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In honor of WORLD OUTLANDER DAY,

let’s go back to where this love story really cemented itself in the hearts of Outlander fans, especially Jamie and Claire fans and book fans in particular.  Since the first announcement of plans to adapt the book series to television, book fans had long anticipated the wedding episode.  It has become the single most iconic scene of the TV series to date and one of the most beloved of Diana Gabaldon’s book series.

The magic in the story is usually subtle, but potent, and not the main focus, but the magic associated with the wedding vow deserves some attention.  Blood is a powerful symbolism, and sometimes even has mystical powers.  The blood oath makes use of this to make a commitment that cannot be broken.

Blood spilling is a potent force in the working of magic, and in some mythologies certain types of blood are deemed more powerful than others.  Some consider the blood of royalty, the blood of a special line (Fraser, the Fraser Prophesy, which book readers will recall), the caster’s own blood (Jamie and Claire), and virgin’s blood (Jamie) to be most powerful.

In many ways their wedding ceremony represents the traditions of their time, but their blood vow may be described as something between a binding traditional handfasting and an initiation.  It is a blood bond, a spiritual blending, a binding of their souls, not just to God but to one another, and not just for this lifetime, but forevermore.  Not until death-do-us-part, but for all lifetimes to come.  Jamie knew what he was doing and knew its significance, but Claire did not.

Would Claire have agreed to the marriage if she had known about the blood vow?  Probably.  Although she had just gone through the stones at Craig Na Dun and had been mysteriously transported back in time 200 years, she was hesitant to embrace the faery mythology generally accepted by the Highlanders at the time.  Looking back, Claire confesses that she wouldn’t have changed a thing.  That, my friends, is a commitment.

As Outlander fans, we agree with Claire.  We wouldn’t change a thing.

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http://www.backstage.com/interview/outlander-men-auditions-and-adaptations/

Fans of Starz’s time-travel drama “Outlander” may be surprised that no one asked Sam Heughan to take his shirt off during the audition process.

That may sound reasonable, but as viewers know, Heughan spends much of his onscreen time flashing some serious skin—and as it turns out, the series lucked out with the Scot when it comes to physiques.

“I’ve been in many auditions thinking, God, do I have to take my shirt off? It’s quite a physical role…,” Heughan says while his co-star—and onscreen nemesis—Tobias Menzies chuckles across the table. “It’s quite exposing, actually. But no, they didn’t [ask]. And at the time, I was keeping quite fit. So it was all right!”

For the legions of fans who have turned Heughan and Menzies into the thinking woman’s sex symbols, it turned out to be a bit more than all right. Fiercely protective fans of Diana Gabaldon’s series of novels detailing the time-traveling adventures of World War II–era nurse Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), her 1940s husband, Frank (Menzies), the dashing 18th-century Highlander hunk she ends up marrying, Jamie (Heughan), and Frank’s sadistic ancestor Capt. Jack Randall (Menzies again), almost immediately relaxed when the series premiered in the summer of 2014. Here were Jamie and Black Jack and Claire brought to life in ways that very few adaptations manage. And though the show quickly made a name for itself for its vivid sex scenes—the website Vulture recently heralded the show as “the best sex on television”—what is less frequently discussed is the high-wire act its actors must perform to ground the material.

“It’s some of the hardest stuff to sell, I think, in acting,” Menzies says. “The time traveler element of the story is the most esoteric aspect. And if you wink, you’re kind of done. The air will deflate out of it.”

Both Menzies and Heughan are serious about their performances on “Outlander,” down to questioning dialogue or storylines.

“There were some quite overt direct speeches in the novel, which can be quite bumpy,” Menzies says. “An example is Claire’s ‘Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.’ Which obviously all the fans are obsessed with. But I know Cat spent a lot of time going, ‘I don’t know how to make this work for me.’ She really wrestled with it. And that’s part of the adaptation process.”

Heughan agrees, saying that an open-door policy on the part of the writers has been “really fruitful, I think. You are the one person who is looking only at that journey, that one character. The writers are looking at the structure and different characters and how they all kind of interact. So it’s always an interesting thing to stand up for.”

And Heughan and Balfe were both concerned about Jamie and Claire’s relationship at the beginning of Season 2. The last episodes of Season 1 found them struggling to reconnect after Jamie’s rape at the hands of Capt. Jack, and the finale saw the pair sailing to Paris. But when Heughan and Balfe read the first scripts for the new season, they went to the writers.

