Tag Archives: Sam Heughan

OUTLANDER Season Two, Will You Be Watching? …#springiscoming

GUEST POST – teachergirl73

It’s no secret that I’m an avid fan of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, as well as,  Ron D. Moore’s adaptation of the story for television found on the STARZ network in the U.S. and on Showcase here in Canada.

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What probably impressed me the most about Outlander’s first season was how the show’s creators manage to find two actors who were able to step into the roles of Jamie and Claire so effortlessly. I’m sure that was a concern for many fans, as we all had our own visions of Jamie and Claire, and getting the casting right was key if the show was going to get off the ground.

 

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The show’s outstanding scenery, music and the contributions from supporting cast members all came together to make Outlander’s inaugural season a huge success.

Outlander’s story is a long one as those of us who are still reading the series, it has been eight novels and the story is still not over. It’s filled with romance, adventure, and the harsh reality of living in the 18th century which includes a far amount of violence. Near the conclusion of Outlander, the first novel, readers and television viewers alike were presented with a particularly horrific act that for readers of the novel will not soon forget.

As Season 1 came to an end, we all knew what was coming as Jamie was left in the hands of Black Jack Randall in Wentworth Prison. From a pure production point of view, it was an incredibly difficult episode to pull off, the show’s creators did an amazing job. That said, I fear that there are images forever burned into my mind that I will never be able to erase! Okay, perhaps that’s being a little melodramatic, but I’m sure that there are others out there who agree with me.

After many discussions around the proverbial “water-cooler”, I think that despite the rawness of the season finale, most people that I’ve talked with will be tuning into Season 2. I know that I certainly will be, and from the looks of the first trailer for Season 2, the production values certainly appear to be of the highest quality once again. I also have a soft-spot for Dragonfly in Amber, the second novel in the series and as a history major, 18th century Paris was my favourite time period to study.

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So, the question is, will you be watching?

 

 

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Awakening From a Devastating Reading Slump – GUEST POST

GUEST POST – teachergirl73


 After reading Andrea’s humorous post “Auld Lang Syne”, I began to consider my own lack of motivation to pick up a book. I’ve been in a serious reading slump lately, whether it was the hustle and bustle of the holidays, or a bit of the winter blahs, or just simply a bit of “brain freeze” to quote one of my Grade 2 students who was trying to tell me that he had been “thinking” way too hard. While trying to contain my snort of agreement as best as I could, I just empathized with him and assured him that all we needed was the holiday to reboot so to speak. Upon reflection, I think that my reading slump might actually be attributed in part to the demise of a serious literary relationship spanning some fourteen years now.

WMOBI have made many attempts over the past few months to dive into Diana Gabaldon’s latest endeavour Written In My Own Heart’s Blood, the eighth book in the Outlander series, all without success and I finally gave up around mid-December. Even though I consider myself to be a true Outlander fan, for the last three books the only reason why I have continued with the series is because I am held captive, reading in horrified fascination unable to believe what has been done to the story and characters. I feel almost disloyal writing this, not to the author, but to the series itself. The story should have ended after the third book, Voyager, but by then there was a voracious audience awaiting each new installment, which no doubt impacted the arc of the story line. To clarify, I too was one of those people, waiting desperately for the next book in the series. As each new book was published, I kept waiting for that illusive reading “high” that I felt in the beginning but as with most addictions, it never quite happened. Even after the complete waste of time that was The Fiery Cross (hours, days and weeks of my life that I will never get back!) there was still a part of me hoping that one day the magic would return.

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However all is not lost, thanks to visually stunning, and superior script writing that comes with “Outlander, the television series. As it appears the show is going to stretch each book out having only adapted a small part in the first eight episodes. I feel confident that I will get to enjoy all my favourite parts of the story as told through Ronald D. Moore’s unique yet faithful interpretation of the novels. I’m eagerly awaiting the mid-season return of the STARZ production of Season One Outlander” on April 4, 2015, along with millions of other women. I ask you this, is there anyone doesn’t want to see more of Sam Heughan?


Following the holidays, I realized that that the worst was over and I had finally seemed to be coming out the other side of my slump. I would like to say thank Auralee Wallace, who let me beta read an early version of her latest book, Skinny Dipping With Murder, that will be coming out in early 2016. It’s about a small-town girl who reluctantly returns home after years away and promptly becomes embroiled in hilarity, hi-jinks and a little dab of murder. I am looking forward to the finished product and for more stories involving Erica and her trusty side-kick Freddie!

