Outlander-Season 3 Summary: Pay it Forward Blogathon

With a new year, you can expect new challenges.  As a blogger, my year started out with a FANtastic challenge. This year I have been offered the opportunity to write a post that “pays forward” The Twelve Days of  Christmas. The gifts given here is from the popular television series, Outlander, specifically Season 3. These gifts were given to fans of Outlander throughout this past year of 2017.

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The illustration of this Children’s book has a Scot theme with characters who remind me of Highlander Jamie Fraser with his wife, Claire.

Many people, including myself, believe that the true spirit of Christmas should not be celebrated once a year but everyday of the year.  So with that said, allow me to present to you, dear reader, with The Twelve Days of Outlander. I begin this post by highlighting “some” of Season 3’s main events.  It would be impossible to include everything in this post from Season 3; since, there is an over abundance of memorable scenes and surprises. So, I begin by discussing some of those major events (plot and subplot themes). I will include the first and second day of Outlander gifts 🎁 to fans within this long review. Afterwards, I will conclude with listing the final ten gifts.

🚫SPOILER WARNING🚫

If you have notseen Season 3 or read Gabaldon’s Voyager, you need to know that this post is loaded with spoilers. For those of you, like me, who are in Droughtlander (a space of time between two seasons), I hope you will enjoy this post; and, for you, who are just curious, I hope you too will enjoy the post.

What are some of the Events in Season 3?

Jamie and Claire Fraser’s twenty years of separation, the Battle of Culloden, their reunion, the journey and adventure to rescue Wee Ian Murray from pirates, fighting the Bakra and a Sea wreck on the coast of the New World.

The Reunion and Tweny year Separation

Season 3 is based on the third book, Voyager, by Diana Gabaldon. Personally, this is one of my favorites from the eight-book series. One of the most significant events in the book is the Jamie and Claire reunion after being separated for over twenty years.  Here we find a much older Jamie and Claire struggling to find their comfort zone in each other’s hearts and matured lives.

Let’s face it: An 18th century Scottish Highlander-warrior has different skill-sets and cultural perceptions when compared to a 20th century English mother and Combat-Army nurse who had struggled to become a Civilian surgeon in the late 1950s. Without a doubt, they will need years to work out their personal differences and on going martial issues.  Added to these tantamount obstacles, there is also a bit of explaining to do for all their decisions and mistakes made during the last twenty years.  On the first night of their reunion, Jamie questions Claire about her motives for coming back to him, 20 years later. To say the least, time travel is a bitch.

Jamie drives home the point: He is not the same man that she once knew. Now he has additional aspects to his complex life: 7-Years as a cave dwelling hermit, ten more years of prison, smuggler, printer, treasonous writer, second marriage, his son: Willie… Nor, is she the same Claire, he once knew: a mother who raised a twenty year old daughter, a married woman of 23 years to Frank, a doctor with a Harvard degree, Women’s Liberation, The Civil Rights Moment, a man on the moon, penicillin…. Regardless of the time traveling consideration, life has a way of changing us through our experiences. Claire and Jamie are no exception to this rule.

Personally, Claire has more trust issues and lacking a bit of confidence in herself.  Whereas Jamie is extremely stoic and definitely trusts no one, completely. Due to his criminal actions, Jamie is very complex person with a very complex life. For instance, depending on what he is doing at the time, he has various names or aliases for of his various actions or occupations.  Obviously, Jamie and Claire have major difficulties to resolve in their ongoing relationship. Fortunately, they have common bonds besides their enduring love for one another, both mirror each other in courage and perseverance. Plus, they have aged well; and, they are still the sexiest couple on film and probably on the planet.

🎁 🎼 So, on the First Day of Outlander Gifts 💝 fans were given a hilarious and imaginative parody of Jamie and Claire’s visit to CouplesTherapy provided by MTV’s funny man David Horowitz ….🎼 Fala La La La 🎶 La La La🎶

🎁🎁 🎼 On The Second Day of Outlander Gifts 💝 fans were given superbperformances by Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Grant O’Rourke, Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin, David Barry, Steven Cree, Laura Donnelly, Hanna James, and by the whole hard-working cast. In addition to the performances, fans were gifted by the producers, directors, writers, art and set designers, cinematographers, makeup artist,  and anyone who worked on any part of Season 3’s  episodes. Thanks to you all for your gifts of creativity and hard work…🎼 Fa La La La La; Fa La La La🎶

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The following contain several gifted scenes and pics from Season 3: The Separation years and the Battle of Culloden (Episodes 1 – 5).

Another Major Event in Season 3: The Battle at Culloden

🚫Dear Reader: Unless you are suffering from Droughtlander (the space between seasons) or you just like to read, you may wish to scroll through the next several paragraphs; until, you reach the rest of the Outlander “Pay It Forward” Gifts 🎁 🚫

Another major event in Season 3, the book and Scottish history:  the Battle of Culloden. The last battle for the Jacobite Rebellion. The images within these scenes are not only memorable but eerily beautiful.

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The opening scene has to be one of the best in television history.  If Sam Heughan’s (Jamie Fraser) performance in these scenes does not receive critical praise; then, I am convinced that critics are either dishonest in their reviews; or, they haven’t a clue as to what a great performance looks like. As the scene begins. an unconscious and wounded Jamie is lying among the massive number of dead on the battlefield.  He awakens with his body partially covered by the dead body of Captain Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies).  His first thoughts: I am dead. He goes in and out of consciousness as he remembers bits and pieces of the battle and his life with Claire (Caitriona Balfe)

Jamie is waiting for death. He wants to die. He not only wants to end his physical pain; but, his emotional heartbreak as well.  This was the last major battle of the Jacobite Rebellion. They fought to put the “rightful” King (Prince Charles Edward Stuart/ aka Bonnie Prince Charley) on the British throne.  With the poor leadership of Prince Charley (AndrewGower) along with terrible strategies, the Battle of Culloden becomes a horrific defeat for the Scots. Scotland will forever be changed due to hundreds of years oppression that follow this defeat. Most highlanders were killed in battle or soon after. Jamie wanted to die in that battle. He sent his wife and unborn child into the future, never to see them again. Of course, he wanted to die. In his mind, life was not worth living anymore.

As he suffers from his wounds, he awaits for the Angel of Death or the blade of a British solider’s bayonet to end his life. All around him, wounded highlanders are killed by British soldiers. Then, a light snow descends from the night sky.  Near him, he watches a bunny rabbit scampering about. While lying there, Jamie has a vision of Claire.

His cousin, Rupert Mackenzie (Grant O’Rourke), finds him dying.  He refuses to leave him there and helps him off the battlefield to a small cottage (the only building) on the battlefield. Eventually, the remaining Highlanders are found and  kept there as prisoners; until, each is executed: One at a time while the other prisoners can can hear the shots.

Jamie listens as each man gives his name to be recorded just before they are shot. Then, near the cottage, Jamie painfully listens to the fatal shots.  Sadly, some of the men were as young as sixteen.  The tears start flowing when Rupert says his goodbyes to Jamie after he volunteers to go next.

Twenty Years of Separation for Jamie and Claire

For Claire: Co-parenting her daughter, Brianna, with Frank is a double edge sword: She loves that Frank is a wonderful father; but their marriage as a couple is void of passionate love.  She cannot forget Jamie, especially while loving his ginger haired daughter. So, she continues to pine for him even though he died two hundred years ago. To her credit, she tried to leave Jamie in the past. She even agreed to never speak of Jamie or to tell Bree about him while Frank was still alive. However, talking and thinking are two different things. So, cleansing Jamie from her was impossible for Claire. Nothing can stop Claire’s love for Jamie Fraser. Naturally, Frank resents her for this.  For Bree’s sake they remain together as parents; but their marriage is a sham: “friends”  with benefits as Frank promises to be discreet with his girlfriends. How utterly lonely for Claire. This will have a negative effect on her self-confidence and trust in others.

Frank cannot compete with the memories of Jamie.  As a result, Professor Randall looks for love and companionship with his female students. Unfortunately for Claire, Frank not only left her feeling lonely and unwanted, he also did not appreciate her mothering duties. He encourages her to go back at school. However, once her schooling was complete, he resented her leaving their home and child to go to work and making friends like Joe Abernathy.  Frank was a man of his times. He accepted the social rules of separating the races while he secretly thought Claire was having an affair with Joe.  This was not touched on in the show but was mentioned in the books as one of his reasons for wanting to take Bree back to England and leaving Claire. I am glad the writers left this out.

Claire has entered into a “man’s profession” of medicine. She receives little support except for her friend of color, Joe Abernathy (Wil Johnson), who is also on his own due to “Separate but Equal” policies of segregated America and during the Civil Rights Movement. These are major changes in Claire’s life which also affects Claire’s character and personality.

There are plenty of life changes for Jamie Fraser as well. He was seriously injured in the fatal Battle of Culloden. But he lived when nearly every warrior he knew and fought side by side with died. He survived. Despite the fact, he is sent home to die, he survives and becomes a hunted man. To avid capture, he lives in a cave for seven years; and,  he hunts food at night and sneaks it to his sister’s home at Lallybroch. He provides food for his sister’s family who happens to be his only family now. While hiding in his cave and avoiding capture, he becomes part of the Scottish lore, The Red Bonnet.

Eventually, after young Fergus (Romann Berrux) has his hand lobbed off, thanks to the to the Redcoats trying to find Jamie, he has had enough of his family being harassed and arrested because of him.  He decides that it is time to turn himself in to the redcoats.  He begs his sister to work with the British to trap him; so, she can collect the award money.  This award money is desperately needed to help all the families on the Lallybroch lands.

