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  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor


What’s your line?

Recently, I saw a thread in which people presented/discussed their favorite sentences/lines from the OUTLANDER/Lord John books. Everyone has their favorites, from the funny to the touching, the dramatic, or the philosophical. And sometimes just because they like the way it sounds. {g}

Here are just a few that I’ve seen quoted as people’s favorites:

“…but it all comes right in the end. So it did, I thought–though often not in any expected way.”

“…for I was gromished from the fall and my right ankle gruppit–and was just about to call once more when I heard sounds of a rare hochmagandy…”

“You’re no verra peaceful, Sassenach… but I like ye fine.”

“And what was the ransom, then, that would buy a man’s soul, and deliver my darling from the power of the dog?”

“And if thee hunts at night, thee will come home.”

“Holy God.”

“And when my body shall cease, my soul will still be yours. Claire—I swear by my hope of heaven, I will not be parted from you.”

“Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own.”

“That’s all right,” I assured him. “We’re married. Share and share aline. One flesh; the priest said so.”

“Only you. Because ye will not let me lie – and yet ye love me.”

“Whatever (your feelings) are, though, they must be exigent, to cause you to contemplate such drastic expedients.”

“Don’t buy any peaches.”

“On your right, man.”

“Ye scream like a lassie,” he said, eyes returning to his work.

“Come to me, Claire, daughter of Henry, strength of my heart…”

“Stand by my side, Roger, son of Jeremiah, son of my house…”

“You are my courage, as I am your conscience,” he whispered. “You are my heart—and I your compassion. We are neither of us whole, alone.”

“That’s the Third Law of Thermodynamics,” I said. “No,” he said. “That’s faith.”

“What is it about ye that makes men want to take their breeks off within five minutes of meetin’ ye?”(coupled with) “Well, if you don’t know, my dear…I’m sure no one does.”

“Ian, … Ye, sound like your mother. Stop”

” I canna tell whether ye mean to compliment my virility, Sassenach, or insult my morals, but I dinna care much for either suggestion.”

“Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well.”

“I am the son of a great man”.

“I mean to make you sigh as though your heart would break, and scream with the wanting, and at last to cry out in my arms, and I shall know that I’ve served ye well.”

“Dinna be afraid. There are the two of us now.”

I do (naturally enough) like all of those, but my own particular favorite is probably the last sentence from THE FIERY CROSS:

“When the day shall come that we do part,” he said softly, and turned to look at me, “if my last words are not ‘I love you’-ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.”

Now, I like that one particularly, because I didn’t write it. It’s something my husband actually said to me one day, quite casually, looking up from his Wall Street Journal (minus the Scottish accent). I do know a good line when I hear one, though.

(Doug, having seen this, says he appreciates the credit, but would rather I mention that he is the source of the advice on how to get rid of crabs (of the pubic lice variety) that Murtagh offers in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER.  This is true.   The part where Jamie is teaching his young nephew not to pee on his feet, remarking, “It’s hard when your belly-button sticks out more than your cock does,” is also one of Doug’s lines, along with the bit where Jamie (after a drunken night) wakes up, sniffs his oxter and remarks that he smells like a dead boar.  And people wonder where writers get their material…some of us marry it.)

People always do ask me “Which book is your favorite?”—and to me, it’s all One Huge Thing, so I can’t really pick. But I’m in the habit of saying, “The one I’m working on now—because that’s the one where I don’t yet know everything.”
I’m now in the Final Frenzy phase of SCOTTISH PRISONER (this is where I know Everything, and it’s a matter of how long I can sit at the computer without interruption and/or stopping to eat {g}), so at the moment, I’m in love with this book. Just for fun, here are a few of the lines that I particularly like from it:

“I haven’t seen a cove that sick since me uncle Morris what was a sailor in a merchant-man come down with the hockogrockle,” said Tom, shaking his head. “And he died of it.”

“He at once felt better, having taken action, and smoothing his crumpled neckcloth, went in search of fried sardines.”

“And then I heard other noises—screeching and skellochs, and the screaming of horses, aye, but not the noise of battle. More like folk who are roaring drunk—and the horses, too.”

“Distracted by the vision of amphibians in their thousands locked in slime-wrapped sexual congress amid the dark waters, he caught his foot in a root and fell heavily.”

“Abbot Michael was talking of neutral things: the weather (unusually good and a blessing for the lambs), the state of the chapel roof (holes so big it looked as though a pig had walked across the roof, and a full-grown pig, too), the day (so fortunate that it was Thursday and not Friday, as there would be meat for the mid-day dinner, and of course Jamie would be joining them, he would enjoy Brother Bertram’s version of a sauce, it had no particular name and was of an indistinct color—purple, the abbot would have called it, but it was well known he had no sense of color and had to ask the sacristan which cope to wear in ordinary time, as he could not tell red from green and took it only on faith that there were such colors in the world, but Brother Fionn—he’d have met Brother Fionn, the clerk outside?—assured him it was so, and surely a man with a face like that would never lie, you had only to look at the size of his nose to know that), and other things to which Jamie could nod or smile or make a noise. “

“Behind him, he thought he heard the echo of wild geese calling, and despite himself, looked back.”

[That's the cover for the Dutch edition of SCOTTISH PRISONER, and if you can figure out what it's supposed to be, you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.]

