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Rollo in Scotland!

Rollo in Scotland

Ahhhh my friend, Ines Jager of Viking Aftermath and Outlander Aftermath groups on facebook, recently posted this picture.  I was immediately reminded of our Vikings Rollo and a lesser known version of his history. We are all familiar with the traditional version of him as a Viking warrior who participated in raids of Paris and ended up founding the Duchy of Normandy.  There is another version of his history though that connects him to the history of Scotland.  So, in honor of those who are fans of Vikings and Outlander, or those are just interested in anything that pertains to Rollo, I am going to present the other version of Rollo’s history here.

 This other version of his history comes from various Norse sagas and Norse legends. These legends give us a picture of his earlier history prior to becoming Robert I of Normandy. According to the Icelandic Sagas Rollo (died before 933; Norse: Hrólfr), known in  as Ganger Hrólf, and baptised Robert, was a Norse Viking who was the first ruler of a region of northern France which would become Normandy. Rollo came from a noble warrior family of Scandinavian origins. After visiting Scotland and Ireland, he took part in Viking raids on northern France and emerged as a leader of the bands of Norsemen who were beginning to settle in the area around the city of Rouen. Charles the Simple, King of the Franks, granted them Rouen and lands in the Seine valley, likely around 911. Rollo is first recorded as the leader of these men in a charter of 918 and it appears that he continued to rule over the region until at least 927. After his death, his son William succeeded him and his descendants became the Dukes of Normandy. Following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, they also ruled as kings of England.

He is encountered in The Life of Gruffud ap Cynan, a 12th-century history, which refers to him as the youngest of two brothers to the first king of Dublin. The 13th century Icelandic sagas, Heimskringla and Orkneyinga Saga, remember him as Ganger Hrolf (Hrolf the Walker) but seem to offer a contradictory account of his parentage: both state he was the son of the Norwegian Earl Rognavald of Moere, who was known to be an enemy of the brothers given in The Life of Gruffudd ap Cynan.

For followers and fans of Michael Hirst’s Vikings Saga, it may be interesting to note that in the various Norse and Icelandic Sagas, Rollo and his family had a connection to a couple of upcoming characters… namely Harald Fairhair and Halfdan the Black.

According to Norse Sagas Rollo’s father, Rognavald of Moere was made the Earl of Møre by King Harald Fairhair. The Heimskringla recounts that Rognvald caused Harald Fairhair to be given his byname by cutting and dressing his hair, which had been uncut for ten years on account of his vow never to cut it until he was ruler of all Norway.[Rognvald then accompanied the king on a great military expedition. First the islands of Shetland and Orkney were cleared of vikings who had been raiding Norway and then continued on to Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. During this campaign Rognvald’s son Ivarr was killed and in compensation Harald granted Rognvald Orkney and Shetland. Rognvald himself returned to Norway, giving the northern isles to his brother Sigurd Eysteinsson.  Sigurd had been the forecastleman on Harald’s ship and after sailing back east the king “gave Sigurd the title of earl”. The Heimskringla states specifically that Sigurd was the first Earl of Orkney.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rognvald_Eysteinsson

The Orkneyinga saga says that Rognvald was the son of Eystein Ivarsson, himself the son of Ívarr Upplendingajarl  and was married to a daughter of Hrólfr Nose called Ragnhild, although in the Heimskringla she is called Hild.  Their son Hrólfr “was so big that no horse could carry him”, hence his byname of “Ganger-Hrólf”,  and he is identified by the saga writers with Rollo of Normandy ancestor of the Dukes of Normandy who signed the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte with King Charles the Simple in 911. In addition to Ivar and Hrólfr, both sagas also refer to Rognvald’s son Thorir the Silent, and three more sons “by concubines” called Hallad, Einarr and Hrollaug, all three being “grown men when their brothers born in marriage were still children”.

Historian, D.C. Douglas  asserts that Rollo likely came to France no earlier than 900, and probably after 905. Before then, he became an experienced Viking, visiting Scotland and probably Ireland

Most of the Sagas do agree on some version of Rollo of Normandy having had roots or some blood connection to the Orkney Isles prior to his raiding in France whether his descendants chose to promote that connection or not.

A separate look at Rollo history in Scotland involves a Lowland Clan of his name. 

The chiefs of Clan Rollo are of Norman origin and can trace their roots to the feared Norsemen who raided the coast of Scotland during the 7th and 8th centuries.   Sigurd Rollo was Jarl of Orkney and Shetland.  His son, Einar, was a Viking who raided both Scotland and also his own Norwegian home.  As a result he was harried by Harald Fairhair, the first King of Norway.  Einar turned his attention to the north coast of France where his descendants became established as Dukes of Normandy and who came to England in the Norman conquest of 1066.   Erik Rollo accompanied his uncle, William the Conqueror, in the invasion of England in 1066.  It is believed that Erik Rollo’s son or grandson, Richard Rollo, later followed David I of Scotland when he left the English court and reclaimed the Scottish throne.  The name first appears on record in Scotland in a charter of 1141 that was granted by Robert de Brus.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Rollo

Some of this Clan history bears similarity to that of the Norse Saga accounts of  Rollo’s supposed family links to the northern areas of Orkney and Shetland. It also links their surname as a blood tie to William the Conqueror, Rollo’s descendant.

To be honest, I personally like the idea and theory of Rollo having spent time in Scotland and I would not mind seeing Clive Standen dressed in a Kilt, if only to pay a bit of tribute to this other version of Rollo’s history! Not that he doesn’t look fine in his usual Viking garb,  but my little fantasy could easily imagine him dressed as in some early Scottish warrior garb as well!  Don’t be giving me that skeptical and doubtful look either… I am sure there are others out here in fan and fantasy land that would love to see you indulge us in this little dream!

rollo in fur Rollo dressed up Rollo is not sure what to make of his brother's supposed conversion to the christian faith

So in honor and tribute to Rollo’s varied history, here is my one little wish for the day!

rollo in a kilt

 

 

 

 

 

Vikings meet highlanders: who wins the battle!

 

 

As most of you who visit this site are well aware of, I am a devoted fan of those Highlander Warriors as well as their Viking ancestors. My blog battles a constant fight between the two rivals even though they are related to each other… It’s almost like a blood feud at times as to which faction wins in the interest and viewing skirmishes that keep us a float here! So, in effort to be fair to both parties involved in this ongoing battle, I’ve taken a few moments to share their possible meeting? It’s possible… Well, ok- maybe not… but since we have time on our hands before both factions return to us, let’s just presume for hypothetical argument sake that it did or could happen?  In the spirit of those early Viking ancestors and their Highland Warrior descendants, I propose one last battle of wills and determination! Stand strong and fight/vote for your chosen side in this battle. When the battle is over, rest easy in knowing in some ways you have already won… Both sides are returning soon and we will have our fill of fine Warriors to admire! In order to make this a fair battle, I will be keeping track of views of individual posts concerning each category as well? Because there are so many more Outlander related posts, I will try to even things out a bit by considering a view of the home page as a points toward the Viking side- I feel this is fair in that we are currently in the middle of our Vikings adventure so many of the more recent and upcoming posts concern the Vikings while a great number of the previous posts are Outlander related… and they still continue to do even battle with Viking related posts!

Vikings meet Outlander

Now, first of all, we need to be aware that the history and culture of the Scottish Highlands is due  to the fact that Viking ancestors did invade, conquer and settle much of the northern portions of Scotland! We also need to take into account some theories that connect one Rollo of history to portions of Scotland such as the Orkneys and the Shetland Isles. There is also history and information that connects him in some way to the lowland areas of Scotland.

