Hedgehogs, Outlander and me…

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This second installment of “Droughtlander” or as some of us long suffering fans call it “Withoutlander” has taught me a bit about how to deal with seriously delayed gratification.  I know that Spring 2016 is a long way off and I’m learning that it is okay to not check my Twitter and Facebook feeds everyday.  I know. It seems almost sacrilegious, but at this point in time, my fandom feels less like a religion and more like a hobby.  Which…would be the more normal level of involvement…I think.  I have discovered that if there is anything new happening folks will still be talking about it tomorrow so, I’m allowing myself to spend time on other pursuits like my family and job. I’m actually enjoying the world that isn’t delivered to me through some sort of hand-held device.  Contrary to my previous belief, there is a pretty good amount of things to do that don’t involve Outlander!  Who knew!

My family appears to be relieved that I have emerged from what they saw as walking zombie status.  I’m having conversations that don’t have the words; Sam, Cait, Jamie, Claire, Diana, Ron or Outlander.  However, when I WAS perusing Facebook yesterday, I saw a post that caused me to reflect on some of the permanent changes Outlander has brought to my life.  I have been known to say that Outlander has become my point of reference…all questions can be answered by an example from Outlander.  Thanks to DG there are some interesting metaphors and allusions to Outlander in my life.   I know that certain phrases, everyday objects, and animals have now become inexorably entwined with the story.  Here is the post that piqued my most recent reflection on Outlander’s influence in my life:

Well….I’m sure she received an adequate answer, I didn’t read the comments, but I answered this question in my own mind.  It was part of a scene Diana wrote of particularly playful sex between our beloved Jamie and Claire.  They were laughing in bed together and it signaled a change in their relationship. IMO, the intimacy was taken to a new level.  The scene was sexy and endearing.  It is one of my favorites and as a result, hedgehogs are now one of my favorite animals.  Before the wedding episode, I sent a litter of plushy hoglets out to fanmily across the country and Canada (hi @islandchickny ).  I was that sure the hedgehog line would make the cut in the Outlander on Starz writer’s room!  I got my quills in an uproar when I realized One Fine Day had become Both Sides Now!

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I got over their faux pas and the omission hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for these cute little animals or the naughty little allusion they are to Outlander.  I have a few hedgehogs around the house and the family has noticed. In fact, the Granddaughters have bought me a few for my collection!

Like my new key ring

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And my ALL TIME FAVORITE COFFEE MUG (I am the happiest coffee drinker you have ever seen)

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The granddaughters of course have never read Outlander or the scene where Jamie decides to be a beast so,…they think Grammy likes hedgehogs cuz she’s old and old people collect figurines and stuff. Awkward.

And it would appear I’m not the only one who feels this way!  Twitter feed and Facebook are full of hedgehog related posts. In fact, I will be making these cookies

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…and buying this t-shirt…

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I’m seriously considering starting a campaign to make the hedgehog the official mascot of the Outlander fandom. I even found a great human sized hedgehog costume SOME lucky fan could wear at book signings, premiers, one of Terry Dresbach’s parties, etc…

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#whatkindofbeastwouldyoulikemetobe #verycarefully

Hedgehogs aren’t the only things Oulander has imbued with special meaning.  Consider the lowly ear of corn.

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Seriously! I can just see myself eating some corn on the cob, thinking of Dougal and then giggle snorting kernels out my nose!

These certainly aren’t the only two examples of Outlander’s influence (fish on a hook will never be the same for me) and I could go on, but I’ll leave you with this last image

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P.S. When Roger is cast don’t be surprised when the word Vroom seems suddenly popular…just saying…

She committed Bigamy and Adultery and enjoyed it….Ep. 7 Outlander

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I have decided that it takes me three viewings before I can truly enjoy an episode of Outlander. I find that the first time I watch I’m waiting for particular dialogue and scenes from the book. After this first viewing,  I am usually left with a vague feeling of disappointment because it isn’t the book, even though I  KNOW it is an adaptation. The second time I watch the same episode, I find myself watching with a critics’s eye looking for what’s been added or how things are different. The third time, I just watch and enjoy the show for what it is. Despite missing some desired dialogue and humor from the book, I thought all the crucial elements were there.  It was tender and sexy. The dress, the regalia, the vows, the consummation, the highlander’s chaf, the pearls and the lovemaking were perfect.  And….her confusion…as an audience, we could feel another layer being added to Claire’s already difficult problems.  I certainly felt that Claire was on the precipice of falling into life altering action.

One of things I most admire about Claire is her inability to lie to herself.  Despite knowing that she was _forced_ to commit bigamy and adultery, she refuses to give herself an excuse or to be in denial.  She owns her feelings. She may not like what she is feeling, but she allows herself to feel it anyway.  “Well, that’s it then, I’ve committed bigamy, and adultery and I enjoyed it “, our Claire thinks. Thanks to Outlander Starz and Caitriona Balfe’s performance, I too felt Claire’s trepitation, confusion and enjoyment.

We start the episode with a reminder that Claire is already married and we are introduced to her fear that time and circumstance are eroding her memories and interfering with her ability to withstand change.  Valuable pearls that fall off a string and roll away to dark corners to be forgotten is a powerful metaphor for what she fears is her vulnerability and reality.  She is afraid her reality is living in 1743 and the dream…1945.

I have to admit the lack of a chronological order was a bit disconcerting.  However, I pretty quickly got over the change  and found it to be an effective way to tell this story. There was a lot of story to tell in one hour AND bring to life sex-scenes fans have only been able to dream about. The flashbacks broke-up what would have been a lot of talk, talk, talk.  It also allowed their intimate relations to progress in three obvious phases, consummation, exploration, and  love-making. It worked.

