Sunday, February 1, 2015

Results of the January poll

Here are the results of the January poll, which asked the question, "Who is your favorite supporting character (EXCLUDING Jamie and Claire) in the OUTLANDER TV series?"
  • 39.28% - Murtagh
  • 20.80% - Dougal
  • 10.24% - Rupert
  • 6.20% - Black Jack Randall
  • 5.13% - Angus
  • 4.18% - Frank Randall
  • 3.98% - Mrs. Fitzgibbons
  • 3.26% - Ned Gowan
  • 2.91% - Geillis Duncan
  • 0.78% - Colum
  • 0.09% - Laoghaire
  • 1.93% - I haven't seen the OUTLANDER TV series.
  • 1.21% - Other
Here are the responses for "Other":
  • Can't pick just one! They are all great
  • no cable, buying dvd- like Dougal
  • Jenny
  • jenny
  • Roger
  • All of them.
  • Angus & Rupert
  • wee Roger
  • Jennie
  • Love them all
  • Roger
  • Frank and BJR
  • I like a lot of them!
  • Little Roger
  • All are great, too hard to choose!
  • Rupert and Angus.
  • Mrs. Graham, The Druid Seer
  • All of them together make the show so great!
  • This was a difficult one, how can I choose?! But then again, Murtagh...
  • hats
  • Rupert & Angus in their scenes together
  • Willie
  • Dougal first, then Muragh, third Frank Randall
  • Rupert and Angus
  • Too many to pick! I pick wee Roger-scene stealer!
  • I canna choose from this embarrassment of riches!
  • All of the above!
  • Not 1- Rupert/Angus team for comic relief, Black Jack/Frank for drama.
  • all verra verra bonnie
  • Willie
  • they ALL do a bang up job!
  • All of them! This is so well cast, I can't choose just one.
  • Rupert and Angus TOGETHER--comedy gold!
  • The comedy team of Rupert and Angus
  • Hugh Monroe
  • Rupert and Angus should be together!
  • can't choose between Murtagh and Dougal.
  • Black Jack functions as a lead character for the story, so I can not get by him
  • All of them. The actors are doing a fabulous job.
  • jenny
  • Jenny
I thought this would be an interesting question, and I was right.  There were 3,467 responses to this month's poll.  Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

I was really surprised that Murtagh took an early and commanding lead.  I've never been much of a fan of Murtagh in the books; although he's a much more likeable character in the TV series, he's still not my favorite.  But obviously there are a LOT of Duncan Lacroix fans out there! <g>

I didn't vote in this poll, but I think I would have chosen Dougal.  I love watching him.

Please take a moment to vote in the February poll, which is all about how you found the OUTLANDER books.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #12

Here are this week's Friday Fun Facts about Diana Gabaldon's books. This is a collection of some of my favorite items from previous FFF posts. Hope you enjoy it!

1) Charles Edward Stuart really did have a picnic set made of gold and sterling silver, shown above. This must be the same picnic set mentioned by Lord Lovat, Jamie's grandfather, when he was considering what gift to send to Charles Stuart:
"Ha," said his lordship with satisfaction.  "We'll send the gold and sterling picnic set.  That's rich enough, but too frivolous to be interpreted as political support.  Besides," he added practically, "the spoon's dented."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, chapter 41, "The Seer's Curse". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
As Roger explained in DRAGONFLY, Charles Stuart left the picnic set on the field at Culloden. It's currently on display in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. I saw it when I visited Scotland in 2012. Look here for more information.

2) Here's a song called "The Maid Gaed to the Mill", performed by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger.  You may remember it from the scene near the beginning of A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES:
Roger was, of all things, singing now, if one could call it that. Or chanting, at least, the words to a very bawdy Scottish song, about a miller who is pestered by a young woman wanting him to grind her corn. Whereupon he does.

“He flung her down upon the sacks, and there she got her corn ground, her corn ground...” Roger was chanting hotly in her ear, his full weight pinning her to the ground and the stars spinning madly far above.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 6, "Ambush". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
If you've seen Episode 105, "Rent", of the OUTLANDER TV series, you'll remember the clansmen singing this song on the road.

If the original Scots lyrics are too difficult to follow, you can see an English translation here.

3) The photo above shows a glutton, also known as a wolverine.  (Why does it have two different names?  Look here for a somewhat tongue-in-cheek explanation.)  Here's a member of Young Ian's Mohawk tribe impersonating a glutton:
Walking Elk was short and heavily built—not so much unlike a glutton himself, which made his imitations that much more entertaining.

He turned his head, wrinkling up his nose and growling through his teeth, as the glutton caught the hunter’s scent. Then he changed in a flash, became the hunter, creeping carefully through the brush, pausing, squatting low--and springing upward with a sharp yelp, as his buttock encountered a thorny plant.

The men around the fire whooped as Walking Elk became the glutton, who looked at first astonished at the noise, and then thrilled to have seen its prey. It leaped from its lair, uttering growls and sharp yips of rage. The hunter fell back, horrified, and turned to run. Walking Elk’s stubby legs churned the pounded earth of the longhouse, running in place. Then he threw up his arms and sprawled forward with a despairing “Ay-YIIIIII!” as the glutton struck him in the back.

