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?

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