Kilted Virgins Ho! Outlander Readalong Week 1

36

June 18, 2012 by Heidi

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon ReadalongOh hi there!  Remember last Friday when I said I’d be out till Wednesday?  Well, that’s still true.  I’m just popping in to talk a bit about Outlander and answer the questions from Week 1 of our Readalong.  If you’re not participating, or you have zero interest in Outlander, you can go ahead and scamper along now.  I won’t be insulted.  I’ll see you back later this week!  For those of you who are interested, here we go!

These questions were put forth from the ever awesome and lovely Jess of Gone With the Words:

1. Outlander is a well-known book. Before you cracked it open, what were your expectations or assumptions about this story? Or did you jump into it with a blank slate?

Before cracking it open, I knew a few things from hearsay:

  1. It involved time travel. For which I am a complete sucker. I read the author’s note at the beginning, wherein she said that the setting was partiality inspired by an old episode of Doctor Who–be still my heart!
  2. There would be kilted virgins. And gingers. And a bit of romance. Check, check, and check.
  3. It was a total chunkster. Luckily, you ladies spread this out for long enough that it’s not intimidating.

2. Claire’s husband, Frank, is fascinated with learning more and more facts about his family tree, which extends back pretty far. Do you or anyone in your family keep a family tree? How many years/generations back does it go? If not, have you ever considered or attempted to create one?

Honestly, I’ve never been overly interested in my family tree. In fact, I have a complicated enough immediate family history that I always dreaded the ‘family tree’ assignment in school, and distinctly remember weaseling my way out of it once or twice.  There is a family historian on my father’s side, but nobody otherwise off the top of my head.  We have been to visit my mother’s relatives in Norway, who still live in the village her grandmother came from.  Culturally, my family is probably more traditional than most.  We are German and Norwegian, but mostly Norwegian, and we keep many traditions of Norwegian Americans, particularly around the holidays.

My favorite family history story though is that telling how my father’s family came over from Germany over a hundred years ago.  My great great whatever grandfather was a barber.  One day, a nobleman came in for a shave and a hair cut, but refused to pay him two bits (or anything for that matter).  Thus, my forefather followed him to the local bar and started a bit of a fight.  He ended up killing the man, and had to flee the country or be thrown in jail.  This is how my family came to be situated on a farm in Eastern South Dakota, which is still in the family today.

3. How did you find Claire’s initial conclusion as to her surroundings after waking up from going through the stones? Did you think that was a reasonable conclusion?

I suppose it was? It does seem a bit silly to assume you’ve stumbled into the filming of a period piece, but it certainly is a more logical first conclusion that time travel.

4. How about her composed, rational way of dealing with the fact she’s traveled back in time. Did you find it believable? Do you think you would have acted the same way?

I like that it takes her a long time and a whole slough of evidence to really accept her predicament.  I also liked that when it did finally sink in, and it occurred to her that she was now separated from Frank that she broke down.  But then after that initial break down she seems just fine and dandy and accepting of it all.  I don’t think it’d be a switch like that.

5. At this point in the story, what are your feelings or expectations on Claire and Jamie? Is Frank still a factor for you?

I think Frank’s going to be a factor for me unless they kill his forefather thus rendering him unborn in the future.  The adultery aspect makes me really uncomfortable.  I realize that Claire and Frank don’t have the most solid relationship because of the war, and she did become worried that perhaps he was alluding to having been with other women during that time.  Also, perhaps she takes this conversation as a sort of permission to act on other emotions if/when they’re separated?  I knew going in that Jamie was ‘the guy’ of the book, but I didn’t go in knowing Claire was already married.  I suppose if you’re stuck back in time, it is a decent conclusion to say you’re a widow, but it’s still awfully weird.  I feel like she accepts it all so quickly, and is less determined to make it back than I would expect.

Bonus Question: Frank encounters a man outside of the inn where he and Claire are staying. He is afraid it might have been a ghost. What do you believe it was? Do you have any predictions or suspicions on what that was about?

I assumed at the time that it was Jamie.  I still am more or less assuming that, but I’m really unsure of all the mechanics.  Unless it was like a descendant of Claire and Jamie…but that makes less sense with the whole ‘disappearing’ thing he supposedly did.  We shall see!

