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 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.