In a recent interview, Sam Heughan expressed his surprise at the little details the fans notice.  He remarked that in the stable scene, during Claire’s escape attempt, he touched the back of his head.  He explained this was part of his technique of immersing himself in the character.  As he said his lines he was thinking of Jamie and Dougal’s back story.  Fans noticed and remarked on the significance of his small action.  Love his technique and the fact that this episode was full of small significant guestures, expressions and actions. In fact, way too many to list!  But, there were a few that are very much worth discussion. Let’s start with Claire’s glass face.

For most of the first six episodes, Claire has been forced to lie to protect herself.  For the most part, she has been pretty good at it (she really struggles to not show her disdain or frustration for what she perceives as ignorant or unjust behavior). Folks suspect there is something she’s not telling them.  However, even after constantly being confronted with their speculations, Claire has managed to keep her identity and body safe. In this episode, everything is showing on Claire’s expressive face and I love it.  Her anxiety, fear, vulnerability, confusion, resignation and desire are there for the world to see. As a result, we feel for her and with her.  As I predicted, Claire is a woman the viewer has grown to care about. Jamie wants to keep her safe and so do we.

The extras. The ancillary characters have added so much to the telling of this story. The little vignettes of the highlanders fulfilling Jamie’s wedding conditions were priceless. Ned and the “hoors”, Rupert and Angus and the wedding ring, and the “Scripture Showdown” were endearing and entertaining.  They also helped advance the story-line that Claire is becoming an accepted and valued member of the clan.

There was symbolism. In addition to the pearls, I felt there were interesting symbolic moments.  Even though he wasn’t discussed, Frank was like the shadow you thought you saw out of the corner of your eye. Like the ring tucked away, forgotten and almost lost. It was an interesting twist  to have Claire and Frank also marry quickly, but not in a church.  I _think_ they are trying to make a point with Jamie’s insistence on “properly” wedding… not sure yet. I guess I’ll wait and see how that plays out.  And, Claire staring at hands with two weddings bands. But, my favorite symbolic moment was Claire wrapping the two of them together in Jamie’s plaid as they “rode”. It harkened back to that first dark rainy night they rode together wrapped in Jamie’s plaid.

And, the moments that made you awwww and ohhhhh.  Murtagh speaking of Jamie’s mother. I want to reach through the screen and give the man a hug.  Jamie stating that he’ll only marry once. The big reveal of the dress and Jamie in his Fraser plaid telling Claire his full name.  The blood vow. The first kiss. My brown hair lass.  So, many moments to move the heart.

I was worried that seeing Jamie and Claire, “people” I know, having sex would feel a little weird, a bit voyeuristic. But, although it was exciting to see our couple consummate their vows it was done tastefully and beautifully.  I laughed and cried and sighed. It was sexy, but moving. Bravo.

Finally, Jamie was charming, kind, earnest, sexy and honorable. Hard  combination to resist.  Damn. I think our girl is in danger again…of falling in love.

 

 

She feels a little like the Wife of Bath… the wedding night.

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imageIt’s coming. The night we’ve all been waiting for! The wedding. The wedding night. The deflowering of the virgin in the wedding bed!

Leave it to Diana Gabaldon to have the virgin in this situation be the man. Twenty-three year old James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser is a virgin.  This episode is just gonna be all kinds of delicious and I can’t hardly wait to get a taste.

I know this isn’t my typical blog article where I look into the deeper issues of why these books are great. But…guys…we are going to get to SEE Jamie and Claire make love!  I think this REQUIRES me take a departure from my norm.  There are a lot of things I enjoy about the books; the history, Scotland, Claire’s skill as a healer, and the conflicts Diana challenges her characters to overcome.  But…my Outlander loving brothers and sisters… Diana writes a pretty damn hot sex scene! And…we…get..to…see…one of the best…soon!

Episode six was wonderful! BJR in all his evil glory, one of the scariest men in fiction and now TV. I enjoyed every minute and was thrilled that non-readers got an accurate portrayal of the man and his fascination for Jamie! Excellent TV.  But, did you see that last scene? Yep, they are getting married and it’s next Saturday. I’m wondering who is going to be the first fan to post the “wedding feast” they planned for their viewing party.  I’m so excited that I broke down and watched next weeks preview and a slo-mo version that slows the “action” down.  The “action” looked pretty good to me!

I predict, quick somebody write down the date and time, that this episode will turn some naysayers in to little versions of Meg Ryan in the infamous Harry Met Sally restaurant scene. Outlander? Yes, yes, yes!  This episode will help folks understand why we love Jamie and Claire. Think of all the sweet and tender moments.  Think of all the heart-warming humor. And, think of Claire taking Jamie in hand, literally.

Claire gets to initiate Jamie into the joys of sex.  I love Claire’s reflection that she felt a little like the Wife of Bath.  She’s the experienced one and it’s a hell of a twist.  A woman is the one guiding and educating. And, according to Claire her new husband is a fast learner.  Jamie’s innocence is charming and people are just going to fall in love.

Ok…and this might be the best part, this is just the beginning. Another prediction! Waterweed and hedgehogs are going to become very popular!  I’ve purchased a few hedgehogs as wedding gifts. 😏  I’m also predicting a baby boom in about 9 months from episode six….just sayin.  The names Claire and Jamie might be making a resurgence in popularity.

And finally….Herself, “…Man you have one fine ass” . Enough said.