What I Learned about Life, Love and the Outlander Fandom at San Diego Comic-Con

Written by: Lisa Cole Perkis, Guest Contributor
Additional contributions by Christine Lewis and Lisa Ann Margulies

If you followed Outlander Cast on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts last weekend and thought to yourself “Wow, that sounds like so much fun!” and then thought, “I am going to take a jaunt to San Diego next year and check this Comic-Con thing out!,” then please proceed with caution. I have lived in San Diego my entire life, and heard stories about how extreme Comic-Con was from my friends who go year after year. Given that, I felt I was pretty well prepared for my first trip. I had meticulously thought through what I would bring in my backpack. I had planned my daily schedule, wore sturdy, sensible shoes, mapped out the Convention Center, and even pre-purchased parking. I came home from my first day at Comic-Con bewildered and dazed after over eight hours wandering between the Starz Outlander  booth on the exhibit floor and the back wall that housed the infamous “overflow” line. I was even questioning if I wanted to go back the next day. But, I did go back, and I learned a lot about myself and about the amazing Outlander  fandom. Here are my Comic-Con life lessons...


Season 3 Opener at Comic-Con: Risky PR Move?

Written by: Ashley Crawley

Were you one of the 4,000 fans, media and curious onlookers in Ballroom 20 for the Outlander panel at San Diego Comic-Con? If you were, then *slow clap* for your place among the fortunate few who were surprised with an advance screening of the Outlander Season 3 premiere seven weeks before its scheduled September 10th debut.  SEVEN WEEKS. While my initial reaction to this move was an emotional one driven by the green-eyed monster, I quickly moved to an intellectual one marked by a lot of head scratching and “say whaaaa?”. As an integrated marketing communications professional, my brain is now locked firmly on one question: STARZ, what’s the strategy behind this all-in move?


What the Outlander Season 3 Trailer Means

Written by: Janet Reynolds

If you're even a nominal Outlander  fan, you've probably watched the Outlander Season 3 trailer released today by STARZ at least a dozen times. And you've maybe  even hit pause a couple of times to savor a particular image or two. That just might  have happened. 

But now that the thrill is slightly abated, it's time to think about what it all means. What does the Season 3 trailer tell us about what we can expect starting—dear god where is time travel when you really need it?—on September 10th in the States? We've got some thoughts to share.  Read on to see if you agree or to share your thoughts of what's coming. TV-only viewers, click at your peril. Some Outlander book information will be part of this little post. #SorryNotSorry.

Ten Reasons Why JAMMF Could Never Be Your Real World Dream Guy

Written by: Nikki Gastineau

If you’ve watched or read Outlander, you might have thought to yourself once or twice that James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser is the perfect man. Maybe you even wished that you had a Jamie of your own or that your significant other was more like Jamie. I have to admit that, at times, Jamie does seem perfect. He’s rugged, brave, honorable, a fierce protector of family and friends, and he’s got some great lines of love in both the show and the books. However, he is very much a man of his time so unless you’re planning to travel back to 1740s Scotland, life with James Fraser in the 21st century is going to be a little unpleasant. Here’s why.

Get To Know Them: 15 Personal Questions With #Outlander Actor Grant O'Rourke (Rupert Mackenzie)

Written by: Blake Larsen

Mary and I recently had the pleasure of speaking with actor Grant O'Rourke (Rupert MacKenzie) on Outlander Cast.  While we don't yet know the fate of Rupert for Season 3, we interviewed Grant for the podcast and Outlander Cast Blog as part of our #Gonelander series — a celebration of all the actors and characters from Outlander who we fell in love with but who won't be part of the story in Voyager and beyond. You can find the audio interview here.

But as we've done in the past, we wanted to bring you an exclusive to the blog exploring 15 personal questions with Grant that were not included the original interview. Read on to find out more about Grant O'Rourke the person, including his favorite show, guilty pleasure, celebrity crush, and much more.

STARZ Announces Outlander Season 3 Premiere Date—September 10!

Written by: Blake Larsen

Break out the whisky, ladies and gents, because we are finally getting Outlander! And, it's coming a tad sooner than we thought—STARZ confirmed today that Season 3 will premiere Sunday, September 10. B'bye, #Droughtlander. Hit the jump for more details and the first Season 3 poster!

The Great Glencoe Challenge --- These Outlander-Loving Lasses Actually Did It!

Written by: Andrée Poppleton

Remember a couple months ago when I shared that my new Outlander pals and I were planning on doing the Great Glencoe Challenge? That verra long walk—as in, a 26.2 mile one-day hike through some of Scotland's most beautiful and challenging countryside—to pass the days of Droughtlander and raise money for a good cause? Spoiler alert: we actually did it and survived to tell the tale! Here's how the months of preparation led to one triumphant day for the New Glasgow Girls, a group who met in Scotland, bonded over Outlander and have remained friends ever since. The good news is you will stay dry and warm as you trek virtually along with us!


Tragic Non-EMMY Alert for Outlander: Prepare Yourself Now

Written by: Holly Richter-White

The Emmy Award nominations are coming July 13th and Outlander fans everywhere are hoping this will be the year our beloved Sam Heughan and/or Caitriona Balfe (and of course others in the show) get the recognition we feel they so justly deserve. Well, it's time to rip the Emmy band-aid off my friends about the likelihood of that happening. Just don't shoot the messenger.

Faith, Hope, and Loss: Reflections on Miscarriage through Outlander's Faith

Written by: Nikki Gastineau

Editor's Note: When Outlander Cast Blog blogger Denise Stewart wrote her moving response as a NICU nurse to Outlander's "Faith" episode, the public response was—and continues to be—overwhelming. This post, from blogger Nikki Gastineau, shares a reaction to “Faith” from the side of the grieving mother. We are grateful both these women were so brave in sharing their personal stories and continue to be amazed at how Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series resonates on so many levels. A simple story of romance? History? We think not.