Here is interesting information on a certain clan of the Lowlands Scotland:

The chiefs of Clan Rollo are of Norman origin and can trace their roots to the feared Norsemen who raided the coast of Scotland during the 7th and 8th centuries.  Sigurd Rollo was Jarl of Orkney and Shetland.  His son, Einar, was a Viking who raided both Scotland and also his own Norwegian home.  As a result he was harried by Harald Fairhair, the first King of Norway.  Einar turned his attention to the north coast of France where his descendants became established as Dukes of Normandy and who came to England in the Norman conquest of 1066.

Erik Rollo accompanied his uncle, William the Conqueror, in the invasion of England in 1066.  It is believed that Erik Rollo’s son or grandson, Richard Rollo, later followed David I of Scotland when he left the English court and reclaimed the Scottish throne.  The name first appears on record in Scotland in a charter of 1141 that was granted by Robert de Brus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Rollo

This information is in addition to other theories linking Rollo to Scotland, including the theories put down in the Norse Sagas about Rognvald Eysteinsson and his descendants.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rognvald_Eysteinsson

 

So, given all of this historical information and legend, it is feasible to consider that our Vikings Rollo did manage to convince his group to spend some time in the highlands of Scotland?

Here is a quick version of how this might have went for our Rollo? Someone tells Rollo of these northern spaces… Now, Rollo is a warrior first and foremost- he thinks like a warrior and the idea of a fight in these northern lands sounds better to him at the time than a long haul in a boat to that even more foreign place of France?

heading for the highlands4

His suggestion to Ragnar about it most likely falls on deaf ears for the moment… Ragnar has other more important things to think about than some lame idea from Rollo?

heading for highlands5

Bjorn has always looked up to his Uncle Rollo and thought it sounded like a good plan?

head to the highlands2

Bjorn is persistent and as stubborn as the rest of his family… he keeps backing Rollo’s idea?

heading to highlands3

The more Ragnar thinks about the idea, the more he is interested? He of course will take credit for the idea and lead the way as he always does. In the end, he decides that as they have some time to kill before invading Paris, they will take a trip north to practice their fighting skills in preparation for future raids.

heading for highlands6

They make a trek northward to leave their mark on the highlands of Scotland!

head to the highlands

Now, most likely they have merely just seen a vision of the past…That will teach them to limit their whisky consumption on the road! 

OUT_105-20140408-ND_0609.jpg

Of course, we all know that the Vikings-whether our Vikings or some other ones- were highly successful in their conquest of Northern Scotland, which had a direct result on the character and culture of those Highland Clansmen and warriors. The fighting spirit is in their blood passed down from their fierce and often stubborn Viking ancestors.

As we wait for each of  them to return, here is my thought and suggestion for all of the faithful fans of both sagas… To my Viking followers, show me your Viking spirit and pride in this ongoing battle between distant relatives. Visit here often and show your Outlander descendant just how fierce you are by voting for Vikings Saga. I am warning you now that the Outlander Warriors are truly ferocious and fierce competitors who will fight to the death for their Highland Warriors to win at anything!

Should the Vikings win this battle, they will rest assured they have truly won a great battle indeed!

We win, we have the heads to prove it!

We win, we have the heads to prove it!

Their conquest of the Scottish Highlands will be complete and will ever be the glory of legends! Do not let me down, Vikings fans… I am on your side in this enormous battle that you are facing! This is for those of you who do not care about the ensuing battle as long as Jamie and Rollo take their shirts off?

Jamie's backside Rollo

 

 

Frank Randall The Final Chapter

previous post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/outlander-the-matter-of-frank-randall-part-2/

Just a reminder, this does contain many spoilers for all of the books right up to Written in My Own Heart’s Blood!

Okay, Frank and I both had far too much Whiskey last night and the discussion got rather more personal than was intended! We decided that perhaps it might be better to continue it at some other time? We’re both suffering  from a bit of a headache this morning!

Frank with a headache

Maybe some fresh air would do us some good? I casually suggest this to Frank, adding that I would love a tour of  the area being that I am not from around here. Frank agrees, not seeing what the harm could be in a drive through the countryside.

Of course, being the workaholic that he is and ever the well prepared and proper Englishman, he brings along his notes and his hat!

Frank on the way to crag na dun

Outlander 2014

And, we’re off  on a lovely outing to spend the day wandering the sights of  Frank’s Scotland… Yes, he does assume that this is just a spur of the moment idea of mine. Little does he realize that I recovered fully from my over indulgence of the previous night, and am now determined to keep this fact seeking mission under my control!  I woke up early and set myself a clear agenda of what I must find out today, whether Frank cooperates is of  course an entirely different matter? Hopefully though, we can get through this and come out with more information than his usual non-committed evasive answers.

 

We start the day with an early morning stop to enjoy the water side view and get some strong coffee. Frank looks and acts like he may be in dire need of it before heading out on the road with me! I try to keep the conversation light and avoid any mention of my true intentions for this trip. He is quite polite and thoughtful as he inquires as to what I might like to see?  Perhaps as long as we’re in the city already, he suggests that I might like a tour of some of the museums or such?  Well, yes I guess that might be interesting but could he give me more of a personalized tour based on his expertise and background as a History Professor? I’ve heard that his lectures were always quite interesting and often contained items and ideas of the personal history that helps us all to relate more to the past…

tobias frank

Frank is as most times, well guarded and cautious, wondering what I am referring to?

tobias frank6

“Ohhhh I’ve just heard how you manage to bring history to such life with your lectures on the more common items of use and décor from the past?”  I  watch his face for clues as I mention a lecture where he presented some objects from his personal collection… a bottle of perfume, and small miniatures that so closely resembled Claire.

Guerlain Bleue, Frank's favorite scent and one that Claire often wore

Guerlain Bleue, Frank’s favorite scent and one that Claire often wore http://perfumesmellinthings.blogspot.com/2014/05/coup-de-foudre-guerlains-lheure-bleue.html

          

L’Heure Bleue / L’Heure Bleu – the perfume Claire was using to smooth down her hair the night Frank saw the ghost staring at her in her window.  Claire notes it is Frank’s favourite.  L’Heure Bleue is an actual perfume by Guerlain. It is spelt without an ‘e’ at the end of ‘bleu’ in Outlander which is incorrect both in terms of French grammar and as a misspelling of the actual perfume. (Outlander, chapter 1). In the dream that Claire has of Frank giving a lecture, Frank again states that L’Heure Bleu is  his favourite perfume (DIA, chapter 10)

“A Lady,” he said softly, cradling the last of the portraits in his palm, shielding it for the moment. “With brown hair curling luxuriantly to her shoulders, and a necklace of pearls. Undated. The artist unknown.”

 It was a mirror, not a miniature.  My cheeks were flushed, and my lips trembled as Frank’s finger gently traced the edge of my jaw, the graceful line of my neck.  The tears welled in my eyes and spilled down my cheeks as I heard his voice, still lecturing, as he laid down the miniature, and I stared upward at the timbered ceiling.

 “Undated. Unknown. But once…once, she was real.”

 (DRAGONFLY Chapter 10, “A Lady, With Brown Hair Curling Luxuriantly”, p. 152 in the hardcover)

 

miniature of woman

Credit and thanks to Outlandish Observations for the imagery and the information! http://outlandishobservations.blogspot.com/2012/08/repost-dragonfly-imagery.html

frank's lecture3

Frank gives away nothing but remains thoughtful as he ponders my comments. “So, what you’re saying is you would prefer to see my personal history collection than that of the generic museum pieces? Unfortunately, I do not have the collection available right now, otherwise I would be more than happy to oblige you on that!”

tobias frank3

Ohhhhh smooth, Frank, very smooth on that evasion! Well, Let’s forgo the museums, shall we, and just head out to the country! Frank laughs and points to the car, “Well, let us just do that then, I am sure that you have some particular spot in mind? I can see that you are quite as devious and determined in your thoughts as even I might be and it’s obvious that you have not given up on your goal!”