The men shouted encouragement, slapping their palms on their thighs, as the beleaguered hunter managed to roll onto his back, thrashing and cursing, grappling with the glutton that sought to tear out his throat.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 69, "A Stampede of Beavers". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

The video above shows a brief excerpt about wolverines from the BBC's wonderful nature documentary series, "Planet Earth". For more information about wolverines, look here.

4) This diagram shows what an abdominal aortic aneurysm looks like. Just looking at the picture is a little scary!  It looks like a balloon that's about to pop, doesn't it?  Here's a brief video animation:

It's easy to see why such a condition would be fatal in the 18th century.
"How do you feel?” I asked.

[Grannie Wilson] put a trembling hand to her belly.

“I do feel that wee bit poorly,” she whispered.

I put my own hand on her abdomen, and felt it instantly. A pulse, where no pulse should be. It was irregular, stumbling, and bumping--but most assuredly there.

“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” I said. I didn’t say it loudly, but Mrs. Crombie gasped, and I saw her apron twitch, as she doubtless made the horns beneath it.

I hadn’t time to bother with apology, but stood and grabbed Roger by the sleeve, pulling him aside.

“She has an aortic aneurysm,” I said to him very softly. “She must have been bleeding internally for some time, enough to make her lose consciousness and seem cold. It’s going to rupture very soon, and then she’ll die for real.” 

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES, chapter 39, "I Am the Resurrection". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

5) This is what hyacinth looks like.  (Photo from Wikipedia.)  What beautiful flowers!  It really is a shame that Jamie's allergic to them.
"Are you all right?” I looked around for some means of disposal, and settled for dropping the sachet into a stationery box on my desk at the far side of the room.

“Aye, I’ll do. It’s the hya…hya…hyaCHOO!”

“Goodness!” I hastily flung the window open, and motioned to him. He obligingly stuck his head and shoulders out into the wet drizzle of the morning, breathing in gusts of fresh, hyacinth-free air.

“Och, that’s better,” he said with relief, pulling in his head a few minutes later. His eyes widened. “What are ye doing now, Sassenach?”

“Washing,” I explained, struggling with the back laces of my gown. “Or getting ready to, at least. I’m covered with oil of hyacinth,” I explained, as he blinked. “If I don’t wash it off, you’re liable to explode."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 11, "Useful Occupations". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
For more information about hyacinths, look here.  There are a number of interesting facts on that page, including the following:
An ancient Greek legend describes the origin of the Hyacinth. Two of the gods, Apollo and Zephyr, adored a handsome young Greek called Hyakinthos. Apollo was teaching Hyakinthos the art of throwing a discus.

Zephyr, who was the god of the west wind, was overwhelmed with jealousy and he blew the discus back. It struck Hyakinthos on the head and killed him. From his blood grew a flower, which the sun god Apollo named after him.
I hope you enjoyed this 12th installment of the Best of the Friday Fun Facts! Here are the previous collections:

Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #1
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #2
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #3
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #4
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #5
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #6
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #7
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #8
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #9
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #10
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #11

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

More official OUTLANDER merchandise coming soon!

Knockout Licensing has announced its first deals for official OUTLANDER-related merchandise.

According to the press release, the products will include:
  • Cryptozoic Entertainment playing cards as well as a collectible trading cards and trading card binders.
  • EMCE Toys, a division of Fourth Castle Micromedia, for novelty items including car signs, car air fresheners, bookmarks, mugs, magnets, button sets, postcard sets and e-reader covers.
  • Factory Entertainment for a wide range of items inspired by or using imagery from the television series including pillows, towels, stationery, lithographs, drink bottles, jewelry replicas and costume accessory replicas.
  • Funko for Pop! Vinyl figures based on characters from the series.
  • North American Bear Company for a line of collectible bears inspired by Jamie, Claire and other Outlander characters.
  • Ripple Junction for a line of men’s, women’s and girls' tops including tees, tanks, sweaters, fleece, jackets and more.
If you want to get an idea of what some of these products might look like, check out this post by ThreeIfBySpace.

We have no idea yet what this might mean for established sites like The Author's Attic which sell OUTLANDER-themed products.  If I find out anything, I'll post here.

For more information about the OUTLANDER TV series, check out my FAQ page here.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Happy Robert Burns Day!

In honor of Robert Burns Day, here's the quote that led Roger, in VOYAGER, to pinpoint Jamie's exact location in the past.  It comes from the final stanza of a poem called "The Author's Earnest Cry and Prayer", which Robert Burns wrote in 1786.
Scotland, my auld, respected mither!
Tho' whiles ye moistify your leather,
Till, whare ye sit on craps o' heather,
Ye tine your dam;
Freedom an' whisky gang thegither!
Take aff your dram!
As Roger explained to Claire:
"Here it is”--his racing finger stopped suddenly on a phrase-- “‘for as has been known for ages past, “Freedom and Whisky gang tegither.” ’ See how he’s put that Scottish dialect phrase in quotes? He got it from somewhere else.”

“He got it from me,” I said softly. “I told him that--when he was setting out to steal Prince Charles’s port.”

