From Page to Screen: Outlander S1:E4, “The Gathering”

From Page to Screen: Outlander S1:E4, “The Gathering”

It’s Outlander day! Remember, these posts are not spoiler free. Read at your own risk.

“The Gathering” was particularly good this week. The drama is really starting to pick up. More threads of the story are revealing themselves. I think the “setting up,” so to speak, is over. Now we’re into the meat of the story. Of course, the most drama happens at the end … when Jamie and Claire are caught going back to the castle and Jamie is forced to stand in front of Colum and take the oath. Claire feels guilty. I would too, come to think of it.

I really enjoy Graham McTavish’s portrayal of Dougal. I’ve always thought that Dougal was a complex character but McTavish really brings that to life in the series. I’m … oddly attracted to Dougal. I think it’s the hat. Here, have a look. Well, I suppose it’s not really odd. My love of burly men with lots of hair is reflected in my husband. I keep telling him he’s got good kilt legs. Anyway.

Outlander, "The Gathering" (Starz)
Outlander, “The Gathering” (Starz)

Speaking of husbands …. he’s really funny. In the scene where Laoghaire solicits a love potion from Claire he was like, “Dinna doooo it! It’s a trap!”

One of my favorite parts of this episode is directed toward Bear McCreary, who composes the score. There are a few scenes where Claire’s 18th century shenanigans are juxtaposed with music from the 1940s. It is such a fantastic non-verbal cue that reminds us where Claire is really from without having to do it in dialogue.

Diana Gabaldon makes a cameo in this episode too. She plays Iona McTavish and has some wonderfully snarky banter with Mrs. Fitz. It was a nice touch because Gabaldon has a biting sarcasm. I suggest following her Facebook page. It’s wonderful.

The only thing I was a little confused on was when Murtagh explained the succession rules to Claire. Hamish isn’t guaranteed Colum’s title when he dies. Neither is Dougal. If Jamie swear fealty to Colum during the gathering he has a real shot at Colum’s title. After doing a lot of research I found a great explanation written by Diana Gabaldon. Apparently the title system isn’t hereditary. It’s a tanistry system. Read what she has to say about it:

Succession was by tanistry, not direct hereditary succession (don’t know if you’ve encountered that; it meant, basically, that a clan chieftain was chosen from a small pool of highly qualified men–“qualifications” including both genetic linkage to the present chieftain, _and_ personal power, charisma, wealth, number of men at his command, etc. The tanist–or successor–was elected by the clan, and wasn’t necessarily the nearest kinsman to the present chieftain.

So yeah, I’m glad I cleared that up because I was scratching my head for a while on that one. There’s more on this matter but it’s a bit spoiler-y and I don’t want to give anything away yet.

In any case, that’s all for this week. Here’s hoping that you can hold your liquor like a Scotsman. I sure can’t.

© 2014, Jessica Workman Holland. All rights reserved.