Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June poll results

Here are the results of the June poll, which asked the question, "What's your favorite episode from the 2nd half of OUTLANDER Season 1?"
  • 30.41% - I love them all!
  • 18.45% - Episode 111: "The Devil's Mark"
  • 17.65% - Episode 109: "The Reckoning"
  • 9.69% - Episode 116: "To Ransom a Man's Soul"
  • 8.89% - Episode 112: "Lallybroch"
  • 3.68% - I've only seen the first 8 episodes so far.
  • 2.34% - I don't have STARZ, or the TV series isn't yet available where I live.
  • 2.14% - I don't have a favorite.
  • 1.74% - Episode 115: "Wentworth Prison"
  • 1.67% - Episode 110: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"
  • 1.60% - Episode 114: "The Search"
  • 0.87% - Episode 113: "The Watch"
  • 0.87% - Other
Here are the responses for "Other":
  • When Claire doesn't go back through the stones.
  • I never watch a visual version of any book I've read. It's too disappointing.
  • no favorites, liked 1st half of the season
  • hard to pick just one,,,,maybe 109 or 112
  • I want to choose 111 and 116! Just Wow!
  • None, I do not recognize Claire or Jamie as revealed through Diana's writing.
  • combination of eps 15 & 16, with ep. 9 being next
  • I didn't care for this season. But loved last season.
  • did not like The Search
  • All except The Watch
  • the books are infinitely better
  • 113 & 114
There were 1496 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated! Please take a moment to vote in the July poll, which is all about your favorite ways to read or listen to Diana Gabaldon's books. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Season 2 Casting: Frances de la Tour as Mother Hildegarde!

I am thrilled by today's announcement that the part of Mother Hildegarde will be played by Frances de la Tour!  I've been saying for years that she would be perfect for the role (as you can see from this post on Compuserve dated May 15, 2009) and I'm just delighted to hear that it's going to happen!

Here's the way Mother Hildegarde is described when we first meet her in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER:
Hildegarde de Gascogne was the most suitable person I could imagine to be in charge of a place like L’Hôpital des Anges. Nearly six feet tall, her gaunt, rawboned frame swathed in yards of black wool, she loomed over her nursing sisters like a broomstick scarecrow guarding a field of pumpkins. Porters, patients, sisters, orderlies, novices, visitors, apothecaries, all were swept up by the force of her presence, to be tidied away into neat heaps, wherever Mother Hildegarde might decree.

With that height, plus a face of an ugliness so transcendant as to be grotesquely beautiful, it was obvious why she had embraced a religious life--Christ was the only man from whom she might expect embrace in return.

Her voice was deep and resonant; with its nasal Gascony accent, it bonged through the corridors of the hospital like the echo of the church bells next door.

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 12, "L'Hôpital des Anges".  Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.)
It has always seemed to me that Frances de la Tour fits that description very closely. I don't usually participate in the speculation about casting, but in this case, I really cannot imagine anyone else playing Mother Hildegarde, and I'm delighted to have got this one right!

Here's an interesting interview with de la Tour from a few years ago.  It's definitely worth reading.

(Please note: we still have no information about Brianna or Roger's casting. I promise I'll post here as soon as I hear anything.)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

In honor of this week's news

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this week to allow same-sex couples to marry, I can't help thinking of what Lord John Grey might make of this news.
"And what do you think love is, then, that it is reserved only to men who are drawn to women?"

(From LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 32, "The Path of Honor". Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Indeed!  Think of #LoveWins and similar messages on social media in the last 24 hours.
“I came this afternoon to give you some news of my own; I am to be married.”

“Married?” The shock was plain on Fraser’s face. “To a woman?”

“I think there are not many alternatives,” Grey replied dryly.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 59, "In Which Much is Revealed". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I think Lord John would be astounded (to put it mildly!) to hear that in our time, same-sex marriage has become not only possible, but accepted by so many people around the world.
"Do you ever wish that you were...not as you are?”

The question took him by surprise--and yet he was somewhat more surprised to realize that he did not need to think about the answer.

“No,” he said. He hesitated for a moment, but Percy’s asking of the question was enough. “You do?”

Percy glanced back at the portrait of Villiers, then looked down, dark lashes hiding his eyes.

“Sometimes. You must admit--it would make some things less difficult.”

