All Roads Lead to The Gathering Ep 149

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 68-71

Week 34

“All Roads Lead to The Gathering.”

Summary: Domesticity ruled the moment. Jamie and Claire drunkenly frolicked in the night. Roger and Brianna established married life. Duncan Innes came to the Ridge with a proposition. The family headed to the Gathering. The baby finally had a proper name. The Gathering hosted Scottish families from across the Colonies. A word from Young Ian was had. A Highland Regiment arrived. Lizzie got a welcomed surprise. Claire worked her pop-up clinic. Roger shared a private letter with Jamie. Jamie offered to return something special to Claire. Brianna clearly made her choice.

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 68

Domestic Bliss

August 1770

Domestic bliss filled the morning and Claire thought about the night before when Jamie had invited her outdoors the night before (p1045, Nook). They wandered into the woods to intimately share each other under the moon before drunkenly going back to bed for an hour. They silently shared the memory over parritch under the acknowledging eye of Brianna. The moment was broken when Clarence announced a visitor. Duncan Innes arrived to invite them all to the upcoming gathering at Mount Helicon. The clincher for Jamie was being told a priest would be there and the baby could be baptized. Then Duncan embarrassingly dropped a bomb on Jamie; he asked permission to marry Aunt Jocasta (p1047, Nook). Duncan was a man of propriety and thought it only right to seek Jamie’s blessing because he was the next of kin and her rightful heir. Jamie gave his blessing and said they would dance at the wedding.

Chapter 69


October 1770

The baby’s name had not been settled even though he was about five months old. The discussion went round and round as they traveled to the Gathering. Claire brought up Jeremiah and the nickname of Jemmy. This recalled the woman and her child from the Gloriana to Roger. He inquired to Claire if she remembered the name of his ancestor the changeling’s (William Buccleigh) wife. Claire obliged. The woman’s name was Morag Gunn. Her son’s name was Jemmy. Claire suddenly spoke of Geilie who had said they could travel through time to change things.

Chapter 70

The Gathering

We have arrived at the Gathering an incredibly long and detailed set of storylines that carry on well into the next book.  Claire reflected on the last Gathering she had attended at Castle Leoch nearly thirty years prior. Though the Clans and the old way of Highland life were dead in Scotland, the Clans gathered together in this place with pride. Looking for Jamie in the crowd, Claire spotted John Quincy Myers and called to him. He was there to sell his hides and trinkets. He was surprised on a trip up in the mountains to have seen Young Ian geared out like a Mohawk. Myers presented Claire with a small package from Young Ian.  Myers left Claire assuring her he would see her later. Jamie returned, and they read the letter together. Young Ian had been married to Emily, and they were expecting a child. Rollo had also sired a great many puppies in the village. Jamie, of course, ridiculed Young Ian’s use of Latin.

Claire observed every Scottish family from the Colonies up to Pennsylvania must be there with more arriving all the time. Due to the difficulty of travel, families would stay about a week or so. The next day Jamie made his way to where Lizzie was sitting and offered her a great surprise. Fergus has Joseph Weymss, Lizzie’s father with him. Jamie had purchased Mr. Weymss indenture contract and intended to burn it in the fire that evening.

Day three and Claire was almost overwhelmed with the amount of news, gossip, and Gaelic in the air. Roger though absorbed every detail and sound as he wandered about the grounds listening. The night before he had borrowed a guitar and sang for a crowd. Jamie being no fan of music decided to take the baby for a game of dice (p1054, Nook).

Claire had opened a pop-up medical clinic. She gave dietary advice trying to get the people to eat foods filled with vitamin C. She even had Jamie eating the dangerous nightshade, tomato in front of people on purpose to persuade them it was safe to eat. Instead of making dietary inroads, the others regarded Jamie supernaturally and that Himself, of course, could survive having eaten such food. Claire treated skin a family with a skin condition when a Highland regiment marched into view. Brianna and baby came up behind and asked if they were friend or foe. Did the Crown think this was a political gathering? Claire advised Bree to take the baby up into the rocks if anything happened. All around the men stepped in front of the women and children. Two men rode toward Jamie. The man dismounted and introduced himself (p1057, Nook).

