Most startling moments in the books?

We had a discussion on Compuserve recently about the most startling moments or scenes in the OUTLANDER books. Scenes that make you stop and stare at the page -- "What?!? Did I really see that? That can't be right!" Or scenes that made you scream at the book, laugh out loud in surprise, or whatever.

Here are a few of mine:

OUTLANDER - when Claire finds Jamie in the cell at Wentworth, and he shows her the bloated bag of bones that used to be his right hand. <shudder>  That was the point when it first hit me (in a very shocking, visceral sort of way) that I wasn't reading the sort of ordinary novel where the characters have adventures, but survive basically unscathed at the end.  I couldn't believe Diana would inflict such horrible, permanent damage on a main character like that.

DRAGONFLY IN AMBER - "But I wasna carrying your child." - I totally didn't see that coming the first time, despite the fact that we'd seen the adult Brianna at the beginning of the book.  I don't remember much of my reaction to the rest of DRAGONFLY on that first reading, only that feeling of utter shock, grief, and crying so hard I could hardly see the words on the page.

VOYAGER - The "Daddy" scene, where we learn of Jamie's marriage to Laoghaire, has to be my pick for "most startling moment" in this book.  I never would have seen that coming in a million years. <g>

DRUMS OF AUTUMN - The point when I realized that J&C were going to settle in North Carolina.  I've lived in NC for more than 25 years, and I was stunned (and delighted, and fascinated) to realize that the story was now going to be taking place not all that far from where I live.

THE FIERY CROSS - The hanging, of course.  I was absolutely convinced that Roger was dead, the first time I read it, and I felt a deep sense of shock and betrayal, that Diana would do that to one of her major characters (and one of my favorites).  Even when I realized that he was going to live, I was stunned that he'd lost his singing voice.  Just heartbreaking.

A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES - Claire's abduction and rape, definitely.  Also Lizzie and the Beardsley twins.  ("Both of them?!?" <g>  I still laugh when I think about that.)  And Malva's accusation that Jamie fathered her baby, which seemed to come out of nowhere.

AN ECHO IN THE BONE:  Aside from Claire and Lord John marrying and having sex (and that was a huge shock for me, no question!), the appearance of William Buccleigh MacKenzie was probably the biggest surprise in ECHO.  I really did stare bug-eyed at the page, going, "WHAT?!??!??"

What about the rest of you?  I would love to hear your own "most startling moments" from the OUTLANDER or Lord John books.


Jeannine said...

I think you have a good amount of them covered! :)

I know that another startling moment for me (though not as devastatingly so as those you mentioned!) was when Claire began to recover and realized that Malva et al had chopped off all of her hair...
And I was shocked at how easily people turned on J&C with the whole Malva situation, in spite of all they'd done for them...

Also, when we first discover Geillis' vaccination scar...

I'm sure there are many more I haven't thought to mention; that's one of the things I love about the series -- never a dull moment! :)

Jeannine said...

OH! And how can I forget the Bugs??
That one really shocked me - didn't see that coming at all!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

You all chose many of the same I would have chosen as well. Roger and the hanging, Jamie's marriage to L., Claire and Lord John, Geillis and the vaccination scar. I also was taken aback when Jack Randall punched Claire in the stomach. That's when I first realized this guy is to be avoided at all costs. Other moments: Jamie's a virgin! Big surprise! *g* Totally shocked about the Bugs too! Also surprised that Tom Christie wasn't dead.

LeslieUnfinished said...

The biggest shock for me was the hanging. Oh my goodness, I felt physical pain!

And the ending of ECHO, thinking," Oh no! Jem is going to go back in time and then Roger is going after him and what if Jem doesn't really go and Roger does, or they both do and can't find each other?!"

And then DG drops that bomb of an excerpt about's just too much for me to handle!

Cari said...

Oh, wow, I think you've got most of them covered here!

When Roger was hangit, I was in complete shock and burst into tears. It wasn't until I had calmed down a bit that I realized he might not be dead after all...

And William Buckleigh MacKenzie's appearance in Echo. Wow! My sister recently read Echo for the first time, and late one night I got a text from her: "Shut. The. Front. Door." It floored her too, and she's not so easily surprised. ;-)

Vickie said...

The beginning of DIA. I was listening to the audiobook and an announcer gives background before the prologue: "Claire Randall, successful physician, visiting Scotland with her adult daughter Brianna Randall..."

I was shocked and even angry. Couldn't believe it. How could Diana do that to them?? Of course now I see the brilliance in it, and Voyager is my favorite--so amazing and heartwrenching with every read/listen, because of the separation. But at the time, wow. (Friends still call and ask if they're reading the right book.)

Karen Henry said...

Thanks, everybody, for your suggestions of scenes to add to this list! They are all great choices.


Lara said...

I think for me, because Voyager is my favorite of the books, when Claire goes back and gets to Jamie's print shop and he is actually there is most shocking to me. Just like that, no drama (other than he fainted). It was very anti-climactic considering every other major event in the books have a great deal of build up and conflict. It seemed unreal to me that after being separated for 20 years, she'd just walk right in and find him there. First time I read Voyager I reread that chapter several times because I just couldn't believe it!

Also, in Echo, when Jenny asks Claire to save Ian and Jenny doesn't believe that Claire can't do it, but thinks Claire is refusing to save Ian out of vengeance. This broke my heart. I know this had to just kill Claire because she loves Jenny and of course Ian and honestly, I was shocked at Jenny's accusations. I can imagine she was in a great deal of pain and grief, but to think Claire would have a spiteful bone was shocking.

Another part of Echo that gives me goosebumps and makes me sob uncontrollably is when Mandy wakes up in the middle of the night screaming that Jemmy is gone and not with her anymore. I can hear and see the terror in her voice and face when I read it and it is just gut wrenching.

Even when I'm rereading a book and I know what's going to happen, these events, as well as all the events everyone else has listed here still take me off guard and cause an intense emotional reaction. Guess that's why I keep rereading them and fall more in love with each and every character. :)


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