Okay, that’s it for me this week! Crazy busy till Wednesday, so sorry if I don’t get to everyone else’s posts before then. I will get there!  Cheers, I hope you’re all loving Outlander, I certainly am.  I know many of you have been unable to put it down and blazed on ahead. I swear now if you spoil it for me, I will cut you.  Just kidding…kind of…maybe…

Outlander Readalong

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36 comments »

  1. Love the post title ;)

    I don’t like time travel in books. BUT! This book is different. I will shut up about it now since I cheated and read the whole dang thing already.

    I had no idea about the virgin thing…of course I new about kilts :) The virgin thing was complete shocker to me to be honest. I’m going to shut up though so I don’t spoil too much for anyone else who hasn’t read it.

    What a great family story!!! I doubt I have nothing that cool in my family tree…#jealous

    • Heidi says:

      Haha, the virgin thing I’m not even completely clued in on yet, because I’m not there yet! I only know from people who have already read the whole book alluding to things. Of COURSE you cheated and read the whole thing already. :P

      I’ve been pretty impressed with my ability thus far NOT to read ahead to be honest. I love that family story, it’s the only really cool and unique one from my past that’s always stuck with me.

  2. I agree. I’m not crazy about the fact that she is already married either. If I got transported back in time, I would be trying to get BACK to my hubby, not cheat on him. But I’ve got a pretty awesome guy, Frank is kinda of a jerk. But still no reason to betray him!

    • Heidi says:

      Agreed! Like, Frank isn’t PERFECT, but he’s certainly not horrible. I’ve been pretty shocked that she doesn’t seem more intent on getting back to him. If that wasn’t going to be a big part of conflict in the story, why make it a plot point at all?

  3. Bahaha, your great whatever grandfather was a murderous barber!! That’s priceless family history! I wish we had history like that. I think on my mother’s side we can be traced back to a family of Quakers. Peaceful, non-violent Quakers.

    Boo.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying this Heidi. If the adultery issue is still heavy in your thoughts by the end of this book, there’s a hilarious review that you will need to read. (You aren’t the only one who feels that way!)

    Love that you titled this “Kilted Virgins, ho!” I LOL’ed forever about it. But more importantly, is my favorite kilted man still a virgin?

    • Heidi says:

      Yeah, it’s somewhat sad that I’m incredibly proud about my murderous barber forefather, but it is kind of awesome.

      Boo Quakers…maybe they were some of those that spoke for abolition and helped with the underground railroad to free slaves? That’s what I’d tell myself if I were you anyway. :P

      I will ask for said review for sure! We’ll see how I feel by the end. I just don’t know why it was necessary to make her married in the first place! I don’t find that kind of forbidden love hot, isn’t the English/Scottish tension enough?! Geeze.

      Your favorite kilted man is, alas, still a virgin. I haven’t had opportunity to read any past the first 100 pages or so yet this week, and will probably get the next 100 read this weekend so…we shall see!

  4. Whoa…I feel like your ancestor’s story would be an awesome jumping off point for a historical fiction/romance novel? Dumas meets Willa Cather meets Gabaldon?? You should totally write that. :)

    The adultery thing was definitely a problem for me the first time I read Outlander. I think Gabaldon included that conversation about their behavior during the war as a way to offer permission, but it certainly isn’t a good excuse. Of course, I think Frank is kind of a drip anyway, but that’s just my opinion.

    Glad to hear you’re liking the book – I hope you enjoy the rest of it!

    • Heidi says:

      Frank IS kind of a drip, lol. I’m waiting to see how everything plays out before I stick my feet in the sand too much, particularly since I already like Jamie substantially more than Frank.

      And you’re right, I SHOULD write that book. :P

  5. Book Nympho says:

    What a cool family story! I’m trying to trace my ancestors but haven’t come across anything like that! I also thought it took her a long time to figure it out…but coming from the 1940s, she probably wouldn’t have assumed time travel like someone nowadays might.

