Chapter 5

1 With the arrival of “Our Claire,” Caitriona Balfe, the fan frenzy began anew.  Tobias Menzies had been cast to the dual roles of Claire’s husband, Frank Randall, as well as Jamie’s 18th century nemesis, Jonathan Wolverton Randall (aka “Black Jack”).  The casting of Menzies brought consternation to some because “Tobias is so cute, it’s going to be hard for me to hate Frank as much as I have!”

2 The faithful could also see that having a well-established actor such as Menzies cast as Frank meant that the character they had loved to hate for so long was going to require a second look. An actor as appealing as Menzies could serve to upset the balance of Team Jamie vs. Team Frank for years to come.

3 New York ComicCon took place in October of 2013 and provided fans with their first glimpse of Outlander – behind the scenes (BTS for short). At the STARZ exhibit, dioramas of sets were on display, as were pages from the script of the first episode.  A message went out from STARZ’s Outlander Facebook Page letting fans know that there would be an “Intimate afternoon with series Executive Producer, Ronald D. Moore and author Diana Gabaldon in New York City.”  All fans had to do was send an e-mail to the listed address.  Approximately 200 lucky fans (including your trusty Gospel-author) received invitations to the event.

4 As the day approached, the faithful grew more frantic, “They just started filming, but do you think Cait and Sam might show up?”  While Sam and Cait were not in attendance, the faithful were treated to an hour long talk/q&a by Diana and Ron.  Ron shared a “sizzle” video which showed some glimpses of rehearsals, sets, costumes and props. Clad in a dashing kilt, Ron and Diana shared their excitement for the project and were kind enough to answer fans’ questions.  At the end, the fans were treated to a quick clip of  Sam and Cait who were kind enough to record a video greeting to the fans in which Himself uttered the sacred word: Sassenach. The squeeing and screams could be heard three blocks away. There might also have been a slight earthquake as a few overly excited fans fell out of their seats. Luckily that was right before lunch, to which a bagpiper led the way.

5 The faithful were then allowed to meet both Ron & Diana, posing for photos & getting signatures. Parting gifts were signed paperback copies of Outlander and a tee shirt with the phrase “Real Men Wear Kilts” and “Outlander” on them.  The pictures and videos from this event lasted the faithful through the next few weeks. And then LA was announced

 

Chapter 4

1 With the dawning of #Clairewatch, the faithful learned how devious Herself and Himself could be.  With each new character cast, the frenzy built. Back and forth they went as the clever Tweeters found new members of the crew to follow- from Costumes to set drivers to publicists- no one was safe from the scrutiny of the Outlanders.

2 The summer months flew by in a flurry of anticipation. When would filming start? Would Herself have a cameo? How many episodes would there be? Would #Clairewatch ever end? The Starz Outlander Facebook page was launched and immediately acquired thousands of followers.

3 Fans of Sam Heughan launched a fan club known as Heughan’s Heughligans™ and quickly linked their fan efforts with his charity of choice, The Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society of the UK. Following Sam on Twitter also lead to the Saga of the Spurtle and the knowledge that the man can cook! Following Herself’s statement that Sam’s Jamie portrays, “patience, seriousness, annoyance, patience, humor, menace, humor, and…enough sex to drop anyone with functioning ovaries in their tracks,” the faithful began watching for “ovary-dropping” moments.  And they were many.


4 As masters of the Twitter Tease, Himself and Herself flirted back and forth with each other and their faithful followers. “Tomorrow, I’m going to introduce you all to my new friend…” he said, “Think brown eyes and long hair…” driving the Twitterverse crazy. Could it be Claire? 

5 Of course not. It was his practice horse. The frenzy began again. Was the horse Donas, Jamie’s trusty steed? Immediately, a Donas Twitter account came into being, honoring the relationship between man and his sarcastic equine companion.

6 With each new cast member (Mrs. FitzGibbons, Murtagh, Old Alec, Dougal, Colum, Hamish, Rupert) the frenzy built higher and higher.  #JennyWatch came into being, as did #MurrayWatch, and #IanWatch.  The faithful knew that the cast would be incomplete without Jamie’s sister and his best friend.