“It felt like [Jamie and Claire] got over what happened in Season 1 and there wasn’t enough of a hangover,” Heughan recalls. “And we went back to them and actually, they completely reworked it. It was great to see [showrunner] Ron [Moore] going, ‘OK, we can delay that and move this forward here.’ It’s great fun to be able to have that influence on the script!”

The first few episodes of Season 2 were difficult for both men: Menzies returns for the first time as Frank after spending most of the previous season in Capt. Jack’s shoes, and Jamie moves from the outdoors to the lavish world of Paris and all the foppery and frills that entails.

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Growing up one of the things I looked forward to the most was visiting with my Grannie and Grandpa.  My Grannie was English, born and raised.  My Grandpa was Scot!  Over the years Grannie Guinnes (McInnes) adapted her way of cooking to accommodate my stubborn, but joyful Grandpa.  She made what always seemed to me to be traditional Scottish recipes.  One that I loved the most was her scones.  She would show me how and eventually I convinced her to write down the recipe for me.

The funny (and probably very common) thing about her recipe was that these were not standard measurements.  Her “cup” was an old tea cup with a broken handle.  She measured it according to where the ingredient came on the pattern.  Her teaspoon was an actual spoon used for tea.  When she said dessert spoon, well that was a little bigger.  But not as big as the soup spoons.

 

Now, when I make this recipe it makes me smile because it is never ever as good as hers.  Here I am ready with all the ingredients ready to go.  I will end up having to add more buttermilk or more flour at some point.  My cup isn’t the same as hers

 

Handling the dough as little as possible, I mixed it together, pat it flat, and shaped it somewhat into a rectangle.  That was then cut into smaller rectangles and finally triangles.  And now they are ready to be cooked.

As a child,  and well into adulthood, THIS is all that I knew scones to be.  I had never bought a scone, never had any idea that flaky triangles sold at Starbucks even existed.  My Grannie’s scones were cooked on a dry griddle.   Don’t they look amazing?

 

Here is the best part.  When you are done cooking them, you get to sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labour (ok, it really is a very simply and quick recipe, but no one needs to know that).  Grannie and I always sat down to have them with butter and homemade jam.  She would pour me a little tea with A LOT of milk and sugar.  Today I am having it with coffee.  But honestly, I miss the tea.  A LOT.  I miss my Grannie too.  Here’s to you Ethel McInnes.  Thank you for sharing your joy with me.

 

 

 

Scones

2 cups of flour

1/4 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 dessert spoon (table spoon maybe) butter

1 dessert spoon lard (or shortening)

enough buttermilk to make a soft dough (probably around 1/2 – 3/4 cup)

Cut butter and lard into dry ingredients and then add the buttermilk, stirring as little as possible.

Turn onto floured surface.  Pat into a rectangle approximately 1.2 inch think.  Cut into shapes.

Cook on a dry griddle set to 300-350 until dark brown, flip and repeat.

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Outlander has some of the most arresting title cards I have ever seen on tv.  Each episode’s title card tells a story.  Their job is to immediately engage the viewer, and boy! do they ever!

Take a look at all the title cards from Season One.  My favourite is probably The Search.  I love that the marionette show was Claire’s story (the Highland version).

Pop into the comments and let us know what your favourite title card from Season One was.

 

While on her honeymoon, WWII combat nurse Claire Randall is mysteriously transported back to 1743 Scotland, where she is kidnapped by a group of Highlanders – and meets an injured young man named Jamie.

 

Claire is taken to meet the Laird. As suspicions about her grow, Claire befriends the mysterious Geillis Duncan. When the clan discover her medical skills, Claire goes from guest to prisoner.

 

Claire decides to use her medical skills to aid her escape from Castle Leoch – with Jamie’s help, she tends to an ill child. During an evening’s entertainment, a story gives Claire hope for her freedom.

 

As the Castle prepares for The Gathering, Claire plots her escape. But after a dangerous encounter with a drunken Dougal and an unexpected run-in with Jamie, her plans are dashed.

 

Claire joins the MacKenzie rent-collecting trip. To her horror, Dougal uses Jamie’s scars to gain sympathy for the Jacobite cause. Claire recalls that a defining moment in Scottish history is fast approaching.

 

Claire’s unexpected meeting with a British general turns tense when Captain Jack Randall arrives. Claire finds herself alone with Randall – a dangerous man determined to uncover her secrets.

 

Claire and Jamie are thrown together in marriage, but as their emotional and physical relationship unfolds, deeper feelings arise. Claire is ultimately torn between two men in two very different times.

 

Frank desperately searches for his missing wife, while Claire tries to come to terms with her new marriage. Claire is faced with an emotional quandry as a life-altering opportunity presents itself.