Jamie goes back to prison for another ten years. There his finds his “godfather,” Murtagh Frizgibbons (DuncanLaCroix), barely alive; yet, he too is a survivor of the Battle at Culloden.  Eventually, Jamie is befriended by the new prison commander, Lord John Grey (DavidBerry).  Grey is secretly gay and falls desperately in love with Jamie knowing Jamie cannot and will return his love. Yet, the two men learn to trust each other, eventually.  Grey realizes he is fortunate to earn Jamie’s trust and friendship. Both men respect each other and consider the other as a honorable man.

The following is a clip of a scene between Jamie and Grey as they reveal their sorrow for love ones they lost.

Grey’s  appearance in Season 3 is pure joy. He is a fascinating character that Gabaldon has dedicated another series of books too. I hope if there is a spin-off show off of Outlander, I hope it is Lord John Grey.

When the prison closes, Grey prevents Jamie from going into transportation to the American colonies as an indentured servant. Instead he arranges for Jamie to go to the English country estate of Helwater. Jamie’s rebel prisoner status is kept a secret from the Earl’s wife, Lady Louisa Dunsany (BethGoddard).  The Dunsanys’ son was killed in a battle against the Jacobites. When Jamie expressed sympathy for the Dunsanys’ lost, he explained to the Earl that he understood since he had lost his own two children.  The Earl of Dunsany was moved by Jamie’s statement.  He agrees to give him a small stipend and his prisoner status to be kept secret. Although Jamie remains a prisoner, he is “hired” as a groom due to his skill with horses.

Poor Jamie! Why does everybody want to jump his bones? Soon after he begins his work as a hired groom,  he is blackmailed by the Geneva Dunsany (HannahJames). A seventeen year old daughter of the Dunsanys who is arrogant, lacks self-discipline and is spoiled rotten. In addition, she is a virgin who is betrothed to the Earl Of Ellesmere (a man in his 60s).  She is determined that her first sexual experience will be completed with someone she is actually attracted to and is powerless to refuse her. Hello, Jamie!  According to Geneva, Jamie is an ideal candidate because he has been married; and “he will know what to do.”

Two days after Geneva loses her virginity to Jamie Fraser, she marries the elderly Ludovic Ransom, The Seventh Earl of Ellesmere (JamesCameron Stewart).  Apparently, one night of love-making with Jamie was too much for Geneva’s fertile eggs. Geneva becomes pregnant; and, nine months later, she delivers a healthy baby boy.  Sadly, Geneva, like many women of her time, dies within hours after giving birth. As the Dunsany family gather to Geneva’s dying side, she confides to her sister the identity of the real father. Soon after Geneva dies, a grieving Isobel (TanyaReynolds) confronts Jamie. She is interrupted by a servant who cries for their help. Lord Elesmere verbally attacks Geneva’s grieving parents. He yells about the betrayal and sham of his marriage. He knows the child could  not be his; since, he and Geneva had not consummated their marriage.  He is beyond angry: Raging mad is a better description. The Dunsanys beg Lord Elesmere to give the baby to them.  Suddenly, he threatens to kill the newborn. As he holds a knife over the baby and about to plunge it into its small body, Jamie shoots a pistol and kills Elesmere. Jamie kills the Earl; but, he saves his own son.

William makes child number three for Jamie. The first two were girls: Faith and Brianna. Even though Jamie never met either of them, he continued to feel the hurt and pain of a Father who lost his children. On the other hand, his son, William, is there; and, Jamie can see, touch, and speak to him. What he cannot do is claim William as his own. Eventually, Lady Dunsany shows her appreciation to Jamie for saving her grandson’s life. Through her husband’s influence, she offers him a promise to obtain his pardon from the King.  After years of being hunted and held as a prisoner, he can finally be free again and go home to Lallybroch. Jamie thanks her but asks if he would be allowed to stay on as a stable hand instead. He cannot leave William behind; nor can he confide this to Lady Dunsany.  Instead, he explains that his family in Scotland are on hard times; and, they need the money he sends them. So, Mackenzie (Jamie) stays on at Helwater as a free man, a groom; but, more importantly, as a father to watch, observe, and be near his son, William.

A major obstacle appears  as William (ClarkButler) grows older. By the time he is six, his has a near identical resemblance to Jamie. The only difference is their hair color. Willie has his mother’s dark hair instead of Jamie’s Ginger hair. However, people are starting to notice Jamie and William’s uncanny resemblance.  Jamie will not jeopardize Willie Ransom’s wealthy inheritance and title as the future Eighth Earl of Ellesmere.

Mackenzie/Jamie tearfully says goodbye to the Dunsanys, Lord John Grey and his son. Isobel and Grey marry and become legal guardians of Willie. They both promise Jamie to love and protect Willie while keeping Jamie’s secret.

Jamie goes home; but, he is painfully lonely. He misses Claire and their baby; and his his heart aches for Willie. So, his sister plays matchmaker. At Lallybroch on Hogmanay (Scot’s New Year Eve party). Jamie is charmed by two adorable little girls. The younger one’s name is Joan (LaylaBurns), and; has red hair like Brianna; and, her slightly older sister’s name is Marsali (LaurenLyle).  They plea with Jamie to dance with them. Which makes Jamie laugh; since, it is usually the males who ask the females to dance. During Jamie’s dance with both girls, Jamie openingly laughs and smiles. He has a soft spot for children; plus, he was reminded of his own two lost daughters. Because the girls are fatherless; and Jamie yearns to be somebody’s father and someone’s husband again, he marries their mother. The mother is “A want-to-be-Jamie’s girlfriend” Laoghaire Mackenzie (NellHudson).

This is definitely not one of Jamie’s wisest decisions.  The marriage fails almost before it started. He soon finds himself, alone again, and  making a living as a printer in the city of Edinburgh. There, he finds very little profit as a  printer. So, he resorts to the lucrative, but criminal, side business of smuggling French wines into England. He is always taking care of love ones first; so, he sends money to his sister, Jenny Murray (LauraDonnelly) and her family in Lallybroch; and, he also sends money to Laoghaire for her care and his “adopted” daughters. To save money, he has arranged for a free room that is close to the docks and harbor. It includes free meals and privacy in a location that is another shocker for our honorable Jamie Fraser: a brothel. This is provided by a Madame who not only owns the brothal but who is also one of Jamie’s best customers. She buys a great deal of smuggled French wines.

The Reunion of Claire and Jamie

That moment when Claire and Jamie see each other after twenty years is priceless. Take a look at it in the following clip.

Has Jamie and Claire changed after twenty years?  Without a doubt. No matter how much the lives and personalities have changed, there is one thing that stays constant: Their connected souls.  When your love is shared Soul Deep, there is nothing that can separate you from that love. Jamie and Claire will learn to adapt to each other’s changes and begin a new life together.

The next scene reveals their awkward awareness of each other:

The long-awaited event of Jamie and Claire’s Reunion is not the only romantic event in Season 3. There are other loving couples such as Bree and Roger and Fergus and Marsali.

We are introduced to an adult Bree (SophieSkelton) in the sweetest romance with a Scot who is Oxford history Professor, Roger Wakefield (RichardRankin). Bree lives in Boston. Roger travels from Scotland, at Christmas time, to present to Claire proof that Jamie survived Culloden. Plus, he wanted to see the Randell ladies because he has a huge crush on Bree.  When Bree learns that Jamie survived Culloden, she encourages her mother to go back to him. She wants to make her mother happy again; and, she wants to thank Jamie for his sacrifice and love. This may be the only time she can communicate to her real father that she loves him too. Claire travels back in time to find Jamie Fraser again.

Once back and reunited with Jamie, Claire is shocked and surprised to learn of Jamie’s second marriage to Laoghaire Mackenzie.  This is a shocker since Laoghaire tried to have Claire burned as a witch. Laoghaire wanted no obstacles in her way in securing Jamie’s love. Claire also finds the Lallybroch family has grown up since she had last seen them, especially wee Ian (JohnBell). Young Ian is a sixteen year old who is determined to be with his idolized uncle Jamie that he repeatedly runs away from Lallybroch to be with him.

We also learn of  the deaths of Black Jack Randall and Claire’s first husband, Frank. Finally, we meet Jamie’s newest loyal friend, Lord John Grey (DavidBarry).  I hope some smart producer or producers will make this character into a spin-off series. The Grey books are crime solving mysteries with a lot of humor in them. Plus, Jamie Fraser appears in some of the books to help him out.

A brief summary of the Second Half of Season 3

The second half of the season is like the rollercoaster ride of adventures. Wee Ian is kidnapped by pirates while trying to recover a small treasure chest hidden on a small island in Northern Scotland. Jamie and Claire use Jamie’s uncle Jarred’s ship, the Artemus, to follow and rescue the lad.  While at sea, a British man of war seizes the Artemus looking for doctor to help treat the crew who are quickly dying from an unknown disease. Claire volunteers to go on board against Jamie’s objections. The British Captain (CharleyHiett) promised to return her; but, he lied. One of the British crew recognized Jamie as Alexander Malcolm: A Scot printer who is wanted by the British crown for treason and the murder of a government employee. In fact, it was actually Claire who accidentally killed the government inspector while she was defending herself from being sexually assaulted in Jamie’s room at the brothel.

Voyages And Shipwrecks

Since most of the senior officers have died from the mysterious disease, a recently promoted and very young, Captain Leonard keeps Claire on board his ship to make sure Jamie follows him to Jamaica. He hopes his much larger and faster ship will reach Jamaica before Jamie’s cargo ship. He wishes to set a trap and arrest him for murder and treason. The Captain of the Artemus has agreed to help the British captain capture Jamie.  When Jamie insists they throw cargo overboard in order to make the ship lighter so they could catch up with the British man-o-war.  The Captain wastes no time in having Jamie arrested and thrown in the brig.

