Blood of My Blood Ep 157

Season 4 Episode 406

Blood of my Blood

Directed by: Denise Di Novi

Written by: Shaina Fewell

Summary:  An unexpected duo comes to visit. Lord John’s wife has died. The boy William is grief-stricken. Lord John asks for discretion. Murtagh serves up politics and distrust with dinner. The boy remembers Mac the groom. Murtagh discovers the truth about William. A liquor lubricated chess game is played. John becomes ill with the measles. Jamie and William head out on a multi-day tour of the Ridge. Claire tends to John. Barbed and frank conversations occur. The boy and Jamie go on a hunt. Emotions run high. John makes a confession. The boy shows courage. Claire and John make peace. Parting gifts are shared.

All the Feels:

This episode is a roller coaster of emotions where we see longing, tenderness, passion, vulnerability, confrontation, brutal honesty, humility, fear, hope, understanding, introspection, and healing.

  • When William turned around to look at Jamie as he rode away, he left Jamie with the promise they would see each other again.
  • John and Claire being utterly frank with each other and not holding back no matter what the other said.
  • Claire wishes happiness and contentment upon John to find a worthy partner.
  • Jamie standing up for Lord John to Murtagh.

The Good:

The bulk of this episode is fantastic.

  • The exchanges between Claire and John are difficult and almost catty in the beginning, then the conversations evolve into blatant honesty and mutual pain before understanding grows between them blossoming into their own relationship filled with mutual respect. It is heart-tugging to witness their struggle with each other.
  • Jamie has great restraint when it comes to William as he clearly wanted to touch him and love on him as a son. William is hurting and grieving for the loss of his stepmother, then when his father becomes ill, he fears for his life too. The knowledge that Jamie is Mac the groom who left him at Helwater deepens the wound of loss he feels. William’s trying to process and manage his difficult emotions at the tender age of 12. He’s no regular boy, he’s an Earl and heir to lands and wealth. His path is not simple, and he wears the cloak of the impending duty and responsibility upon his young shoulders. His internal battle shows the conflicting desire to leave childhood behind and grow into his idea of what it means to be a man.
  • The boy also shows his courage in the face of the Cherokee and takes responsibility for himself after Jamie offers up his blood instead. Jamie is proud of William and holds the boy after the encounter.
  • William thinks he told them he was his son to be protective, and I expect the memory of that experience will jar William into conscious knowing of who his biological father is at some point in the future.
  • Throughout the time Jamie and William spent together, there were teaching moments that William can add to the earlier things Jamie taught him when he was the groom.
  • I also appreciated how the Cherokee were shown as proud and merciful during the fish confrontation.
  • Finally, the missing ring is brought up when Claire is taking a bath. Claire tells him she doesn’t need a ring when he kisses her bare hand, he presents her with the thistle ring he had Murtagh make from part of the silver candlestick. It also has the Catullus 5 inscription in it. It is pretty much perfect.

The Awkward:

Murtagh being singularly focused on the tax situation in every conversation he participates in does not make for interesting viewing. the dozen or so years apart from Jamie has altered their relationship. For the first time, Murtagh has something of his own to fight for and keep or lose. He’s no longer Jamie’s protector and main guidance counselor. Having these two characters re-establish their relationship while being at odds is difficult to watch. Jamie is definitely working from an optimistic vantage point while Murtagh is pessimistic about what the Governor will or will not do. I hope we see resolution before too long if only to lighten the mood.

Lingering Questions:

  • Where the heck is Brianna?
  • What the heck is Roger doing?
  • Will the tax situation force Murtagh to rise up against the Governor or leave North Carolina?
  • Will the tax situation pit Jamie and Murtagh against each other in a physical conflict?
  • Where’s Adawehi’s necklace?
  • When will Laoghaire want her pound of flesh and alimony?
  • How are Marsali and Fergus?
  • Why is William’s wig as bad as Jamie’s?

Favorite Lines:

  • “I just wish I’d had time to make appropriate sleeping arrangements for you and the young master.” Claire to Lord John
  • “You sir are a lout.” William to Jamie
  • “You cannot at all be a comfortable woman to live with.” Lord John to Claire
  • “You are neither circumspect or circuitous. I don’t believe I’ve ever met anyone so devastatingly straightforward, male or female.” Lord John to Claire
  • “Oh, it’s hard. It’s hard watching you with him. Oh…” Lord John to Claire
  • “Why torture yourself? Surely you knew coming here that you could never have him.” Claire to Lord John.
  • “Do you know what it’s like to love someone and never be able to give them happiness? Not through any fault of yours or theirs, but simply because you were not born the right person for them?” Lord John to Claire

Links of Interest:

Please share your thoughts and comments to 719-425-9444 or contact@adramofoutlander.com. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.