Grey glanced thoughtfully at a nearby couple, evidently courting; the young woman was flirting expertly over her fan, giggling as her swain made faces, imitating the stuffed-frog expression of one portrait’s subject.

“Perhaps. And yet it depends, I think, much more upon one’s position in life. Were I my father’s heir, for instance, I should feel the pressure of an obligation to marry and reproduce, and should likely consent. As it is, my brother has met his obligations in that regard nobly, and thus it is a matter of indifference whether I should ever wed.”

(From LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 32, "Pictures at an Exhibition." Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I hope someday that it does indeed become a matter of "indifference" to society at large whether anyone -- gay, lesbian, or otherwise -- chooses to marry or not.  In my opinion, that's a matter of individual choice, and people should be free to make their own decisions. I think this week's Supreme Court decision is a huge step forward!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Gary Lewis and a website for learning Gaelic

Gary Lewis, who plays Colum MacKenzie in the OUTLANDER TV series, is promoting a website called that helps people learn Gaelic.

Gary says,
My role in Outlander has allowed me to gain my own respect for the language and the enhanced website is a great online resource which should help encourage other learners of the language.
I agree that looks like a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the language!

The site has been around since 2011, but I'm sure it won't surprise any of you to learn that it's had a tremendous surge in interest over the past year, due in large part to the TV series. For more information about the site, look here.

I think Gary Lewis does a wonderful job with the Gaelic on the show. I was particularly impressed with his speech welcoming the clansmen in Episode 104, "The Gathering". I don't have a video clip of that scene, but here's Part 9 of the "How to speak OUTLANDER" video series.  This one features Gary Lewis (Colum) and Graham McTavish (Dougal) teaching the rest of us the correct way to say the MacKenzie war cry, "TÙLACH ÀRD!"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day quotes from the OUTLANDER books

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!  In honor of the day, I thought I'd post a selection of my favorite quotes about fathers and fatherhood from Diana Gabaldon's books.  Hope you enjoy them!

"I hadna realized until I saw him just how alone I’d felt there--or how scairt. The soldiers would not give us any time alone together, but at least they let me greet him.” He swallowed and went on.

“I told him I was sorry--about Jenny, I meant, and the whole sorry mess. He told me to hush, though, and hugged me tight to him. He asked me was I hurt badly--he knew about the flogging--and I said I’d be all right. The soldiers said I must go then, so he squeezed my arms tight, and told me to remember to pray. He said he would stand by me, no matter what happened, and I must just keep my head up and try not to worrit myself. He kissed my cheek and the soldiers took me away. That was the last time I ever saw him."

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22, "Reckonings". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 

“I wondered a bit,” he said thoughtfully, “whether my father was the sort of father he was because of the way old Simon treated him. I didna realize it at the time, of course, but it’s no so common for a man to show his feelings for his sons.”

“You’ve thought about it a lot.” I offered him another flask of ale, and he took it with a smile that lingered on me, more warming than the feeble autumn sun.

“Aye, I did. I was wondering, ye see, what sort of father I’d be to my own bairns, and looking back a bit to see, my own father being the best example I had. Yet I knew, from the bits that he said, or that Murtagh told me, that his own father was nothing like him, so I thought as how he must have made up his mind to do it all differently, once he had the chance."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 40, "The Fox's Lair".  Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.)

Willie knew how an earl should behave; he was making a masterful effort to subdue his tears, sniffing ferociously and swiping at his face with a sleeve.

“Allow me, my lord.” Jamie did kneel then, and wiped the little boy’s face gently with his own coarse handkerchief. Willie’s eyes looked at him over the cotton folds, red-rimmed and woeful.

“Have you really got to go, Mac?” he asked, in a very small voice.

“Aye, I have.” He looked into the dark blue eyes, so heartbreakingly like his own, and suddenly didn’t give a damn what was right or who saw. He pulled the boy roughly to him, hugging him tight against his heart, holding the boy’s face close to his shoulder, that Willie might not see the quick tears that fell into his thick, soft hair.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 16, "Willie".  Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.)

“You 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.)

Roger had sworn an oath to take Jemmy as his own, no matter what the little boy’s true paternity might be; he was an honorable man, Roger, and he meant it. But the speech of the heart is louder than the words of any oath spoken by lips alone.