Chapter 71

Circle’s Close

Roger had been waiting to get Jamie alone. He had a message for him. Jamie took the baby from Roger and invited him to speak. Roger explained he had to wait to go through the stones after Brianna left. Roger had stayed at the Manse, his family home while waiting. He found a letter and was not sure if he should tell Claire or Brianna about it. The letter was to his father the Reverend, and the seal of confession had been broken by the death of the writer and his father. Roger spoke the memorized letter to Jamie word for word (p1059, Nook). Roger knew the struggle of thought he had gone through carrying this knowledge. Frank could have chosen to keep the information to himself and not had the Reverend place the headstone that led Claire back to Jamie after Frank’s death followed by Brianna and Roger. With Brianna in the past having had a baby, Jamie’s bloodline would continue. Roger wondered if it was “interest on the debt owed?” Jamie finally spoke (p1063, Nook). Roger planned to tell Brianna but asked if he should tell Claire also. Jamie said under his pledge of honesty to Claire, Roger should tell her.

Day four and even more families had arrived. Each family had their campfire that filled the night’s darkness. Claire was reminded of the MacKenzie clan badge. She realized the burning mountain was a visage of a Gathering like this one representing togetherness. The motto, Luceo non uro (I shine, not burn) finally made sense to her too.

There was a large fire in the clearing families came to declare their presence including Jamie announcing, “The Frasers of the Ridge.” Claire sat with the sleeping baby in her arms. Jamie sat down behind her.  They watched Roger and Brianna in intent conversation leading Jamie to wonder if they were going to change the baby’s name again (p1065, Nook). After formally choosing to be husband and wife, Brianna asked Roger to go declare “the MacKenzies are here.”

We DID IT! We finished the Drums of Autumn read-a-long. 34 episodes over most of a year. Thank you for sticking with me as we followed our (my favorite) book friends further into their adventures. We met new people along the way and saw the painful and painstaking process it took for Roger and Brianna to be together. Young Ian is in the hands of his new Mohawk family. Lord John has become a friend to Brianna and reestablished his friendship with Jamie. He and Claire still tolerate each other. Roger and Jamie have entered a tentative relationship. Jocasta is marrying Duncan Innes yet has no heir in Jamie or Brianna. Stephen Bonnet is on the loose. Claire and Jamie are building a life and home for themselves and others in the mountains. We learned how Frank was instrumental in Claire, Brianna, and Roger going into the 18th century. Claire hopes the coming war will stay away from the Ridge. Beware after season 4 airs on television we will be starting straightaway on a read-a-long of the immense Fiery Cross.

What’s Coming up? The Space Between novella.

How can you participate? Send your comments to or call the listener line at 719-425-9444 by Friday of each week. If you’re reading ahead, you can leave comments for any part of the book too. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.

The Outlander book series is written by Diana Gabaldon. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook


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Any images are from Wiki Commons. Click on picture for attribution link. Featured image.

The intro and outro music segments are taken from a piece by Damiano Baldoni at URL on Free Music Archive. Curator: ccCommunity. Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0:

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Hard to Kill

Why is Jamie Fraser hard to kill?

Jumping in with both feet, and putting forth some speculation about Jamie the p’tit chat and Jamie the something else. Here we go…

In chapter 10 of A Breath of Snow and Ashes, Jamie recalls a fortune teller in Paris who told him that he’d die nine times, like a cat, before he’d rest in his grave. (This always makes me think of Miracle Max in The Princess Bride, declaring that Westley is only “mostly dead.”) A few chapters later, he and Claire count the times when Jamie almost died:

  1. At the abbey, after the events at Wentworth Prison
  2. After Culloden, when his leg wound festered
  3. After Laoghaire shot him and his wound became infected
  4. When Dougal hit him in the skull with an ax
  5. The rattlesnake bite

All these near-deaths have a few things in common: the wounds could easily have been fatal, they would certainly have been fatal without medical intervention, and they would almost certainly have killed most men (hold that thought…).

