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.


Denial and isolation

When the announcement was made, I could almost feel the collective day-long “Nooooooo!!!” as the news rippled its way through the time zones. It couldn’t be possible. But just as Claire tried to convince herself that she had stumbled onto a film set after falling through the stones, we all knew that this was real when the British fired live rounds at us. No wait, that was Claire. We knew it was real when, let’s be honest, we knew it was real from the beginning because the news came directly from Starz. It was just hard to wrap our Obsessanach heads around it.

Unable to deny the news, you might have attempted isolation. I can do this, you thought to yourself. I’ll just watch both seasons (again). I’ll read the books (again). And then a week later, you look up and there’s a family staring back at at you. The neglect is starting to show on their faces. Your child hasn’t showered in five days because she hates showers and she only takes them because you are the one who forces her into that torture chamber where the fire water pours onto her head and the strange hair potions cause her eyes to burn, which is just further proof that this is torture (true story). They’ve clearly been eating something because there are traces of it crusted on the kitchen counters, the sink, and their faces.* For the good of your family, you reach deep down inside yourself and rejoin them in their world. You feed them, you force the child into the torture chamber, you clean up whatever that is on the counter and you ask yourself what became of the cat you adopted a few weeks ago. 

Flashlight in hand, you set off to find her. “It is what it is” you whisper to yourself but you don’t have to like it and you don’t have to be happy about it. Moved by the determined look on your face, your child thanks you for launching this feline search and rescue mission. Bless her heart, she thinks this is about the cat. Welcome, my friend, to anger.


Anger (followed closely by Bargaining)

Oh, you’re angry alright, but at whom and why? It’s because you knew, you could feel it deep in your mildly arthritic bones, that Outlander  would be coming back in April. Even our wonderful writer Holly Richter-White, using her intuition and following bread crumbs dropped by the production crew, speculated on an April premiere with the possibility of a split season. So, you went looking for answers and, after finding none, you blindly lashed out at the ones who have shown you the most love – poor Matthew B. Roberts. The wonderful show writer and executive producer, along with Maril Davis, took a beating in those days, but why? They are the ones working hard to give us the thing we love. They are the benevolent souls providing us with whatever sneak peaks they can. The real beef, you say to yourself, is with Starz. They should have just said something, anything really. They knew we were waiting on them. Could it be that they don’t care?

Months ago, when faced with the prospect of a split season, you railed at the notion. No, I couldn’t possibly wait for the season to begin and then wait again for the second half. It sounded like torture. But now it sounds like the perfect solution. Give me a peek, a few episodes at least, and then I’ll wait patiently while you give me the second part of the season. I promise! The groveling, it’s so uncharacteristically you that you wonder what the hell happened to the tough outer shell of yourself that usually dismisses these sorts of emotional onslaughts as the stuff of childhood and Legwhore (thanks for that one, Teddie Potter). The recognition of this weakness only makes you angrier.


Reminding yourself that the fury of a woman scorned pales in comparison to the fury of a woman waiting on Season 3 of Outlander, you decide to take this up with the person who can do something about it. You will lay your vengeance at the feet of Chris Albrecht, President and CEO of Starz. You fantasize about walking up to his door with 1.7 million women (and approximately 50 men) in tow and demanding answers – salve for your Droughtlander wounds. And then into the misty montage of your fantasy (think Prestonpans) steps the rational you, dressed for the office and wearing sensible shoes, and reminds you that even if you could round up the people and get them to corporate headquarters, you’ve got a meeting at 3:30 and the child has violin practice at 5:30. Forced to listen to the rational side of yourself, you sigh and realize that there is not much to be done here. Your anger, while righteous and probably justified, has no outlet. Your only choice is to wait. And that is when you realize that you have slipped into depression. 

