Friday Fun Facts - 1/27/2012


I've decided to try a new meme: Friday Fun Facts! This will be a selection of odd, unusual, humorous, or otherwise interesting facts that I've learned from reading Diana Gabaldon's books.

1) Jamie measures short distances with the joints of his left middle finger.  (SCOTTISH PRISONER, chapter 20, "Stalking Horse", p. 263 in the hardcover)

2) Brianna had a Swiss army knife with her in the 18th century.  (ABOSAA chapter 6, "Ambush")

3) Lawrence Stern, the Jewish natural philosopher in VOYAGER, is named after the 18th-century author of TRISTRAM SHANDY, Laurence Sterne.

4) There really was a window tax in Britain in the 18th century.  (Roger mentions it in FIERY CROSS, chapter 100, "Dead Whale".)

5) The passenger pigeons are not the only extinct species mentioned in THE FIERY CROSS.  Just before Claire's encounter with the immense flock of pigeons, Roger sees some "vivid little parakeets" (beginning of chapter 82, "A Darkening Sky"), which are in fact Carolina parakeets -- also an extinct species in our time.

Thanks to Margaret Campbell on Compuserve, who pointed this out to me several years ago. I didn't actually find the reference until my most recent "re-listen" of FIERY CROSS, just a couple of months ago, but apparently it was Margaret who suggested to Diana that she include the parakeet. Isn't it beautiful?  Really a shame that they're gone.

I hope you enjoyed these.  I plan to make this a regular blog feature, so please stop by next week for more!

Look here to see all of my Friday Fun Facts blog posts.


Diana Gabaldon said...

This is great, Karen--thanks!

Fwiw, that's how _I_ measure short distances (though being right-handed, I use my right middle finger). The finger is exactly three inches long, and the first joint is exactly one inch long. Very handy!

Lara said...

Very awesome, Karen! I can't wait till next Friday for more facts! Thanks!

Faith said...

These facts are indeed quite fun lol Thank you! I especially love the picture of the parakeet--Beautiful. I wish they were still around.

Mari said...

Dear Karen
That's a wonderful idea, Friday Fun Facts I mean. It's been a few months since I started The Outlander Series and I'm becoming addicted. The fact is that there's always something I didn't noticed, because they're so full of details. Once I heard a song saying that a book cannot reproduce real life, well, Diana Gabaldon almost managed. The point is it's always nice for me to read what other readers have to say, to find out what I missed, and you are a very careful reader Karen, so I'll stop by for sure next Friday.

Karen Henry said...


Thanks so much for stopping by to comment! I'm glad you like the idea. I just thought, what better way to make use of my knowledge of OUTLANDER trivia than sharing some of my favorites with other fans? <g>


Karen Henry said...

Lara - glad you like the idea! I think I can easily manage to pick 5 new ones a week. There are sooooo many interesting facts to choose from!


Karen Henry said...

Faith - I think the parakeet is really pretty and it's a shame there are none left.


Karen Henry said...

Mari - thanks so much! There's an incredible wealth of detail in these books, and I'm still picking up tiny details on every re-read, no matter how many times I've read or listened to the books. Glad you like this idea.


aliaslaceygreen said...

LOL, Diana, I do too! My middle finger has those a quilter and a picture framer, I am very good with eyeballing things as well, and can get pretty darned close to reality with a guesstimate!
Karen, these are going to be enjoyable to read, thanks for doing it!!

Juliazun said...

Love this! Reading these made me remember yet another question I've had for ages - what in the world ever happened to Lawrence Stern?? Wasn't he on the ship with Claire & Jamie at the end of Voyager? I assume he made it to America, but no mention is ever made of him. Where in the world is Lawrence - inquiring minds want to know. :)

Karen Henry said...

Alias - I'm glad you liked this! It's going to be fun putting these together each week, I'm sure.

Julia - I have no idea. But it's always fun to speculate! :-)


Anonymous said...

These parakeets (parrots) look just like the ones in San Francisco. There is a wonderful program on Netflicks called The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. Worth a look!

Mary EMH said...

Thanks! I finished a re-listen to Fiery Cross just over a week ago. I do remember Roger and the parakeets. I am thinking that the old question and answer thread on the forum would be a wealth of "Friday Fun Facts", besides your considerable knowledge.

Karen Henry said...

@Mary - I'm sure you'really right about that!


KYPREOS Christiane said...

Mrs Henry, thankyou so much for sharing your knowledge : FFF. Looking forward to the next one ! greetings for Christiane K Paris FR.

Karen Henry said...


I'm really glad you enjoyed this! I'm already thinking about ideas for next week. :-)

You can call me "Karen", by the way. Everybody else does.


Carla said...

Great and fun idea, Karen! My husband measures distances of 9 inches from thumb to pinky when he extends his right hand. Interesting!

Karen Henry said...

Thanks, Carla, glad you like the idea! :-)

Karen said...

I have only just discovered this blog, so I'm very late to the party and really sorry they stopped in 2014, but I am so enjoying them! The information about the Carolina Parakeets and that Margaret Campbell suggested DG use them in the book is interesting. I wonder if that's why DG named a character in the book after her... the sister of Archie Campbell who eventually emigrates from Scotland to Jamaica.

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