    I too am a bit put off by the adultery. I read one review that said, well, technically Frank hasn’t been born yet, so she’s not really married in this time. But, she’s not living in that time, she just travelled there, and in her mind and heart, she’s still married, despite any strain they have in their relationship. I understand that characters are flawed and all that. Just because I wouldn’t do that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be able to understand their motivations. So I hope it’s presented in a mature way and adds to Claire’s character development.

    • Heidi says:

      I think you put it pretty perfectly! I agree, I’m just waiting to see how it ends up presented, and I’m hoping if it’s done right I won’t be so bothered by the whole thing in the end.

  6. Ummmmmmm Sweeney Todd…? Kinda love it. Also pretty cool you still have that farm! I am agreeing (per usual) on all parts of your answers except Frank. I might be a terrible person or perhaps I am just blocking Frank out of my head like most of my childhood :] either way: Jamie, Jamie, Jamie!

    • Heidi says:

      Hahahaha, I’m not saying I like Frank better than Jamie, I don’t! I’m just like…well…you DID marry the dude. Just goes to show war isn’t a good excuse to hop into the wedding chapel, but I suppose you can’t blame those crazy kids in the 40′s.

      And YES, very Sweeney Todd, kinda love it and may have to put that movie on in the background this afternoon especially since my father just told that story again last night at dinner, and C has never seen that movie. :P

      I was also just informed that I’m officially inheriting a chunk of that farm and appointed to a board with 2 of my cousins to manage it. o.O

  7. Your family history sounds fantastic. I know that tracing back doesn’t appeal to everyone but little tidbits are still fun to know :)

    I am really interested in seeing how you handle the Jamie/Claire/Frank thing as the story goes on!

    Kilted Virgins are the BEST!

    • Heidi says:

      I agree! As someone with an archaeology degree, I realize more than many I think that the vast majority of combing through the past is incredibly boring. It’s those fantastic bits that make it all worth it though. :P

      I’m interested to see how I handle the future of the story too! Now that I haven’t been in it for a couple of days, maybe I’ll be able to forget Frank ever existed.

  8. bookgoonie says:

    I’m wondering if she is going to make it back to the portal or if anything would even happen. What’s Frank up to?

    • Heidi says:

      Yeah, I’m curious too! Does she go back to the ‘present’ at the end of the book, or is she still back in the 18th century? I know there are sequels, but I’m not familiar enough with the story to know what to expect. Time travel’s always hard because I wonder if time is passing without her in the future? Does Frank notice she’s gone? I WANT TO KNOW! :P

  9. Wow, for someone not interested in their family you sure know a lot and have some cool stories to tell!

    You know one thing that has kind of surprised me is that I expected Jamie to be sort of the archetypal Scottish Rogue. But he’s really not. He’s actually pretty darn sweet and not a big man whore AT ALL:)

    I’m suspending disbelief w/ much of this book so the whole adultery thing isn’t such an issue for me. Actually I had to read ahead because I was more than ready to get to the GOOD stuff:) And I am not spoiling anything for you girl, because you are kinda scary with the whole “I will cut you” remark…:))

    Hey, I hope you are enjoying your break! It’s good to take a breather. Everyone has to recharge their batteries!

    • Heidi says:

      Hahaha, you’re right about me and my family history. Maybe I was never that concerned about it because so much of it was pretty much known?

      You make SUCH a great point about Jamie! He’s not the stereotype I expected at all, and I kind of love that. Sorry to be scary, I recently had the end of a series spoiled for me so I’m more bitter than usual about such things. :P

      The break was MUCH enjoyed, all recharged and happy to be back now!

  10. Anne says:

    Where is this authors note???? WHY DOESN’T MY COPY HAVE IT!!!! grrrrr *goes hunting for a better copy of the book*

    Stories like your one about your murderous great-whatever grandfather is exactly why I find family history so interesting! One of my friends in high school was descended from a pirate! How cool is that?! But, I imagine if you have a really complex immediate family that makes the whole thing a lot harder, so I can understand why you don’t get into it.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I really must find that author’s note with the mention of Doctor Who.