Before reaching Jamaica, Claire jumps overboard and swims ashore to a small island.  Jamie’s ship hit rough waters full of rocks and cliffs.  They are shipwrecked on the same island that Claire swam to. Neither knows the other is there.

Once they discover each other, they repair the ship’s mast and sail to Jamaica. Looking for Jamie’s nephew, young Ian who was kidnapped by pirates, they inadvertently purchases a slave. Jamie also discovers that his friend, Lord John Grey, is the new governor of Jamaica.  He and Claire go to the governors’ ball to see if Lord Grey can assist in finding the boy.  They ask their  slave to inquire from other slaves information that help them find Ian too. For his help, they promise to free the slave. He confirms that young Ian is seen at the Abernathy estate.

Before, the Frasers reach the estate, Jamie is arrested by Captain Leonard.  Before Jamie is incarcerated in a prison cell, he is bought before his newest best friend, Governor Lord John Grey.  This next scene is one of my favorites for the whole season. It not only showcased the actors’ prowess, it was exciting to watch John Grey’s “set down” to Captain Leonard. There are three actors in this scene. One of them, Heughan, never says a word; but, his reactions to the other two men, as they  confront each other over the his arrest, speaks volumes for his acting chops. This scene is one of favorite scenes in the season. Kudos to David Berry. Watch how Jamie’s buddy (Lord Grey) handles the ambitious Captain Leonard. It is brilliant.

Of corse Jamie and Claire locate Young Ian at the Abernathy estate.  However, the widower, Mrs. Abernathy, is none only Gellis Duncan. Another time traveler who befriended Claire. Gellis is a “witch” and Claire thought she burned at the stake in order to help Claire escape her fate. She is also bat shit crazy. She hired pirates to steal young, virgin boys in order to bathe in their blood, to remain young.  Mrs. Abernathy is known as the mysterious monstrosity known as the Bakra.  Lucky for young Ian, he was not a virgin. Of course, Jamie and Claire will save him from certain death.

When escaping Jamaica, their ship runs straight into the eye of a hurricane. At the beginning of episode 13, the last episode, Claire says: Iamdead. Just like Jamie did at the beginning of episode 1 of season 3. While Jamie awoke, seriously wounded, Claire didn’t wake, she was drowning in the ocean. Again, this is one of the most stunning scenes I have ever seen on film. As Claire drifts to the ocean bottom, Jamie is finally seen trying to cut the ships ropes from her body. Then, he kisses her and breathes his last breath as he blows air into her mouth. This is the following scene.

🚫🎄🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🎁🚫🎄🎁🚫🎄🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🎁🚫🎄🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🎁🚫🎄🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🎁❤️🚫

OutlanderPayItForwardGiftsContinues 

With the completion of season 3 overview by highlighting superb performances and production Gifts (Day Two 🎁 🎁), let us continue the Outlander Christmas “Pay it Forward” in the spirit of The Twelve Days of Outlander 🎶

🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Third Day of Christmas, Starz Outlander gave fans Seasons 3 and the working of Season 4; and by the January of this year, they received yet another gift: the “probable” gift of Seasons 5 and 6….Fa La La La La Fa La La

🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Forth Day of Christmas, Outlander presented to fans a Twitter account from the writers of the show: @Outlander Writers. This a Twitter account that fans may directly ask questions to the writers after each episode has aired. Fans receive feedback to their questions every Tuesday…Fa La La La La Fa La La La🎶

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Fifth Day of Christmas, Outlander presented to fans online corrected scripts, Behind the scenes pics and discussions, games and quizzes for each of the Season 3 episodes (13)…Fa La La La La Fa La La La🎶

Writers Matthew B. Roberts and Toni Graphia discuss the last episode with executive producer Ron Moore.  These discussions can be found for each episode.  These discussions have interesting behind the scenes information. Thanks Matt Roberts, I now want to use a water hose too after listening to you describe how much fun you had in spraying Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan.

Link to all the Outlander goodies for Season 3

http://www.outlandercommunity.com/

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🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Sixth Day of Christmas, Outlander presents to fans opportunities at Con Gatherings to meet and greet:  cast members, producers, writers, and musicians. These gatherings may include photos with fans, autographs, eating and dancing….Fa La La La La Fa La La La🎶

Link to 2017 Gathering with Cast Members:

http://www.outlandertvnews.com/2017/04/outlander-cast-appearances-for-2017/

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Seventh Day of Christmas, Outlander presented fans with wonderful newcostumes from Terri Dresbach. Season 3 is known as the season of the Skirt for Claire and the Tricorne hat and blousy shirt for Jamie…Fa La La La La Fa La La La🎶

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Eighth Day of Christmas, the Outlander cast, crew and producer, Ron Moore, provided numerous opportunities for QuestionsandAnswers from Ten minutes to thirty minutes; off and on throughout the year.  These are really fun; and, if they pick your question, it feels like you have won the lottery. In addition, cast and crew are constantly tweeting fun stuff about their work and playing practical jokes on each other. For instance, they love stealing each other’s phones and taking selfies of themselves; then, sharing them on Twitter… Fa La La La La; Fa La La La🎶

I must add StevenCree who plays Ian Murray. Ian is Jamie’s best friend since childhood. He even married Jamie’s sister, Jenny.  Steven is also a real life friend to Sam Heughan. Cree loves to use his Twitter account to engage Outlander fans with his Heughan Talks video clips. Cree disguises his voice to talk for Sam (thehostwiththemost) and Sam’s guests, like Michael Jackson. These guests are actually dolls or pics on the computer monitor or on a tablet. Once, for 2017 Christmas, he filmed the real Sam. It reminded me of my sister who aggravated me while I tried to ignore her. Of course, you can tell, both men are having a great time, along with the fans.

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Ninth Day of Outlander, fans were gifted with the added the talents of NEW CAST MEMBERS! Here are a few that comes to mind; but, there were many more …Fa La La La La; Fa La La La🎶

David Berry, John Bell,Lauren Lyle, Caesar Domboy

Hanna James, Wil Johnson, and Gary Young

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼On the Tenth Day of Outlander, the fans were gifted with a lovely surprise: Murtagh Fritzgibbons (DuncanLacrox) survived Culloden.  In the book, he was killed as he “killed” Black Jack Randall. Some fans do not like it when the main storyline is distorted from the books. I loved that Jamie’s wise and experienced “godfather” was found in Ardsmuir prison. I hope to see much more of him in Season 4 …Fa La La La La; Fa La La La🎶

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Eleventh Day of Outlander, fans were gifted with the sweetest Christmas scene between Roger and Bree.  Their first Christmas together and a kind of bittersweet date; since, Claire just left to go back through the stones and back to Jamie.  When Roger first visits Claire and Bree, he confessed that he wanted to spend an American Christmas with them. He wanted to eat Boston cream pies and eat lobster rolls. Claire told him that the few Christmas traditions the Randall’s had shared had consisted of reading The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens to a much younger Bree was much younger.  Of course, Claire realizes that this was the first Christmas Roger would celebrate without his father who recently died. She also understood that he wanted to spend Christmas with a friend who knew his father and who has a beautiful daughter that he was seriously crushing on. In the following scene, Bree is comforted by Roger. Her mother just said goodbye. Bree watched her from the window as her mother takes a taxi to the airport for a flight to Scotland. I think Bree and Roger are so adorable as they try to cheer each other up and rekindle the joyful spirit of Christmas together. I am  really looking forward to seeing more of these two and Season 4…Fa La La La La; Fa La La La🎶

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, Outlander fans could once again see some their past favorite actors and characters help Season 3 become the BEST SHOW on TELEVISION. Thank you actors, all: for reprising your roles …Fa La La La La; Fa La La La🎶

And of course the whole recurring cast of Outlander, including production teams, writers, and crew that make this show an exceptional delight to watch and follow as the “gifted” fans do. People say that Outlander has the best fans. When in truth, how could they be otherwise with such wonderful gifts from such an Outstanding show. Have a wonderful and Happy New Year everyone.

Realweegiemidget Reviews’ Gill Jacob, offered up the “pay it forward” using The Twelve Days of Christmas theme as a challenge to several bloggers. She chose our particular topic, I am honored she singled me out to write a post on the Outlander. I pride myself as one of the millions of avid Outlander fans (book series and the show). I hope you will enjoy reading this post whether you are a fan too or even if you know nothing about the show. If you would like to read other ”Pay it Forward” posts with the focus on other popular TV shows and movies, please use the following link:

https://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/

To Bloggers:

I am am not going to tag you in order to draw you into a public challenge. Instead, I hope you do write your own “Pay it Forward” in the spirit of the Twelve Days ofChristmas. It would great for you to join in the fun, especially after you read other  posts submitted to this Blogathon. However, my friends, I truly hope you will not be offended that I included a few of you have in my tags at the bottom of this post. I hope that it is not too intrusive. If it is, please let me know. I hope everyone has a wonderful and successful year.

***I do not own any of the images found in this post***

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James Bond Blogathon: The Living Daylights

The Living Daylights (1987) is my favorite Bond movie. Of course, every Bond movie is a cinematic treat. They all have powerful musical scores playing in the background of exotic locations with super sexy men and women who are clothed in stunning garments and costumes. The action includes edgy and exciting chase scenes that are inspired by a unique, ultra villain who has a mission to harm the world.  The gadgets and fascinating technology is a science nerd’s dream.  Bond movies are fully loaded with adrenaline packed delights.

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From Sir Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, the Bond men are handsome, charismatic, witty, and deadly.  They all prefer coffee over tea, dry Vodka martinis, shaken not stirred, drive an some version of an Aston-Martin, answers to M, flirts with the female population, gets lectured from Q, are highly intelligent, willing risk takers, professional killers, and extremely complex human beings.