Depression

That evening you contemplate another season 1 re-watch, but your heart just isn’t in it. At this point, you can recite practically every single line of dialogue along with the characters, including Frank, and you don’t even like Frank! What is it about him anyway and why do you hate the guy who desperately searched for his missing wife and then raised a child who was fathered by another man? In most stories, he would be the hero. Then you realize it’s because he reminds you of your ex-husband (minus the kick-ass fedora) and you make a note to write a blog post about that one day, but not today. 

You sit staring at the bookshelf and briefly contemplate reading a book not written by Diana Gabaldon and then you laugh. Do people actually do that? You know you need to wean yourself from Outlander  but it seems ill-advised to embark on that kind of journey today. You recall the food-esque substance on the counter and shudder. You remind yourself that no matter where you go from here, you must not neglect them again...well...at least not that much.

As the options for the evening scroll through your tired mind, you take notice of something on the TV stand – a trail of tiny paw prints left in the accumulating dust. The cat might be reclusive but at least she’s not dead (another true story). That seems worthy of a celebration.


Acceptance 

So you pick up the remote, navigate to “Sassenach”, and hit the play button. Because, no matter how gutted you feel, hearing Jamie ask Claire if she wants him to throw her over his shoulder will always make you smile and go all funny inside.

In addition to "accepting" the current situation, I thought I might also do some confessing. This is my first Droughtlander. I only found the show in April 2016 and I watched season 1 and season 2 so quickly that I was caught up by the time of the finale in July. Since that time, I've also read the first five books, bought more than one shawl, made a couple of converts, and found some incredible Outlander  communities.

That's the thing about Outlander.  It grabs hold of you and sends you in search of others with whom you can share your experiences. And you folks, every last one of you, welcomed me into this community and you've been nothing but lovely about it. It's not just me though. I see you do it every single day when a new member gets added. This is a place where people want to be; a place where we can all gather and share moments that made us laugh, cry, or just wonder a little bit. If I have to wait six more months to see my favorite television show come alive, then there's no group I would rather do it with. You are the best.


We all know that cat and dog ages are sometimes measured in human years. I think there should be similar math for Droughtlander. As a starting point, I’ll suggest that one month of Droughtlander is equivalent to six months of normal time. Feel free to disagree or suggest your own calculation.

While you’re crunching the numbers, I’ll just wait here and attempt to work through my hatred of Frank. Oh September, please come quickly!

*No family members or cats were harmed in the creation of this post.


Are you suffering through Droughtlander too? 
What are you watching or reading while you wait for season 3?




53 comments

  1. Delightful post....so funny AND so true!! We will all continue to suffer together and rewatch our favorite episodes of season 1 and 2 again and again.

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    1. Thanks Wendy! You're right, we'll continue to watch them. Do you have a favorite episode?

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  2. I literally LOL reading your blog .So funny,and reads like a conversation. What a wonderful talent you have .

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    1. Thank you so much! I let my daughter read the bits about the shower and the cat and I assure you that she does not share you amusement. :)

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  3. Hi...I have a question:i'm french and a big fan of Outlander of course,waiting desperatly for season 3 but i don't know what Droughtlander means?Can you explain please?
    I tried to googled it but found Nothing!!!
    help please

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    1. Hi, "Droughtlander" is the dry spell between past and future seasons of the show.

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  4. I'm pleased that Starz is airing all 29 episodes of Outlander over the next six months. We are currently in week three so Monday and Friday nights are a new reason to be excited. It's living the dream over again and I plan on focusing on each episode and less on Droughtlander. Hopefully, it will help the time pass by quickly. Slainte mhath!

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    1. I thought about jumping into the Starz re-watch but haven't yet. Does it give a different feel to the experience knowing that you have a dedicated day and time to watch? I'm guessing that the answer is yes!