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

Visit Outlander Starz on social media, like or follow: TwitterInstagramFacebook, and the official website. All photos are the property of Starz/SONY PICTURES TELEVISION INC.

Join the A Dram of Outlander Community

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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-NONCOMMERCIALNODERIVATIVES 4.0: HTTP://CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY-NC-ND/4.0/

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Superstitions and Savagery Ep 156

Season 4 Episode 405

Superstitions and Savagery

Directed by: Denise Di Novi

Written by: Bronwyn Garrity

My basic thoughts follow below, but you’ll have to listen to the podcast to get my complete thoughts.

Summary: Claire and Adawehi bond. A misunderstood truth is given. The white sow is challenging her worth. Jamie shares a supernatural dream. Claire midwife’s a mountain family. Jamie and Young Ian go to recruit settlers. Claire quashes a conflict. Settlers are difficult to come by. Measles claim lives. A dear friend is murdered. Someone special is found. Retribution is demanded. Family finds itself opposing one another.

The Good:

It is impressive how Claire is integrating and participating in the community and blending cultures through her healing practice, her relationship with Adawehi, and in her clothing (gloves and fur undervest). She even temporarily belays bad blood between the Cherokee and Herr Mueller.

The continuing theme of Claire as a loving mother who misses Brianna. Adawehi tells her Brianna is here, but Claire misunderstands the meaning.

Who doesn’t love MURTAGH? RAWR! They’ve turned him into a serious silver fox. Move over Jamie, Murtagh is in town and seems to be single. Living well post indentured servitude has him doing well for himself.

The reunions between Jamie and Murtagh, Murtagh’s reaction to Claire returning, and Claire’s reaction to Murtagh coming up the path to the cabin are all squishy warm feeling delights.

The Difficult:

The sheer superstitious savagery that Herr Mueller displays in believing the Cherokee cursed the water and his family leading to the measle related deaths of the baby, Petronella and Tommy are awful and painful to watch. Claire’s reaction when he hands her Adawehi scalp because the curse was broken through her death is revolting and wrenching.  Herr Mueller puts the savage in savagery. The retaliation by the Cherokee for the death of Adawehi erases the Muellers from the New World. Mueller and his wife perish at their hands, and their cabin is burned to the ground. Mueller is the antithesis of the good neighbor Jamie and Claire are trying to be.

Jamie and Murtagh being on the other side of the law and Governor Tryon is setting up a storyline of challenge and decisions between them.

The Confusing:

The way Brianna departs the 20th century is baffling and irritating. She appears to have left in a moment of rash decision when she learns on her own of the bad news about a fire at Fraser’s Ridge. She didn’t call Roger to tell him of the fire and obituary notice. When Roger goes to Inverness to track her departure and find clues, Miss Baird (presumably the daughter of Mrs. Baird the Innkeeper) gives him a letter Brianna asked her to hold for a year. She couldn’t take the heartbreak on Roger’s face.

The letter Brianna left is cold and dare I say cruel. She gives no indication she loves him or what her intentions are. She doesn’t even say what bad news she found that led her to leave. She tells him not to follow her into the past. And then, simply says goodbye.

Is she trying to push him away purposely? She seems utterly detached and uncaring. “Oh well, think of me happily in the past.” Ho hum. Nothing to see here. 

Where is the deep love and wanting that is supposed to be building the foundation these two characters are bound by and drive us into the next generation willingly? 

Roger’s character will have him following her without a doubt. BUT WHY would he follow her? She has left nothing for him to hold onto or to be encouraged by.

I am underwhelmed by the Brianna and Roger storytelling and find myself not caring if he follows her or not.

And don’t get me started on the Holly Hobbie dress she is wearing. It must have been a truly rash decision to head for the 18th.

Links of Interest:

What say you? I love to get your comments by email or voicemail. Call 719-425-9444 or email contact@adramofoutlander.com. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.

The entire Outlander TV Series is adapted from the Outlander book series is written by Diana Gabaldon. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit Outlander Starz on social media, like or follow: TwitterInstagramFacebook, and the official website.

All photos are the property of Starz/SONY PICTURES TELEVISION INC.

Join the A Dram of Outlander Community

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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-NONCOMMERCIALNODERIVATIVES 4.0: HTTP://CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY-NC-ND/4.0/

 

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Common Ground Ep 155

Season 4 Episode 404

“Common Ground”

Directed by: Ben Bolt

Written by: Joy Blake

Click below to listen to the podcast!

