Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Hurricane quotes from the OUTLANDER books

Most of you have probably heard that Hurricane Florence is heading for the Carolinas this week, a very powerful storm that is expected to do major damage.  As those of us in the path of the storm (I live in Raleigh, NC) complete our preparations and hunker down in anticipation of Florence's arrival, I couldn't resist a few hurricane-related quotes from the OUTLANDER books.

1) This first quote comes from the final scene in VOYAGER, in which Jamie and Claire learn where they've ended up after the storm.
"Of course, you were cast away by the storm. My husband was saying last night that he’d never seen such a dreadful blow at this time of year. What a mercy it is that you were saved! But you came from the islands to the south, then?”

The south. This couldn’t be Cuba. Might we have come as far as St. Thomas, or even Florida? We exchanged a quick glance, and I squeezed Jamie’s hand. I could feel the pulse beating in his wrist.

Mrs. Olivier smiled indulgently. “You are not on an island at all. You are on the mainland; in the Colony of Georgia.”

“Georgia,” Jamie said. “America?” He sounded slightly stunned, and no wonder. We had been blown at least six hundred miles by the storm.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 63, "Out of the Depths". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Imagine being carried six hundred miles by a very powerful hurricane (say a Category 4 or 5, in today's terms), in a tiny, fragile wooden sailing ship. It really is a miracle that they survived.

2) I like this bit, and I was glad to see they included it in Episode 313 ("Eye of the Storm"). To me, Jamie's last line just proves how terrified and desperate he was. And the way he says it always makes me laugh a little, even in the midst of this life-and-death situation.
A sense of lassitude and utter peace stole gradually over me. I couldn’t feel my feet or legs, and only Jamie’s crushing grip on my hands reminded me of their existence. My head went under water, and I had to remind myself to hold my breath.

The wave subsided and the wood rose slightly, bringing my nose above water. I breathed, and my vision cleared slightly. A foot away was the face of Jamie Fraser, hair plastered to his head, wet features contorted against the spray.

“Hold on!” he roared. “Hold on, God damn you!”

I smiled gently, barely hearing him. The sense of great peace was lifting me, carrying me beyond the noise and chaos. There was no more pain. Nothing mattered. Another wave washed over me, and this time I forgot to hold my breath.

The choking sensation roused me briefly, long enough to see the flash of terror in Jamie’s eyes. Then my vision went dark again.

“Damn you, Sassenach!” his voice said, from a very great distance. His voice was choked with passion. “Damn you! I swear if ye die on me, I’ll kill you!"

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 63, "Out of the Depths". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

3) This is one of my favorite bits linking parts of the story together:
Then a bolt crashed down beside the ship, lightning and thunder together, close enough to hear the hiss of boiling water in the ringing aftermath of the thunderclap. The sharp reek of ozone flooded the air. Innes turned from the light, his tall, thin figure so sharply cut against the flash that he looked momentarily like a skeleton, black bones against the sky.

The momentary dazzle and his movement made it seem for an instant that he stood whole once more, two arms swinging, as though his missing limb had emerged from the ghost world to join him, here on the brink of eternity.

Oh, de headbone connected to de … neckbone. Joe Abernathy’s voice sang softly in memory. And de neckbone connected to de … backbone … I had a sudden hideous vision of the scattered limbs I had seen on the beach by the corpse of the Bruja, animated by the lightning, squirming and wriggling to reunite.

Dem bones, dem bones, are gonna walk around.
Now, hear de word of de Lawd!

Another clap of thunder and I screamed, not at the sound, but at the lightning bolt of memory. A skull in my hands, with empty eyes that had once been the green of the hurricane sky.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 63, "Out of the Depths". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I was on about my fifth re-read of the series before someone pointed out this connection to me: Claire, in a moment of stunned horror, realizing all at once that the skull she'd held in Joe Abernathy's office in 1968 was in fact the skull of the green-eyed Geillis -- whom Claire herself had killed in the cave at Abandawe. I think I would have screamed, too.

4) And here's a little taste of what it must be like on Ocracoke Island, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, during one of these storms. (This photo from shows Cape Hatteras, near Ocracoke, during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.)
It had been raining for days, and the footing was uncertain, slippery and boggy by turns.  The wind was high, and the storm surge pounded the beaches; they could hear it, even in the secluded spot where the portal lay.