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  5. You totally NAILED it!!! Especially the part about debating watching Season 1 again. Fortunately my kids are gone, so they are not suffering from lack of food or rides to events. Also the part about contemplating reading books by other writers. I got a new series by someone else from the library and still haven't started it. I kind of feel like I am being unfaithful! Do you think anyone else feels that way? Then, there is the social media stalking (ok, I will admit that even though it is embarrassing) and the photo of Sam as my phone's screen saver.
    So, can't wait til September. Until then, I am reading the books for the third time. Thanks for the wonderful post!

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    1. Roann, For a change of pace you should listen to the books on audible. The narrator, Davina Porter, truly brings the characters to life. Not better than the written words of Diana, but a great listen while taking a walk or cleaning the house.

      Regards,



      Davina Porter

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    2. I was going to suggest the same thing. I listen to them over and over... it's a whole new experience.

      If you really are DP, PLEASE don't take this the wrong way, but I love to listen before falling asleep. Your reading voice is soothing and everyone deserves a bedtime story. You and Jim Dale's Harry Potter are the only books I do this with.

      Also, Roann, if you haven't read the Lord John books, they are wonderful also (if you like his character; if you are uncomfortable with him, give it a pass). I am currently listenting to The Scottish Prisoner in my car and am having difficulty with the reader that does Jamaie's PoV because I'm so used to Davina's 'Jamie voice'.

      Lisa

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    3. I feel the same way...looking on my FB Outlander pages for new things to read about with show. And Twitter...it is a sickness...lol

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  6. HAHA very entertaining post. Loved it. I'm in the same position as you...Started to realize Outlander last April and quickly caught up and then realized oh, what? there are books too?? So I quickly read book 1 and 2 so I could figure out the heck was going on in Season 2. I so enjoyed the first season, season two was so different.

    But, the books, oh the wonderful books, I read all the way up through the 5th book too. One per month till the holidays came along and I decided much like you did here my family, home,holidays needed the attention so I took at break thinking April was just around the corner. Sadly, that is not the case. So I guess it's on to book 6 and my family, cats, and other responsibilities will just have to wait :)

    I love that I can come here to people who understands my dilemma and obsession with Outlander and my grief in waiting another 6 months. Sigh. :) Meanwhile, I will continue to read these funny posts. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks Renee! You pretty much described my entire Outlander experience thus far. It's good to know that we're in great company right?!

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  7. Omg, you really made me laugh out loud!! I'm into the books for the second time, surprisingly, since I was 'there' when the first series aired on Amazon Prime and so went through Droughtlander awaiting the arrival of series 2. I've tried other books/other series...''tis true! But none stand up to the masterfully creative writing of Ms Gabaldon that (I'm ashamed to say, since I'm Scottish)have educated me, somewhat, to the history of the times she writes about! Oh my, she does her research so well!! And as for series, well, my Droughtlander-victim daughter announced 'Pretty Little Liars' was 'really good' (pfffffffft) so I let it ensnare me in its drivel for a whole seven series! Same with 'Vampire Diaries' (I have to admit to a wee crush on 'Damon' which was enough to keep me watching- oh Lordy!
    "Droughtlander" is real, folks. Six more months till series 3?!?! NOOOOOOOO
    Thanks for your entertaining post....distraction from Droughtlander is always welcome :)

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    1. You're right on with the research. I love the love (who doesn't?) but I also love the amazingly detailed snapshot of a history that I knew nothing about 11 months ago. As far as substitutes go, it's hard to find something to top Outlander. I think I've almost got my guy hooked on Black Sails so I'm hoping to ride that wave into September.

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  8. Awesome piece! Well-written, extremely entertaining, & Oh. So. True! Thanks for the giggles 😅

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    1. Glad to know to know that it brought some levity to your day!

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  9. Wonderful article! You write the way I think, so it was a very entertaining diversion to see what so many of us are feeling related in such a manner.. Laugh out loud funny - especially the part about the British bullets whizzing past heads! Thanks verra much for the giggles...

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    1. Thanks, but I am a bit worried about you if we think the same way. I was hoping there was only one of me running loose!