Summary:  Jamie becomes a landowner. Jamie, Claire, and Young Ian leave Marsali and Fergus, turning toward the mountains. The boundaries of Fraser’s Ridge are marked. The land is prepared for a cabin. They meet the locals who are unhappy at their presence. Roger makes a discovery. An awkward phone call ensues. Jamie receives council. Jamie believes the land spoke to him. Actions are taken to be peaceable neighbors. A threat bonds them and the Cherokee in friendship. Claire receives a prophecy. Fiona surprises Roger and shares a terrible discovery. Roger finally calls Brianna, but it’s too late.

What is the common ground? Merriam-Webster states the definition to be, “a basis of mutual interest or agreement.”

The Indian Tribes and the Highlanders:

Prejudice exists about the Cherokee (and other tribes) by the non-native colonialist peoples. They are called savages and compared to the Highland Scots by the Governor himself after Jamie signs the land agreement. The opening scene also provides a comparison as it shows the Cherokee Chief dressing. It harkens back to the opening scene that shows Jamie going through the same ritual of dressing in the Highland fashion. There are also similarities in the ways of life and difficulties with their way of life being compromised by encroachment, war, and politics.  This, of course, is a highly simplistic comparison, and I urge you to do your research on the history of the Cherokee and other tribes.

As a side note, Jamie wanting this land for his and his family’s greater purpose and reclamation of all that was lost, believing the land spoke to him, coupled with his desire to be a good and peaceable neighbor creates conflict in me. The land is available because of deals the colonialists have made with the Cherokee. Jamie is now the Governor’s man and by extension the Crown’s man. He is the face of colonialism — the face of western Europe expansionism. Can one be a kinder gentler colonialist or rather take advantage of a colonialist offering and not be an oppressor? I know this is a modernist view and who wouldn’t jump at a chance to finally have something of value and worth? Who wouldn’t seek the avenue of legacy? Jamie Fraser is a good man who wants to do what is right and just. He strives to have a solid moral compass. Jamie Fraser is also a man who prizes his family’s safety, security, and prosperity above all else. He’s had so little ability in his life to take care of those in his charge without usurping the law or being an unstable caretaker.

Finding Common Ground

The episode did an excellent job in showing the growing pains of having settlers on the land, whether or not they are on the right side of the boundary lines. The local Cherokees do not take kindly to Jamie and Claire while they are clearing an area to build a shed and cabin. They even go so far as to threaten them with the return of several land marker poles. Jamie has no issue having his family brandish weapons when the Cherokee approach, yet in wisdom seeks council to somehow establish a harmonious and peaceful relationship between his family and the Cherokee. John Quincy Myers promises to take a gift of tobacco from Jamie as an offering. Jamie inadvertently finds the better alternative to forging a respectful and healthy friendship; he kills the bear that has been wreaking havoc in the area. It isn’t an ordinary bear; it’s a shunned Cherokee who has taken on the spirit, skin, and claws of a bear. To the Cherokee he is dead, so they have no means to kill the Tskili Yona man-bear. When the bear attacked friend John Quincy Myers and threatened in the forest, Jamie goes on the hunt. He discovers it is a bear-man when it attacks him. He ironically kills the monster with one of the land marker poles. When he returns the corpse to the Cherokee, they accept it and being to respect his place on the land.

The Cherokee offers friendship to Jamie, Claire, and Young Ian and the chief names Jamie, Bear Killer, as he will be known to the Cherokee. Jamie now has mountain cred. Through his actions, a bond of mutual respect is formed.

Claire also finds common ground with Adawehi, a great healer, who is Giduhwa’s husband’s grandmother. Adawehi dreams of Claire and gives her a prophecy that she will have great power when her hair turns all white. She also tells Claire something ominous about death coming that won’t be her fault. Claire stands to learn much from Adawehi and will undoubtedly become a stronger herbalist for it.

Common ground is also secured between Jamie and Claire as he maps out their new cabin that includes a clinic room for Claire to see patients. He considers both their needs in the design. This is the Jamie we expect and adore.

Where Common Ground Lacks

The painful awkwardness between Roger and Brianna when he calls to tell her the discovery about her mother and Jamie. She’s cool and distant to Roger while seeming to be less than enthused at the news. You’d think she’d be more excited and express deep gratitude for him continuing to research in the past. What’s a guy have to do to get a rise from her? After Roger finds out Fiona knows about Claire being a traveler and sharing devastating news from an article she found in her grandmother’s belongings, they also disagree on whether Roger should tell Brianna about the obituary with a blurred date. At some point after, Roger decides to phone Brianna but is told she left for Scotland a couple of weeks ago to visit her mother. She never told him or contacted him. The divide between them grows. Was he calling to tell her about the obituary? How much time had passed since Fiona shared it with him? Why was Brianna traveling into the past without telling Roger? From this vantage point, I think he has the right to be angry.