As we drive out to the more rural area and enjoy the beautiful scenery, Frank asks a bit warily where I would like to go first? He is resigned to the fact that I do have an agenda which includes grilling him on any number of rather touchy subjects. So, when I glance over at him and respond with my destination, he just nods his head and sighs. “I thought perhaps we could head up to an ancient kirk I’ve heard much about, you might know of it? St. Kilda’s kirk, I believe it’s called?”

He softly answers while driving through the winding roads, “Yes, I am well acquainted with the place as I know you are well aware of, so no need to play games about it.” As he drives one handed, easily managing the country roads, I look over and notice that the wedding ring on his finger. I can not help but feel some compassion for this man who has been accused and suspected of so much… yes, even by me, but in reality has done little to warrant those harsh thoughts other than be the man of a time he was born to? In fact, he has done far more positives than many men of his time would have done.  He accepted a wife’s return from the grave and another man’s arms, tried to make a life together with her and the daughter that he came to love as his own, did his utmost to protect them both from what ever secrets the past and the future might use to destroy them… all the while knowing full well that his wife did not truly love him as she loved someone else. He spent countless year of marriage competing with that ghost from the past. Knowing from personal experience, I can relate well to the fact that it is almost impossible to compete with a dead loved one. I close my eyes during the drive and think my own silent thoughts on how he must feel in this situation. I have been in a similar situation to both Claire and Frank, and can feel the pains of both their hearts. That, however does not dissuade me from this mission of wanting to know more. I can not let it interfere with today’s journey!

frank's wedding ring

We ride on in silence for a time, each of us lost in our own thoughts.  I quiet my mind by looking out at the views. The past come alive as we drive and I see the landscape surrounding me.

Scottish-Countryside4 Scottish-Countryside2 scottish farm house3 scottish countryside3 scottish countryside

Frank turns off on to a side road, then explains that we will have a bit of hiking to get to the old kirk.

road to logie kirk logie kirk path

(Excerpts from Dragonfly in Amber in which St Kilda’s kirk is described)

St kilda kirk1 st kilda2 st kilda3

I assure Frank that I’m fine with a hike, in fact I’m looking forward to it. I am excited to see this ancient old kirk with it’s important history!

*Please note that St. Kilda’s Kirk as mentioned in the books is a fictional creation of Diana Gabaldon’s. For our representation here, I am using Logie Kirk located outside of Stirlingshire.

http://www.instirling.com/walks/logmap.htm

http://www.visitscotland.com/en-us/info/see-do/logie-old-kirk-p669361

 

As we hike up the path, I take time to reassure Frank that I understand what a difficult this visit probably is for him. I want him to know that what ever else may be speculated on by others, I believe his reasons for placing the gravestone here were well intentioned.  We arrive at the site and I am overwhelmed with the view of such history in front of me. After spending a little time exploring the old kirk, we head over to the cemetery.

Logie Kirk

Logie kirk2 Logie kirk3 Logie kirk4

The walk through the cemetery is haunting, eerie and yes, a little unsettling for both of us.

logie kirk13 Old logie kirk3 logie kirk10

 

Upon finding the graves we came here in search of, we are both at a loss for speech at the moment. There is no need for words in this quiet of reflection.

Old Logie kirk2 logie kirk9

 

 

tobias frank5

Finally, he turns to me, gives me a look of determination and says stoically, “Well then, go on with your questions. What ever it is you think you need to know, I’ll try to answer as best I can.”

I sigh sadly, I am rather at a loss for words still… I truly do feel for him, my heart hurts along with his right now and I feel guilty for dredging this all up again but, will carry on as I think it’s important for him to talk about it to someone? I am quite sure that he’s never been able to talk much about it to anyone, save maybe the Reverend Wakefield? Fine then, that’s where I’ll start, with the Reverend! That seems a middle ground and safe point for the time being…

“Some of the accounts and references mention the fact that you and the Reverend Wakefield became very close friends. In fact, Roger mentioned that Reverend often brought his church group up here to maintain the grave yard and the graves.  When Claire returned and everyone thought she was delusional and possibly crazy…including you, I might add? But, you didn’t really believe she was, did you? Because you quickly and quietly asked the Reverend to research all of it and see what he could find out.  I have to wonder too, about that odd Mrs. Graham? She is the one who told you about the Stones, and she was one of those Druid Dancers…

Mrs Graham tries to tell Frank

outlander-premiere-stone-circle-dancers-starz

“When Claire disappeared, you scoffed at Mrs. Graham’s suggestion and probably thought she was a crazy old crone? But, you did have second thoughts on the idea because we know you made that trip back to the Stones. I think you already had your own suspicions even then, but couldn’t say them out loud because of course then you would look crazy as well! No one has ever made mention of your years while Claire was gone. That is all just coming to light now. I have to wonder, did you go back and talk to Mrs. Graham again, possibly taking her more seriously the next time? Did she happen to tell you about her visit with Claire and the reading of her fortune?

Mrs Graham and Claire

“It just seems to me that maybe during those years while she was gone, you did do a lot more research in secret and knew far more than you could say or admit when she returned? I really wonder now how much all of you knew? You, the Reverend, and Mrs. Graham, how many secrets did you keep to protect those you all cared about?”

Frank and Reverend Wakefield Frank and Reverend Wakefield2

 

Frank doesn’t answer me right away, just sits there with head in hands. After a time he responds quietly, “Yes, we kept secrets to protect those we cared about. Is that so wrong?”

I nod my head and sigh, “No, we all keep secrets whether we admit it or not, whether small or large, to protect those others, or to avoid hurting them in some way. I understand that Frank, and I certainly don’t judge you for them. I would imagine that when you discovered some of your information, you realized just how much more there was going on and what a danger there was to your family. I also do understand that you can’t share all of it even now, the danger still exists, doesn’t it, for those you care so much about?”

Frank nods in agreement, “I did my best to prepare them for it, but I couldn’t come right out and tell them everything, could I? Who would have believed me… I don’t think even Claire would have believed me then, she would have assumed I was even crazier than people assumed she was! No, the key to keeping everyone as safe as possible was, I believed, to prepare them but not let them know? I thought it was one of those situations where the less one knows, the safer one is?” He shrugged in frustration, “Maybe I was wrong… but, as I said, I did what I felt was right at the time and I stand by my decision.”

I feel I have to ask him another question about secrets and mysteries while we’re on that subject. “Frank, do any of these secrets that you felt you had to keep have to do with the Fraser prophecy and the Brahan Seer? As a historian, I’m sure you know about the myths and legends of the Brahan Seer, so what I am asking is, do you believe in any of it and how much do you know about it?” I pause a moment and watch his face turn grim.

We know that Bree eventually found a letter from you warning of some grave danger that she could be in. I have to think that this is all tied to that prophecy somehow?

Frank shows his frustration and comes close to losing his temper with me. “Of course it’s all tied together! Why the Bloody Hell do you think I am worried about my family? I can’t tell you any more right now because I just do not know a lot more about it but yes they are all in danger due to that Damnable Prophecy, whether I believe in it or not is irrelevant, someone believes in it and is out to harm my family because of it!”

Additional information on the Brahan Seer and his prophecies, along with more discussion on Fraser Prophecy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahan_Seer

http://outlanderbookclub.freeforums.org/ol-series-fraser-prophecy-t896.html

 

 

 

Some time later we walk back through the grave yard, stopping at the grave of  Jonathon Wolverton Randall. Both of us stare down at it and shake with some invisible chill still hanging in the air. “After all of your research on him, do you know how or why he came to be here in this cemetery?” I ask and then add, “And, why on Earth would you think it appropriate to place the stone for Jamie and Claire here in the same place? Excuse me if I sound a little harsh, but really, don’t you think that was more than a little cruel to do to Claire? I mean, I could understand your frustration and even some resentment with her but if you wanted to get back at her in some way, I just think this was carrying a grudge way too far!”