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  10. Wonderful article! You write the way I think, so it was a very entertaining diversion to see what so many of us are feeling related in such a manner.. Laugh out loud funny - especially the part about the British bullets whizzing past heads! Thanks verra much for the giggles...

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  11. So funny! Since you asked...I'm rereading Voyager, since Season 3 is based on it. I also have the Starz app through Roku, so I can rewatch any episode at any time. Fortunately, there isn't much time to worry about that because I'm a Forensic Chemistry student. I love that Herself was a Research Science Professor. For me, the attention to detail shows in her writing, and we scientists love our details! Well, I took a break from studying, so I'd better get back to work. Spring break is only a few more days away...Be well, my fellow Sassenachs!

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    1. I do my re-watches through the Starz app too. Do you have different episodes for different moods? Some days I'm feeling sorta fierce so I'll watch Prestonpans and some days I feel kinda sad so I'll watch Faith to flush out the ol' tear ducts. Good luck on the studies and have fun on Spring Break!

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  12. So funny! Since you asked...I'm rereading Voyager, since Season 3 is based on it. I also have the Starz app through Roku, so I can rewatch any episode at any time. Fortunately, there isn't much time to worry about that because I'm a Forensic Chemistry student. I love that Herself was a Research Science Professor. For me, the attention to detail shows in her writing, and we scientists love our details! Well, I took a break from studying, so I'd better get back to work. Spring break is only a few more days away...Be well, my fellow Sassenachs!

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  13. It's really frustrating that when I think that by the time the print shop scene rolls around I will be into all things pumpkin spice and working on my Christmas shopping list!! Aarrgh! And currently Im lamenting the most recent snowstorm. Now THAT has put me in a tailspin!!!

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    1. Ruth want to know what's more frustrating than that? This time next year we'll be in the middle of another Droughtlander. I'm sorry. That was terrible! :):):):) Stay warm and keep dreaming of the print shop!

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  14. Truly !! Also, I enjoy watching Cats and Kilts recaps again after I re-re-re-re watch from the beginning on Starz. Balm for what ails a Droughtlander-er! Whatever gets you (us) through the night!

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    1. Thanks for turning me on to Cats and Kilts!

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  15. I've read all the replies and guess what?....Agree and relate to everyone of them! Outlander fan's are so united in thoughts,feelings and the total obsession with everything related to it.I don't think this kind of phenomenon has happened with any other novels or TV series. I've recruited around 15 people so far but still feel the need to get others on board, because quite frankly,those who don't read or watch don't know what they're missing!!!! Getting through #DROUGHTLANDER for me is making sure I watch at least 1 ep from S1 or S2 daily and reading anything I see on twitter,Facebook or any other source I can glean information from.Thanks for this fantastic article,I certainly know I'm not going through this alone👍👍and I'm grateful for the Fandom which in my opinion is # simply the best 💖

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    1. Susan, I've truly never been part of a fandom before. I just never liked anything THIS much. Having said that, it's difficult for me to imagine that there better ones out there. We kinda rock don't we?!

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  16. Well now I Know I'm not suffering alone �� great post...
    I'm doing Yoga again and trying meditation (the latter does not quite work for me) ... But as they say: "One day at a time"...

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    1. You're in great company here Chio! My body insists that it is not compatible with yoga but I wish you all the best in YOUR practice.

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  17. I am like you in that I only discovered Outlander relatively recently. Thank goodness Starz made season 1 available to non-subscribers in the week or so before season two premiered! We don't even have Starz so I had to wait the WHOLE WAY through season two and then for the disc to come out in November 2016. Talk about Droughtlander!

    Meantime. I feed my JAMMF needs by rewatching season one (I think I've seen Sassenach 20 times now - just can't seem to get enough of drenched and injured Jamie and completely confused Claire. Been known to skip the first 40 minutes of Frank, though. No offense to Tobias Menzies. He's wonderful and charming. But Frank said just not Jamie!). I also have listened to the first 5 books on Audible (no joy in reading here). And occasionally, I force my own daughter into the watery torture chamber and feed the cats and make some food.