It was a simple tweet from Outlander Cast that stopped me in my tracks. “How did the episode “Faith” affect you emotionally?” As I pondered the question, I realized that my thoughts would never fit into a 140 character box, so I walked around for the remainder of the day with thoughts rattling around in my head.

Miscarriage, despite its frequency, is a topic that we rarely talk about in part because no one seems to know how to talk about it. It is occasionally addressed on television and in movies, but nothing ever seems to do justice to this deeply emotional subject matter.

I had a miscarriage many years ago. The background is extensive, but the short version of the story is that I didn’t think I could get pregnant and then I did. Initially I thought I had contracted a bizarre strain of flu that made me nauseated one moment and desperately craving grape juice and Kraft singles the next. When you aren’t expecting to get pregnant then you never consider it a possibility until the WebMD symptom checker suggests that you hit up the drug store for a home pregnancy test.

I cried for a few days as I slowly began to wrap my head around the fact that I was growing a human inside me. Eventually the tears subsided and I began to make plans for the little one during my 3:00 a.m. processed cheese food and grape juice sessions.

In Outlander, Claire didn’t think she could get pregnant but she did. The revelation came to her in the worst of circumstances as Jamie healed from the physical and emotional wounds that he suffered at the hands of Black Jack Randall in Wentworth Prison. In the Season 1 finale, we see Jamie and Claire on the deck of the ship that is taking them to France and a new life. Claire isn’t sure how Jamie will take the pregnancy news but she tells him anyway. He smiles, they embrace, and they sail to France.

Throughout the first six episodes of Outlander Season 2, we saw Claire’s growing bump and we cheered on the life inside her. Those of us who had read the books knew how the pregnancy would end and still we cheered. I read the book and I did have an emotional reaction to Claire’s miscarriage, but it wasn’t intense and it didn’t linger. When it was time to watch episode 7, I approached it hesitantly. The Wentworth Prison scenes had forced me to relive a past violent relationship (yes, I can stamp that square on life’s Bingo card as well) in a way that made profound changes in me. The changes were all for the better so I took a deep breath and plunged headfirst into "Faith."

I was able to watch the episode because I knew that there was a light at the end of the tunnel; her name was Bree. This is the difference in watching someone experience a miscarriage and actually living it. When you experience this tragic event, you don’t know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. You’re not even sure it’s a proper tunnel with an entrance and an exit. You might even let yourself believe that you have been cast into a bottomless black pit where you will never find relief from the sensation of falling.

My miscarriage happened early in my pregnancy and there was no baby to hold. However, I take comfort in knowing that this is still referred to as a “loss” because some thing—many things really—were lost. For a brief period, my mind was one of those things. If I look back, I can see a moment where I stepped outside of my body and lived in a place that was not this world, not the next, but something in the middle. I had conversations with people. I ate and drank but I was not “there.” I was with my baby, somewhere, experiencing in my own ethereal world what I would never experience in this one. Some part of me that knew I needed to return and, eventually, I did, but I also needed those days lost in grief and pain in order to resume a normal life. I needed those days to remember that this was a tunnel and that if I just started walking in a straight line I would find an opening. Whether it was the entrance or the exit didn’t really matter. I would worry about that once I could see the light again.

This brings me to Caitriona Balfe. She is not a mother and has not experienced a miscarriage. She does say that she talked to friends who had experienced losses. In an interview with Yahoo, Caitriona says that she wanted to tap into all of Claire’s emotions and “hold a space for Claire’s grief.” I was so touched by this visual of the literal creation of a space in which to live, feel, and grieve such a life-altering event. There is no doubt in my mind that Caitriona became Claire, but more than that, she became each one of us who has ever lost a child that we never held or who held a child for a few fleeting moments before the unfathomable transpired.

When Claire woke up, her hand immediately went to her abdomen, and we saw the anguish on her face as she began to put together the pieces of what had happened. This moment instantly transported me to the hospital when I awoke from my medical procedure. I tried so hard not to touch my belly because I couldn’t stand the thought of knowing that the life started within me was gone. In the haze of anesthesia I wondered if, perhaps, it had all been a mistake and I could go home to resume a normal pregnancy. With the return of lucidity also came truth and I began to fully comprehend the situation. Only then was I finally able to lay my hands on that sacred space and wonder how I could actually feel the hollowness within it. Maybe it’s because I wanted to see them, but I saw all those emotions on Claire’s face and I lived them with her.

As Claire gained awareness of her situation, she repeatedly cried “I want my baby. I want my baby.” Isn’t that what all of us either thought or screamed at some point? The look on her face captured the disconnection between Claire and the world around her. Claire’s body was in the bed but her mind was elsewhere searching for the one she had lost.

When Mother Hildegard handed Faith to Claire, we see the momentary relief on her face as she finds the one she has been searching for and then, just as quickly, she retreats to the other place. In the following scenes, we see Claire create a world where only she and Faith exist. We all know what happens to the physical element of a miscarriage. What we don’t often think of is the spiritual and emotional remains. Where do they go? Caitriona, through Claire, showed us. She spoke all the hopes and dreams she had for her little one directly to her. She sang songs from her own childhood. She held her, knowing that it wouldn’t last, but needing those moments nonetheless. Caitriona created “a space for Claire’s grief,” and it was beautiful, and heart-wrenching, and therapeutic all at the same time.