The other area where common grounds lacks is in Tryon’s views of the regulators and the Indians. He stands for King and Crown, where Jamie is using the land grant for his purposes knowing he’ll have to choose sides in the future when the American Revolution breaks out.

Into the Future

This episode resolves one serious issue but opens up pathways to many unanswered questions.

  • Will Roger discover when and why Brianna time traveled?
  • Will Brianna find her parents?
  • Why didn’t Brianna tell Roger?
  • Will Roger follow Brianna into the past?
  • Will life be calm on Fraser’s Ridge now that friendship is secured between the Cherokee and those on the Ridge?
  • When will we see Marsali and Fergus?
  • Who will Fergus recruit to live on Fraser’s Ridge?
  • How long before Governor Tryon calls in favors from Jamie and his men in the backcountry?

Links of Interest:

Please share your thoughts and comments to 719-425-9444 or contact@adramofoutlander.com. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.

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

Visit Outlander Starz on social media, like or follow: TwitterInstagramFacebook, and the official website. All photos are the property of Starz/SONY PICTURES TELEVISION INC.

Join the A Dram of Outlander Community

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

Facebook PageFacebook Group,  InstagramTwitterTumblrGoogle+

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

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

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-NONCOMMERCIALNODERIVATIVES 4.0: HTTP://CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY-NC-ND/4.0/

 

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No Small Thing To Be

I missed blogging about last week’s episode, “The False Bride,” because of the busyness of Thanksgiving week. But I’d like to start out this week’s post with a quote from that episode. Jamie and Claire are in the woods, talking about their plans for the future, and Jamie says,

Picture1

“A man should be settled at my age, no? … I was an outlaw when first we met, and an outlaw when you returned. If it was only me, I would live as one again, and when I was old, I would lie under a tree and let the wolves gnaw at my bones. But it’s not just me. It’s you. And Ian … Fergus … Marsali. You understand? I would lay the world at your feet, Claire. But I have nothing to give you.”

When I first heard that speech, I was a bit taken aback. It sounded to me as if Jamie was saying that he would actually prefer to live the life of an outlaw. But on subsequent viewings, I’ve heard him differently. Let’s review a bit before I come to my thoughts about episode 404.

The Jamie of season 1 is a very young man, still discovering what he will be. He has gathered all the tools necessary for becoming almost anything: from his father, he learned how to be a landowner and a laird; from the university in Paris, he learned how to be a man of the world; from his time at Leoch, he learned how to be a warrior. There are times in season 1 when he is as happy as we’ve ever seen him…until Jack Randall takes that away.

In season 2, he should be at his most content: he’s living a life of ease in Paris, safe from harm, with a wife he loves with his whole being. But Paris is miserable because it’s against Jamie’s nature to live a lie. Although the second half of the season is one of hardship, Jamie is able to be himself—the warrior aspect of his self, at any rate—and he seems, ironically, to be at peace…until he loses Claire.

The first half of season 3 is one of despair (and a tour de force for Sam Heughan), when Jamie believes that he will never see Claire again. His life has no purpose throughout those years, until Willie arrives, and even that bit of purpose is something that Jamie has to sacrifice. Then Claire returns—but almost immediately, he’s plunged into a series of circumstances beyond his control. He’s not in control for most of the rest of season 3, which is perhaps why those are the episodes I’ve least enjoyed.

Which takes us to the speech I quoted above. I believe Jamie is saying that Claire (and Ian, Fergus, and Marsali) and their new circumstances have given him a purpose again—have saved him from a life of outlawry. Jamie has seen the potential of this new world, both in what he can make of it and what it can make of him. He can finally be all the things he’s so qualified to be: the laird, the man of the world, and yes, the warrior.

That’s why I was so happy with episode 404. I just felt the world settling into place again: Jamie Fraser is back, and in control of his own life. This is not to say that things aren’t happening to him (Steven Bonnet, the incident with Rufus) in his new world, but that he is increasingly able to take control of circumstances and to turn them to his advantage. In “Common Ground,” we see Jamie the landowner/laird as he begins to build his homestead on Fraser’s Ridge and to arrange for the settlement of his land there.

Picture4

We see Jamie the man of the world in his conversation with Governor Tryon. Both men are carrying on two conversations: the words they are saying, and the words they are not saying—and each of them is well aware of both conversations.