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    1. Haha Rohna! I do the exact same thing with the first episode. Teddie Potter ALMOST convinced me to watch it without hitting fast forward (http://outlandercastblog.blogspot.com/2017/03/fanwoman-without-show-living-through.html) but I'm not there yet.

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  18. Dear Nikkie ... Well girlfriend I have just laughed and laughed out loud until I cried.. What a superb piece of writing... You are so brilliantly funny .. What a sense of humour!!! Can't express enough just how good a read that was... As I said laughed out loud til I had to wipe the tears from my eyes to keep reading more!!! Ah well how remarkable is it that 1.6 million woman are besotted with a fictional sexy man like Jamie Fraser who was imagined and written into being by a remarkable ( and obviously sexy lady called DG)... But of course it is that gorgeous man called Sam who has really brought Jamie to life! Plus Caitriona and Tobias in their wonderful roles! Could not imagine for one instance any other actor playing their parts!!! Only saw Outlander for the first time 6 weeks ago have already watched both seasons and now reading Voyager!!! Role on September please!!!!

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    1. You made my day Delohrey!! Glad you enjoyed the read. I love that you've already watched both seasons. Enjoy Voyager...it's my favorite.

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  19. Love it!!! Doing the same, thinking the same, re-reading and watching the same....but here's what I'm going to do.....go to Scotland in June and lay my eyes on Castle Leoch, Inverness, Edinburgh,just to
    mention a few and breathe it all in. Smell the forests, glens, munros and lochs;Edinburgh, Inverness, Loch Rannoch, and everything. And when I get back...I want to see Season 3 promotions happening....all over the place. Now when I put an Outlander DVD in the player...it spits it out and says "your viewing of this episode has reached it's maximum viewing pleasure".

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    1. Craig na Dun is so special; the cast still talks about it and that's why I insisted on going there. Be sure to go to Glasgow Cathedral too; it's where "Faith" was filmed. Since I was in Scotland in October and went to some of the filming sites, those episodes are more realistic to me. You will love Scotland!

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    2. Good for you Mary! I'm the tiniest bit jealous of you. Best wishes for you amazing travels. Please share pics when you return!!!!

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  20. I absolutely loved your blog! You said pretty much everything I've been thinking although gathering millions of Sassenachsome and descending on the headquarters of Starz is brilliant! However, I think Starz is trying to pacify us by showing every episode of S1 and S2; I live for Friday nights now Although I am reading books by other favorite authorestaurant of mine, I need my daily Jamie and Claire fix!

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  21. Hahaha! Especially enjoyed the cartoons. My family humors me...they let me pick Scotland for the annual vacation this July. Historical fiction bores my daughter...she assures me if Claire had traveled to the future, she would share my passion. Whenever she sees me reading my iPad, she asks with a grin, "So how's that Outlander article?". I have other interests...well, maybe just a few.

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    1. What a wonderful family you must have! I hope your travels are amazing. Share pics when you return! My daughter doesn't even ask anymore...she just gives me the eye roll.

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  22. Hi Nikki,what a fun & also therapeutic post You have written,loved it,feeling the same as YOU,roll on September!