Mother Hildegard allows Claire to grieve with her child but, we assume, she also summons Louise to ease with the removal of Faith from Claire’s arms. When Louise takes Faith, Claire dissolves into tears and sobs from a place altogether different than wherever regular tears come from. I remember what it was like to wonder where all the tears came from and if they would ever stop.

By the time that Claire returns home, we see a much different woman. She has steeled herself against the grief and appears to be determined to carry on with whatever life remains. In the Yahoo interview, Caitriona says that Claire has “cried all the tears that she had.” As Claire steps from the carriage, the servants line up to greet her. Her fixed gaze shows her determination to control her emotions but the servants haven’t yet dealt with their own grief. One by one, Claire acknowledges them and we see the anguish and tears on each of their faces. They do not feel the loss as deeply as Claire, but they still feel it. They, too, had hopes for this new life. They, too, had hoped to hear its cries and laughter fill the hallways.

This homecoming reminded me of something that I had not thought about much with my own miscarriage: what other people must have been feeling. When I returned to work, what must people have thought? What did my family think and feel? Did they try to avoid me? Did they struggle for words of comfort? Did they just smile and grasp my hands? Did they feel helpless? This scene was a beautiful reminder that the loss of a child is experienced in many different ways by many different people, not just the parents.

Near the end of the episode, Jamie returns to Claire and they begin to reconcile these events. Holly Richter-White wrote an excellent post (Out of Faith: Fan Uproar Over an Extended Scene) on the extended version of this scene that was cut and how much it would have added to the story. I love the extended version because it shows us the grief of both parents. The loss weighs as heavy on Jamie’s soul as it does on Claire’s. What we do hear in the televised version is Jamie reminding Claire that they must endure this together. Claire asks how they can ever be the same and Jamie responds with, “We can’t be. The weight of what has happened here is too much for any one of us to bear alone. The only way we can live with it is to carry it together...We lost our child but by the grace of God we may be given another.” Claire then asks Jamie to take her home to Scotland.

When you don’t believe that you can get pregnant but you do, you let yourself believe that this child must be a treasure that is being gifted to you for reasons that you don’t quite understand. The subsequent loss of that child brings the usual grief but also so many questions. What was the purpose of this suffering? The “weight of what has happened” is, indeed, heavy and it feels almost unbearable. Jamie assured Claire that they would bear it together and then offered the hope of another child. With all of the pain and suffering that Claire had endured alone, she now had Jamie to help her move forward. What I appreciate about these final scenes is the tiny flame of hope flickering in the darkest moment of this couple’s darkest day. That conversation was the light at the end of the tunnel. Whether it was the entrance or the exit didn’t matter; the important thing was that they would walk toward it together. While their faith was shattered, Jamie and Claire still had hope and love and, in the end, that’s about all any of us can ask.

We all know that Jamie and Claire were blessed with another child, but that by the time Bree was born, Claire had returned to her own time. It wasn’t a perfect ending to the story but the story isn’t finished yet, is it? If you’re reading this, the good news is that your story isn’t finished yet and neither is mine. While I wasn’t blessed with another pregnancy, I was blessed with a beautiful girl whose birth mother made the incredible decision to give her up for adoption. Her presence helped restore my own faith, and it reminds me every day that in the midst of devastating loss, there is always, always room for hope and love.

Did Faith accurately capture the emotional turmoil of miscarriage? Is there anything that you would have added?


An Evening with Diana Gabaldon (sort of)

Written by: Nikki Gastineau

It all started with a post on an Outlander Facebook page saying that Diana Gabaldon would be doing a Skype presentation at a local Michigan library “an hour south of Ann Arbor.” Given my proximity to Ann Arbor, I thought I should investigate further. In one quick Google search, I found that she would be Skyping into the Adrian library on Monday, June 26. This can’t just be for little ol’ Adrian I thought, so I did a few more Google searches assuming that I would find that this lecture was being broadcast to local libraries across the nation or, at least, the state. Imagine my surprise when I found that, indeed, Herself was appearing via Skype at only the Adrian, Michigan library. Here's what she had to say.

The Scotland Diaries: Farewell Arran, Island Hopping and an Outlander Surprise!

Written by: Anne Gavin

Editor's note: This marks the sixth in Anne Gavin's travelogue through Scotland. If you missed any of her other posts, you can catch up at the bottom of this one with links. Are you settled in your armchair? Let the virtual travel begin!

As the sun rose on our final day walking The Arran Coastal Way, I felt ready to finish but also sad knowing our time on this beautiful and wild island was coming to an end. As usual, the distance of the day’s walk ahead was unknown but for some reason the thought of a 10- to 12-mile trek no longer gave me the shivers. That is remarkable in and of itself. I was still hurting although some of the blisters had started to heal over. We were starting off in Whiting Bay and would make our way to Brodick and the official end point of the 65-mile Arran Coastal Way. The time had flown by, yet this was only the beginning of my journey through Scotland. Some needed downtime lay ahead and a quick stop on the mainland, but more islands were in my future and I couldn’t wait. And, then there is always Outlander — popping up when you least expect it. Our last day on Arran and onward to more Scottish adventures. Let’s go!

Outlander's Makeup Magic: How Do They Make it Look so Natural?

Written by: Karen K. Rutledge

This 2017 Droughtlander has us all hanging by a teeny, tiny thread. Obsessenachs around the globe are trying to pass the time to the September premiere by:

• re-watching,
• re-reading,
• looking for other time-worthy books,
• hanging with the cast,
• celebrating World Outlander Day, and
• swigging every last dram on social media, desperate for any Season 3 tidbits like photos, fan art and the quacky—oops I mean wacky—video announcing that filming officially wrapped on June 16.