As a younger woman, I did not appreciate the Bond movies as much as my male friends and partners. I was especially uncomfortable with the some of the humor aimed at woman. The jokes I am referring to had nothing to do with what they done; instead, these jokes were aimed at all women, in general.  For instant, many women are given some of the dumbest/sexist names ever created: Pussy Galore, Chew Mee, Holly Goodhead, Xenia Onatop, Miss Moneypenny and more.

Let’s just say I enjoyed Bond movies for the most part but endured some aspects of them. Even so, there is one Bond movie that completely changed my perspective of all Bond films, forever. In 1986, I read an article about the new, improved Bond, Timothy Dalton, in the latest Bond movie, The Living Daylights. 

Personally, I think Timothy Dalton is the best Bond ever, if there is such a thing as a “Best Bond.”  Even though, he only starred in two of the 24 Bond movies: The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence To Kill (1989), his Bond is nearly perfect when compared to Ian Fleming’s book version of 007.  Fleming wrote 14 novels centered on MI6’s favorite spy.  The Living Daylights is the second short story in a collection of short stories, Octopussy is the first. It is also the last Bond story written by Fleming and many critics consider it his best story too. It first appeared in a magazine in 1962.  Later, it was published as part of a collection of stories in 1966.   It was printed two years after Fleming had died.  There is an excellent audio version of these collected stories narrated by Tom Hiddleston (Lokey in Thor).

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I believe some actors are born to play certain roles; and, Dalton was destined to play Bond.  He is an accomplished stage, film and television actor. He first caught the eye of Eon Productions (producers of Bond movies) in 1968 during the time when Connery was wishing to retire from making Bond movies. They were interested in Dalton as Bond after they saw him in a movie with Peter O’Toole (Henry II) and Katherine Hepburn (Eleanor of Aquitaine), The Lion in The Winter (1968).  Dalton played Phillip II who was the ex-lover of Richard The Lionhearted played by Sir Anthony Hopkins.

 

Twenty four year old Dalton could not see himself replacing Connery. Following Connery would be a bit intimidating for any actor; but, Dalton felt he was too young to play the part well. Dalton also claimed Connery was far too good and wonderful to successfully replace as Bond.  In addition, Dalton was an avid fan of Fleming’s books; and, his perception of Bond was different from the producers. Eventually, the Bond they hired was George Lazenby for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).

As luck would have it, Dalton was considered again for James Bond in 1979; but, after Connery and Moore’s portrayal of Bond, Dalton didn’t like the direction the producers had taken Bond’s character. Dalton didn’t think they were seriously looking for a “new” James Bond. Again, he refused.

It must be true when people say about the third time is a charm. When Pierce Brosnan was not allowed out of his Remington Steele contract to play Bond, Dalton was asked a third time to be the next Bond. Thankfully, he accepted with the hopes of putting the original book Bond on the screen.

So, in the 15th Bond movie produced by Eon Productions, Timothy Dalton brings a critically acclaimed Bond to the screen. Dalton and Flemings’ Bond was much more serious and darker. This Bond was a reluctant agent who didn’t relish his assignments.  At times, he even questioned and refused to fellow orders.  This Bond was in the burnt out stage of his career.  Dalton was so dedicated to doing right by his character that it was reported that he was often seen on set, between takes, re-reading and referencing the novels. Dalton’s Bond had an edgier, darker humor that reflected his suffering as a tired killing machine.

Internationally, the movie was a box office hit.  It bought in the fourth largest profit for a Bond movie at the time. Yet, it failed in the box offices across the United States. Some people blamed it on the marketing and changing the title to License Revoked.  Others blamed it on the major movie releases. That year Bond was up against Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade with Sean Connery, Tim Burton’s Batman, and Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon II.  More importantly, the reason for the poor box office results might have been the public’s perception of the new Bond. There was much publicity concerning the new Bond being more sensitive and politically correct when it came to women. This was interpreted to mean that sexy women, as the eye candy, in little or nothing outfits, was going to cease in the new Bond format.  In the eyes of the average American male, Bond had been neutered.  What kind of guy wants to see that?

 

In Dalton’s movie there is romance; however, it was not the gratuitous sex with multi-partners of earlier films.  Remember, in 1986, the AIDS scare was at its highest level. People were becoming more cautious and more selective in sexual partners and insisted on safe sex, even James Bond.  According to Bond Facts, James Bond has killed 370 people and slept with 55 women in 22 movies. Oddly, Bond might be having safer sex; but, the last two Bonds are more violent (Brosnan) and drinking more (Craig).

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Dalton was contracted to do three Bond films.  He did the second movie, License To Kill (1990). But, after the second movie and for nearly five years, Eon Productions was tied up in legal battles.  Dalton decided it had been too long and during contractual renegotiating, he made the decision to retired as Bond. Pierce Brosnan who was finally free from his television contract, was hired as the next James Bond.

I really liked the Bond in The Living Daylights.  This “new” older and hopefully wiser Bond realistic sense.  In one of the earlier scenes, located in Berlin, Bond is waiting to kill a KGB sharp shooter. This KGB agent has an ingenious cover. She, Kara Milovy (Maryam d’Abo), is a cellist in the National Soviet Orchestra. She is sent to kill a defector, General Georgian Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe) who is trying to escape to the West and to freedom.  As Bond studies his cellist mark, he is urged to shoot her by another MI6 agent. In a split second, he decides not to kill the shooter.  Instead, he disobey orders and shoots the shooter’s weapon which allowed the defector to escape. The other British agent is “flipping out” that Bond refused to kill the KGB sharp shooter.  He even accuses Bond of refusing to shoot because the KGB shooter was a beautiful musican. Of course, he informs Bond he is reporting him to the Home Office. Bond doesn’t joke. He is emotionless and simply could care less. He continues his mission by escorting the Soviet General into Austria through an oil pipe line tank.

Later, we learn  that as Bond studied his mark, he noted that the “professional killer” is not holding the weapon properly and probably couldn’t hit the side of the building, let alone some running man at a distance and height that would challenge the best marksman.  Bond didn’t know why she had the gun; but, he knew she didn’t know one end from the other and was definitely not KGB.

Although Bond, rescues the defecting Soviet General Koskov, he is remarkably recaptured from MI6. Bond sets out to find answers and starts with the beautiful cellist.  Once he locates her, he realizes her life is in danger too. Surprisingly, she claims she was helping her boyfriend, General Koskov, to escape by shooting bullets in the wrong direction. Bond knows that she was set up to be killed by her boyfriend.

As this story evolves, Bond comes across gun dealers and the Taliban. Historical note****This movie was made at the time when the U.S.  was friends with the Taliban and supplying them with weapons to fight the Russians.  All the elements of a great Bond movie is here, including a sweet romance with only one woman.  If you haven’t seen this Bond movie, I urge you too.

This post has been part of The 007 Blogathon  hosted by Maddy Loves Her Classic Films. To read more Bond posts please use the link below.

https://maddylovesherclassicfilms.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/the-007-blogathon-begins/#like-6667

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Theme Song to the Living Daylights performed by A-Ha

References:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Dalton

http://jamesbondkillcount.blogspot.com

Pirates, Myths and A Swashbuckling Blogathon: Nate and Heyes (1983)

It’s that time of year again when we are trying to cool down in the middle of Global Warming, aka the Summer, that we find more Sea Adventures on the telly and in local theaters.  Luckily, some of these cooling down movies are pirate movies. This past May, the 5th installment of Disney’s highly successful Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Lies was released in theaters around the world.  Like all pirate movies, it contained dangerous adventures with the lure of finding gold and other riches, some romance along the way, Good eventually conquering Evil, and witty comments, humorously found throughout the movie. Johnny Depp’s Captain Black Jack Sparrow supplies most of the humor with his drunken slurs and Keith Richards‘ swagger.

Despite Disneys’ success, most pirate movies in the last fifty years have been box office disappointments. One of the biggest flops in film history was Cutthroat Island (1996) with Geena Davis, Matthew Modine and Frank Langella.  And yet, I love this pirate movie. I have wondered why this movie flopped, that badly.  My personal best guess is that in America, 23 years ago, watching a powerful, successful woman using the Machiavellian tools of the trade (piracy, corrupt politics, lying…) would scare the bejesus out of most people. Martha Stewart and Leona Helmley going to prison are two real life cases in point.

After the results of the 2016 Election, I believe it still scares most people. However, when you compared Genna Davis’ pirate gal to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Women (2017), (Another movie, I love) we see a perfect 1940s version of a woman… Think of Rosie the Riveter. Wonder Woman is a powerful Amazon who is pure as the driven snow.  She would never stoop to lie, steal, or manipulate.  Power with some with taint on it is much more acceptable for men than for women.  Does this sounds a bit “Double Standard-ish?” Oh well, this topic is for another blog.

 

 

Fortunately, failing at the box office doesn’t really mean much over the years because it’s the audience who says weather a movie is entertaining enough to watch. If, in fact, it is binge worthy, it could indicate that it has held up over time: a possible, Classic.  Like CutThroat Island, Nate and Heyes definitely fits the criteria for being a pirate fan favorite/classic. It is not surprising to find it listed on many “Top Best Pirates movies ever.” Here is an example of one I borrowed off YouTube.com. Take a look a the five picks on this video.

Nate and Heyes (aka Savage Islands) stars the iconic Tommy Lee Jones, lovely Jenny Seagrove, adorable Michale O’Keefe and wonderful villian, Max Phipps.  It was filmed in New Zealand and Fiji; so, the scenery is gorgeous. There is no CGI in this movie.  What you see is what you get.  So, when I see Tommy Lee Jones riding a fast horse; then, jumps out of the saddle before the horse comes to a complete stop, I know Jones did that. How do I know it was not a stunt man? Because the camera angle stayed on him and did not change.  Besides, Texan Jones not only owns a polo team, he rides with his team in completions. His team won the U.S. Polo Association’s Western Challenge Cup of 1993. As a polo player and fan, every year, he invites the best polo players from Harvard university to practice on his ranch in Texas.