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  23. And I thought it was only me that was an over the top, obsessed Outlander Geek! So happy to know I'm normal and there are others out there like me...I've watched it 7 times, read the first 3 books, drink my tea each day in my Jamie mug, and have "Sassenach" on my car. Oh, and did I mention I'm going with my husband to Scotland this summer on an Outlander tour to see all my favorite Outlander sites!!
    I accidently came upon Outlander April, 2016 as I was perusing something to watch on cable and an ad for Outlander came on...I love historical fiction and any period series, so I as instantly intrigued. I watched Sassenach and was hooked. Binged watched the next 3 episodes.
    The only bit I don't like in Outlander ( and don't kill me), is BJR obsession with Jamie- if Diana wanted this storyline, I would've preferred BJR using Claire as his obsession focus to rattle Jamie's nerves, rather than Jamie himself. The Wentworth scenes were too much for me...ugh! :6
    Enough of that......onto happy thoughts....I rewatch Season 1 the most (I think I've watched it 7 times, know all the lines, and always pick up something new I hadn't before). I love Sassenach and the process she goes through figuring out what the heck just happened to her--trying to logically sort it out with the cinema film (haha!), meeting BJR for the first time, and the classic line of "on your feet soldier". Castle Leoch- Mrs. Fitz is a hoot and enjoyed the undressing/dressing of Claire and watching her transformation, and how quickly Claire was able to adapt pass off her bra as "French" as if that explains everything....;) Garrison Commander- love all of it, Esp the bit when she tries to reason her way out of marrying Jamie, because she surely can't be married to 2 people at the same time! The Wedding- yes, yes, and more yes. I think my favorite scene in Season 1, other than those mentioned, is her being kidnapped at the stones, her interrogation by BJR and almost getting away with her cover story..and Jamie's timely rescue, moving right into argument at the river, and the spanking scene (I got it the first time I watched it and didn't think it should be controversial). Oh and the glade. Almost forgot that one. When Jamie said, "now I know why the church calls it a sacrament..." fits of laughter!

    I've read up through book 3, I don't want to get too far ahead. I like to read, watch, then read the next book.....I have to say, I'm nervous for season 3.....I didn't care for Book 3 verra much. I'm hoping the show plays out better.....:/ Anyone else out there who didn't care for Voyageur?




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  24. Loved this Nikki! Too funny and so true :) I thought I had reached acceptance but I find myself slipping back into certain stages now and then, lol. With April fast approaching and Black Sails drawing to it's finally conclusion, I've slipped back into depression since instead of only a few weeks to go til Outlander I have to face the fact I've still got 5 mths to go. Boooooooooo!! :( Although it's only about 13 paydays til Outlander...for some reason that sounds better than months lol :)

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    1. Thirteen pay day til Outlander returns! That's hilarious! At this point, it's whatever gets us through sister.

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  25. Haha! Wonderful and true post. I feel the same as you. I discovered Outlander three months ago. First I watched the show and then I bought the books and I'm reading Voyager now. But I also discovered a group of fans in my country and participated in their meetings, something that I would never have thought to do !!! Outlander creates a world beyond books and it is the world of the fans!!!

    And of course, I know all the dialogues between Jamie and Claire of the series !!!Haha

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  27. I'm new to Outlander..I now wonder WHY OH WHY did I ever watch one show? I'm so obsessed now. Have watched season 1 & 2 twice already in 1 week..reading Voyager now(because I could NOT wait until Sept. to find out what happens next)..also have Drum of Autum already on my FIRE to read...I don't want to be without my Outlander now that I have it..it is truly a sickness. I have cried so much in the past week. Getting to know Jamie & Claire has been so involved. And so nerve racking. They get into more trouble then any characters I have EVER read about. My gosh. And they get separated all the time, which breaks my heart...dang this sucks...lol

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    1. Diana, want to know a secret? When I first started reading the books it was torture to go to sleep at night because I didn't want to leave Jamie and Claire in a "bad spot" which is hard to do because it seems like they are ALWAYS in the middle of a bad situation. When I did finally put the book down and go to sleep, I'd wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about what was going to happen next. So...I'm with ya girl...totally with ya. Stick around and we'll keep ya entertained until September and (hopefully) beyond!

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  28. Nikki, Thank you so much for the response. I'm getting a "handle" on my obsession( a little bit), it helps a lot to see others with the same love for Outlander. Trying to slow down on reading the books, to savor them until Sept. lol. Will be reading them over and over I'm sure.

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