Frank at the Stones

Frank’s reaction is one of  long lingering frustration and pain, “First of all, I have no idea how or why he ended up here! Second, excuse my language but in the words of my wife…Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ! If the woman had chosen to tell me all of the disgusting and gory details rather than keep silent in her attempt to forget the whole thing and go on with her life, Do you honestly think I would have put it here? Damn it all to Hell, I am not a Bloody Time Traveler. Even in my extensive research, I can only find what is actually written down about people.” Frank is angry now and begins to voice his long held frustration over much of the situation. “All I ever knew of the man was that he was a well respected British officer who died doing his duty to his Country .  Culloden was indeed a tragic event for the Scottish people, but one can not forget that many of those British Soldiers were only carrying out orders in time of war? I could only assume that this ancestor of mine was doing that since I was not privy to those most important details like Claire was!” 

frank3

Frank goes on and admits grudgingly, “Yes, I was angry with Claire, I resented that love and that life she had with her Jamie… But, do you know what I was most resentful and bitter about? It wasn’t even about her and Jamie… it was that I felt like the gift of  Time Travel was rather wasted on her? She never did care much about the importance or the details of History, never really understood the great gift she held in her soul, to be able to travel through time, experience and witness all of it? When she returned, she just wanted to forget all of it, didn’t want to be reminded of it. She was never interested in my life’s work, my passion and didn’t want to share it with me. Maybe if she had shared more of it with me, I would have shared more with her?  I know it’s all water under the bridge now, but it still hurts, the way things turned out…”

 

“Bloody Hell, Damn her for not telling me all of it… And, Damn him for constantly haunting me! Do you have any idea what it is like to discover and realize that some ancestor that you admired and held in such high esteem was in reality a cruel, sadistic and Hellish sort of Bastard? Then to wonder, even though his blood is not directly yours, whether that capability or trait runs deep within you… or God help us, in one of your family. To constantly fight a battle within yourself to maintain complete control of your emotions, for to let go in any way might signal that he does exist somewhere in you? To live with that constant fear now…” He shudders and tries to shake off the presence of Jack Randall. “I guess, perhaps Claire was right in not mentioning it to me? Now, I wonder too how she managed it herself, all of those years of knowing, of being with me and seeing some reflection of him?”

haunted at the grave

 

We walk away from the stone and breathe much easier. Soon we find ourselves back at the stone for Claire and Jamie.

logie kirk9

 

“Okay, Why… Why put it up here in an out of the way place where no one would ever see it, save you and of course… the Reverend?  Of course you did it for a reason, but people want to know, Frank? People want to know why you kept it hidden from Claire? And, from Bree… but, you knew they would find it one day, didn’t you, otherwise why put it up anywhere in the first place?”

At the mention of  daughter Bree, Frank reached out and ran a hand slowly over the Stone. “I did it for her, for Bree… Everything I’ve done, I’ve done for her and her future, what ever she decides to do with it.  Everything that each of us comes down to that. We keep our secrets, we change our lives, give up our dreams and our lives if we have to in order to give our children a life, a future. Hopefully, they will remember us fondly with love, know that we loved them beyond all else, they will remember what we’ve taught them and they will carry that with them to pass it to their children? In the end, we are the history- the past, they are the future and we do what we must to ensure that future for them.” He brushes a tear out of his eye as he continues. “All of our lives and our stories are connected, woven into each other’s, the past, the present and the unknown future. Our children, whether they be of our blood or our heart keep us connected for better or for worse… I would hope that it would always be for the better, but that does not always happen. In our case, despite all of our differences and our resentments of each other, despite the secrets we kept, we all did what we thought was best for Bree? Jamie gave her and Claire up to ensure that safety and future for them, Claire gave up Jamie for the same reason… and what did I give up? My loss of a devoted and “happy” wife who would love me as much as she loved that other person seems quite insignificant when compared to what they gave up?  I gained the most of the situation. I received the greatest gift of all, a child whom I loved with all of my heart, whom I never wanted to see hurt in any way. I would lay down my life to protect her and keep her from harm, but as every parent knows, you can not protect them from life completely?  I knew that one day, Bree would search for answers, I hoped her path would lead her here and she would see this. Claire and I agreed, whether it’s right or wrong is really not up for debate… we agreed to keep the secret, thinking it was best at the time for Bree. I think we knew in our hearts that she deserved the truth and this was my way of starting that process. I knew that Claire would one day go back to her ghost that has haunted us from the beginning.”

the highland ghost frank-in-rain-by-kath-powell

 

“That ghost of James Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser has been with me since the first night I saw him! I know that he is not going away until he is sure that his family is safe, his honor and his legacy is shared? Claire is a part of that, as is Bree and her children… For what ever reasons, I am a part of it as well? It  was and is my destiny to protect them into the future… I owe him an unending gratitude for the gift of Bree.

 

Frank’s  heart wrenching cry this time was not for his long lost wife, but for his daughter and all of the pain that he could not protect her from? “It started here in the Highlands for all of us, the hurts, the haunts, the ghosts and the  Demons within… but where will  it end?”

Frank yelling more

Claire and Culloden

Photo credit to Daniela Lippke via twitter!

 

 

I gently lead Frank away from all of it.  “Frank, for you, it has all ended… You have done your part, what you needed to do, and whether it was right or wrong is not for any of us to judge? You need to go on and rest at ease with the fact that while Claire might not have loved you the way you loved her, she did love you? And, Bree will always love you, carry your memory and heart within her, and she knows that you loved her. That is all anyone can wish for upon their passing, the knowledge that they were loved and they made a difference in someone’s life. All of the rest is of no consequence in the end!

frank-leaving-the-stones2

Excerpt from Fiery Cross in which Bree thinks of Frank

Frank in Fiery Cross pg 209

frank's letter in Fiery Cross

 

As we walk away together into the mists, I touch his hand and smile, “If it’s any consolation, Frank, I didn’t bother with another  rather minor little detail that people seem so insistent on debating and bickering over?”

Frank in the mist

He gives me a half hearted pondering look and asks, “Ohhh and what would that be?”

“Ahhhh, that would be that age old question of whether you cheated on Claire? I am not going to delve into it because really, it makes little difference whether you did or not? If you want to talk about it before we leave… if it seems to be some matter on which you feel a need to clear your conscience, then by all means feel free to clear the air? I am of the personal opinion that perhaps you did but, as I said, it makes little difference. I have a document  from herself, Diana Gabaldon in which she clearly comes to your defense on this matter.  There are many, though, who dispute her theory and explanation on this subject and they insist that you treated Claire so badly as to cheat on her?  My response to that is, she did cheat on you as well didn’t she, even though she had a Priest’s atonement and absolvement for any such sin. I understand that you and she did not have a perfect relationship in your years together after her return and you may have turned elsewhere seeking some sort of physical or emotion that she couldn’t give you. I am not condoning it or approving it… that is a highly personal matter for you and Claire to work out someday? I will provide Diana’s transcript for anyone interested in her view on the situation. And, as I mentioned, if you choose to divulge anything now, it will not be held against you later!

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/diana-gabaldons-defense-of-frank-randall/

 

Frank’s response… No words, no heartfelt explanation of denial or excuses…

tobias frank2 Frank admits to three

Well… I guess we’ll just leave it at that then and wonder if that means what we think it does?

 

Ahhhh and that concludes our visit with Frank Randall… if anyone should need him, he will be on that other side,  involved in what might be a rather lengthy air clearing discussion with his wife and their other spouse, James Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser otherwise known as the ghost in the night! Hopefully, they can all avoid any discussion with the spirit of Jonathon Wolverton Randall!

the highland ghost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outlander: The Wedding, the bedding, and all the in between

It’s taken me a few days to sort out this episode and my feelings on it. Because, much like Claire, I find myself torn between thoughts on it!