Jones is one of those “real”  people who just happens to be an actor too. His father worked on oil rigs and his mother owed a beauty salon. Growing up, Jones was not only intelligent but athletic too.  In fact, he earned his Harvard scholarship by playing football. He does not live in Los Angeles. He is a bit of a Hollywood rebel or as one interviewer put it, he is Anti-Hollywood.

A Bit of History?

Tommy Lee Jones gravelly voice and dead-pan delivery is perfect for the role of pirate Bully Heyes.  I seen a list of historical characters that Jones played: Thaddeus Stevens (Lincoln), Ty Cobb, Howard Huges, Gary Gilmore, Olivier Lynn, Douglas MacArthur and Clay Shaw.  However, I did not see Bully Heyes listed as one of his historical roles.  Probably because most of what was written was too exaggerated or just plain mythical.

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Bully Heyes and Ben Pease were real life pirates/businessmen in the late 1890s.  They mostly traveled near the Pacific Rim and within the South Pacific Islands, like Tahiti.  Hayes was an American born in Ohio. His experiences included various forms of con artistry, thievery and possibly murder. Many times he found himself as the Captain of a ship. Near the end of his life, he was even a vaudeville performer (black face minstrel show) in Australia. He was accused of being a Blackbirder (slavery); however, Heyes denied this. He and Pease were “friends” and some times “business partners.”  They had a fallen out over a native girl. Hayes wanted to make sure the young lady wanted to be in Pease’s company.  So, he pulled a gun on him. Hayes asked her if she wanted to go with Pease.  The young Lady told Heyes she did want to go with Pease; and, Heyes dropped the matter.  Pease did not.  Later, Heyes sails into a harbour on Pease’s ship. Hayes claimed he bought the ship from Pease. Hayes “thinks” Pease might have been killed in a fight with the French navy.  Few believed Heyes’ story.

 

 

Summary of the Movie That is Very Loosely Based on a True Story

For the most part, this is a jumbled mix of fact and fiction. However, it is still very entertaining film to watch. Besides, it cannot be too bad because John Huges ( Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Home Alone….) is credited as the writer for Savage Islands (aka Nate and Heyes) and co-screenwriter with David Odell.  The movie is based on a story by Lloyd Phillips who also co-produced this movie too.

The movie begins with Heyes (Jones) attempting to sell guns to a group of islanders whose Chief is a dishonest woman.  She says: Captain Heyes you got guns?  Heyes says: I got guns. You got gold? Chief says: I see guns; you see gold. Heyes’s men open a crate of guns.

Hayes loads a rifle, taken from the crate, with two bullets as he is walking toward the Chief. She asks: Spanish have? Hayes shakes his head, and says: U.S. Army madam.  Spanish do not have.

Hayes then fires one shot and laughs.  Chief takes the rifle. She proceeds to lock and load.  Mr Blake (Heyes’ Captain’s mate) warns the crewmen: Duck lads! Cheif shoots and kills two of her warriors while the natives giggle and laugh.  Hayes is shocked and disgusted. The Chief happily and says: Good!  Hayes says: No! It’s not good. It’s bad. Chief: Show me more guns. Hayes: you show me gold, I show you more guns. Chief: No gold!

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Hayes: I don’t think this is a honest woman, Blake.

Blake: Yeah, the heathens have been exposed to Western practices

Hayes: They used to be honest

Chief getting angry: Show me more guns now!

Hayes: Yes, ma’am

Hayes turns to leave: and says: See what happens with women and business? Future looks dark Blake.

Hayes removes a belt of bullets that is wrapped around his chest and holds them over a fire. Hayes says: Here’s your guns (tossing a rifle aside) and (dropping belt into the fire) here’s your bullets.

The crew run for their lives while at the same time fighting and shooting the natives.  The whole crew is either killed or captured, except for Heyes.  Just as he begins to realize he escaped, he finds himself staring into the barrel of a gun held by Ben Pease (Max Phipps).  Pease is working for the Spanish government. To find capture gun runners. Hayes is taken and sent to a prison in Manila, Philippines.  As he awaits execution, a reporter interviewing him tries to get his confession and his last words. It is true newspapers reported all kinds of stories about the real Heyes.  The real Bully Heyes is known as: The Last of the Buccaneers.

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Hayes explains how he transported a missionary couple, Nathaniel and Sophie (Michale O’Keefe and Jenny Seagrove), to an island missionary outpost.  The journey took two months. This is more than enough time to get to know your passengers. Once they reach the island, Sophie reminds Heyes that she and Nathaniel are only engaged.  Nathaniel’s missionary uncle is to marry them soon. I thought it was funny when one of the natives refer  to the aunt and uncle as “Big Man God” and “Momma Jesus Christ.”  All the extras portraying islanders in this movie are local natives.

The real Heyes was known as a ladies man and had been married at least four or five times without the benefit of ever divorcing anyone. Nathaniel, aware of Heyes’ attentions to Sophie, carefully watches him. Poor Nathaniel, a nice guy but a bit of a “dandy.” Before Sophie says goodbye to Heyes, she informs him that her father recently died. She has a small inheritance. She asks Heyes to invest it in his business endeavors.  Hayes willingly accepts her money and sails away.

In real life, Heyes charmed both of the couple. He left the husband ashore and sailed away with the wife and their money.

 

 

When the uncle and aunt learns that it is Bully Heyes that delivered them, they are shocked that they made it to the island alive. He tells them that Heyes is a feared blackbirder (Slaver). The following day, Sophie and Nathaniel are about to be married and are attacked by Ben Pease and his pirate crew, who are blackbirders. Nathaniel is grazed by a bullet.  Sophie thinks he is dead.  She lies down beside him faking her own death. Pease tries to rip a gold necklace from her neck. She jumps up and screams and tries to escape.  Pease says: Women! You can’t trust them even when they are dead.

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When Nathaniel wakes up, he is told Blackbirders came to kill and enslave the natives, including Sophie. Nathaniel believes it is Bully Heyes who took Sophie.  He is helped by a native to make a boat raft.  He  uses it to sail away and to find his betrothed.  In the meanwhile, Heyes decides to return to the island. Why? I haven’t a clue.  To take her with him or to enslave the natives? Return her money? I am not sure why? He soon learns what has happened and he knows who is responsible. He also knows where the closest auction house is that Pease will use.  On his way, to save Sophie, he ends up saving a shipped wrecked Nathaniel who is sitting on a tiny a toll in the middle of no where.

 

Now, Heyes and Nate are working together to rescue sweet Sophie and fight Ben Pease. The movie is full of adventure and surprises as the two men form a mutual man crush.  Sophie, thinking Nate is dead, leaves a note for Bully. She briefly seen Heyes trying to rescue her before Pease moved her to another location. Nate finds the note and thinks Sophie has fallen in love with Heyes.   Pease wants to use Sophie as a bargaining chip for the German government. The Germans need coaling stations for their steamships.  Sophie is sold to an Island chief who practises cannibalism and human sacrifice. By trading Sophie, they have access to the island harbours for their steamships.  Now, Nate and Heyes not only have fight Pease and his crew, but also the German Army, and the cannibals too, in order to save Sophie.

 

 

After all of these adventures, we are bought back to the beginning of the movie.  In the jail cell, Heyes is awaiting  his execution. In real life, Heyes was released.  However, in this movie, the ending is different for Heyes.

It is true that Heyes was accused as being a Blackbirder.  However, people had come forward who thought it was Heyes.  Instead, they described  a big Irishman who spoke English and beat the crap out of his crew. It does sound like Bully Heyes!

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Actually, the ending for the real Heyes, happens a few years later. The ship’s cook, of all people, shoots him in the stomach, hits him over the head with an iron skillet and throws his body overboard. He claims Bully threatened him.  However, the whole crew looked for Heyes’ hidden treasure. They never found it. At least, this is the commonly believed ending of the Last Buccaneer. In truth, no one can prove any of it, including the murderous cook.  Who really knows how the infamous Heyes died?  Who knows, this movie ending might be closer to the truth.  Regardless what you choose to believe, this movie is solid fun.

This blog was written as part of the Swashbuckling Adventure Blogathon.  It is hosted by Movies Silently. Please use the link below to read more pirate movie posts.

http://moviessilently.com/2017/07/14/the-swashathon-is-here/

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***None of the images seen here are own by me

REFERENCES:

https://www.stuff.tv/news/25-best-pirate-movies-ever

James A. Michener & A. Grove Day, Bully Hayes, South Sea Buccaneer & Louis Becke, Adventurer and Writer in Rascals in Paradise, (London: Secker & Warburg 1957).

http://www.thepirateking.com/index.htm

http://www.hollywood.com/celebrities/tommy-lee-jones-57289072/

 

The 2017 Reel Infatuation Blogathon: Jamie and Claire Fraser

My literary crush is actually on a married couple.  A husband and wife team by the names of Jamie and Claire Fraser from the book series Outlander.  It may sound a bit odd to have a crush on a couple; but, it is more common than you think. They are not my first couple crush.  My first couple crush was on 1980s T.V. show, Hart to Hart.  Then another couple crush came from watching The Thin Man movies on TMC.

 

 

All these couples have some common elements in their relationships. Their spouse is their best friend, they live an adventurous life, and there is always some mystery or act they must perform to protect each other or society as a whole.  I loved the dynamics of their relationship and especially their intimacy or chemistry. They are ways smart, witty and fashionable.  I am in good company with this particular infatuation of Jamie and Claire Fraser because there are millions of fans following  Outlander books by brilliant author Diana Gabaldon and its adaptation on the cable network, Starz.