    • Heidi says:

      Haha, it’s in the front of the 20th Anniversary Edition (the one pictured in this post)! It was a cute little note about how she set out to write historical fiction thinking it would be ‘easy’, but how Claire just refused to be from the past, and so she made it time travel as well.

      Descended from a pirate is awesome! Those are the things that make family history fantastic. But yes, my complicated family often makes it a headaches too. :P

  11. Haha! I have to agree–when I saw kilted virgins and gingers, I was sold! :)

  12. suecccp says:

    One thing that hasn’t been included in the book is that the potential for losing your partner during the war made people view marriage a little differently. I agree with you that I hate to read about infidelity, but bereavement was such a constant threat that people were prepared for it much more than they are today. This might sound a bit odd, but I’m sure it has a role to play in Claire’s pragmatic approach to her situation.

    • Heidi says:

      Oh I’m certain that that had a large role in it. People were much more accustomed to losing their partners, and even somewhat expectant of it. They got married much faster than they might have otherwise with the whole ‘this may be the only time we have’ mentality. I think that you’re right, and her pragmatism is certainly a result of the culture she’s used to. I was aware of that, but hand’t really thought of it much either–glad you pointed it out!

  13. Aw! I didn’t realize how much Claire being married bothered you. :( I hope it doesn’t affect you too much more. Come to the dark side with us!! :D And a murdering barber granpa, ey?! How scandalous!!

    • Heidi says:

      Hehe, I’m determined to LET IT GO and enjoy Claire and Jamie! People have made some great points which have started to get me to think about it differently, so I’m sure I’ll be able to get over things and just enjoy.

  14. I tried to comment earlier but it wouldn’t let me. Oh! The comment was so long too. Hope it lets me now!

    The story of coming over from Germany: WINNER.

    I knew coming into it that Claire was married, and in real life I have feelings on adultery. But for some reason, I can read it in books and it doesn’t turn me off about the book like it does a ton of people. I hope this doesn’t make me sound awful. I kind of just read it and it’s there, ya know? So while I feel bad for poor Frank at this point, I’m more excited about Jamie. Because I’m thinking with Jamie –> there be GOOD STUFF.

    Honestly, I’m just excited to be finally reading it along with everyone. There’s no way I would’ve tackled it by myself with my crazy schedule and it is fun to talk about it with everyone. And without this readalong I would have never learned about the barber grandpa that fled here from Germany!

    • Heidi says:

      Haha, THE MORE YOU KNOW!

      Sorry your first comment didn’t work. Glad this one did, though!

      You’re not horrible, you’re totally right! I need to GET OVER the hangups I have in real life and not carry them into judging fictional characters because they are FICTIONAL. :P

      And yes, with Jamie there be good stuff indeed! I’m loving reading this along with everyone and having the opportunity to discuss it as well! I never would have picked it up on my own, but it’s wonderful so far.

  15. Ummmm Sweeney Todd?! I am so proud :] I am a terrible person but I am all JAMIE, JAMIE, JAMIE and kinda want Frank to just not exist. I think I might be a little more bothered if Jamie was like a “bad boy” and he took her away from Frank and if they had jumped right into it but really I am waiting impatiently for THE GOOD STUFF!! :D

  16. Gone Pecan says:

    i wasn’t bothered so much about Frank & the whole adultry aspect because she really didn’t have much of a choice, did she? at least, that’s the stand I would have taken had it been me. and i think the fact that Jamie was a virgin was my favorite part of the whole debacle. ~dixie

    • Heidi says:

      Eh, I just feel like she didn’t really try very hard to get back, but yes, if you’re stuck back in history, you may as well start a new life, because what other options do you have?

  17. I love the story of your great great (etc.) granddad! That’s so interesting! I also felt like the conversation between Frank and Claire seemed to serve as an ”out” for Claire or some kind of permission granting thing – especially when Frank says that if she did it wouldn’t matter. I do think the way Claire is forced to explore the adultery stuff, both now and in future books is interesting, but also uncomfortable at times. I hope it doesn’t ruin the book for you!

    • Heidi says:

      I don’t think it will ruin it at all! It did put a damper on my spirit a bit, but I’m interested in how everything works out and so excited about Jamie I’m sure that will outweigh any discomfort for me. =)

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