 

Jamie and the Highlanders rescue Claire from Black Jack Randall. Back at the castle, politics threaten to tear Clan MacKenzie apart and Jamie’s scorned lover, Laoghaire, attempts to win him back.

 

Jamie hopes the newly arrived Duke of Sandringham will help lift the price from his head, while Claire attempts to save an abandoned child.

 

Claire and Geillis are on trial for witchcraft. Jamie manages to rescue Claire, but not before she discovers a secret about Geillis’s past.

 

Reunited, Claire and Jamie make their way to Lallybroch – Jamie’s family home. Reality quickly sets in, and old wounds are reopened between Jamie and his sister, Jenny.

 

Jamie finds himself between a rock and a hard place when a redcoat deserter from his past resurfaces. Claire tends to a laboring Jenny while Jamie and Ian join The Watch, resulting in devastating consequences.

 

Claire and Jenny set out to rescue Jamie from his redcoat captors. When Murtagh joins up, they turn to unorthodox tactics to send word to Jamie. When word finally arrives, the news isn’t what anyone had hoped.

 

Jamie awaits his death sentence at Wentworth Prison, while Claire and the Highlanders search for a rescue plan. When Jamie is visited by Black Jack, he realizes there is a fate worse than death.

 

A desperate plan manages to free Jamie, but his wounds are more than just physical. At a nearby monastery, Claire attempts to save both Jamie’s heart and soul, as his mind lingers on the torture.

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“Sue Morrison in the Set Decoration department is in charge of finding animals for the show. She showed us a picture of Scamp and we thought he looked perfect. We brought him in for a mini-audition, mainly just as a formality. We wanted to make sure he would walk on a stranger’s body, since it’s an important part of his role. We had an extra lie down on a gurney and Scamp’s trainer gave him commands from off camera.  He did great!”

–Maril Davis, Executive Producer

 

For some reason, this was not how I imagined Bouton, but, like every other aspect of the show,  now I cannot imagine him any other way.

Bouton a.k.a. Scamp’s Story

“Scamp was brought into Dumfries and Galloway Canine Rescue Centre in beautiful south-west Scotland as a stray in April 2009. We were able to estimate his age reasonably accurately as 16 weeks, because he only had adult incisor teeth. My daughter Pippa, then aged 10, had been pestering me for a rescue dog to call her own, since we had lived in at the Centre since its inception in 2003. I have always had a large “family” of Golden Retrievers (usually around 8) and had resisted her pleas until Scamp arrived—one look at his wee face and I was hooked! Not only is he utterly adorable and cheeky, but he is incredibly smart and quick to learn. He actually knew so much already at a tender age, we believe he had an “old soul” in a young body, that he had been here before!

The rescue center had previously assisted animal agent David Stewart of Creature Features with finding suitable dogs for part in various film and TV work as well as modelling, and when he asked us to find a very trainable terrier for a particular challenge in early 2013, Scamp seemed to be the ideal candidate. It was for a TV advert for a well-known Scottish soft drink, whose series of humorous adverts were renowned. The dog needed to be able to bark on command by a visual cue, but in addition he would be held by a strange actor in a white coat, and he would be wearing an Elizabethan post-operative collar! No mean feat but after a few weeks training (which involved lots of chicken!) Scamp performed perfectly on the day.

We were all terribly disappointed when the executives from the soft drinks company decided not to use the finished advert. However, David felt that Scamp was still destined for stardom, and in the summer of 2015 Scamp joined the cast of Outlander Season 2 as Bouton. On this occasion David did all the training, and Scamp had lots of trips away from home, but we knew he was in safe hands. David’s biggest challenge was getting Scamp to tone things down a bit—in the somber hospital scenes, the Mother Superior’s dog had to be suitably dignified and Scamp’s natural joie de vivre had to be reined in a bit! He had to learn to do a SLOW recall.

My family and I are so thrilled to see Scamp on what is our very favorite series on TV. My husband Alastair is a fiercely patriotic Scot, with tartan blood in his veins! We were already huge fans but now we are even more so. Scamp has become quite the local celebrity!  In his day to day life, Scamp is the official mascot for our charity. He attends events and visits to schools and retirement homes where he is always very popular! At home he reigns supreme over his eight Golden girlfriends! Everyone is his friend. He is such a character. He also helped Pippa through her recovery after her major spinal surgery for scoliosis in 2011—she was determined to get back to doing agility for fun with him.”

–Fiona Clarkson R.V.N., Centre Manger, Dumfries and Galloway Canine Rescue Centre

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