With that in mind, has this list been added to in subsequent books? Jamie’s life has certainly been in danger—actually, when is it not? A few instances to consider, all from An Echo in the Bone:

  1. In chapter 2, Mrs. Bug shoots at Jamie with the intent to kill him in defense of the hoard of gold. She grazes his thigh, but the injury isn’t serious. I’m going to give this incident a pass; while any wound in this period might be fatal due to infection, this one seems not to have troubled Jamie much.
  2. In chapter 31, Jamie receives a small wound near his collarbone thanks to Capt. Stebbings of the British naval ship Again, the injury seems minor, but Claire realizes almost immediately that it has nicked the subclavian artery. Jamie could easily have bled to death, and Claire fears that he still might. She intervenes, binding the wound and giving Jamie strict instructions to be verra, verra still. He doesn’t die. I’m inclined to add this close call to his list of nine lives.
  3. In chapter 62, Jamie is injured at the Battle of Saratoga. While the gruesome sword injury to his hand isn’t necessarily a fatal one (although Claire eventually decides to amputate a finger), Jamie comes quite close to death at the hands of a scavenger and her son while he’s lying, wounded, on the battlefield. Only Claire’s very determined intervention prevents their slitting his throat. Hesitantly, I’m going to add this event to the list, too.

The difference between these three incidents and the ones Jamie and Claire agree on is that in all the others, Jamie actually seemed to be dying—he was feverish, fading fast. So maybe these don’t count at all…what do you think?

Nothing much seems to threaten Jamie’s life in Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, if I recall–other than fighting in the Revolutionary War, riding spirited horses, breaking and entering, living on a mountain, hunting, building, eating sketchy food, drinking sketchy alcohol, hanging out with generally unhygienic people, being a traitor, and existing in the 18th century.

So. If my additions to the list match up with Diana Gabaldon’s (which isn’t at all a sure thing), Jamie has used up seven of his nine lives. That means (to no one’s surprise) that he’ll be at risk of dying twice more in the final two books. Poor Jamie—you’d think by this time he could just relax at Fraser’s Ridge and grow a slight middle-aged paunch!

As to my earlier assertion that these injuries would almost certainly have killed most men—

By Alex Oliver

Well, Jamie’s not most men, is he? I’ve got a theory that I’ve been kicking around in my head ever since I started reading these books a few years ago, and I’m fully prepared for it to be shot down as totally ridiculous. But hear me out…

DG has never hesitated to bring the supernatural into her storylines: ghosts hang around quite frequently, along with zombies, time travelers, fortune tellers, seers, strange blue auras, and any number of other-worldly phenomena. One of these that’s brought to our attention now and then is Nayawenne’s assertion to Claire in chapter 20 of The Drums of Autumn that she’ll find her ‘full power’ when her hair is white. If you’ve read all the books (and The Space Between), you have a pretty good idea of what Claire’s full power will look like.

But what if Jamie is also just a wee bit supernatural? Granted, he’s not a time-traveler, but there are a few hints here and there that he’s attuned to the mysterious. He has very accurate dreams of the future. He has an encounter with ancient gods in chapter 37 of The Scottish Prisoner when he buries Quinn at Inchcleraun. DG frequently mentions things about Jamie that differentiate him from other men: he seems to be able to see in the dark…his hands are always warm, and he’s mostly impervious to weather…he can inspire others to follow him, sometimes with just a sentence or two. Any of those could just be characteristics of a noble romantic hero—but add to these exhibits the fact that he’s also notoriously difficult to kill, and (to me) the theory starts to make sense.

If I’m right, and Jamie is some sort of, I dunno, demigod (?), I’m not sure what that would imply for the ending of the series. I do have a theory about Jamie’s ghost from Outlander, but that’ll be for another post.

Those of you who’ve been in the Outlander universe longer than I have will undoubtedly be happy to set me straight on my theory and to suggest alterations to my ‘nine lives’ list. That’s fine. Be gentle.


Jan Ackerson is a retired teacher, a writer and editor, and an absolute cuckoo about all things Outlander. You can find her on a much-neglected Twitter account (she’s mostly there to follow the Outlander gang) @janackerson1, or on Facebook (Jan Worgul Ackerson). Her book of micro-fiction, Stolen Postcards, is available at Amazon or

Comments or Questions? Send your comments to or call the voicemail line at 719-425-9444.

The Outlander book series is written by Diana Gabaldon. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook

Any images are from Wiki Commons. Click on picture for attribution link.

Join the A Dram of Outlander Community

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Cowards Need Not Apply Ep 148

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 66-67

Week 33

“Cowards Need Not Apply”


Summary: Claire was annoyed with the rascally rabbits. Roger made his return. He performed a blood vow upon the baby. Jamie declared Roger and Brianna husband and wife by handfast. Brianna was timid around Roger. Claire tended Roger’s wounded foot. Roger convalesced at the partially completed big house. Brianna visited Roger daily. Claire released Roger from rest. Claire cautioned Roger to be careful. Jamie cautioned Roger not to be cowardly. Roger went to see Brianna. They talked and began to make their way back to each other.