Re-watching (my solace of choice) led me for the umpteenth time to my favorite episode, Season One's “The Way Out,” which in turn led me to Claire’s surgery and the firelight-bandage-check-eye-sex scene. I was struck yet again by those simply stunning faces, seemingly with very little makeup—no small feat in HD filming—and up popped the memory of Mary and Blake's podcast with Krstyann Mallett, head of makeup and prosthetics for the show.

Those prostheses, particularly Jamie's back scars, started me thinking (you could smell my hair burning, right?) about how gorgeous almost everything else is on this show. It's all so unique—the locations, music, costumes and makeup. But it's the makeup thought that stuck with me for days. Predictably, down the Google search rabbit hole I went to learn more. 

Maybe you’re curious about what I found down this particular Outlander rabbit hole or maybe you simply agree that Jamie and Claire are JHRC gorgeous. Either way, come take the jump with me…

Fanwoman Update: Surviving Droughtlander with an Outlander Season 2 Re-Watch

Written by: Teddie Potter

Editor's note: If you missed Teddie's hilarious post on re-watching Season 1, catch up here. Trust us, it's worth it. 

A lovely friend who is in the business expressed exasperation with the term “Droughtlander.” Have patience—these productions take time, she said.  If patience is a virtue, then I’m in short supply when it comes to Outlander.  Fortunately, two recent events that took place in New York City helped to feed my cravings. I’m talking about the maiden voyage of the Outlander Cast Brunch, which was held on the same day as the fabulously-produced Outlander in The City event (read more on that here), making for a spectacular all-Outlander weekend.

The sad result is that after all that NYC fun, the only thing coming out of this fan woman’s Outlander wallet are those little comic strip flies. For consolation, I head straightaway to my very own mecca of merchandising where my money has been long-spent and, therefore, no longer counts as any kind of expense—my very own Outlander shrine. This is the place where I find my Outlander books and some of Diana Gabaldon’s “methadone list” titles, an unopened 2-year-old box of Outlander Walker’s Shortbread cookies, a nice box of Season 1 Outlander Trading Cards (also unopened), an official Season 1 Trading Card binder (empty), various bits of ephemera from past NYC Outlander events, scraps of the banners that once hung at the now-shuttered St. Andrews Pub, and—gloriously displayed—my Outlander Blu Ray disc sets for Season 1 and Season 2.  Time for an everything-old-is-new-again S2 re-watch!


The Scotland Diaries: The Arran Coastal Way, Part 2 – Succeeding at Survival

Written by: Anne Gavin

Editor's note: This post is a continuation in Anne Gavin's series about returning to Scotland after her first visit last year. Read about why she, like Claire, had to go back.  And if you want to relive Anne's first trip last year, here's a link to get you started. Let the virtual travel begin!

After the longest day, I woke up to some sunshine and a new – albeit guarded – outlook on the day ahead. My blisters were raging. My feet and legs had been throbbing most of the night. But, besides all that, I felt pretty good and just decided that walk on, I must. I double Compeed-ed both feet, wrapped my right foot with tape, and waited until the last moment before we left the cottage for our start point to gingerly slide on my hiking boots. We were walking from Blackwaterfoot to our cottage at Lagg, which sat just above the Coastal Way. How convenient! I wasn’t entirely sure how I would fare given my blisters, but was anxious to get started and enjoy this beautiful, sunny day along the coast. So, I laced up my boots... 

We Love Davina Porter! A Talk with THE Voice of Outlander

Written by: Janet Reynolds

For many of us, life can be divided into two substantive periods: Before Outlander and After Outlander. Yes, other minor events may creep in—marriages, births, deaths, jobs—but in the course of what matters, Outlander looms large.

Before Outlander, for instance, I had never obsessed over anything—or at least not to the extent to which I obsess about this series and show I had also not been a member of anything you could even remotely suggest was a fandom since the days of the Monkees. That, um, has all changed. Just ask my family...or co-workers...or friends...or maybe even a random stranger I happen to begin chatting with while on line at Starbucks.

Before Outlander, I was also a book purist. Yes, electronic readers could be convenient for trips, but that's it. And certainly no audiobooks! No, I want to hold the book in my hand, to feel its paper between my fingers and smell its musty odor.

That, too, changed thanks to Outlander. Having re-read the series three times (I'm leading a read-along of Voyager on our Facebook page if you're interested), I was looking for a way to stay connected during the Longest-Droughtlander-Ever. My good friend who bullied me into watching the series (THANK YOU, SUSAN!!!) was an audiobook fan, and my sister-in-law and her partner only listen to the books because, as they said to me, the reader was THAT good.

And so, I took the leap to my first audiobook. And, like Claire's leap through the stones, my life has never been the same. Davina Porter, the reader for all eight Outlander books so far, is beyond amazing. I decided we needed to talk. I tracked her down via the wonders of the web—she lives on Fraser Road!—and knew as soon as she picked up the phone I had found her. Here's what she had to say about acting, recording books and, of course, our favorite subject, Outlander.

Outlander in the City: An Outlander Adventure

Written by: Nikki Gastineau

Before I tell you anything about Outlander in the City I need you to know two things: I am not a fan girl but I am an introvert with some anxiety issues. I don’t geek out over television/movie stars. That’s just not me. Also, I am a people watcher. I see stories in everything because observing the world around me is like reading a book that is being written in real-time. I don’t often “join in” groups at parties because I prefer to watch everything from a distance.

So by mid-week, my anxiety and introversion had set up shop in a rather large corner of my mind and they began to make me second-guess my decision to attend this huge party where I might be forced to interact with (gasp!) strangers. As per usual, my stubborn nature won the battle and I arrived in New York City on Friday with my family determined to have an amazing Outlander adventure and a family mini-vacation. Now, on with the story.

