
  • Podcasts
  • I just finished re-reading all the books, and watched all the episodes again!
  • Not all, but many of the above.
  • All of the above except Devouring all, & Facebook
  • Rewatching seasons 1 and 2 as well as rereading the books.
  • Writing blog posts for "Scotch & Scones"
  • Following sites AND listening to Davina Porter while doing MPC
  • Going to Scotland
There were 456 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!

Please take a moment to vote in the April poll, which asks the question, "Have you tried to get other people to read the OUTLANDER books, or watch the TV series?" Thanks!