Caought between two lives and lovers

Before I venture into any sort of comment or review on this episode, I want to touch on a couple of  things on my mind.  First of all and I think, foremost on my mind is the topic of the book verses the show? I know I have touched on it previously, but it keeps coming up so I feel I need to put down my thoughts on it. There are quite a number of viewers who seem to take some offense or become irate at the idea of making any references or comparisons between the books and the show.  Yes, I do understand, I do get it that the show is different from the books… You do not need to remind me of that! And, if you read my posts, you will see that I am already an avid fan and addict of both the books and the show- otherwise I would not be here posting my thoughts on all of it! What I do want to point out and remind the show viewers of is a simple fact… The books did come first. Without the books, the amazing story telling of  Diana Gabaldon and the millions of devoted readers of those books, there would be no show for you to be watching?!  For many of us who devoured all of the big fat books full of details and underlying meanings, it is extremely difficult not to make some overall general, and some specific comparisons to events and details that we feel were so important in the lives of these people. Diana has woven such an intricate and well detailed masterful story, breathed such life into the characters that we often feel as though we are witnessing a true account of their lives from the most mundane and ordinary to the most intimate and excruciating pains of their deepest fears and other emotions. I find it incredibly difficult at times to separate those details and to be completely objective in my viewing of the show. That does not mean that I enjoy the show any less or that I am being negative or critical of the show! I am enjoying the show immensely and  for the most part, I completely understand when changes are made in order for the show to work and to capture in it’s own way the spirit or the essence of what Diana put down on paper.  I am thrilled with how Ron Moore and the writers are presenting this work! I just want my readers to be fully aware that having read the books, I will continue to make references, observations and comparisons between the books and the show. What I do hope is that a few of you who have not read the books will be inspired by the show to pick up the book and start reading? We as a society do not read nearly enough any more and expect the instant and graphic visual satisfaction and satiation of movies and television. There is so much more to the story that just can not be captured by the camera no matter how hard they try.  Written words are the inspiration for every story ever filmed!

 

That instant gratification and visual stimulation brings me to my next thought, along with the part about there being so much more to the story. I will not lie to you, I enjoyed this episode that was so full of that visual stimulation and gratification as much as anyone else. I am probably one of the few, however who felt like some of it might have been done to appease those viewers who were and are so ardently and passionately screaming for more Jamie and Claire, more love scenes, more outright physical sex scenes. As I mentioned, there is so much more to their relationship than just the intense physical chemistry that is at times overpowering and volatile. It goes so far beyond that- and hopefully the future episodes will capture that as well. Their relationship is one that will explore all of the facets of that initial chemistry, and put them into dangerous and painful consequences later on.  While I do appreciate the way that this Wedding episode was presented and dealt with, I just felt like it slightly missed on some level? I am probably one of the few who feel like this… it almost felt like it should have been part of a longer episode?  I did like the fact though that they chose to concentrate specifically on the Wedding event and the Wedding night. I suppose, in after thought, there was so much going on in that situation that they had to make a decision on how to present it and get the essence of  Claire and Jamie together set forth?

 

Now, with my initial thoughts and concerns put out there, we can continue on with our venture into the Wedding of Claire and Jamie. I am not going to re-hash every single little detail of it, else why would you bother to watch it? My daughter does that often enough with me. By the time she is finished telling me about a show, I usually have no need to watch it!  The Wedding itself was presented in flash backs to the actual event as Jamie and Claire remember it… Well, alright Jamie remembers it, because due to Claire’s little problem with alcohol consumption, she had little recall of the events leading up to the Wedding! One of the things she obviously forgot was what was in the Wedding contract she signed… mainly her husband’s name!

Claire's reaction to the blood vows

Here she is arriving at the wedding and it appears, trying to recall his name? “I can’t do this… I don’t even know your name!”  Is it just me, or was anyone else distracted by her dress… I kept waiting for her to pop out of it through most of the scenes.  The Inn keeper/Madame seems quite pleased with the results, but some others in attendance seemed to wonder the same as me!

Claire in her dress

With as tight as the dress was, I am amazed she managed to snug even something as small as Frank’s ring down the front of it, and even more surprised that she didn’t lose said ring sooner than she did!

taking off frank's ring saving ring for later

murtagh and Dougal inspecting the bride to be

 

Jamie might have been so distracted that he did not find it odd that she didn’t remember his name? He quite nicely just reintroduced himself!

Jamie reminds Claire of his name

 

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This could be when Dougal decides that she has more to offer than he originally thought?

Dougal had enough get to the church already

While his nephew is being so gallant and chivalrous, Dougal is just thinking, “Let’s get this thing over and done… I’ll kill ye later Lad and have my share of the fetching fine wench!”

Dougal disgusted at Jamie's display

Even the priest had some difficulty keeping his eyes off from Claire’s assets… I’m thinking he was wondering much the same thought, and praying that he could maintain self control should she breathe too deep and burst her stays!

the priest eying Claire's assets

 

Yes, it was indeed a beautiful dress… Ned Gowan got lucky in more than ways than one when he came across it and got a good bargain on the purchase of it!

Ned and his date

 

The dress as I mentioned, was beautiful… but a bit distracting and probably not so well suited or really appropriate for a “proper” wedding in a kirk? Is it any wonder that some people might of accused poor Claire of rather loose morals? Between the dress and her drinking, well… she has some work to do on her reputation?

Outlander 2014 close up of the dress

 

The ceremony went along as Claire was used in in Wedding rituals until the last part which threw her for a bit of a loop? She was not expecting the knife coming into play and I do suppose that would have been slightly overwhelming! Blood Vows, the ancient  Gaelic tradition which Diana Gabaldon so excellently created for the book!

http://www.lallybroch.com/LOL/blood-vow.html

blood vows1 blood vows2 bound for life

 

The actual Wedding night… Hmmm, well that went as expected, a bit strained and ackward  to start but Claire took care of that with her usual remedy?

Jamie was ever the Noble and honorable man and toasted his new wife with grace!

wedding toast2

Ahhhh that part was beautiful and so touching… I needed one of those Wedding hankies that were so prevalent in that time? Ummmm, I do think one of those lace hankies might have solved some of Claire’s cleavage problems as well? A well place bit of lace would have gone far to hide a portion of her wares and maintain some of her reputation?

wedding toast

Hint for future reference Claire… a little extra lace never hurts any attire!

lace handkerchief3 lace handkerchiefs5

antique lace handkerchief wedding

 

There was some after wedding hand holding

Some after wedding hand holding

Quite a bit more toasting… thanks to Claire…

Claire admits the reason she couldn't remember much of the wedding preparations or Jamie's name Claire's favorite part so far and then another drink

Jamie begins to get a little concerned about Claire’s drinking?

Jamie's getting a bit concerned now Claire's drinking

 

 

They work things out and things begin to go much smoother!

Some after wedding laughs Some after wedding kisses

Claire is quite giddy now and Jamie is reasonably confident that this is going to go well for him!

claire's a might giddy herself Jamie's really confident now Ackward first time releived by humor

 

A minor interruption was quickly handled! Picture thanks to Profession Fangirls!