Picture2

We see Jamie the warrior in his fierce protection of Claire and Ian from threats both real and perceived.

Picture3

I don’t often compare the Starz series to the Outlander books—that way lies madness. But there’s a great quote from The Fiery Cross, where Brianna and Claire are talking about finding one’s purpose in life.

“What about Da?” [said Brianna]

“What about him?”

“Does he—is he one who knows what he is, do you think?”

Claire’s hands stilled, the clanking pestle falling silent.

“Oh, yes,” she said. “He knows.”

“A laird? Is that what you’d call it?”

Her mother hesitated, thinking.

“No,” she said at last. She took up the pestle and began to grind again. The fragrance of dried marjoram filled the room like incense. “He’s a man,” she said, “and that’s no small thing to be.”

***

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 https://bofapress.com/collections/all.

Comments or Questions? Send your comments to contact@adramofoutlander.com 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

Picture attribution –  Sony/Starz

Join the A Dram of Outlander Community

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

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

 

One is Compassionate; One is Fierce (hint: it’s both of them)

For all of season 4, I intend to leave the recaps to other bloggers and reviewers and to focus pretty narrowly on something in each episode that captures my attention: a character, a line or two of dialogue, a brief scene. Today I’m examining two tiny moments in episode 402 (“Do No Harm”) that I’m calling signature moves.

In the Outlander books, Diana Gabaldon has given Claire—and to a greater extent, Jamie—some mannerisms that occasionally reveal their state of mind. Claire’s aren’t as obvious as Jamie’s, probably because when Claire’s on the page, we’re usually in her 1st person point of view, and she’s simply not observing her own features at that point. But it’s obvious that her facial expressions are doing something to convey her emotions; more than once she is told that her countenance is readable to anyone who looks.

Jamie’s mannerisms—in the books—are more obvious: he shrugs his shoulders as if his shirt is too tight when he’s uncomfortable, he taps the fingers of his right hand when he’s nervous or antsy, he performs a very articulate Scottish noise.

These personal mannerisms aren’t quite as obvious in the Starz series, although both characters have a few gestures that they return to from episode to episode. Claire is a face cradler—there are many shots like the one below throughout the series, most of them when she’s comforting or reassuring Jamie (or during a moment of intimacy).

Picture1

Jamie’s series gesture is similar to his book gesture—he’s a finger twitcher.

Picture2

But episode 402 featured moments from both of our main characters that were bigger than mere gestures—signature moves that reveal something even deeper about their personalities.

Claire’s moment comes very near the end of the episode after she has given the injured slave Rufus a fatal dose of aconite to save him from a horrific death. She takes his hand and asks him to tell her about his sister—a moving act of compassion that immediately reminded me of a similar scene in season 1. In that scene, a man has been fatally gored by a wild boar, and she holds his hand and asks him about his home.

Picture7

This reveals, I think, a side of Claire that we don’t see very often on the series. Television Claire is a total badass, unafraid to take on psychopathic redcoats, Highland chieftains, and murdering witches. We don’t often see her gentle side, but this tenderness toward the dying—this desire to assure that another’s death is both physically and emotionally painless—shows us that she is as fierce in compassion as she is in bravery.

Jamie’s moment comes a bit earlier in the episode when they are called to deal with the violence between Rufus and a cruel overseer. As Claire goes to help the injured slave, several of the white overseers close in on Jamie, ordering him to back off. He pulls two pistols from his belt, using their threat to hold off the incipient mob. This is very reminiscent of the season 1 scene in which he draws a sword and a dagger at Claire’s witch trial to hold off a similar crowd of angry men.

Picture8

In both cases, Jamie is alone at Claire’s defense. If they’d tried, the others could eventually have overtaken him. Such is the force of his personality (and the ferociousness of this expression) that no one even tries.

I’ve read some criticism of Starz’ depiction of Jamie—some people think he’s too weak, too deferential, unrealistically progressive. But Jamie’s signature move shows us that the fearsome Highlander is alive and well and that he is as fierce in bravery as he is in compassion.

I appreciate the writers and producers for giving us the moments of connection from the books to the series and across seasons. These are firmly rooted in an understanding of Gabaldon’s books, and in these moments, we can sigh and think That’s the [Jamie, Claire] I’ve come to love, right here in my living room.

***

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 https://bofapress.com/collections/all.

Comments or Questions? Send your comments to contact@adramofoutlander.com 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

Picture attribution –  Sony/Starz

Join the A Dram of Outlander Community

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

Facebook PageFacebook Group,  InstagramTwitterTumblrGoogle+

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

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