When We Wake US cover

DESCRIPTION – My name is Tegan Oglietti, and on the last day of my first lifetime, I was so, so happy.

Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027–she’s happiest when playing the guitar, she’s falling in love for the first time, and she’s joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.

But on what should have been the best day of Tegan’s life, she dies–and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.

Tegan is the first government guinea pig to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity–even though all she wants to do is try to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. But the future isn’t all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her ead down and survive, or fight for a better future?

Image and description from: http://www.karenhealey.com/books/when-we-wake/


I have just begun reading When We Wake by Karen Healey. It is a dystopian novel that examines many different themes including global warming, famine, civil unrest and overpopulation in the not-too-distant future. What is most intriguing is the possibility of what could happen if science fiction meets reality and we are able to pause a human life through the use of cryonic freezing, only to restart that life many years later. There are many ethical questions that come up early in the story around the consequences of bringing someone back to life. What are the political and legal ramifications of reviving someone who has been long dead? Are they still consider citizens under the law or the property of the institutions who have brought them back to life? How do you re-integrate someone into society who has been officially dead for a century? Who gets to decide who is revived and who isn’t? And would you want to be given a second chance at life if everyone you knew and loved was long dead and buried? I’m really looking forward to seeing how the story of Tegan unravels as she faces a brand new world in When We Wake.

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Outlander S1. Ep2. “Castle Leoch”

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GUEST REVIEWER – teachergirl73

Beautiful. Stunning. Marvelous. Exquisite. Wonderful.

All of these adjectives can be used to describe one of the most anticipated new television series in years. And you thought I was just talking about Sam Heughan!

In all seriousness, I believe that all of these descriptors can be applied to Outlander from the perfectly eerie and moody backdrop of Scotland, to the transformation of the novel to television screenplay, to the casting that seems to have captured the characters from Diana Gabaldon’s novel with a real authenticity.

In the second episode,  Claire arrives at the Castle Leoch and her first significant introduction is to Mrs. Fitzgibbon. Mrs. Fitz (as everyone calls her) runs the castle and appears to accept Claire as a new guest to the castle, with just a wee bit of wariness.  As Claire checks on the condition of Jamie’s earlier battle wounds, he tells the story behind how he came to be flogged at the hands of Captain “Black Jack” Randall. As Claire’s disbelief of the reality of her situation turns to acceptance that she is no longer in her own time, Claire finally breaks down in Jamie’s arms. Unlike in the book, we get to see the filling out of Claire’s musings about Frank, how worried he must be now that he’s realized that she is missing, appearing to have vanished into thin air.

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The next day, Claire is brought to “Himself”, otherwise known as Colum Mackenzie,  the laird of Castle Leoch. Claire arrives in his room and discovers that she has a few moments to herself. As she rifles through books and papers on his desk, she finds the confirmation that she needed. She discovers a letter on his desk, dated 1743. Before she can do anything else, Colum enters and begins to deftly question Claire about who she is, where she’s from and how she managed to end up in the clutches of Captain Randall. Colum interrogates Claire under the guise of caring and concern for her well-being, but it is clear that he has ulterior motives. At the end of the conversation, there is a slight deviation from the book, when Colum tells Claire that she could catch a ride with a travelling merchant who should be passing by at the end of the week. Claire leaves this meeting believing that she’s a week away from getting back to Craigh na Dun, and she seems to become almost ambivalent about her situation.

After the meeting, Claire spies a moment of playful fun between Dougal and a young boy in the courtyard. Mistakenly thinking that she was witnessing a touching father-son moment, Claire later realizes her error when she is officially introduced to Hamish Mackenzie, “son and heir to Colum Mackenzie”. She quickly excuses herself from the dinner table,  before she makes anymore errors in judgment.

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The next day, Claire goes to check on Jamie at the stables and hears more of his story. Jamie reveals to her that he is an outlaw, wanted for murder, and living under an assumed name. After hearing about Jamie’s precarious position, hiding from the Redcoats, with a bounty on his head, Claire asks him why he chose to share his story with her. His reply simply stated, “You asked”, and that he “decided to trust” her, rather than hide from her. At the end of this scene, we also see how Claire’s being watched by Dougal’s men everywhere she goes.