"We were all scared--maybe all but Rob--but it was way exciting, man," he said, beginning to show a glimmer of enthusiasm.  "The trees were just about layin' down flat, and the sky, it was green.  The wind was so bad, you could taste salt, all the time, because little bits of ocean were flying through the air, mixed with the rain.  We were, like, soaked through to our choners."

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 55, "Wendigo". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Wishing everyone in Florence's path good luck! Stay safe.

Monday, September 10, 2018

New Season 4 Trailer!

STARZ released a new Season 4 trailer today, and I think it's terrific!  It includes some scenes from previous trailers, but also a great deal of new material, including our first look at Roger and Bree in Season 4.

Friday, September 7, 2018

What exactly is "telling the bees"?

As many of you know, the title of Diana Gabaldon's upcoming Book 9 in the OUTLANDER series is GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE.

What exactly does it mean to "tell the bees", and where did that custom come from?

Diana Gabaldon explains it this way on her website:
Where did the title come from? Talking to your bees is a very old Celtic custom (known in other parts of Europe, too) that made it to the Appalachians. You always tell the bees when someone is born, dies, comes or goes--because if you don’t keep them informed, they’ll fly away.
Here's an interesting article published earlier this week that takes a closer look at the custom of "telling bees". Thanks to Martha W. for the link!

(The painting above is called "The Bee Friend", by 19th-century artist Hans Thoma.)

Diana Gabaldon at Yankee Stadium Sept. 14

Well, this is unexpected news, and certainly Something Different....

Diana Gabaldon just announced on Facebook that she will be throwing out the first pitch at the Sept. 14th game between the Yankees and Blue Jays, at Yankee Stadium!

Congratulations, Diana! That's very cool, and quite an honor! Apparently the Yankees approached her publisher, Penguin Random House, and asked if she'd be willing to do it.

I just hope she doesn't tell Bree or (especially) Jem about this! Those diehard Red Sox fans might never forgive her. <g>

UPDATE 9/15/2018 9:13 am - Here's the video. Great job, Diana!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

What are you doing to pass the time until Season 4 premieres?

It's been a very long #Droughtlander, but the end is finally in sight!

With only a little more than two months to go until the OUTLANDER TV series resumes on November 4th, I thought a good topic for this month's poll on Outlandish Observations would be what you've been doing to pass the time while we wait. Are you reading (or re-reading) the OUTLANDER books? Watching the DVDs? Constantly scanning social media for the slightest mention of Season 4 news? Or are you focusing on other things right now?

Personally, I'm enjoying these last few weeks of relative peace and quiet before The Great Thread Explosion of 2018-19 (aka the Season 4 discussions) begins on (formerly the Compuserve Books and Writers Community), where I manage the discussions in Diana Gabaldon's section of the forum. It's going to be absolutely insane for a few months, but I'm trying not to think about that too far in advance. ("Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," as Frank likes to say....)

Please take a moment to vote in the September poll, and feel free to leave a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page, letting us know how you voted or sharing your favorite coping strategies for getting through #Droughtlander. Thanks!

August poll results

Here are the results of the August poll, which asked the question, "Who is your favorite villain in the OUTLANDER series?"
  • 30.46% - Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall
  • 14.64% - I don't have a favorite.
  • 13.73% - Geillis Duncan
  • 10.72% - Stephen Bonnet
  • 5.75% - Comte St. Germain
  • 5.62% - William Buccleigh MacKenzie
  • 5.62% - The Duke of Sandringham
  • 3.66% - Arch Bug
  • 3.53% - Laoghaire MacKenzie
  • 1.96% - Phillip Wylie
  • 1.83% - Malva Christie
  • 0.52% - Rob Cameron
  • 0.26% - Arvin Hodgepile
  • 1.70% - Other:
Here are the responses for "Other":
  • Captain Richardson
  • Mrs. Bug
  • Hate them all :)
  • I love them all
  • Tom Christie
  • All of the above!
  • Malva's brother
  • Colin MacKenzie, so treacherous & pretending to ca
  • Lord John Grey
  • Not favorite. Most hated. Black Jack!
  • Dougal (Graham McTavish)
  • Geneva
  • All of the above :)
There were 765 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!

Please take a moment to vote in the September poll, which asks, "What are you doing to pass the time until the OUTLANDER TV series resumes?"