Chapter 6

In Which the Fandom Grows Ever Increasingly Insane.

1. Following the New York Comic Con event, the frenzy surrounding the show increased.  Starz began their social media blitz, beginning Instagram and Twitter feeds, as well as becoming a more visible Facebook presence. 2. Immediately regional fan groups started growing.

3. Twitter was the meeting place and the meeting place was Twitter. 4. All those with the #Outlander in their profiles are to be immediately followed (trolls can be unfollowed later). 5. But in the beginning… there weren’t trolls. 6. There were benign nuts who just wanted to “touch” the living and breathing Jamie. 7. There were gentle readers who wanted to connect with the “real life” Claire.

8. Starz, in their infinite wisdom, realized that the fandom was hungry for their stars. 9. To appease the longing, they began to teach lessons on how to “Speak Outlander“. 10. Hearing Sam Heughan as Jamie say “Sassenach” crashed the Internet and a few million brains.

11. The videos also introduced the fandom to the estimable Gàidhlig scholar, Àdhamh Ó Broin, who became a star in his own right because of his delightful personality and willingness to share his love of languages with any and all who ask.

The love of all things Gaelic grows. 

12 Àdhamh was probably one of the most followed #Outlander team members after the core actors & production team. 13. As the Gàidhlig coach for the show, Àdhamh’s responsibility is a large one. 14. As someone who is personally trying to revive an almost-extinct dialect in his home in Scotland, Àdhamh became someone with whom the fans were eager to interact. 15. “Àdhamh, how do you say my name in Gaelic?” “What’s the difference between Scots Gaelic and Irish?” “How do you say ‘Happy Birthday’ in Gaelic?” were some few of the questions Àdhamh graciously fielded in between official “Speak Outlander” lessons.

16. As the holiday season approached, excitement began to build with the announcement of the LA Fan Event in January of 2014. 17. Unlike the New York event, lucky fans would be able to see & possibly meet Caitriona and Sam in their first outing. 18. Participants submitted e-mail entries and were chosen by Starz. 19. E-mail inboxes, junk mail, draft mail were searched frantically as entrants awaited a response. 20. Finally, it appeared that all had been delivered, but not all had been accepted. 21. And there was much moaning and wailing among the fans.

 

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.