7 But Claire, La Dame Blanche, still eluded the faithful.  Vimeo videos of auditions started popping up, actors were followed on Twitter who auditioned for Claire but were unsuccessful in garnering the role. A fever overtook the faithful, causing them to suffer from a variety of symptoms including:

  • Insomnia
  • Distraction
  • The overwhelming need to refresh one’s Twitter feed or check one’s e-mail every other minute
  • An addiction to Google- stalking casting agencies, models, drivers, directors
  • Manic behavior
  • Impulsive Facebook posting

8 In short, there were a lot of crazy women waiting and wanting to be the first to welcome “Our Claire” to the growing Outlander Clan. On September 11, 2013, many grieving hearts were lightened by the announcement of Caitriona Balfe as Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser. Caitriona announced her casting in typical Claire style that she was thrilled to announce that she was joining the cast. “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!”

9 Twitter and Facebook light up the like the New York City skyline on a clear night.  Faithful followers could not contain their excitement. “There’s the two of us now” memes flooded feeds, Photoshop was used more in those first few hours than all the days leading up to it… and it was decided: the fans loved Caitriona.

Chapter 3

1 Once Twitter had put itself back together after the momentous ANNOUNCEMENT, which also provided the name of the production company (Tall Ships); the US distributor (STARZ); and Executive Producers (Ronald D. Moore and Maril Davis); the speculation began. At the forefront of the minds of the faithful was the question “Who will play Jamie?”

2 This had been a question much debated throughout the ages as fans from around the world had argued their “fantasy cast” for the never-to-be-seen movie of Outlander.  As “The King of Men” and the “Book Boyfriend” to millions of women around the globe, from his inception, Jamie was a much-beloved figure.  So casting the perfect Jamie became the obsession for the Obsessanachs.

3 Facebook feeds were filled with pictures of Chris Hemsworth, Gerard Butler, James McAvoy and a host of other handsome Scottish figures with the caption “This is my Jamie.” Battles were fought, harsh words were spoken by many  as each tried to prove why her favorite actor would make the best Jamie.

4 Herself continued to tease the faithful with tweets, easing some of their agony with her “Daily Lines,” little snippets of passages from her upcoming book. The Twitter storm continued to swirl as directors were announced; public relations people made their presences known; and higher-ups in the STARZ and SONY food chains started reaching out to fans.

5 Then a clever fan noticed that Herself (who rarely “follows” anyone on Twitter) had followed a young actor by the name of Sam Heughan whose profile proclaimed that he was “Scot.ish”.   “Who is this guy?” “Why is Diana following him?”  And someone at STARZ “accidentally” let loose a tweet saying that Sam had been cast. Then Herself Tweeted

6 “I can’t confirm the contract is signed, but I saw the @heughan audition tapes. #jawdrop.”

7 That was enough for the faithful. Sam’s Twitter followers jumped in a matter of moments.  And then the confirmation that everyone was waiting for came on July 9, 2013. “I am UTTERLY delighted to confirm that Sam is cast as Jamie Fraser in (Twitter)

8 But with this confirmation came much consternation as well.  “How can he play Jamie? His hair isn’t the right color.”  “Is he tall enough?”  “Does he even speak with a Scottish accent?”  To which Herself replied “Pfffft.” Over and over again.

9 This wasn’t enough for some, however. And they persisted. “He’s not muscular enough.” “His hair isn’t long enough.” “His face is too young looking.”

10 But for others, Sam became the  object of much interest. “He’s in A Princess for Christmas. Must watch! That dance!”  “He’s a triathlete!” “He makes porridge for the crew on set!”

11 As the frenzy grew around the upcoming show, so did the desire for more casting news. And thus #Clairwatch2013 was born.

 

Chapter 2

Chapter 2

1 Months and weeks went by and the words spread. They reached the farthest corners of the earth and were met with great joy. Herself met with her agent and editors. They had determined that she would write three books. The news of this was met with great rejoicing among Herself’s followers.

2 For there were those who still communicated with Herself via Compuserve. There was still a community of writers and readers who had fallen in love with the words and taken them into their hearts.  The first group to formally align in honor and solidarity with Herself’s words became known as The Ladies of Lallybroch (http://www.lallybroch.com/).

3 The Ladies were known to embrace Herself’s wit and sense of humor, supporting Her in hours of need or at that ultimate time of need known as “Final Frenzy.” From a plethora of toilet paper to feedback to words of encouragement, the Ladies were there to provide pillars of devotion upon which Herself could take her ease when the frenzy became too much.

4 Dragonfly in Amber and then Voyager followed quickly upon the heels of Outlander providing readers with almost 2000 pages of Herself’s magical words. Herself’s followers broke out into other sites and media to try to spread the word about the words.

