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#Droughtlander is Over…Finally! GUEST POST

GUEST POST – teachergirl73

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I think that for all of us who are fans of Outlander, the television series, we can all agree that the return of Outlander couldn’t have come soon enough. The second half of the series kicked off with a bang as we were brought right back to where we left off, at the garrison of Fort William where Claire was being held captive by Captain “Black Jack” Randall. This episode, named “The Reckoning”, was different from the first half of the season because there is a change in narration. The episode is told exclusively from Jamie’s point of view. It was a real treat to hear Jamie’s voice as the central focus since the novels are primarily written from Claire’s perspective. All along I’ve really enjoyed the changes that the show’s writers have made because I strongly feel like they have only served to enhance and improve on the storytelling. These changes have given a voice to the thoughts and actions of the other characters in the story. Whether it’s additional scenes, dialogue or even just a lingering focus on a character’s facial expression, the creativity of the show’s writers has filled out the story in new and wonderfully, unexpected ways.

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If you have read the book, then you are well aware that there are some traumatic events to come, and I know that I am eagerly waiting in anticipation to see how the show will deal with the developments between Claire, Jamie and of course, Captain Randall.  One sensitive issue was the spanking scene, which caused much speculation between die-hard fans.  In the book, Jamie had to deliver corporal punishment to his wife for putting all of the Mackenzie men at risk by disobeying his instructions to stay put when he left to confront a deserter from British army who might be able to help clear his name. When the Mackenzie men mounted the attack to rescue Claire from the clutches of Randall, she put everyone’s lives at risk. The show kept very close to the original plot line and I thought that both Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe did a fantastic job pulling off what must have been a difficult scene to navigate.

In Episode 10, “By The Pricking of My Thumbs”, we begin the lead up to a significant twist in the plot that changes the course for Jamie and Claire. There were some excellent scenes and dialogue added that were the perfect complement to the story, such as Dougal’s drunken meltdown upon hearing of his wife’s passing or Laoghaire’s stubborn refusal to accept Jamie’s marriage when Claire confronted her about the ill-wish. There’s also a scene where Claire stumbled upon Geilles conducting a very similar pagan ritual dance that she witnessed at Craigh na Dun the night before she disappeared from Inverness in 1945. We also finally understand how Jamie became involved in a duel, an event that does not occur in Outlander (but does happen later on in in the series). This scene had been in the previews for the second half of the season and it left me wondering how the duel actually came to be.

The episode wraps up with Claire being swept up in the drama surrounding Geilles Duncan, and so once again, Claire’s life is in peril because she didn’t listen to her husband’s advice to stay away from Geilles. Oh the would-have, should-have, could-haves that plague Claire! Even though, I’m well familiar with what is to come, I find myself waiting with great anticipation for the last half of the season to unfold.

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“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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