Outlander (1991) is not only the first book of the series, it is Gabaldon’s first novel too. Can you believe it? An author’s first book becomes a best seller and still is a best seller today. It happens but not often. Presently, there are a total of eight books in this historical, multi-genre series. Fans are thrilled by the near release of a Book 9, and promised Book 10 before the series is completed  As a matter of fact, Book #9, Go Tell The Bees That I am Gone, is a work in progress. No release date in 2017 has been announced. However, Gabaldon graciously posts excerpts of this book, for her fans, as she continues to work on it. To view them on her site, just click on the link below:

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/book-nine-outlander-series/

 

I and all fans are forever grateful for Gabaldon’s literary genius in the creation of these two fictional characters: Scottish Highlander, Jamie Fraser and his time travelling wife, Claire Randall.  To understand their phenomenal affect on women, it is important to analyze the entirety of Jamie and Claire’s characters, the circumstances that brought them together; and the kind of relationship they eventually develop.

The story begins:

Claire Randall (played by the lovely and talented Caitriona Balfe) is a married WWII combat nurse, who after the war, is trying to rekindle the magic that was in her marriage, before the war. She and her husband, Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies), plan a romantic trip to Scotland.  It is there that she accidentally time travels from 1945 to 1743.

How does this time travel come about?

Frank Randall was a MI6 operative (a British Spy/Special Forces) during WWII.  After the War, Frank becomes a history professor at Oxford. But, before he starts his new civilian job, he takes Claire on a second honeymoon to be reacquainted as a couple. They arrive on their second honeymoon in Scotland on Halloween (Samhain day: Ghosts of the dead are able to mingle with the living).

Unfortunately, un-romantic Frank spends most of his time doing research on his own family’s history.  There are times when Claire must persuade her husband to abandon his research for more intimate, physical couplings with her. In other words, he seems to be slightly resistant to take the opportunities to have sex with his wife. I wonder if he is hiding something? Maybe the fact he was or is a spy makes me suspicious of him.

On a rainy night, as Frank is returning (alone) to his and Claire’s room, he literally bumps into the ghost of 18th century of Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan).  Frank finds Jamie staring up at a second story window.  Through the window, he can see Claire as she brushes her curly hair. Frank is totally shaken when the spirit passes so close as to pass through his shoulder. When he later discusses the incident to Claire, he reluctantly confesses that he might have seen a ghost. Then on second thought, he asks Claire if she tended a Scottish soldier. At first Claire remembers one that was scared of needles.  Then, she realizes Frank is asking her if she had a Scottish lover.

Many fans love Frank as a character; and, I admire the actor, Tobias Menzies, who skillfully plays both roles as lovely Frank and his villainous ancestor, Black Jack Randall; but, I suspect there is something inherently wrong with Frank’s character.

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While Frank searches through dusty old records with his friend, Reverend Wakefield (James Fleet), Claire tries to keep busy by searching for medicinal herbs. Mrs Graham (Tracey Wikinson) who is the housekeeper for Reverend Wakefield sees how bored Claire is and invites her to tea in the kitchen.  For a bit of fun, Mrs. Graham offers to read the tea leaves at the bottom of Claire’s cup.  The reading is very confusing to Mrs Graham; but, she continues to reveal it to Claire. She tells Claire that she will be married to two men at the same time, (bigamy?).  Also during this tea reading, Claire is informed that her husband (Which husband?) will not “stray from her bed” to be with other women (Boy, did she get that wrong). So much for tea readings!

Frank decides to do some voyeurism just before dawn. He is told by the Reverend Wakefield that on the Autumn solstice, a local ladies club (Druids) dress in white with lanterns, dance and sing, welcoming the new season.  Mrs Graham is one of them. He convinces Claire to secretly watch this ancient ritual with him.  They hide as they watch this mysterious performance. Once it is over, they begin to investigate the Standing Stones in an area called Craigh na Dun where all of this took place. Claire finds some very pretty blue flowers, maybe Forget-Me-Nots, growing very close to the face of one Stone. When one of the young dancing girls returns, they hide again and soon leave to keep from being discovered. Later, Frank announces he has more documents to research with Reverend Wakefield.  While they research, Claire decides to go back to the Stones alone and gather samples of those blue flowers.

Once, she begins to gather them, she hears a humming noise coming from the Stones. She places her hands on the stone and feels a vibration. Then, she feels herself falling among chaos and screams. The noise and pain is so overwhelming she passes out. When she awakes, the terrain has changed and her car is missing. Then, in disbelief, she sees British soldiers running through the woods. Next thing she knows, they are shooting at her.  While trying to escape, she runs into their captain, Black Jack Randall.  At first she is confused and thinks it is Frank. But after he assaults her, she definitely knows: he may look like Frank, but this man isn’t Frank.

Outlander 2014
Outlander 2014

She is saved by a stinky Highlander.  As Randall attempts to rape her, the Highlander comes up from behind and knocks him out.  Then, he grabs Claire and covers her mouth to keep her quite. A British patrol is very close.  Even though Claire is fighting for her life, the Highlander does not want to be discovered, so, he knocks her out with pummel of his sword as he hides them behind a tree as the British patrols passes them undetected. He then places her limp body on his horse.

Jamie Fraser Meets Claire Randall

He takes her to a cottage that is full of stinky, dirty Highlanders hiding from the British. These men are as shocked to see her as she is to see them. They are trying to find a logicial reason for her strange appearance: Claire, in her soiled 20th century dress, must be in her undergarments.  She is indecent; and, therefore, she must be a whore.  As she stands there in shock and being gawked at, she overheard a few of them discussing a young lad’s injuries.  Soon, their leader, Dougal, turns his attention to her and tries to figure out if she is a French spy or a whore.

He knows they have precious little time before they will be found by he British; so, he must make quick decisions about the lad and the strange looking lass. The young man’s shoulder is out of place and is in too much pain to guide a horse.  They are willing to take the chance to cripple him in order to set his shoulder or else they must leave him behind.  At first, Claire tries to keep quite, but the healer/nurse in her will not stand by and allow them to break the young man’s bones.  She yells at them to stop.  And like the combat nurse, she is, she takes over and properly sets Jamie Fraser’s shoulder.  Their first date is riding on horse together, in the rain, for two days.  That is when I knew that I was totally hooked on their love story.

In Season I, Claire befriends the love smitten Jamie.  He thinks she is a recent widow which explains, to him, why she is so sad and cries for Frank.  Claire needs Jamie to help her get back to Craigh na Dun and the Standing Stones. She must travel back to the future and back to Frank.

However, sadistic Captain Black Randall demands the right to arrest her and to interrogate her as a French spy. Jamie reveals his dark history with the Captain.  He tells Claire that he is a wanted for murder. Black Jack had Jamie arrested for stopping him for trying to rape Jenny (Jamie’s sister). That charge was for Obstruction of Justice.  They whipped him and then arrested him.  While Jamie is imprisoned, Black Jack has him fogged with a hundred lashes two separate times within a week.  Most men would have died from the injuries.   Jamie was flogged once for trying to escape and once for stealing a loaf of bread. He finally escapes for a second time; but, a soldier is killed during the process and Jamie is blamed.

To keep Claire safe from Black Jack, Jamie agrees to marry her.  With Claire as a Scottish citizen, Black Jack would need permission from the laird (Jamie’s uncle) or chieftain of the clan territory before he could arrest her. All awhile, Claire is still trying to figure out how to get back to the standing stones; so, she can go back to Frank and her 20th century life.  At this point, Claire and Jamie have become best friends. He has become her only trusted friend. But, she does not love him. Yes, she finds herself falling in love with him despite her best efforts not too.

To keep her out of the clutches of the evil Captain, she does marry Jamie. Soon she finds herself making the choice to stay with jamie in a dangerous time period or going back to the future with its comforts and Frank.  Let’s s face it, 20th century Claire really sticks out in 18th century Scotland; and, it does not take long for the locals to find a reason for Claire’s odd ways; so, they accuse her of being a witch. When Claire confesses to Jamie that she is not a witch but a time traveller, Jamie believes her, but; jokingly says it would have been easier to help her if she had been a witch.  All of this action takes place during  the first half of season I.  In Season II (book #2 Dragonfly in Amber), we find the Fraser’s living in France trying to stop the disastrous Jacobite Rebellion and Claire’s return to the 20th century.  Season III (book #3 Voyager) begins this Fall of 2017. Here we will see what the couple has been up during their 20 year separation; and, their reunion with much more adventures in store for them.

 

Jamie and Claire love each other, unconditionally. Jamie loves Claire when she endangers their lives, swears like a soldier, tests his patience over her devotion to Frank, or tells him outlandish stories about time travelling and the future. He loves her when he questions her sanity or believes she might be a witch.  He is there, through it all, for her.  He believes and trusts her. If actions speak louder than words, then Jamie has proved his love and devotion from the sheer number of times he risks his own life to save hers.

But the same can be said of Claire.  She too risks her life to save his.  As a combat nurse, she learned early the dangers of helping people, risking your life for stranger or fellow solider. It is in her DNA. Jamie is not as stranger. She would never have a second thought to die for him, if need be.  They give 150% to each other. Claire made a difficult decision in choosing Jamie over Frank.  She not only changed husbands but a whole way of life that is much harsher and dangerous compared to the life she left.

They nearly always puts the other one first. Not only do they risks their life for each other, they are willing to live a painful life without each other, if it will keep their unborn child safe.  Again, they prove this when Jamie painfully guides Claire to Craigh na Dun and the Standing Stones in order for her to go back to her time, not once, but twice!

Outlander Season 2 2016

Even when they are separated by 200 years, and haven’t seen each other for 20 years, their love for each other only grows stronger. In contrast, Frank and Claire were separated by a few war years and needed a second honeymoon to try to rekindle the magic in their relationship. When death beckons either Jamie or Claire to leave this world, it is their love for each other that holds them back and from crossing over. Their relationship is made up of  loyalty, faithfulness, trust, love, forgiveness and bravery.