The Scotland Diaries: The Arran Coastal Way, Part 1

Written by: Anne Gavin

Editor's note: This post is a continuation in Anne Gavin's series about returning to Scotland after her first visit last year. Read about why she, like Claire, had to go back.  And if you want to relive Anne's first trip last year, here's a link to get you started. Let the virtual travel begin!

We survived Goat Fell. Barely. And, as hard at that was, we still had some roughly 57 more miles to go to complete the 65 miles of the Arran Coastal Way. Surprisingly, my knees that were screaming on our Goat Fell descent felt great the next day. The bad news was we woke up and it was pouring rain. Not regular rain, but Scottish rain. The skies had opened up and it was raining sideways and it was very cold. Sunny skies one day, rainy the next. That’s Scotland. No matter, though. Dave, our guide, would not be deterred by bad weather and we all knew that. No real Hill Walker would. And, we were at least attempting to act like *real* Hill Walkers. So, we layered up and headed out for the start point and hoped and prayed that we wouldn’t be walking in this dreich all day.

Is Outlander's Sam Heughan Headed to a Bigger Screen?

Written by: Holly Richter-White

As we gear up for a summer without Outlander, we're all just *patiently* waiting for news – anything – that offers something concrete regarding a premiere date, our stars, our show. So then, imagine fans’ delight when, on World Outlander Day, we saw this headline...

World Outlander Day – Join the Fun in Scotland

Written by: Andrée Poppleton

World Outlander Day came a bit early to Falkland, in the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland.

I'd been in Scotland exactly a week to the day, the first week of my ‘gap year’ … my relocation from Australia to Scotland, with Outlandish adventures in mind. What better way to finish a week battling jet lag and bureaucracy than to spend it with my new BFFs, Morag and Sandy, in the heart of Outlander country.


The Scotland Diaries: Trekking up Goat Fell

Written by: Anne Gavin

Editor's note: This post is a continuation in Anne Gavin's series about returning to Scotland after a wonderful first visit last year. Read about why she, like Claire, had to go back and about her time exploring Glasgow. And if you want to relive Anne's first trip last year, here's a link to get you started. Let the virtual travel begin!

We arrived the Isle of Arran full of anticipation but slightly WET. Too busy chatting away with locals on the boat, we had no idea that while making our 55-minute crossing from Ardrossan that the clouds had moved in. As we walked down the gang plank of the CalMac ferry, the skies had opened up. Typical Scotland. What is also typical Scotland is the wonderfully kind hospitality of those that live there. The effervescent Brian Deary of Corrie Cabs and Visit Arran was there to greet us and drive us the 30 minutes to our seaside cottage where we would stay for the week. I had been corresponding with Brian for several months regarding Arran and our need for possible rides to and fro while there. A wonderful Scotsman, indeed, Brian regaled us with many tales of the island and its history as he whisked us quite rapidly on a very narrow two-lane track towards the southwest side of the island and our cottage.

One thing I couldn’t help but notice as we drove out of the ferry terminal, however, was the very large and looming Goat Fell mountain dead ahead. I shuddered a little staring at it. It was hard to look away, actually. It looked foreboding – with dark, black clouds near the summit. It was my first up-close and personal view and did not seem at all as friendly as many of the photos I had seen. Quite shear and rocky, the mountain jutted upwards from sea level narrowing into an angular tip at the summit surrounded by boulders on all sides. This was our challenge, however, to make sure we got up Goat Fell at least one of the days we were on the island. I thought I was ready... but didn’t think it would be so soon. Here is our story of climbing the merciless Goat Fell.


Outlander Goes to the Dogs: A Look at the Breed Playing Rollo

Written by: Janet Reynolds

A few weeks ago, Starz threw us Outlander  fans a bone, almost literally, by announcing the breed of dog that would be playing Rollo. Two adorable Northern Inuit puppies are already in training to become Ian Murray's trusty canine sidekick come season 4.

Now book readers likely have an image of Rollo in their heads, thanks to Diana Gabaldon's wonderfully descriptive writing. And they also likely have some expectations of how Rollo should act. TV-only folks, though, only have the cute photos leaked by Starz PR. So we decided to find out a bit more about this breed, which is so new that it isn't even officially recognized yet by the American Kennel Club. We caught up with Sharon O'Garro, who is the first Northern Inuit breeder in North America and founder of the Northern Inuit Society of America. Here's what she had to say about this fascinating breed.

The Scotland Diaries: Waking Up in Glasgow

Written by: Anne Gavin

Editor's note: This post is a continuation of Anne Gavin's first post about returning to Scotland after a wonderful first visit last year. Read about why she, like Claire, had to go back. And if you want to relieve Anne's first trip last year, here's a link to get you started. Let the virtual travel begin!

Despite an overnight flight, I felt none of the usual haze one usually feels after a long transatlantic journey. Just the opposite. I was in Scotland again and was ready to start what I knew would be an incredible three weeks of experiences with some wonderful people and in some extraordinary places.

It had been a year since my last trip here and so much had happened in that year. Another season of life, another season of Outlander and another very joyful year writing for the Outlander Cast Blog, building new friendships. Many of these new friends I had planned to meet this trip while also renewing bonds with others with whom I share some multiple interests—Scotland being the main! But, it was all to start in Glasgow, a city I had glazed over on my last trip to Scotland but only because of lack of time. However, this trip, I knew I needed to explore this colorful city and its history and experience some of what makes Glasgow such a wee jewel. Come along with me on my trip!