5 The key phrase came when Herself’s editors realized that her story was incomplete at the end of Voyager. “I said I had more to tell. I didn’t say it would take me three books to tell it,” she said, her sweevil smile causing thrills to run down their backs.

Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, and A Breath of Snow and Ashes kept readers waiting with baited breath through the end of the century and into the dawn of the new.  Their favorite characters had moved from the romantic Scottish Highlands to the wilderness of the southern Colonies.

7 As the readers grew, so too did the characters, aging and marrying; having children and grandchildren. Readers could see idealized images of themselves or their loved ones in the characters created by Herself.

8 Again critics sought to undermine Herself’s already diminutive stature. “Why are there so many rapes in this series? I can’t read this.”  “Claire just wanted to get out of her marriage.” “How is this Jamie guy a Colonel? He’s a criminal.”

9 Again, she smiled and tossed her long, lustrous locks back over her shoulders. “Well, when you’ve done as many hours of research as I have, then you can complain,” she said, the soft, Southwest timbre of her voice belying the message.

10 “But when will we get to see this in the movies?” The question followed her everywhere.

“I’d like to read from my new book,” she would begin.

“But when is the movie coming out?” She would be interrupted.

“Welcome to the Highland Games. I’m honored to be here,” she would announce.

“But where’s the movie?” Would come the call.

“Congratulations on winning yet another award for your writing. When’s the movie coming out?”

11 And then the day arrived when Herself shared not only one, but two major announcements. It was June of 2013 at a trade conference’s fan event when she shared a sneak preview of her new novel Written in My Own Heart’s Blood with those in attendance, and announced: Sony Pictures, in conjunction with Tall Ship Productions and Starz will be releasing Outlander as a series in 2014.

12 Twitter exploded. And it was so very good.

Chapter 1 continued

5 And the words were well received by the public. But not all were enthralled. Harsh critics picked at one or two scenes rather than viewing the work as a whole. They attempted to drag her ratings down by getting involved in discussions conflating modern morality with historical.

6 “Isn’t this a romance?” They asked.

“It is not,” she replied.

“Can’t we categorize it as historical?” They persisted.

“You could,” she answered with a smile.

Finally, when they had grown perplexed while trying to figure out how to categorize her words, they asked, “Then what is it?”

7 She smiled again and threw her shawl over her shoulder and said, “In 1946, after WWII, a young Englishwoman named Claire Beauchamp Randall goes to the Scottish Highlands with her husband, Frank. She’s an ex-combat nurse, he’s been in the army as well, they’ve been separated for the last six years, and this is a second honeymoon; they’re getting re-acquainted with each other, thinking of starting a family. But one day Claire goes out walking by herself, and comes across a circle of standing stones—such circles are in fact common all over northern Britain.  She walks through a cleft stone in the circle….and disappears. Back into 1743, where the first person she meets is a gentleman in an 18th-century army officer’s uniform. This gentleman, Jack Randall, looks just like her husband Frank—and proves to be Frank’s six-times-great-grandfather. Unfortunately, he also proves to be a sadistic bisexual pervert, and while trying to escape from him, Claire falls into the hands of a gang of Highland Scots, who are also trying to get away from Black Jack Randall—though for other reasons.

In order to avoid being handed over to Captain Randall, Claire is obliged to marry one of the young clansmen. So she finds herself trying to escape from Castle Leoch and her Scottish captors, trying to get back to her husband Frank, trying to avoid being recaptured by Captain Randall—and falling in love with Jamie Fraser, the young man she’s been forced to marry” (http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/outlander/).

8 She left them to discuss what she had said, returning to her husband and family.

Chapter 1

*Please note, this is NOT fan fiction.  This is a comical account of historical events leading up to the airing of the Sony Productions TV series Outlander based on Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling novels.  No copyright or other infringement is intended.  

The Gospel of Outlander

By Jeannie Hurley

Chapter 1

1 In the beginning was a conversation. And that conversation was about pregnancy.  Herself was a member of Compuserve, an electronic bulletin-board website begun early in the era of what is now known as “The ‘80’s.” 2 Herself, being a scientist and mother of three, knew very well what pregnancy felt like, so she proceeded to describe the scene vividly.  3 Encouraged by the warm reception and feedback she received after writing the scene, Herself began writing what would become her first novel. 4 The novel was named Outlander (translated as Cross Stitch in non-American speaking countries).  And it was good.