“I remembered.” Roger nodded, eyes shining with excitement. “But it’s a quote from Burns,” I said, frowning suddenly. “Perhaps the writer got it there--wasn’t Burns alive then?"

"He was," said Bree smugly, forestalling Roger. "But Robert Burns was six years old in 1765."

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 21, "Q.E.D.". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Here's Karen Matheson and Paul Brady performing "Ae Fond Kiss". The lyrics come from a poem written by Robert Burns in 1791. You may remember that Diana used "Ae Fond Kiss" as the title of Chapter 19 of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, in which Claire encounters Tom Christie.

And here's "The Sheriffmuir Fight", performed by the Corries. The lyrics come from Burns' poem, "The Battle of Sheriffmuir". I think this version of the song sounds exactly as Roger recalled it in WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, including the bodhrans:
“Oh, that’s braw, man!” Fraser exclaimed. “Though yon poet’s got the devil of an accent. Where’s he come from, d’ye ken?”

“Er . . . Ayrshire, I think.”

Fraser shook his head in admiration and sat back.

“Could ye maybe write it down for me?” he asked, almost shyly. “I wouldna put ye to the trouble of singin’ it again, but I’d dearly love to learn the whole of it.”

“I--sure,” Roger said, taken aback. Well, what harm could it do to let Robert Burns’s poem loose in the world some years in advance of Burns himself? “Ken anyone who can play a bodhran? It’s best wi’ the drum rattlin’ in the background.”

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 31, "The Shine of a Rocking Horse's Eyes". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
UPDATE 1/26/2015: Diana Gabaldon commented on Facebook:
I especially like the recording/video of "The Sheriffmuir Fight," by the Corries (this is my favorite version of the song--and the one I had in mind when I wrote the scene in MOBY that Karen quotes from).
Scotland's most famous poet would be 256 years old today. <g> Happy Burns Day to all of you!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

STARZ to show 1st scene of EP109 on Saturday

STARZ will be showing the first scene of Episode 109 on Saturday, Jan. 24, at 9pm!

Here's Sam and Caitriona inviting us all to watch.

I'm really ambivalent about this, personally.  I might watch with the sound off, as I've done for several of the recent trailers, but I really would much rather experience the whole episode all at once in April. But that's just my own personal preference.  What about the rest of you?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

OUTLANDER Season 1 Vol. 1 on DVD and Blu-ray!

It's official!! The DVD and Blu-ray versions of OUTLANDER Season 1, Volume 1 (covering the first 8 episodes) will be released in the US on March 3, 2015!!

The pre-order links on Amazon are here:



Look here for a detailed description of the additional features available with each edition. I don't know about the rest of you, but I love watching the extra features on DVDs of movies and TV shows in general, and I really can't wait to see the "goodies" they've included with OUTLANDER!

NOTE IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE THE US:  The links above are for the US version only.  The DVD is available for pre-order in several other countries, including Canada, Australia, and Germany, but check with DVD sellers in your country to confirm availability.

Finally, Diana Gabaldon mentioned on her Facebook page today that Sony will be releasing a "Digital HD" version of OUTLANDER on February 9, 2015.  She says,
I think they mean by "Digital HD", that it will be available from iTunes, etc. on Feb. 9th.
So that may be an option for some of you. I have no more details at this time.

For more information about the OUTLANDER TV series, see my FAQ page here.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Update on the TV series

Here's a brief update on the OUTLANDER TV series.

1) OUTLANDER Soundtrack, Volume 1, featuring music by composer Bear McCreary, will be released on February 10, 2015.

Tracks include:
  1. People Disappear All The Time
  2. Outlander The Skye Boat Song (feat. Raya Yarbrough) [Castle Leoch version]
  3. Dance Of The Druids (feat. Raya Yarbrough)
  4. Fallen Through Time
  5. Castle Leoch
  6. Comin' Thro The Rye
  7. The Woman Of Balnain (feat. Gillebrìde MacMillan)
  8. Mrs. Fitz
  9. The Losing Side Of History
  10. Clean Pease Strae
  11. The Marriage Contract
  12. The Wedding
  13. The Veil Of Time
You can pre-order from Amazon here. I'm assuming that it will also be available for download on iTunes, but I have no information on that yet. The press release is here if you're interested.

2. Good news for Canadian fans! Showcase announced last week that the OUTLANDER TV series will return on Sunday, April 5th, just one day after the show resumes in the US. Click on the video above to watch a brief trailer from Showcase.

3) It is looking very likely that the DVD of OUTLANDER Season 1, Volume 1 (covering the first 8 episodes) will be released in the US in early March.  It's available for pre-order in various places (including Canada and Australia).

*** UPDATE 1/20/2015: The DVD and Blu-ray will be released in the US on March 3, 2015! Please see this announcement about the DVD release for more details. ***

Finally, to those of you in the UK:  We still have no news about when OUTLANDER might be available in the UK or which network will show it.  I can only repeat what I've said before: the moment we hear anything, I'll post an announcement here.  Please try to be patient a while longer.

For more information about the OUTLANDER TV series, see my FAQ page here.