It's Not About the Vase and Other Outlander Life Lessons

Written by: Nikki Gastineau

I’ve got a confession to make. I read too much into things—everything really. That mole on your leg? I’m pretty sure that it has changed color and shape since yesterday and that you need to have it removed stat. Your kid’s runny nose? It’s your town’s first case of measles since 1968. I know they said it would only take three weeks to renovate the kitchen, but my gut tells me it's going to take a lot longer than that. And that waiter was totally just flirting with me. You saw it. Right?

Maybe it comes from my overactive imagination or maybe I’m always looking for a story to tell. Whatever the reason, I usually take more away from conversations, books, and movies than other folks. As I reflected on my first read-through of the Outlander series, I began to see many applicable life lessons. I will share them with you, but only if you promise not to make any actual life decisions based on them. If you promise, then please keep reading. If not, you need to take a few moments and ask yourself why you would accept life advice from a lady writing a blog post from her couch while her kid parades the cat around the house like Simba and Rafiki from the opening scene of The Lion King.

My Journey Through Time: the Outlander-inspired Hartwood Highlander Happening

Written by: Denise Stewart

I’d never been to an Outlander-inspired event. I mean, sitting at home texting your friend about the show while watching it simultaneously for the second…tenth time....um who’s counting anyway...IS social and COULD be considered an event, but an actual outing? That had never been in my cards.

That changed when my local Outlander group posted an event that was going to be hosted about an hour from my house. I WAS IN! I texted said friend and asked if she was in too. But of course! So reservations were made, and we were set to go! Want to see what it was like? Come along with us for this virtual tour.


Walking the Way of Outlander: The Great Glencoe Challenge

Written by: Andrée Poppleton

People have many ways of dealing with Droughtlander. Some obsessively rewatch episodes, others re-read the books for the nth time, others have tiny forays into the world outside Outlander. Some decide to walk. Walk, trudge, march (caper about?) and just generally get moving in a forward direction. It gets the endorphins flowing and relieves some of the angst while waiting for our all-time favourite TV show to hit the screens again. Some of the NewGlasgowGirls – a group who met in Scotland, bonded over Outlander and have remained friends ever since – are doing just that. We are going to take a verra long walk together, specifically the Great New Glencoe Challenge, a 26.2 mile one-day hike through some of Scotland's most beautiful and challenging countryside.

And we're not just going to walk further than we have ever walked in our lives before, we are going to raise money for Caitriona Balfe's charity of choice, World Child Cancer.

Here's our story and we invite you to walk along with us.

"I Have to Go Back" – The Scotland Diaries: Part 2

Written by: Anne Gavin

“I have to go back.” – the haunting last line of Episode 13 of Outlander  Season 2, uttered by Claire Randall Fraser when she realized that her 18th century soul mate, love of her life, and father of her only child survived the Battle of Culloden. It’s also EXACTLY how I felt shortly after returning from my first trip to Scotland in the spring of 2016... although, unlike Claire, no soaring Bear McCreary soundtrack accompanied my revelation nor, unfortunately, visions of a tall, red-headed Scot!

The first time I traveled to Scotland, I thought I knew what to expect. For more than a year, I had looked at photos, read several books, re-watched episodes of Outlander  dozens of times and imagined what Scotland might be like. But, it completely and totally exceeded every expectation I ever had. I truly came alive there and, for those few weeks, found myself in a state of complete wonder and frankly – just plain happiness. It was the landscapes, the air, the sea, the mountains, and the hills that captivated me. But more than that, it was the people.

It might have been my love of Outlander  that compelled me to visit the first time, but it’s now Scotland itself that commands me to return. I know there is more to see, more to do, more lovely Scottish people to meet and more of my soul to fill. I journaled those amazing few weeks last year for the Outlander Cast Blog in a series called “The Scotland Diaries.”  I will do my best to do so again amidst dodgy Wi-Fi and cross-country travels with the hope of sharing my second go-around with this lovely and soulful country which serves as inspiration for Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander  Series. Here is a little sneak peek of where my travels will take me as I head off in just a little over a week's time.


Droughtlander TV/Movie Recommendations: What's on Our Screens?

Written by: Nikki Gastineau

Earlier this month, the Outlander Cast Blog writers shared their favorite books with you to help ease those terrible symptoms of Droughtlander. We now turn our focus to television shows. Between the reading list and the show recommendations, we hope that this will keep your spirits high until the return of Outlander  in September. If neither of these work, try wine.

Two small disclaimers. One, the viewing recommendations are primarily based on what viewers in the United States have access to in the way of programming. We are aware that offerings vary by country, but there is just no way for us to know about all those variations. If you are aware of other ways to view the shows that we’ve listed, please let us know in the comments section. Two, yes – we are aware that some shows appear multiple times. They're just that good and, thus, we've left in our crew's shared enthusiasm for these shows. And with that, let's see what we're watching...


A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Outlander's Opening Images

Written by: Holly Richter-White

Long lost Outlander title sequences that were never chosen by Ron D. Moore? A never-before-seen Outlander mood board used to inspire the Season One title design ultimately chosen by Moore? A new Season 3 Outlander title sequence envisioned by fan video creator Julia LeBlanc? We've got all this and more in this post. It's the time to drown our Droughtlander woes in a look behind the artistry, significance, and drama surrounding the Outlander Title Sequence.