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Jamie and Claire Fraser give hope to every potential relationship that true love does exists; but, it only happens with the “right” person. Frank was a good man; but, not the right man for Claire.

Jamie and Claire Fraser’s relationship also reminds us that it is possible to be happy in an unhappy situation and having a true friend maybe more valued than having a lover.  It is important for a person to be well loved, and feel home in the arms of their love one…at home and in a safer place.  For the millions of fans like myself, Jamie and Claire’s relationship represents our desire to be home, with our love; so, no matter where we are or where we go, as long as we share that mutual love, we are home.

This is a post for the 2017 Reel Infatuation Blogathon hosted by Ruth of Silver Screenings and Maedez from Font and Frock. From June 23rd through the 25th, use the following link to find more postings on character crushes ❤️

https://reelinfatuation.wordpress.com/

Reel Infatuation 2017

I started blogging last June of 2016. My second post, Why is Jamie Fraser the King of Men? would have been my first Blogathon entry; but, I missed the date for The 2016 Reel Infatuation Blogathon. This year, I did not want to make that same mistake. So, I saved some bits from last year and wrote some new bits for this year; and, the result is this post. My crush is on a fictional couple:  Outlander’s Claire and Jamie Fraser. Thank you Madeza from Front and Frock and Ruth from Silver Screenings, they have graciously extended the invitation for for this post.

 

 

Why is Jamie Fraser the King of Men? The Reel Infatuation Blogathon

What literary character do I have a crush?  That’s an easy question to answer.  It is Highlander-warrior, James Fraser. To be exact, Outlander’s James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser (JAMMF). I can confidently say that I am not alone in this sentiment.  There are millions of fans of the Outlander books by author Diana Gabaldon and its adaptation for a television series on the cable network, Starz.

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Before the first episode aired, Starz promoted the show with several film “shorts.”  These are approximately ten-minute sneak peeks and “behind the scenes” look at the upcoming new show.  Ron Moore (producer, writer) reveled that he thought the most difficult role to cast would be Jamie Fraser. Why? Moore claims that Jamie Fraser is “Bigger than life…he is the King of Men.”  This was the first time I heard Jamie Fraser described in this way. Ironically, this role was not hardest to cast; but, it was the easiest to cast. That is, after Sam Heughan’s Skype interview, and the viewing of his audition tape. The search for Jamie was over. It was over almost as soon as it began.

Not only is Outlander (1991) the first book of the series, it is Gabaldon’s first novel too. Presently, there are a total of eight books in this historical multi-genre series. Fans are thrilled by the promise of a planned total of ten books before the series is completed  As a matter of fact, Book #9, Go Tell The Bees That I am Gone, is a work in progress. No release date in 2017 has been announced. However, Gabaldon graciously posts excerpts of this book, for her fans, as she continues to work on it. To view them on her site, just click on the link below:

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/book-nine-outlander-series/

 

So Who Is This Fictional Character: Jamie Fraser?

JAMMF is an 18th century Highlander. He possesses numerous traits and talents.  Here is a list of a few: He is brave, loyal, extremely intelligent, funny, resourceful, educated, mysterious, nobel, an outlaw, honest, has a high tolerance to pain, Scot-stubborn, and completely loveable.  There are weaknesses too; for instance, he is tone-deaf (cannot hear the variations of the notes in music or pleasantly sing a tune), he cannot travel over large bodies water without becoming deathly seasick, and he cannot blink with only one eye.  His physical attributes are varied: he has dark red hair, dark blue eyes, wide smile, stands 6’4″, has a charismatic personality, has a very hot internal body temperature, his back is severely scarred from 200 lashes given as punishment, and is drop dead gorgeous. His magnetism is so strong that most women, and a few men as well, would love to assist him in the removal of his kilt.

 

As magnificent as fictional Jamie Fraser sounds, Sam Heughan’s brilliant portrayal is nearly as remarkable. Jamie’s particular mannerisms are not missed in Heughan’s performances.  It is so eerily perfect that many fans confuse Heughan, the actor, with Jamie, the book character.  Despite this, most critics overlook his screen presence as nothing more than eye candy. Which is a shame because Heughan is definitely a skilled professional who does an astonishing job.  One day in the near future, I hope he will be given the acting accolades he deserves.

So is Heughan’s portrayal of Jamie that remarkable that millions of women around the world are in love with Jamie/Sam?

In part, yes! But, to give proper credit where it is due, you have to look at Gabaldon’s literary genius in the creation of two fictional characters: Jamie and his time travelling wife, Claire.  To understand this phenomenal effect on women, it is important to analyze the entirety of Jamie and Claire characters, the circumstances that brought them together; and the kind of relationship they eventually develop.

The story begins:

Claire Randall (played by the lovely and talented Caitriona Balfe) is a WWII combat nurse. She accidentally time travels from 1945 to 1743. How does this time travel come about?

 

Claire is married to Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) who was a MI6 operative (a British Spy/Special Forces) during WWII.  After the War, Frank becomes a history professor at Oxford. But, before he starts his new civilian job, he takes Claire on a second honeymoon to be reacquainted as a couple, after the years of separation. They arrive on their second honeymoon in Scotland on Halloween (Samhain day: Ghosts of the dead are able to mingle with the living). Unfortunately, un-romantic Frank spends most of his time doing research on his own family’s history.  There are times when Claire must persuade her husband to abandon his research for more intimate, physical couplings with her. In other words, he seems to be slightly resistant to take the opportunities to have sex with his wife. I wonder if he is hiding something?

 

On a rainy night, as Frank is returning (alone) to his and Claire’s room, he literally bumps into the ghost of 18th century of Jamie Fraser.  Frank finds Jamie staring up at a second story window.  Through the window, he can see Claire as she brushes her curly hair. Frank is totally shaken when the spirit passes so close as to pass through his shoulder. When he later discusses the incident to Claire, he reluctantly confesses that it might have been a ghost; but, on second thought, he suggests that Claire might have had a Scottish lover.  Many fans love Frank as a character; and, I admire the actor, Tobias Menzies, who skillfully plays both roles as lovely Frank and his villainous ancestor, Black Jack Randall; but, I suspect there is something inherently wrong with Frank’s character.

 

While Frank searches through dusty old records with his friend, Reverend Wakefield (James Fleet), Claire tries to keep busy by searching for medicinal herbs. It is while she is having her tea leaves read by Mrs Graham (Tracey Wikinson) who is the housekeeper for Reverend Wakefield.  During the reading of tea leaves that lay in the bottom of the Claire’s cup, she learns she will be married to two men at the same time, bigamy?  Also during this tea reading, Claire is informed that her husband will not stray to other women’s beds (Boy, did she get that wrong). So much for tea readings!

Frank insists on doing some of his own voyeurism just before dawn. He is told by the Reverend Wakefield that on the Autumn solstice, the ladies dress in white with lanterns, dance and sing, welcoming the new season.  He and Claire hide as they watch this mysterious and ancient ritual.  Once it is over, they begin to investigate the Standing Stones where this all took place.  Claire finds some very pretty blue flowers, maybe Forget-me-nots, growing very close to the face of one Stone. They leave quickly, when one of the girls return.   Later, Frank announces he has more documents to research.  Claire decides to go back to the Stones alone and gather samples of those blue flowers.

Once, she begins to gather them, she hears a humming noise coming from the Stones. She places her hands on the stone and feels the vibration. Then, she feels she is falling among chaos and screams. The noise and pain is so overwhelming she passes out. When she awakes, the terrain has changed. Her car is missing. She sees British soldiers running through the woods. Then, she is being shot at and chased by them. She runs into their captain, Black Jack Randall.  At first she is confused and thinks it is Frank. But after he assaults her and nearly rapes her, she definitely knows: he may look like Frank, but that ain’t Frank.

She is saved by a stinky Highlander.  He grabs her behind a tree trying to avoid passing soldiers. Claire tries to scream for help before he cold cocks her in the head with the cluff of his sword.  She is taken to a cottage, full of stinky men who sees her dirty 20th century dress as an undergarment…indecent…whore?  Here, she hears them discusses a young lady’s injuries.  When their leader, Dougal, tries to figure out if she is a spy or what, he knows the British is near; and, they must leave as soon as possible. The young man’s shoulder is out of place.  They may cripple him trying to set it.  If they don’t set it, they have to leave him behind.  At first, Claire tries to keep quite, but the healer/nurse in her will not allow them to break his bones.  She yells at them to stop.  And like the combat nurse, she is, she takes over and properly sets Jamie Fraser’s shoulder.  Their first date…riding on horse, together in the rain for two days.  That is when I knew that I was totally hooked on their story.

Have I lost you yet?

So, again I ask what is it that makes James Fraser so irresistible to happily married Claire? If you look at the some facts concerning Jamie Frazer you might wonder if she has lost her mind.  You certainly would question giving him the honorable description of The King of Men.

 

Here is a brief list of some reasons why Jamie Fraser’s title should be questioned.  First, he is a British outlaw, fought as a mercenary for the French army, a coo (cow) thief, a spanker of Claire’s bottom, penniless, stubborn, a flirtatious tease (he is a virgin), he is easily roused (constant horny mode), no plans for the future, lives off his relatives, gets seriously hurt a lot, is superstitious, and he gives his body over to Frank’s super great-granddad to rape and torture even though he will be hanged the next day. That is just in the first book.