When I had gone back, pregnant, through the stones, Frank had sworn to me that he would keep me as his wife, would treat the coming child as his own--would love me as he had before. All three of those vows his lips and mind had done his best to keep, but his heart, in the end, had sworn only one. From the moment that he took Brianna in his arms, she was his daughter.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 13, "Beans and Barbecue".  Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 

Jem was heavy in his arms, and groggy. He stirred, lifted his head, and blinked, blue eyes glassy with sleep.

“It’s okay,” Roger whispered, patting his back. “Daddy’s here.”

Jem sighed like a punctured tire and dropped his head on Roger’s shoulder with the force of a spent cannonball. He seemed to inflate again for a moment, but then put his thumb in his mouth and subsided into that peculiarly boneless state common to sleeping children. His flesh seemed to melt comfortably into Roger’s own, his trust so complete that it was not necessary even to maintain the boundaries of his body--Daddy would do that. 

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 29, "Perfectly Fine".  Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 

"For a long time,” he said at last, “when I was small, I pretended to myself that I was the bastard of some great man. All orphans do this, I think,” he added dispassionately. “It makes life easier to bear, to pretend that it will not always be as it is, that someone will come and restore you to your rightful place in the world.”

He shrugged.

“Then I grew older, and knew this was not true. No one would come to rescue me. But then--” He turned his head and gave Jamie a smile of surpassing sweetness.

“Then I grew older still, and discovered that, after all, it was true. I am the son of a great man.”

The hook touched Jamie’s hand, hard and capable.

“I wish for nothing more."

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 18, "Pulling Teeth".  Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 

Seized by an urgency greater than any he’d ever known, he turned and ran. Ran heedless of footing, of dark, of Buck’s startled cry behind him.

Jerry heard his footsteps on the grass and whirled round, startled himself. Roger grabbed him by both hands, squeezed them hard enough to make Jerry gasp, and said fiercely, “I love you!”

That was all there was time for--and all he could possibly say.

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 101, "Just One Chance".  Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 
Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 19, 2015

OUTLANDER coloring book coming in October

And now for Something Completely Different....

An OUTLANDER coloring book (intended for adults) will be published by Penguin Random House later this year, "featuring 45 original black-and-white illustrations inspired by the characters, scenes, and other iconic imagery from Gabaldon's bestselling Outlander book series."

Diana Gabaldon is listed as the author, but I don't know what contribution, if any, she will be making to this book. (I'm sure they'll have a professional artist doing the drawings.)  If I find out more information, I'll update this post.

UPDATE 6/19/2015 7:27 pm:  Here's Diana's response when I asked on Compuserve about how involved she's going to be in the project:
Dear Karen--

   They'll have _lots_ of artists doing it--5 to 8, they said; necessary in order to have the coloring book ready for release along with the OC II  (didn't know that's what they were aiming for, until they told me just now).

   I probably get approval of the images--along with all the RH [Random House] editorial/art people. <g>  But beyond giving them permission to do it, I theoretically have no particular involvement.

Some of you may have heard about this trend of coloring books for adults.  Apparently they've become extremely popular, but I find the idea rather baffling, myself. I certainly don't mind if others enjoy coloring for fun or relaxation, but I haven't done that sort of coloring since I was maybe nine years old, and the idea just doesn't appeal to me, personally. <shrug>

So I don't plan to purchase this OUTLANDER coloring book, though I'll probably glance at it in the bookstore, just to see what it is.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the coloring book will be published on October 27, 2015, the same day that the long-awaited OUTLANDISH COMPANION Volume II comes out.

What about the rest of you?  Do you enjoy coloring? Would you buy this OUTLANDER coloring book? Feel free to leave a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More Season 2 casting news!

Here's the latest OUTLANDER Season 2 casting news:

Laurence Dobiesz will play Alex Randall, younger brother to the notorious Black Jack Randall. The casting team continues to do a fantastic job! I am amazed at how much Dobiesz resembles Tobias Menzies, especially around the eyes.

You can follow him on Twitter here.

Also, it was announced a few days ago that Margaux Chatelier will play Annalise de Marillac. If you've read DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, you'll recall that Jamie tells Claire how he fought his first duel in Paris at the age of 18 over Annalise de Marillac.  She's not precisely an "ex-girlfriend", at least in the book, but Jamie certainly had a major crush on her.

Annalise de Marillac only appeared very briefly in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, so it will be interesting to see whether they've expanded her role for the TV series.