Outlandish Locations: Discover the Bloody History & Haunted Towers of Blackness Castle

Written by: Anne Gavin

Scotland essentially serves as its own *character* in the Outlander  saga. Accordingly, the television series has showcased many of the country’s finest historical locations prompting thousands of visitors to flock in record numbers to visit. It’s called the “Outlander Effect” by those in the tourist and hospitality industry in Scotland. We like what we see on screen, but what do we really know or understand about the importance of these locations or the role they played in the history of Scotland?  We at the Outlander Cast Blog thought we would help out by bringing you a new blog series highlighting the history and the lore of Outlander filming locations around Scotland. We start with Blackness Castle, used as the gloomy and foreboding "Fort William" and also known in modern times for its unexplained paranormal activity. Catch the history bug and get ready for a few ghost stories as we explore this Outlandish Location.


What does Starz Season 3 Outlander Teaser Tell Us? Get ready for Jamie tragedy.

Written by: Janet Reynolds

Starz released its official Outlander  teaser (not to be confused with a trailer, which would be longer and perhaps really tell us something) right before its new show, The White Princess.  What did we learn in those 40 seconds about the upcoming Season 3? That we're going to need a lot of patience and hankies before we get what we all want—to see Jamie and Claire reunited.


Outlander Cast Blog Exclusive: An Interview with Diana Gabaldon in South Africa

Written by: Jayne Coleman

When I made plans to visit Cape Town for my vacation, I was so hopeful I’d be able to meet some of the Outlander  cast or crew, as well as area Outlander fans for a South African Outlander Cast Blog meet-up. Sure, Cape Town is a large city, but I was going to go to the studio where they were filming. Fans saw Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in Scotland. Why not South Africa?

Then I heard Diana Gabaldon was going to be in South Africa and Cape Town around the time I would be there. It is possible I could meet her? A fan can dream, right?

So I emailed her and asked. I still can’t believe how bold that was. I mean, why would Diana Gabaldon agree to meet with yet another fan? True, I write for a blog with a large readership, but so what?

Imagine my surprise when Diana said yes! I almost fainted dead away—especially because I got her response just after I had finished a 14-hour drive away from Cape Town and she wanted to meet the next day. The good news is this story ends well. Here’s our exclusive interview with—yes—Herself.

In Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, It’s a Matter of Trust

Written by: Karen K. Rutledge

Diana Gabaldon makes reference to “trust” more than 60 times in the first two books of the Outlander series alone. (Trust me, I used Kindle Search to count.) It appears in all manner of references, like this simple-yet-powerful declaration Jamie makes to Claire in Outlander:“I decided to trust you instead.”

Considering that trust is defined as a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone   could it be the secret ingredient in the Outlander series sauce? From the start, Ms. Gabaldon gains our trust as we eagerly embrace her sci-fi, romantic, historical, adventuress genius. She reaches into our chest, grabs our heart and holds it in her hands, pulsing and throbbing, as she takes us along on Claire’s implausible, magnificent journey.

Using not only the actual word “trust” but an Outlander lexicon of related words and phrases (like vow, truth, between us, believe, Faith), Ms. Gabaldon intertwines the relationships of our cherished Claire and Jamie  both their own special bond and the relationships each has with a host of others. Besides the trusting relationship that is built between Jamie and Claire, there are so many delicious and, yes, sometimes deeply disturbing ones. But which, if any, can pass the “trust test?”


Fall is coming... Outlander vs. Poldark, Literally.

Written by: Ashley Crawley

Remember the debate last fall? No, not those debates. I’m referring to the one where we reconciled our collective guilt for obsessing over Poldark in an Outlander-like fashion by comparing the two shows pecs-to-pecs head-to-head. Well, obsessenachs, that Outlander vs. Poldark scenario just got real—very real— with the announcement that Poldark will be back on U.S. screens starting October 1 at 9 p.m. Why? Because that’s the EXACT day of the week and EXACT time that Outlander will also finally be back on our screens. And the scheduling plot thickens…

Droughtlander Reading Recommendations: What's On Our Nightstands?

Written by: Nikki Gastineau

Droughtlander. Sigh. Will it ever be over? How does an Outlander-obsessed fan pass the seemingly endless days until September? The writers of the Outlander Cast Blog put our heads together to compile a reading list of our favorite books. As you might imagine, there is a pronounced bias toward history and the supernatural, but I was actually a bit surprised at the breadth of the recommendations. If you’re looking for some titles to add to your summer (or winter depending on your hemispherical status) reading list, I think you’ll find something that appeals to you. (We've included links in case you're inspired to buy and get going.) Without further delay, I give you the Outlander Cast Blog Writers' Droughtlander Reading List.

Outlander Cast Podcast Episode #78: Season 3 - What We Know So Far (with Special Guest Anne Gavin)

Written by: Blake Larsen

Let's face it, #droughtlander sucks.

But just because there aren't any new episodes to chat about doesn't mean there isn't ANYTHING to chat about.

In fact, there's plenty!

So while we haven't seen anything new on our screens, there are lots of things happening behind the screen to keep the Outlander train chugging.

That said, we thought we'd try something new – bring on some of the Outlander Cast Blog staff, who you read every day, to parse out all the latest goings on for our favorite show.

We were recently joined by Anne Gavin, senior writer and our Outlander Cast news editor, to discuss all the latest news related to season 3 we know so far.

In this episode, you'll learn all about: new characters, new actors, trailer date, premiere date, cast appearances at Emerald City Comic Con and San Diego Comic Con, social media updates from the major Outlander social media players (like Matt B. Roberts, etc.), episode counts, new writers and directors, and all the rumors swirling around Outlander season 3 production.

There is a lot of great information in this episode, and we had tons of fun too – talking about everything from how Sam Heughan hasn't eaten a cupcake in 2 years to why we would totally go to Comic Con if it weren't for all the lines and people bumping into each other, Jamaica, Sam's new gym, and much more.

So hit the jump to get up to date on all the latest Outlander news!