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 66

Child of My Blood

Claire was in the vegetable garden decrying the work of hungry and destructive rabbits. She found herself missing Young Ian and his dog. She was trying to get the new planting in before the weather turned cold. She needed a way to keep the rabbits from the nutrient dense and flavorful cabbages. She decided Jamie should urinate, like a mountain lion, around the garden would keep the hungry bunnies away. She headed toward the herb shed and noticed movement. She thought it was Jamie, but it was a man dark of hair and beard, in tattered clothing looking worse for wear. It was Roger MacKenzie Wakefield. He was happy Claire was the person he met first (p1019, Nook). The others were in the cabin. Jamie and Brianna worked on the house plans, while the baby slept nearby. Lizzie was busy spinning by the window. With the opening of the door, Jamie swiftly and loudly reacted before recognizing who it was who had entered. Brianna looked around wildly as she soothed the woken baby.

Jamie stood with the stillness of battle readiness next to Brianna as she nursed the baby. Roger’s own countenance echoed that of Jamie. They appeared to mirror each other to Claire’s shock. They were Vikings, the pair of them with Brianna rounding out the trio with flames in her eyes. Roger asked Jamie to cut his wrist (1021, Nook). In that one act, Roger adopted the baby as his. He asked what the baby was named, but none was given yet. Claire saw how different Brianna and Roger were to each other. It had been nine-plus months since they became handfast. Roger wanted to know if Brianna was his wife (p1022, Nook). Brianna wanted to know why he came back. Maybe for obligation and wanting, but he couldn’t tell her exactly. She asked him about the stone circle. It took him a long time to find it again. She explained to Roger what she wanted from a marriage (p1023, Nook). They were handfasted on September 2 of the prior year, for two and a half more months they would remain so then they could choose to stay together or not (p1023, Nook). The last remark or rather a threat caused a row between the two men after they went outside (p1024, Nook). As ever Claire attributed it to testosterone poisoning (p1024, Nook). Claire if it were only so easy to take care of testosterone poisoning.

Life on the Ridge was uncomfortable with the personalities and situations at play. The baby’s nightly colic caused Jamie to work on the new house with fervor. Roger helped with the other chores though his injured foot made it difficult. He refused treatment, but Claire insisted he must allow her to assess it. There were no signs of blood infection or gangrene. There were pockets of infection that built up and had been partially draining when he walked. She decided what to do and needed Bree’s help. Lizzie offered in her place out of remorsefulness and trying to make amends any way she could for her part in Roger’s trial. Claire bid Lizzie the task of taking the baby outside for some fresh air. Claire explained the procedure of draining, disinfecting, and debridement to Roger. She had Brianna hold onto his hands tightly. By the time she had disinfected the wound, Roger’s head was in Brianna’s lap, and her arms were tight around his shoulders. Claire went to the shed for a minute to get the rotting meat she had prepped a couple of days before. She placed the maggots into the wounds to eat away any dead tissue that remained. Claire had learned this type of debridement from her friend Nayawenne. She wrapped his foot and assured him the work of the maggots might tickle, but they wouldn’t hurt. If you would like to know more about Maggot Therapy, click here.

Claire went outside to wash the bowl. She met Jamie who was holding the baby. He had taken him from a crying Lizzie who was mourning the loss of Young Ian. This girl is gonna get #boycrazy soon. Jamie took Claire to show her of his progress on the big house. He thought Roger staying at the big house temporarily would be the best bet since beds were in short supply. They talked, and Claire told Jamie Brianna and Roger are getting to know each other again, and things seemed well between them.

Clever Claire had Brianna help her with Roger’s procedure. Brianna had to touch Roger and be near him. Why oh why did Jamie still think poorly of Roger? I haven’t puzzled that one out yet. Lizzie, damn that girl should feel all sorts of remorsefulness, though Jamie going full tilt “Operation Wakefield is a Rapist,” is all on his shoulders 100%.