Outlander-wedding-rupert-angus2

 

And, after a few lesson from the more experience Claire… such as the fact that it is usual to do it face to face… the couple was well on their way to Wedded Bliss…. at least for the first night!

wedding night4 wedding night6 wedding night5

 

Jamie's backside

 

The next morning though brought a different story… In my opinion, this was the best part of the entire episode! Yes, the sex was tastefully done and entertaining but rather like watching some soft porn? Personally, my thought is that they can not come close to Diana’s highly detailed descriptions which I did not necessarily need a visual representation of, but I understand the need to get it captured somehow on screen! The part with the rings, their symbolism and the deeper meanings for Claire were so well played out as she woke up the next morning and now had to deal with the enormous guilt she felt and feelings of having betrayed Frank on the most basic and intimate level.

the morning after The ring rolls Ring and life in balance ring2 ring on the verge of disappearing Caought between two lives and lovers

The description of the ring that Jamie had made was one of those differences from the book… I am curious as to what will be the deeper meaning of the key ring he asked to have made? I am sure they are going somewhere with it and it will be interesting to see that presented. They so completely captured the feelings and the symbolism of Claire wearing a ring on each hand, forever bound to both men, both loves, both lives!

 

I know I’ve missed some of the other touching and thoughtful scenes and events such as Murtagh’s sweetness and heartfelt emotion when talking to Jamie about his Mother. Credit and thanks to Dram of Outlander for the wonderful picture collage here!

http://adramofoutlander.com/

Sweet warm Murtaugh

 

And, the scene where Jamie gives Claire his Mother’s pearls!

The pearls

 

Finally, let me just leave you with a video found on youtube of Jamie and Claire!

Outlander: Jamie and Claire  You’re all that I want

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dunvegan Castle recieves an odd correspondance and invitation!

Warning, disclaimer and apology for a wayward tangent that I was unable to resist!  Normally, I keep my story segments and creations separate from my other fascinations and addictions… such as Outlander? For this one instance however, I was unable to resist the notion of them running across each other a bit! This is the one and only time that I will cross these paths!

 

First of all, in order to see or understand how any of this outlandish and far fetched fantasy might in any way shape or form have cause, reason or the remotest plausibility of intersecting, it may help to have a bit of background information on some relevant facts concerning Clan MaCleod and Dunvegan Castle during the period of the 1740’s. I will only supply the basic pertinent facts as they relate here to this story. My characters are fictional members of the Clan MacCleod much as Diana Gabaldon’s characters are fictional members of the Clan MacKenzie!  While they are fictional characters, I do try to tie them to historical events when ever possible!

 

Before anything else, let us look at where Dunvegan Castle and Clan Macleod lands sit on the Clan map of the highlands. This is important as it will give you some idea of where the MacCleod Clans resided in relation to MacKenzie and Fraser Clans. As you can see it would not have been odd for the MacCleods to know of or have dealings with either MackKenzies or Frasers.

Scottish Clan map with Dunvegan Castle's location starred.

Scottish Clan map with Dunvegan Castle’s location starred.

 

As far as factual information goes, during the 1740’s Clan MacCeod was headed by Norman MacCloid, who did not support the Jacobite rebellion and led troops in support of the Government forces.  The chief led 500 men of the MacLeod Independent Highland Companies in support of the Government at the Battle of Inverurie on 23 December 1745, where they were defeated.

The Macleods of Raasay, a branch of the MacLeods of Lewis, fought at the Battle of Culloden as part of the Glengarry Regiment, in retribution, the MacLeods of Dunvegan, under their chief, Norman MacLeod, burned and pillaged the Island of Raasay, harassing its inhabitants for many weeks in the late summer of 1746. As a result Norman MacLeod became known as “The Wicked Man”. In 1745, MacLeod of Dunvegan was said to have been able to “bring out” 700 men.   

Clan MacCleod history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_MacLeod#18th_century_and_Jacobite_risings

Norman MacLeod (The Wicked Man) : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_MacLeod_(The_Wicked_Man)

Dunvegan Castle:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunvegan_Castle

So far, I have not addressed any of this as yet in my story, but eventually will get to these details! Suffice it to say, Norman MacCleod would probably not been a friend of Dougal MacKenzie. But, then again, it might have been possible as the Jacobite Rebellion created a civil war, a divide between families and one time friends.  In our current story, we know little of the MacCleod Clan’s political or religious dealings at this time. As far as we know at this point, our fictional Clan members consisting of Eric North, Svein North, and young Brennie along with a housekeeper, Minn are the current residents of  Dunvegan Castle. Svein and Eric have been there since it’s beginnings and Brennie has been there for a few centuries now.  A clue as to the reason for them residing there and not Norman can be found in his factual history.  He supported the Government cause in the Jacobite Rising, and was an absentee chief as he seldom lived at his ancestors’ traditional seat of  Dunvegan Castle.  If you’re thinking Clan MacKenzie was the only Clan with not so likeable or trustable Family members, you might want to read more about Norman MacCleod? He was one of those Clan leaders that members probably rued the day they put him in power?  Ok, enough on him, he will show up in our story later!

Eric has appeared throughout this long sage but his personal story and his connection to Dunvegan Castle unfolds starting here: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/eleanors-journal69-eric-at-dunvegan/

 

It might also be of interesting note here that Dunvegan Castle has a long history and connection- which they are proud of by the way- with the Fairie realm and other such folk lore. Maybe they heard stories of that strange woman residing with the MacKenzies?!

 

8b22cfb0-390d-11e4-aa13-910c9013ec04_starz-outlander-106-garrison-commander-090281

 

Now that you have a bit of background history on the MacCleods and Dunvegan Castle, we can go on with our strange intersection?

 

During our construction of Dunvegan Castle we’ve been following Eric’s and Brennie’s memories of the past in the Castle. Brennie is reliving many of her own memories of  past events with thoughts of that time when her close friend and mentor, Minn was there as housekeeper and so much more. It was during the during the 1700’s when much of the Castle was renovated from a medieval fortress to a more habitable home, thanks much to Minn’s efforts and knowledge!   Brennie did not know much of what the outside world was doing, or what Eric and Svein were involved with during those times. She was just coming into her own as a new person thanks also to Minn’s sometimes overbearing but caring guidance. It was during this time that Brennie began to take part in what was happening around her, and what was happening in Scotland. 

Eric and Svein were often gone on Clan business, most of which Brennie questioned little of before this time. With Minn’s arrival though, the Castle began to change and become more of a home to many Clan members. Eric and Svein were not Clan Chiefs… they left that duty to the more human members of the Clan, a fact that in this time, they were beginning to regret. The current Clan Cheiftan, Norman MacCleod, did not reside at the Castle and rarely if ever bothered to even visit there. He did send two orphaned Clan members there though.  Two of his illegitimate offspring were sent to Dunvegan when their Mother died and Norman wanted them well out of his way.  So, Dunvegan along with Minn and Brennie took them in, welcomed them, and raised them.  The boy, Alexander was taken into training by Eric and Svein.  Where ever Svein or Eric went, so went Alex! Ellen, followed Minn and Brennie around with the same adoration.

Alexander

Alexander

 

 

Ellen MacCleod

Ellen MacCleod

 

Late one evening, the men were in the stables when young Alexander arrived exhausted from traveling hurriedly across the country with a message he said was of dire importance. He did not know what it was, had been given by one of the MacKenzies and told only that it was urgent that he get it to Svein and Eric.

An exhausted Rory

The first debate before even opening the message was one of what the MacKenzies wanted with them?  Eric was puzzled and doubtful, then suspicious… his words to Svein, “What have ye done? We’re at peace ye ken, and I would it to stay that way. I want no wars or battles now with other Clans. We have us enough trouble with Norman!”

At the mention of  his Father’s name, Alex hung his head. He knew of how much trouble the man was causing, and he was tired of the battles in his head and his heart over being the man’s son.

Debate on what to do

Svein assured Eric, “Need ye not worry, I have not done a thing, cept befriend the man!”

Eric’s response was resigned. “Achhh and, I am supposing that ye think that’s a much better thing? Dinna think that I want to be in that Man’s debt more than I want to be his enemy! What have ye promised him that we canna provide?”