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Later in the episode, Claire witnesses Jamie intervene on the behalf of the young girl Laoghaire who is to be punished by Colum for displaying “loose behaviour and morals”. Laoghaire was to receive the strap in front of everyone attending the hall. It is clear that Jamie’s intervention is received with suspicion by both of his uncles Colum and Dougal, and that Murtagh is clearly a confidant of Jamie’s. Claire, also begins to suspect that perhaps Jamie is the cause of Laoghaire’s punishment, as she ponders why he would save her from the humiliation.

At the end of the episode, just as Claire is about to leave with the travelling merchant, Dougal comes for her, and Claire experiences deja vu as Dougal brings her to a room in the Castle that Claire had explored with Frank. It is in this room that Claire and Frank had a very intimate moment in 1945, that Colum reveals his grand plan for her. Colum has decided that Claire is to remain at the castle as the local healer. This does not sit well with Claire,  but Colum makes it very clear that she will remain at Leoch until he is sure that she poses no threat to him, his family, or his clan.

The Way Out (S1, Ep3) – PROMO

 

“Stranger In A Strange Land” – Outlander (Sassenach – S1, Ep1) 

Like Claire’s recall of the vase in the window, I vividly remember the day I purchased my first copy of Outlander not long after its first printing two decades ago. This is noteworthy only because if one considers the number of trips I have made to the bookstore that one visit should stand out is rather astonishing. Being a somewhat “particular” although some might say peculiar reader it was the hefty size (627 pages) that appealed to me. I wanted a story to lose myself in, Outlander granted that wish in spades. It is unequivocally my favorite book of all time though I will admit that it took the television premiere to remind me of that fact.

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SYNOPSIS – The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon–when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach–an “outlander”–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life…and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

CLAIRE-AND-FRANKAfter viewing the pilot episode, I believe the television series promises to be just as compelling as the internationally best-selling novel. The production quality of this adaptation is utterly exquisite. The set, acting and casting is truly flawless. I think teachergirl73 was almost disappointed by my lack of criticism and being a Virgo finding fault isn’t usually a challenge for me! Truly, I often find it more difficult to critique books and films that I love. It is next to impossible to find adequate words to do justice to something that fulfils your every expectation particularly when you anticipate disappointment. That is the situation in which I currently find myself, I thought there was no possible way that they could satisfy my expectations. I guess that is why you should “never say never”.

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Several months ago when the still shots of the cast were released I was nonplussed but not dissuaded either but I found I didn’t truly dare to hope until I happened upon the first teaser trailer. Later we were fortunate enough to watch some of the coverage of the panel session with the cast, author Diana Gabaldon and creative head Ronald D. Moore at Comic Con 2014. If listening to the cast and crew describing the journey of this story to television was not convincing enough the clips allayed any fears fans would have about the adherence to the spirit if not the exact word of the novel.

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Sassenach (S1, Ep1) deviates very little from the beginning of the original story with former war nurse Claire Beauchamp Randall and her husband Frank travelling to Scotland on a second honeymoon to reacquaint themselves with each other after only having seen one another a handful of times over the course of World War II. Claire and Frank witness an early morning druid ritual at sacred standing stones for Samhain. When Claire returns alone later she is inexplicably drawn to the stones and awakens to find herself amidst a skirmish between British red coated soldiers and a band of Scottish Highlanders.

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In a situation not unlike jumping from the pot into the fire Claire finds herself rescued from probable rape at the hands of her husband Frank’s ancestor and doppelgänger Captain Jack Randall to captivity with the very men that he is pursuing. Hidden in a crofter’s cottage she cannot allow the men to attempt to reset an injured man’s dislocated shoulder without providing aid and so we are introduced to young Jamie MacTavish.

Outlander_Cast_Jamie_420x560_v2One could chalk up the much of the appeal of this new series to the extremely bonny Sam Heughan in a brilliant casting selection as the iconic character of Jamie Fraser. But that would be short-sighted considering wondrous detail evidenced in every scene. I eagerly anticipate what is to come in upcoming weeks. Episodes of Outlander can be viewed online via STARZ and Sunday evenings on Showcase at 10PM ET. If you missed the debut episode or simply want to watch it again Showcase is replaying the pilot titled Sassenach at 11AM ET August 31st.

Castle Leoch (S1, Ep2) – PROMO

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