Some thoughts regarding Outlander …. .

It’s almost 4pm. As I write this, I have Queens Bohemian Rhapsody on repeat in my head. I guess that’s what I get for going on a Queen marathon on You Tube the other night- so, it’s my own fault. Not that I’m complaining. I love Queen.  If I were honest, there are far worse ear-worms to have – Baby Shark for instance?

 

You’re welcome.

 

I had no intention of writing a blog today. None.  For one, the weather is bloody awful. It’s cold, wet and miserable and two it’s a public holiday here in Victoria for the racing of the Melbourne Cup. A horse race that stops a nation for exactly three minutes. Happens every year in November. My Father and I place a $2 bet on the cup. We never win but its fun though.

 

The reason for this blog? I need to talk about Outlander – Episode 401. I have to. I need to talk about the episode, the reaction from fans and the social media melt down after it aired. I’ve watched it twice and if I were brutally honest … I’m still emotionally raw from watching the episode. Reading DOA is one thing… but watching it come to life on screen is an entirely different beast to be reckoned with.

 

I haven’t been part of the fandom for long. Only since last July. But in that time, I’ve read all the books and watched all 3 seasons several times over. I’ve made new friends, spoke to people all over the world across several social media platforms, had discussions relating to the books and TV series several times over, appreciated artwork, laughed my ass off at memes and sat on the fence regarding the subject of shipping.

 

I don’t ship. In saying that, I don’t discourage those that do either. I’m friends with a lot of them on socials. I’m also friends with a lot of non-shippers as well. To me, both sides have valid arguments, raise interesting discussion points, and I have an equal number of things I agree with and don’t agree with on both sides.  Each side has a line they do not cross, and I respect that.  Sure, watching them argue and bicker with each other annoys me, but I understand that’s what makes this fandom an incredibly passionate one and without it – there would be no TV show or books. Live and let live, I say.  We’re all here for the same reason, are we not?  Celebrate it in a way that works for you. Don’t rain on another’s parade just because what someone else is doing doesn’t work for you. Keep an open mind. Who knows? You might learn something. Both sides fascinate me, and I guess in that respect, it keeps me interested, entertained and invested in the fandom – which is why, over all, I love it so much.

 

I suppose I didn’t notice it at the beginning of Season 3. I was way too excited! I had only just discovered the show (and the books) and was hell bent on catching up on as much as possible before the Season went to air. To give you some idea, by the time Season 3 went to air I had binge-watched seasons 1 and 2 and has just started reading The Firey Cross. I’d also started following cast and crew on social and joined a dozen Outlander pages on FB. So, there was a lot going on to distract me from what I’ve been told is *The Usual* for Outlander.  The over whelming response from Fans at the beginning of a season.

 

Since Season 3 started in September last year, I’d only gone through *Droughtlander* for about 5 minutes compared to everyone else so I no idea what it was like.  When it ended in December last year, I commenced my first official Droughtlander. It’s a long wait. A very long wait. (What I did and got up to will be in another blog in coming weeks) You wait, and you wait, and you wait. Then, you hear the magic words “That’s the wrap!” and you start to get excited. Before you know it, season promotion starts. The conventions, the interviews, the official trailers get released, the whole shebang. It’s at this point I think, wires start to get crossed and people get confused.

 

“I don’t understand why such and such happened?!”

“I’m not watching anymore because it such and such part didn’t follow the books to the letter!”

“This is an outrage! Everything is wrong! How dare everything and everyone!”

 

*Enter producers /directors and show runners explaining and justifying their decisions about the show for 84 years after an episode airs*  – I don’t see why this is necessary. Particularly after everything has been explained to the best of their ability, so as to not give away spoilers, during the promotional period.

 

Take for example Season 4 Episode 1. America The Beautiful.

 

For me personally, it ticked all the right boxes and it covered the first few chapters of the book perfectly. It was intense, emotional, sad, bittersweet, tender, exciting and infuriating all at once.  I knew going in to watch it what to expect. I knew because I’d already read the book and had watched all the live panels, read the interviews and kept abreast of as much as possible in the lead up to November 4th. (November 5th in Australia) It was perfect. The attention to detail. The costumes. The sets. The dialogue verbatim – lifted straight off the pages of the book itself.

 

Stephen Bonnet (Played to perfection by the talented Ed Speleers) was every bit as to be expected. So much so and I loathe to say this – I hated him on sight and screamed abuse at my computer the second he appeared on screen. He is everything Bonnet is in the books and to that end I tip my hat to Ed. He’s a fantastic actor and a wonderful addition to the Outlander family.  With all the love in the world, I look forward to loathing Him this season (and future seasons if his schedule allows for it)

 

John bell gave a powerful performance as Ian discussing his treatment at the hands of Gellis Duncan (The Bakra) and I cried.  I cried when Hayes died. I cried when Jamie gave Claire the medicine box for their anniversary, “I’ve been married to ye for 24 years today, Sassenach. I hope I’ve nay given ye cause to regret it” *BRB -Sighing and crying 5-eva*

 