Eric and Svein in the stable

Svein paused before answering. “Nothing, I promised nothing that we canna provide. I merely pledged our assistance against a more personal matter that he be involved in.  I promised our neutrality in that matter of his Fraser kin. We willna take any sides in what ever matters they dispute about was all I promised him.”

Eric nodded, “Well we can provide that, we have no quarrel with either of them and we need it to stay that way.”

He told Alex to take the parcel upstairs and noticed the frustration on the boy’s face. “Ye hold yer temper lad, and do as I ask. Ye’re not too old for a whipping yet even though ye think ye are!”

Discussion of news

Some time later, the family stood around the table staring at the parcel and missive that had been delivered, not quite sure what this meant to them?

Screenshot-24

The message was indeed a rather odd and curious one?

Wedding Invitation

Eric was not sure what it meant and thought for a few moments before asking Alex, “Are ye sure ye got the right parcel? And, are ye sure they said to deliver it here? Maybe ye heard them wrong or grabbed the wrong message. How much ale did ye drink and how tired were ye when ye were talkin to them?”

Alex bowed his head, mainly because he was so tired he was bout to drop off right there… and he did not want to share either just how much of the Ale he had shared at the Inn with the MacKenzie travelers! “Nay, Eric, I dinna grab the wrong message! Twas that Mutagh Fitzgibbons that shoved it in my shirt front, told me to ride like Hell to Svein and then get our arses back there soon as we could!”

 

Svein sighed and gave the only plausible explanation he could think of. “Well, like as not, we’re being called as to be impartial witnesses. I pledged to Dougal that I would not take sides in any of his family matters and this looks to be an important family matter? I know not much about the whole story of the lad but there is that land dispute in question between the clans, which the lad stands to inherit when he marries. Maybe it all has something to do with that?”

Rory bows his head

They discussed it for some time and could not come to any further conclusion than what Svein had suggested. There was agreement that what could it hurt to attend as requested… to not show up would cause some rift between them and Dougal that Eric did not want to encur so he went along with it though with some hesitation. He did not want to walk into some sort of trap either or become embroiled in some larger dispute of the MacKenzies. He agreed that they would go as requested, then return home immediately afterwards. The women would stay home, there was no need to endanger them and this was a man’s business anyway, Svein insisted.

 

Minn had her own thoughts as to Svein’s comment but wisely for once, kept them to herself.  After the men left the room, she filled Brennie and young Ellen in on her latest gossip about the MacKenzies and their strange guest who was visiting and now about to become their newest family member. “I heard tell that some folks think she’s a witch? They do say she is might odd, but a fine healer even if she does drink a might much? Probably should not be asking for her aid if it gets a bit late in the day… if ye know what I ken?” She went on with her tales and then after a moment reminded the women, “Achhh, Ye know of that lad, he’s passed through here before. Ye remember that fine young lad who all the lasses swayed over, the one who wouldna go in the boats?”

Brennie and Ellen nodded, they both remembered him now! Ellen blushed and said sadly, “Well I could only wish such a lad like him could find his way here for me! Not that it would matter though, as no one would be fool enough to have me.”

Minn just hushed and tsked at her youthful but true comments. “Hush ye Ellen, ye’re far too young to be thinking such thoughts anyway, and when the time does come we’ll be sure to find you a right fine lad!”

Screenshot-20

 

Previous Outlander post: Marriage of Convenience https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/outlander-marriage-of-convenience-and-other-things/

Previous Dunvegan Castle post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/dunvegan-castle-great-hall-and-still-room/

 

Most recent progress on Dunvegan Castle:

 

Left side Watch tower room with access to a work room.

Screenshot-2 Screenshot-3

Off the Work room is a small space which Minn uses for her book work space

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This general work room is part of the original old Castle rooms. It  was used as work room space by Castle residents for many years, as it was better lit with windows and sunlight than some of the other rooms of the time.

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Overview of work room with stairs down to stables and still room storage on the other side of it.

Screenshot-9

 

 

 

Outlander: Marriage of Convenience and other things…

Previous Outlander post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/outlander-garrison-commander-just-give-tobias-his-emmy-now/

 

Ok, I know that everyone is all excited about the upcoming wedding… well, not everyone exactly? Claire for one, is none too excited about the prospect… and will need even more than her usual consumption of alcohol to get through it!  In my preparation for this wedding, I decided to go back and re-read the Wedding and aftermath portion of the book. Not so much to compare it in any way to what Starz and Ron Moore do with the event, but to remind myself that it wasn’t nearly so romantic, nor would it really have been considered the Wedding of the Century? Yes, it did have it’s moments but overall, it and the aftermath were pretty much a mess except for the fact that Claire realized just how fine looking Jamie was, and how long it had been since she’d had any sex! Once those realizations and another few glasses of wine hit her, she decided to do her duty, oblige Dougal’s demand that the marriage be legally binding and consummate it. She then discovered that being a Virgin was not necessarily a bad thing for men?!  Of course, it did help that Jamie was such a quick and energetic learner! There was a slight bit of minor misunderstanding on his part of just how the act should be carried out but Claire quickly cleared that up. Jamie was still interested in experimenting however, and there a lengthy debate on the various farm and wild animal versions of the act, of which Jamie was highly knowledgeable on.  During this discussion, Jamie made much comment on the fact that Claire was now his wife and must obey and oblige him… she really should have listened much more closely during that discussion, it might have saved her some pain later on?  As per her usual behavior though, she was not taking the conversation or the concept quite seriously enough? She was far more interested in the current events taking place at that time… I can’t really say that I could blame her too much on that one! It did turn out that there was one animal  whose procreation habits  Jamie was not quite familiar with? How does a Hedgehog make love? Verra Carefully!  Alright, they did have a few days in which to enjoy their newly wedded status before things started to downhill rather quickly.  Those few days at the Inn were of course supervised the men of the Clan who took their role as witnesses quite seriously.  After all it was their duty to ensure that the couple fulfilled their obligation to be wedded and bedded, and the fact that they were drinking on Dougal’s time and money did not hurt either!

 

 

Now, while it was a lovely Wedding, though quite small… and rather uncomfortable for Claire, seeing as she was suffering from over indulging the night before as well as discovering that it was the same church she had married Frank in!

 

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Outlander 2014

Outlander 2014

Outlander 2014

Jamie did try to make it as nice as possible for her by insisting they be married in a Kirk,  and that she have a decent dress to wear for the occasion. Those were a few of his demands to Dougal in going along with the Wedding, which we found out later was more than just save Claire from Black Jack Randall. Dougal always has ulterior motives and this was no exception. He was hedging his bets, covering all his bases on the matter of Jamie’s inheritance of his property, LallyBroch. Ahhh but that’s another long mess for later! Let’s just say here that Dougal did not do this all out of the kindness of his heart for Claire or Jamie!

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While Murtaugh isn’t really all that fond of Claire and doesn’t trust her, he trusts Dougal even less!

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As I mentioned, the Wedding was small but memorable, with Claire and Jamie coming to the realization and understanding that they were in this together and at least they have each other? After all, it could have been worse, she could have been stuck with Rupert?!

Much of the Wedding ceremony was familiar to Claire as it has not changed that much over the centuries. The part that she was not expecting was the ancient Gaelic/Pagan ritual of the Blood vow which included the slicing of their wrists and binding them together while reciting the vows.

Ladies of Lallybroch Jamie and Claire’s Blood Vow

http://www.lallybroch.com/LOL/blood-vow.html

 

“You are blood of my blood, and bone of my bone. I give you my body, that we two might be one. I give you my spirit, till our life shall be done.”

 

After the wedding and those few days of bliss, things deteriorated quickly. A few things had slipped Jamie’s mind in the chaos of dealing with Jack Randall and the excitement of this new sexual freedom? One of those being that while he had given Claire a knife to protect herself, he never bothered to show her how to use it! Even Ned Gowan was shocked at that. She was quickly taught how to use a knife by Rupert of all people, who turned out to be an excellent teacher!  There was much debate on which sort of knife she should be equipped with for her safety and protection?