Chapter 67

The Toss of a Coin

Roger was staying in the partially built big house while recovering from having Claire perform minor surgery on his foot. Brianna came to see him every day to bring food, water, and such. She had come without the baby and thought it was wonderful to have the rare alone time with her; she didn’t stay long because of the baby’s absence. Roger’s appetite had come back with ferocity. He gratefully ate what she had brought him in the basket. As he ate, Roger looked out over the land understanding and approving of Jamie selecting this site for the house (p1030, Nook). Roger pondered why he told her he didn’t know why he returned. He hadn’t known then (p1031, Nook). The jig was up. He figured out and appreciated Claire’s tactic in getting Brianna in proximity to and touching him when performing the wound surgery.

At the end of the week, Claire released him from recovery and cautioned him to not step on anything sharp. The baby had been crying all night, so no one got any sleep. Jamie planned on moving into the partially built house with Claire immediately. Roger took this moment to ask Claire’s advice about what to do based on Brianna’s behavior when he tried to touch her. Claire indelicately approached the subject (p1033, Nook). She told him to be careful. After Claire left, Jamie came bearing gifts of a razor and hot water. Roger was thankful as the beard itched terribly. Roger tried to make small talk as Jamie watched him shave. There was little use for a historian with a talent as a folk singer on an 18th-century mountain farm (p1035, Nook). Jamie lacked all subtlety in telling Roger Brianna, and the baby would be alone for the night. (Insert staring blue cat-like laser beams at Roger). Without being prompted, he gave Roger relationship advice (p1036, Nook).  That one sentence said it all, Brianna didn’t need a cowardly man. Jamie told him to go for it, tonight, there was no time like the present to convince her.

Roger initially heeded Jamie’s advice and went down to the cabin. He worked out ways to get her attention without scaring her. Then he thought to give up and to try again in the morning. Jamie and Claire thus even in the advice taking. He stayed and walked around the cabin a couple of more times. As if divine intervention, Brianna left the cabin to use the privy. He scared her saying her name. She was annoyed and told him to go away. He waited for her to return from the privy. At first, she chided him for walking on the foot before she told him to go back to bed (p1037, Nook). They are finally talking. #OnTheTrainToCommuncationStation She invited him into the cabin after the baby began to cry. She laid down to nurse and Roger sat on the nursing chair in front of the fire. The room was warm and had homey scents.

He watched and apologized for it. She didn’t care. To her surprise, Roger began to undress (p1039, Nook). She asked about the marks on his back. The scars had come from the Indians. He turned around. It had been dark when they were together the many months back, so this was the first time she was seeing him in the light. Which of them had changed more since that first and only night together? He sat down and wanted to know what it felt like to have the baby nurse. To show him what happened when the baby nursed, she popped the baby off and sprayed him with the fine streams of letdown milk. Yes, Roger like a squirt gun! Roger told her he wants her; she wanted him too. Roger took the sleeping baby into his arms and looked him over. Brianna thought he was trying to see the resemblance; he wasn’t. He wanted to have a proper look at the baby. Brianna brushed her hair while Roger examined the baby. He noticed how the foot reacted to his finger stroke. She explained the “Eau de baby” scent that babies have. It is intoxicating and helps keep parents from killing them. She’s not wrong. Babies are tough work. Brianna placed the baby back in the cradle.

Roger asked why Brianna stayed once she found out she was pregnant. She couldn’t leave without him. She allowed her gown to fall to the floor. He saw her in full nakedness. He delighted at seeing the colors upon her nether region. He wanted her. She wanted to know what Roger found holy. Their little family, nothing more.

What’s Coming up? Chapters 68-71 Drums of Autumn (DOA).

How can you participate? Send your comments to or call the listener line at 719-425-9444 by Friday of each week. If you’re reading ahead, you can leave comments for any part of the book too. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.

The Outlander book series is written by Diana Gabaldon. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook

Any images are from Wiki Commons. Click on picture for attribution link. Featured Image.

The intro and outro music segments are taken from a piece by Damiano Baldoni at URL on Free Music Archive. Curator: ccCommunity. Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0:

Join the A Dram of Outlander Community

Please share posts, join the discussions, and follow this website and social media sites listed below!

Facebook,  InstagramTwitterTumblrGoogle+

To financially support the podcast, go to my Patreon page.

Call 719-425-9444 listener/reader line to leave your comment or question.

Listen to this podcast!