The last scene is what I want to talk about. The scene where the Frasers are attacked by Bonnet and his men.  Now, it’s this scene that was discussed at panels during the months of promotion. It’s a scene with very little dialogue. It’s violent. Throats are cut. People die.  The song of choice that was played over the top of this was a song by Ray Charles. It was this choice of song that seemed to turn the Outlander-verse on its head. Some thought it was insensitive. Some cried foul and said  Outlander had suddenly spun on a dime and gone all out political.  Others thought it weird because ‘why would a modern-day song be playing over a 18th Century scenario’ and others, like me thought it made such a pivotal moment of Claire losing her ring all the more powerful. In the books, it’s Franks ring that gets taken by Bonnet. The series decided to opt for Jamie’s ring – stating that it’s more recognisable to the audience. (There was more to it than that, I just can’t remember it right now) and it’s something that will make sense in an episode at a later date. Outlander is notorious for doing things like that.  Changing things, rearranging things, doing things just a little different to the books or even doing things that aren’t in the books at all. As a lover of both the books and the TV series, I love the fact that they have perfected the balance between keeping true to the books but changing things just enough to give the TV show a uniqueness all of its own.

 

But there it was. Jamie getting beaten to a bloody pulp, Ian fighting for his life and Claire, after trying to unsuccessfully swallow her rings in front of Bonnet, left in a distraught heap on the floor while Bonnet and his men get away with their gemstones and jewellery. It is one of the best scenes Outlander has ever produced and I hate them for it. I hate them for making me so angry I wanted to cry, scream and yell abuse.  I hate them for ripping my heart out and stomping it into a thousand pieces. I hate them for making me dream about it, for allowing it to wake me at 3:30am this morning – still fuming. Still furious at Stephen Bonnet for what he’d done.

 

I cannot wait till next week. I really can’t. One episode in and I know this is gonna be a cracker of a season. I cannot wait to see how this season is taken from the books and bought to life on TV.

 

What happens with Ian and Rollo. Roger and Bree. Jamie and Claire and the beginnings of their life on the ridge.

 

‘Lord, Outlander is a glorious thing – and God, I love it well!’

 

Thanks for reading,

 

CJ

 

 

All Things Vidcon, The Latest On Me, And How Outlander Changed My Life

It’s cold.

 

A Monteith’s Summer Ale sits virtually untouched by my side.

 

At this point in proceedings, the weather should be turning warmer in preparation for Spring but it seems to me that Mother nature has other ideas and now is quite content to sit on her laurels and watch us freeze to death and die.

 

Yay.

 

So, it’s been roughly three months since I last wrote anything. In fact, it’s been three months since I touched anything even remotely creative.

 

A simple explanation to this would be that laziness has played a huge part in my lack of creativity. That I haven’t been bothered or that I’ve found the whole thing just to hard and I’ve simply given up.

 

Moreover, I could blame the fact that my day job (Working 4 days a week in Customer service) has pretty much taken over my life and I find myself stuck in the soul destroying loop of ‘ You live to work – not work to live’ and while this may be true in part – its not entirely responsible for my falling off of the creativity wagon.

 

The last three months have not been great. While I don’t want to take you on a ride down the slippery slope to an all out pity party, I have to say that it’s been a struggle for me to remain upright and functioning, let alone spew gallons of creativity for the whole world to see.

 

Pain has played a huge factor in my inability to do anything. Since TMJ landed itself squarely in my lap (Or should I say Jaw) 18 months ago, my life has been nothing short of a pain extravaganza that streams throughout my body like a raver who’s dropped way to much acid at a club and is clearly enjoying themselves to much because somebody’s forgotten to switch off the strobe light.

Sometimes, it’ll be in my jaw. Others my neck, back and shoulders. More often than not though, it lives in my right knee. This pain is caused by the fact that the right hand side of my Jaw is out of alignment with the left side and it seems the bone is constantly pushing against the cluster of nerve endings in my face. Thus, whenever I move in any capacity, the nerve endings twitch and my body spasms – leaving me having to grip on to something less I lose my balance and fall over.

 

This is exhausting. The last 3 months have been physically exhausting. That is why I’ve stopped doing anything. That is why my creativity fell into a hole. I’m taking so many tablets for pain right now that sometimes I can barely see straight – and they’re just to get me to function of a morning and there are days where I can only just manage that.

 

Naturally, of course there are those who will be reading this and wonder where I get off by complaining. ‘ But look at all the free time you’ve got’ they say ‘ and look at the man you Married bending over backwards to make sure you don’t have to do anything!’

 

Yes. That is true. All of it is true. I have so much free fucking time that it should be illegal for me to have any. I have so much free time I could set up an E-bay store and give some to the highest bidder. I have so much free time I could step up and be the BONG noise for Big Ben while it’s under restorations for the next 4 years!

 

And yet, I cannot do a thing because everything hurts. Moving hurts. Walking hurts. Hurting is exhausting. Pain is exhausting. I’ve had one pain free day in 18 months. One. And that was just by pure chance.