 

For obvious reasons, the Claymore was not an option

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Nor was the Broadsword!

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This left the Dirk and it’s smaller counterpart, the sgain-dubh

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Following the knife lessons, there was what Claire perceived as a rather female demeaning attitude towards the use of a gun and why a woman would not be using one in the first place? Jamie had to explain to her that even for him the kick back was furious and, “While I like your smile fine, I like it much better with teeth!” She let that argument die and did not pursue the gun training!

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Ummmm it’s a good thing that Rupert was an excellent teacher… Left on their own for a bit of time, both Jamie and Claire got carried away with that newlywed pass time and were set upon by wandering English Soldiers while involved in that pass time. A nasty fight ensued and Claire was forced to use her newly honed knife skills on the Soldier who was raping her while the other held Jamie at gunpoint.  As I said, the honeymoon quickly went downhill!  As if that was not enough, Claire decided to pick this time to head back to the Stones. So much for her passionate love with Jamie? Ohhh, she did have some guilt and remorse about the decision, I will credit her for that. Her rationale however, was that she would disappear into the woods where he told her to stay put and he would assume she was eaten by bears or some such thing?

 

Well, no such luck on that front! No, it was not lions, tigers or bears that found her, just the English Army once again! Another terrifying encounter with Black Jack Randall ensued and Jamie had to rescue her again. By this point his patience with her behavior has hit it’s breaking point and he has to take some rather drastic measures to ensure that she understands the seriousness of the situation that they are in and the danger she puts everyone else in with her actions. It’s a matter of justice, he points out later as he explains that if any man in their group had put them all in such peril with such carelessness, they would have lost an ear or at least some fingers. Jamie deems that a lesson she will not forget is necessary and reminds her of his earlier warning of if she left the hiding place where he left her, he would beat her bare ass with a strap. He advises her that he was serious and he is not one to go back on his vows.  Claire learns the realities of the 18th century world and endures a painful and humiliating lashing with the strap from Jamie.  He does spend much time later explaining his reasons and comforting her.

 

I bring this event up because I truly hope that it is played out in the coming episodes. I think that while it was quite graphic and what we would consider abusive in this day and age, it was an important event in the book and in their life together. It was a much more powerful and meaningful experience than the sex was.  It clearly opened Claire’s eyes and her mind to how her actions affected everyone around her and it brought home the fact that this relationship of theirs goes  beyond just a physical, sexual attraction and is far more complex than that.  She understand just how deep Jamie’s feelings, his emotions and his loyalties are engrained within him.

Outlander 2014

So with all of that in mind, Yes I am looking forward to the Wedding… but more so I am looking forward to the aftermath of it!

 

 

 

 

 

Outlander: Garrison Commander- Just give Tobias his Emmy now!

Outlander Garrison Commander preview post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/outlander-musings-and-preview-of-episode-6/

Wow! I don’t even know where to start with recapping this incredible episode? I thought I was well prepared for it… planned ahead, had my comfort food and strong spirits all ready for fortification… it was not nearly enough. Thanks to Tobias Menzies’ fantastic performance and the excellent writing on this episode, my comfort food of Cottage Pie stuck in my throat and much like Claire, I felt myself in need of another drink!

 

 

I mentioned in my previous preview for this episode that I thought this would be the turning point, the beginning of the real story. I was not wrong, or disappointed! Ron Moore and the writers for this episode outdid themselves. This was the best episode yet and I think that the way they went about presenting it and painting such a vivid, intense and true picture of Jack Randall and the demons that reside within him was even better than Diana’s depiction of the man. Maybe it was seeing it all presented from his own perspective and imagery that put that darkest part of him right there in the open for us to see. When he described the whipping of Jamie and his reactions to not being able to break him down, you could feel the depth of his rage and know that this event and this man will haunt him and drive him deeper into the madness of his mind until he can feel he has won.  I am just in total awe of Tobias Menzies’ portrayal of this tormented man who is so full of inner demons and knows it. His matter of fact way of  describing the event of the whipping, his subtle yet so cruel and honest appraisals of  Claire’s situation, his way of reeling her in to his web and then turning on her with the sadism that is so very much Jack’s own identity.

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The changes that were made for this episode worked, and worked so well!

 

This episode was all about presenting us with the truest picture of Black Jack Randall, setting the scene for his future atrocities and behaviors… and having to do it all within a one hour time frame. They accomplished that in an extremely real, chilling and graphic way. You are sucked into it along with Catriona Balfe as Claire as she tries to understand him and his warped mind. She tries so hard to convince him and herself that there is some faint shred of decency, of light left within his soul. You can see the fear and the doubt on her face as she hopes she’s made some impact on him, when he so cunningly reels her into his web and then attacks without any feelings of guilt or remorse.  I knew that beating was coming and yet I was still unprepared and completely unsettled by it! 

 

The scenes with the razor were profound and just as difficult to watch as Catriona did such a fine job of  showing Claire’s doubts, her panic and her attempts to rationalize, sort out and separate her memories of Frank from the realities of this look alike ancestor. The hardest part for her, I think was knowing how much Frank idolized and respected this ancestor then having to face the truth of what the man really was. She was so insistent on holding on to some of that feeling of Frank’s that she allowed herself to be played by Jack and sucked into his mind.

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As I expected, there was so much presented in this episode, important pieces leading towards the future events. Our dinner was almost forgotten as we watched in complete silence save for some well placed gasps and sucked in breaths. Besides the graphic images that will haunt you, there is also a lot of important dialogue that should not be overlooked as it contains keys to why the events unfold the way they do in the future.  As we listen to the British openly berate and insult Dougal MacKenzie and the entire land of Scotland, we watch Dougal stand stoically and proudly all the while seething inside. You can feel him holding his anger and rage in for as long as possible before coming to his breaking point. That scene gives you a better understanding of Dougal and his inner emotions. He knows damn well what is coming in the future for himself and for his country and he will do anything he feels necessary to stand up and fight for what he believes in, whether it be a losing cause or not. He shows this side of himself when he puts himself and the MacKenzie Clan on the line by rescuing her from Jack Randall. 

 

Another piece of dialogue that I found a little unsettling and important for it’s future ramifications was during the conversation between Claire and Jack when she confronted him with his whipping of the Highlander boy. It was unsettling and suspenseful in itself with Claire rambling on as she does often when nervous, giving out too much information. You could see the wheels turning in Jack’s head and his suspicions rising that she knows more about this man than she’s saying? Then as if her nervous rambling were not enough, she had to lie… Claire can not lie! As Jamie tells her often in the future, she has a glass face and everything shows straight through. Of course it was obvious to Jack as he just smiled at his own sadistic joke and showed her the portrait of a Beautiful Liar! I’m thinking the sketch will show probably show up later on her wanted poster!

 

Claire’s inability to lie was stressed again after Dougal’s rescue.  When he told her drink then accused her again of being a spy or a traitor, she stood up to him and insisted, “I’m no spy, I’m just Claire Beauchamp.” Dougal looked at her face and believed her this time… of course he said it was because of the magic pool and how anyone who drank from it could not lie? But, really all he had to do was look at her face to know.  I’m fairly sure he could tell by her face and not the magic pool!

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Outlander 2014

 

For all of those who are so excited about the upcoming Wedding, and what ever the wedding night entails… Please don’t get too excited? It’s not really such a highlight or highpoint in their lives or anyone else’s at that time. It’s a matter of convenience and saving Claire and the Clan from the predicament that Claire put them all in!  It is a low point for Claire and she needs even more than her usual amount of alcohol to get through it!

Outlander 2014