Warning! 🚫 Possible Spoilers ahead 🔺 for those who have not read all 8 Books

In later books, he marries a woman (Laoghaire) who nearly has Claire burned at the stake for being a witch; he has sex with an 18-year-old engaged girl (she blackmailed him to bed her) that produces a son he cannot claim, he begrudgingly befriends a gay British officer who is in love with him who just so happens to be the commander of the prison he is being held in as a traitor; he murders a prison guard, but not out of self-defense; he leaves wife #2 but sends her money out of guilt, he lives in a brothel, he is a smuggler, he has numerous aliases; and, he composes and prints traitorous material.

He also tells lies that would shame a politician;  he encourages his runaway nephew to stay with him while the boy’s parents (his sister and best friend’s child) are frantically looking for him; he keeps his second marriage a secret from Claire; and, he nearly beats an innocent man to death for mistakenly believing he raped his daughter.
Does this sound like the King of Men? Far from it!

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So, why is it, with all these flaws and imperfections, do women find James Fraser so irresistible? Does he possess some magical spell that he casts over our hearts or maybe he possesses a spark of the divine in his words? Maybe in a way, he does all of this, for Claire. In my opinion, James Fraser’s secret isn’t that he is the King of Men. In fact, his flaws are very human and can be be found to some extent in Every Man.

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Jamie loves Claire unconditionally. No matter if she endangers their lives, swears like a soldier, tests his patience over her devotion to Frank, or tells him outlandish stories about time travelling and the future; to the point he questions her sanity or believes she might be a witch.  He is there, through it all, for her.  He believes and trusts her. If actions speak louder than words, then Jamie has proved his love and devotion from the sheer number of times he risks his own life to save hers.

He nearly always puts her first. Not only does he risks his life for her, he is willing to live a horrible life alone without her, if it will keep her and their child safe.  Again, he proves this when he painfully guides her to the Standing Stones in order for her to go back to her time and Frank, not once, but twice!

Outlander Season 2 2016

Even when death beckons him to leave this world, it is his love for Claire that makes him stay. Jamie is loyal, faithful, intelligent, loving, and caring to his family and friends. He is a hard worker, a good provider, open-minded, and inquisitive. However, what he is not is perfect!

 

James Fraser gives hope to every women, and man, that true love does exists; but, it only happens with the “right” person. This can be exemplified by Jamie Fraser’s second marriage.

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Obviously, he wasn’t made to love Loaghaire even though she “thought” he was the love of her life. To “land” Jamie, she even schemes to place Claire in harms way and out of her way.  Loaghaire loved the idea of loving Jamie and being married to him. To Loaghaire that’s all that was needed. Jamie feelings would naturally match her own; or, so she thought. That’s the problem. She worked hard “to get him.”  Once she got him, it did not take her long to feel the void within her marriage.  Unlike Claire and Jamie, she did not feel at home, or safe when they embraced or made love.

According to Loaghaire, Jamie didn’t need her; instead, she knew deep down in her heart that he still ached for Claire. Loaghaire felt miserable in her marriage and avoided sex at all costs.  Sadly, Jamie tried to please her but failed. Again, if both partners are not equally committed, emotionally, they will soon feel alone in a failed relationship.

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Jamie and Claire Fraser’s relationship remind us that it is possible to be with a flawed someone who is a true friend. A person that we feel well loved by and always at home with.
For the millions of fans like myself, yes, we swoon, we even lust a bit after Jamie Fraser because he carries with him our desire and wish to be wholly loved. To be home, with our love, no matter where we are or where we go, as long as we share that mutual love, together.

 

This is a post for the 2017 Reel Infatuation Blogathon hosted by Ruth of Silver Screenings and Maedez from A Small Life. From June 23rd through the 25th, use the following link to find more postings on character crushes ❤️

https://reelinfatuation.wordpress.com/

I do not own any of the images or pictures on this post.

Why now? Why a Blog? My Peak Challenge 2014 – 2018

Updates for 2018 are located near the end of this post.

This blog started as a personal challenge through a health/charity group known as My Peak Challenge (MPC). For those who are not familiar with this group, briefly, it is a fundraiser for cancer research in order to find a cure (Bloodwise); in addition, it motivates its members to set personal goals for their personal best in body, mind and spirit.  This is accomplished through suggested guidelines. These guidelines include  meal plans, with recipes, an on-line exercise program, constant group support and coaching using various social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Regardless of what level you are physically, mentally or spiritually, everyone is challenged to grow and achieve more.

I first joined in 2014. I heard about  MPC through it’s founder, actor Sam Heughan. He is best known in his role as Jamie Fasier on monster hit: Outlander.  Outlander is Starz’s most successful show to date. During the show’s first season, the stars, producers, and author, Diana Gabaldon, of the book series went on various publicity junkets to gain and attract new viewers. During some interviews, Sam Heughan would encourage his fans to join him in raising money for Bloodwise.  Most of the fee money went directly to Bloodwise research.  You can read more about Heughan and Bloodwise using the next two links:

A personal page on the Bloodwise on-line site

https://bloodwise.org.uk/page/sam-heughan

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http://outlanderbts.com/sam-heughan-new-scotland-president-bloodwise-organization/

In the first year, membership cost less than $40.00. Nearly all the proceeds from membership salez went to the charity.  By joining, each person received a goodie box that contained: a Bear Strenght tee shirt with the MPC emblem on the front (pocket size) and back, MPC awareness wristband, and a copy of a signed photo of Sam Heughan. That first year we were encouraged to sign up for runs or to organize some kind of fund raising event. To help the members to build stamina and strength, Heughan teamed up with his friend and trainer, John Valbonesi who owns a Glasgow gym: Fight Camp (now known as Everyman Gym/ Fightclub). John provided the conditioning and strengthening exercise-videos on You Tube. This helped prepared members (Peakers) for the physical challenges (Peaks). These events might be include hiking, camping, mountain climbing, marathon races, any sport …). It was always stressed that the challenge must be set by each member according to their ability and members must discuss their program with their doctors to make their goal and Peak program is adjusted properly for them.  In other words, the Peak climbed for some members might be hiking a Munro (mountain) or taking the stairs or just walking to the end of a street.

When  Heughan and Valbonesi teamed up, they also gained the sponsorship of a popular British sports clothes line: Bear Strentgh. Members communicated through Twitter, email or left comments on You Tube. In year 2014 – 2015, MPC raised over $60,000. The original goal was $10,000

By 2015, MPC evolved into so much more than just raising cancer and health awareness, collecting funds, increasing membership and participating in sporting events. By 2015, it challenged each member to not only to create a healthier lifestyle, while working with a team or individually, but to set personal goals that worked the mind and heart. A Cross Fit of the entire person, soul included.

 In order to accomplish this, a health program was designed and a Facebook group was added and managed by Jordanna Brown, John Valbonesi, and visited by Sam Heughan, himself. The MPC prep course has been the best health support system that I have ever seen. People feel safe and really open up by discussing and listening to each other’s concerns and sound advice.

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By 2016, Sam Heughan and Jon Valbonesi (Valbo), and others created a day by day, the whole year health program.  This program is down loaded to your PC or tablet or phone.  It has, in detail, the first complete month of meal plans, training manual and exercise program. Basically it includes a written member guide, video guide, food logs, macro diet suggestions, and even menus with shopping list. The program is a well planned and effective. All Peakers are invited to join  MPC social media support groups. This provides not only a place of support but also accountability. Here, you can share your achievements, failures, concerns, on a myriad of topics that has had a personal impact on you.

The first Prep program video began in the kitchen.  If you think about it, this is where all health matters begin.  What food you put in your body should be nourishing and hopefully, delicious. Heughan looks very comfortable in a kitchen.  He loves food and you sense he probably enjoys cooking.  Since he is so comfortable, other aspects of his personality shines through. Both men, Sam and Jon, are very personable and humorous.  Characteristics they both shared in abundance. While they film in the kitchen, you actually sense their excitement and joy in sharing this unique program. They are proud to not only fight cancer but help thousands of people in one way or other in their personal lives. Of course, they have every right to be proud. MPC is truly a “gift that keeps giving.” It will change your life and other people’s lives for the better, if you want it.

Finally, Jon Valbonesi motivates, explains, and demonstrates how to effectively do each exercise. It is easy to understand why Jon’s gym in Glasgow, Scotland is so successful. Everyone on the MPC coaching team is funny, inspirational, motivational, and educational.  The 2016 – 2017 membership fee is around $89.00 US.  Yes, the cost of membership has increased but so has the organization itself.  Even so, one thing didn’t change: most of the proceeds goes to Bloodwise. For each yearly MPC campaign, a box of goodies is sent to each member

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MPC improved by utilizing the FaceBook page. Women and men opened up with honest discussions where everyone wants to support each other’s successes and failures.  Regardless how healthy or unhealthy the member, each, had common goals: raise money to eradicate cancer, challenge yourself to be better at every level while at the same time lovingly supportiing  each other’s efforts. The coaching team of Sam, Valbo, and Jordanna Brown constantly advise and motivate MPC members. Joanna does most of the posts on FaceBook and twitter; but, all coaches interact at some point.

In addition to the Prep Program, FaceBook, and The Box, the goals for 2015- 2016 Peakers included non-athletic challenges. By challenging yourself everyday, you become a better version of you! By stepping out of your comfort zone and taking action on a dream, wish, or passion, you evolve into a better you. This is where my blog on life lessons is created.

To date, MPC has raised over $200,000. By the end of May or beginning of June, the final numbers will be tallied and reported for 2016. I predict they will have collected over a quarter of a million dollars.  I was a little off.  It was actually $200,000 at the end of 2015-2016 campaign.

So, my personal challenge has begun. I have taken my first step. I have actually written my first blog. I hope I get much better at it with practice.

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If anyone is interested in checking out the new program this year, MPC 2018…here is the web site. This site is available until January 2019:

MPC2018 Membership With Gift Pack

Plus, I will share some of the public information from this site:

MPC2018 Membership With Gift Pack