An Outlander Wrap-up: Sun, Sweat & Scots Weather in Cape Town

Written by: Jayne Coleman

The Outlander  cast and crew have had a busy start to their South African stay. After the Scottish cold, wet and grey days, they’ve had to adjust to bright, sunny and very hot days. Gin and tonics have helped keep them cool, along with sunglasses and SPF factor 50 sunscreen protection.

So what exactly have they been doing? And where? Most of their time has obviously been spent at the studios preparing to start filming. Thanks to Matt B. Roberts and Maril Davis, we’ve been kept in the loop and have a few pics to give us a feel. In case you haven't been able to keep up, here's a quick round-up of what our favorite Outlanders have been up to when they're not hard at work on season 3.


The Five Stages of Droughtlander Grief

Written by: Nikki Gastineau

I’m not a therapist. I thought it would be helpful to get that out in the open right now so that you can take everything that follows with a grain of salt or an excellent single malt whisky. Hey, I’m not here to judge how you process your information.

With the recent announcement that Outlander  will premiere in September we’ve all been in various states of...er...well something. The reactions have run the spectrum from understanding ("I’ll just be happy to have a quality show whenever it airs") to hostile ("What the hell is Starz doing?!") and everything in between. 

I thought it might be helpful for us all to think of this recent announcement and its aftermath in terms of the stages of grief that we’ve all come to know. I know that many professionals take issue with these stages because they make people feel that grief is a linear process but, like I said earlier, I’m not a therapist. I’m just trying to bring a little levity to these dark days of #Droughtlander by discussing grief. Trust me. It’ll be fun.


Outlander, Catriona Balfe & Emerald City Comicon — A Fan's Revealing Journey

Written by: Erika Schmale, Guest Contributor

Attending a Comic Con is not something I thought I would EVER do. For one, I’m borderline claustrophobic and panic at the mere thought of crowds and lines. When “forced” to be part of either, I tend to get anxious and dizzy, my hands get sweaty and I feel light-headed. If it becomes too much, I emotionally turn in and shut down. Additionally, I am not very creative when it comes to costumes, and I don’t really enjoy standing out in that way. Most of all, there is nothing that I am that passionate about that I would want or be willing to commit the time, money or effort that is required for a Comic Con. But, this was before Outlander  came into my life...


Outlander Cast Blog Scoop: Sam Heughan's arrival in South Africa

Written by: Jayne Coleman and guest contributor Maralyn Goldsmith

We have a saying in South Africa — ‘n Boer maak ‘n plan — i.e., a farmer makes a plan. Well, two South African Sassenachs did just that to scoop Sam Heughan’s arrival at the Cape Town airport.

We Facebooked, tweeted and watched the Emerald City ComiCon panel with Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, listening super-carefully for any small hint we could use to make a plan. I checked airline departures, arrivals, travel times. We worked out when Sam might be arriving in Cape Town — sometime Monday morning, between 11 and 3, we thought. Maralyn was the Outlander Cast Clan Gathering member on the spot and she was super excited to see if we could make this plan come together. And we DID! Hannibal of The A Team would be proud of us. Here’s more about our sleuthing...


Fanwoman Without a Show: Living through Droughtlander AGAIN!

Written by: Teddie Potter

Without revealing one smidgen of partisan detail, I will simply say that these past few months in the U.S. have been supremely distracting. After getting sucked into the quicksand of current events, I needed a break and I needed it bad. I needed the kind of distraction that could literally take me away to a different time and a different place. I needed — you know where this is going, friends — OUTLANDER — and I needed it now! It was time for an Outlander Starz redux — again.

In my world of WithOutlander, any official re-watch worth its whisky always begins with season 1. Season 1 isn’t “old news;” for Outlander fans, it’s THE news — at least it is at my house. My focus on S1 mirrors my Outlander book-reading style; despite having read the entire series of novels and all of the offshoots and novellas, I always go back to the beginning. An Outlander reread is a sacred undertaking; it’s a gift I give to myself. Whether I’m reading, listening, or now, gloriously viewing Outlander on screen, starting all over again is like what Madonna sang: I'm touched for the very first time.

So, without further ado, here are my observations from my most recent rewatch. Let's see if anything rings true with you.

Outlander From Book to Screen: Favorite Lines of Love

Written by: Nikki Gastineau

I love love. There I said it. When I was younger, I was in love with the fairy tale kind of love; the kind where the prince swoops in at the last second to save the day, kiss the princess, and carry her away to their happily ever after. What my naive self did not realize at the time is that we never got to see the “happily ever after” and if we had, it probably wouldn’t have been quite so happy. Would the sequel to Cinderella have included a scene where Cindy throws a plate at Charming’s head? I’d like to think so because, let’s be honest, even Prince Charmings can be total jerk-faces sometimes.

With some age and a great deal of life experience I find that my love of love has moved beyond princes and fairy tales to well, everything. I love music for the way it makes me feel. I love places for the inspiration that they stir in my soul. I love people for the varied experiences that they have brought to my life. I love books for their ability to transport me to different places and times. And yes, I still love love but it’s a different kind of story that I seek out now. I love to read about hearts that are covered in scars, yet still beat furiously. I love to read about lovers who survived the storm because they held fast to each other. You know where I’m headed with this right?

Outlander, at first blush, seems like a fairy tale with a handsome young warrior saving his fair maiden but it’s so much more. It’s about love of place, love of a moment, love with battered and bruised hearts, selfless love, selfish love, and everything in between. For those of you who have only watched the show, you’ve seen many of these things on screen. However, there are a few moments from the books that made big impressions on my soft heart. Here are some of my favorites.

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