 

You see, during the last 3 of these 18 months, I actually found someone that understood my condition, was impressed by how much I knew about it – (thanks to by own research) and has given me a way to fix things. In two weeks I am due to get a Jaw Splint. This, when worn correctly, is designed to help straighten the jaw and elevate the pain and stress caused by the condition. It’s to be worn at night and along with a series of stretches and jaw exercises, should see an improvement of things over 12 months.

 

Suffice to say, I remain hopeful.

 

 

Like I said, I don’t want to drag you into a pity party.. But seeing as we’re at the top of that slide, teetering on he edge of the abyss it’s best we stop now before it’s too late.

Or is it…

 

 

It’s all right. You can breathe. You can relax now. See? We didn’t teeter on the edge of the abyss for to long and now I’ve got you back on solid ground. You really do need to learn to trust me more.

Silly person.

 

Now, where was I?

 

Oh yes, swings and round –a-bouts. Right.

 

On a positive note, Vid Con Australia! Hooray! Vid Con Australia is happening in 12 days and I’m starting to get very, very excited. I’ve been lucky enough to attend a Creator Chat with HeyDamo! And, after watching some of his videos I actually cannot wait to meet Him. He seems like a pretty cool, awesome dude and I really do like his content.

 

As you can imagine, due to aforementioned situation, my You Tube channel has also suffered and has pretty much ground to a halt. So now I need to find out how to start it up again. I don’t mind it being a Vlogging channel. I like that format. Plus it also gives me an opportunity to promote this, my Blog, to the masses as I have only re, re, re discovered my love of writing. Like, since the beginning of this Blog, discovered.. Yes. Exactly.

 

Which brings us to this point.

 

During my creative absence I … discovered, and fell hopelessly in love with a series called Outlander.

 

Originally, a series of books written by Diana Gabaldon, it is now an incredibly popular TV series into its third season which is due to start in 14 days. (I’m not counting.. I’m not) and I am hooked. At time of writing this blog, I am currently reading book 5 “The Firey Cross” and have binge watched seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix.

 

While I don’t want to sound too much like “That Guy” the following paragraphs may make me sound exactly like “That Guy” and for that, I am so, profoundly sorry.

 

Outlander has done more for me than I thought possible. It’s made me develop a love of reading and has ignited my once dormant creative flame. It’s helped me stay sane while dealing with the last 3 months. With not only what I’ve already mentioned but also the death of my Uncle to Cancer, the loss of a friend to Suicide and another to a heart attack.

 

With Outlander I was able to lose myself in the world of Jamie and Claire Fraser and everything in it. I’ve laughed, I’ve gotten angry, I’ve worried and fretted over their struggles and I’ve cried. Dear God, I’ve cried. I don’t usually do emotions; they’re annoying and get in the way. That being said, this series has turned on an emotional tap that, for the moment, is refusing to turn off. It’s allowed me to open up and grieve for those I’ve lost in the guise of losing myself so completely in a story.

 

Not only that, Outlander has, not to put too finer point on it, done wonders for my Marriage. You remember how I said that I had that pain free day? I can assure you, dear reader, that it did not go to waste. Things have gotten better between my Husband and I in that regard and neither of us are complaining.

 

I’ve discovered an amazing group of people on line that not only love the books and the TV series but also the costumes and everything about the time period.

Initially, my Mother- In – Law thought that my Husband should watch it due to His family having Scottish connections (His Fathers side of the family) and jokingly said that I’d watch it “ due to the semi –naked Scotsman running around the highlands” and while, admittedly, there is some truth to that.. Because.. How can you not… I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with it. The TV series is beautifully shot and artistically brilliant and the costume and set design are amazing. My favourites are all from series 2. I’m excited to see what happens with Series 3 and, just quietly, having read the book, I’m more than just a little excited about it.

 

Then there is the Fan base. Oh My God. The Fans. I’ve never come across a more dedicated bunch of folks in my life. They’re always so positive, supportive and kind. They love the Cast and all involved in the show and tend to show it in abundance across all social media platforms.

 

And while you may snigger and think that I have completely lost my mind to yet another fad, since starting my Outlander journey I have lost 5.5 kilos. Granted, it’s not much, but it’s a start. I discovered that Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie Fraser on the show, runs a charity that promotes fitness, healthy eating and a better life style all while raising money for a cure for Cancer. While I haven’t officially signed up, I’ve been motived and inspired by Him to make changes for the better and so far, it’s paying off. At this point, I wonder if my #BeKind tee shirt will still fit me? If it does – Yay! If It doesn’t.. Well, I guess I’ll have no choice but to ask Him to sign it for me won’t I?

 

Yes, I know, wishful thinking on my part but hey.. A girl can dream, right?

 

But honestly, I wish I could thank them for getting me through these last few months. For keeping me sane when I thought I’d lost it completely. For making my Husband happy (In more ways than one) and for giving me something to keep me company when I thought I was entirely alone.

 

 

And it’s on that note, dear reader, that I leave this blog for now. My untouched Monteith’s Summer ale has now been touched to the point of becoming an empty bottle and now sits with the rest of the days recycling ready to be taken out at some point tomorrow afternoon. Also, it’s entirely possible that I may need to eat something.

Yeah, best go do that.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

CJ