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165 Responses »

  1. One of my favorites is in Outlander –

    “Jesus Christ,” I said. There was a faint chuckle near my ear.
    “I only said I ~felt~ like God, Sassenach,” he murmured, “I never said I ~was~.”
    (~ taking the place of italics!)

    And about the sperms, I like when Jamie proudly observes that they are “verra fierce.” :)

  2. There are so many that I love. I love the dry wit that Claire has and one of my favorite lines/scenes is from Voyager when Ian sees her for the first time at the brothel.

    “I’d always thought the descriptions of what people did when seeing ghosts rather exaggerated, but had been forced to revise my opinions in light of the responses I had been getting since my return to the past. Jaime had fainted dead away, and if Ian’s hair was not literally standing on end, he assuredly looked as though he had been scared out of his wits.”

    I also liked Claire’s description of the “uneventful” rest of her journey to Leoch in Outlander…

    “The rest of the journey passed uneventfully, if you consider it uneventful to ride fifteen miles on horseback through rough country at night, frequently without benefit of roads, in company with kilted men armed to the teeth, and sharing a horse with a wounded man. A least we were not set upon by highwaymen, we encountered no wild beasts, and it didn’t rain. By the standards I was becoming used to, it was quite dull.”

    Can’t wait for the next book!

  3. Estimada Diana
    Adoro todos tus libros!!! Quería mandarte un especial saludo en español ya que somos muchos los latinos que te seguimos, me encantaría poder leer la web también en este idioma.
    Un abrazo fuerte

  4. I haven’t seen my favorite. It’s when Claire and Major McDonald are sitting on the porch sharing a jug of beer. Rollo comes running out of the woods, heads back, comes out… I’m not sure of it exactly, but it was something like Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, frigging Timmy is down the well again.

    I laughed ’til I cried.

    I’m with a couple of the others in that I’ve adopted Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ as a personal epithet.

    • Too funny!!!! Can’t you just hear her??!! I had tears in my eyes, as well!!
      I am truly grateful to Diana for sharing her gift of words with us all. I have been so touched by this saga……………..how about .. “Da mi basia mille….” — found inside her ring (sigh)

    • Yes, yes, yes! Timmy is down the well made me laugh out loud.

  5. So I was just randomly looking you up on the internet, see if there’s new stuff out and such, when I stumbled in here.
    Now, I’m actually from the Netherlands and the first thing I thought when I saw that cover was: What the?! How do you (the blog software stuff) know where I am?!

    I must say, by the way, that it does look more interesting than the other Dutch covers I’ve seen. All the Dutch versions I have look like this: http://omslagen.nrcboeken.nl/omslag/afbeelding/250×300/9789022535950.jpg
    I’m not even sure why most of the pictures are on there, they don’t make a whole lot of sense.
    By the way, that’s the cover to book 2, Dragonfly in Amber. Translated, the title would be: “Back to Inverness”.

    Another odd thing about the dutch books: Book 1, Outlander, is called “De Reiziger”. Translating that back to English, you get: The Voyager (or Traveler).
    This makes it very confusing to talk about the books with people who’ve read the English versions! :P

    And that is why there’s no favorite line in this comment!
    I got An Echo in the Bone in English though, I hope I’ll eventually have all the English versions because damn is there a huge difference! I liked the books in Dutch already, but the orginal English versions are just SO much better.

    • Oh hey, I just noticed the covers on the site also all look like that. I like my version of Echo way more though, I have the leaf-y one.

      The colour of the entire cover also seems to be off on the Dutch versions though… no idea why.

  6. There are so many good ones, but a favorite from Outlander is “Does it ever stop? The wanting you?” His hand came around to caress my breast. “Even when I’ve just left ye, I want you so much my chest feels tight and my fingers ache with wanting to touch ye again.”

  7. I recently retired from 30 years of teaching high school students how to read and write. Ironically, I rarely had time for my own pleasure reading since most of my time was consumed by grading student essays. I mentioned to a friend that I was anxious to return to my love of reading and she recommended The Outlander. After a few chapters, I was absolutely hooked! Oh how I wish I had known about you when I was struggling to excite young writers! ( I know that the sexual passages would not have been appropriate but I could have used so many others!) You have such a gift! Have you considered having a movie series made from the books? I vote yes and recommend Chris Jericho to play sweet Jamie!

  8. So many favourites. Here’s a small selection -

    - from Drums of Autumn when Jamie & Claire find the site of Fraser’s Ridge
    ‘It’s a rare plant,’ he said, touching the sprig in my open hand. “Flowers, fruit and leaves all together at the one time. The white flowers are for honour, and red fruit for courage – and the green leaves are for constancy.’
    My throat felt tight as I looked at him.
    “They got that one right’, I said.

    - Lord John when William falls down the privy
    “What news from the Underworld, Persephone?’

    – And from Mandy

  9. Here is my favorite.

    It’s from “An Echo in the Bone”. This is after Jamie has gone to see Laoghaire and comes home ans asks Claire “Have ye ever been in the slightest doubt that I need you?” Claire answers “No, to the best of my knowledge, you needed me urgently the moment I saw you, and I haven’t had reason to think you’ve got any more self-’sufficient since.”

    I love Jamie but I understand Claire!

  10. This is not a line but a scene that always comes to me when I think of the series. It is in the darkened chapel when Lord John nearly (literally) stumbles over Jamie. It made me both laugh and cry and is haunting to me.
    Most of the above lines I,too, have loved and remembered. Diana, thank you for all the hours of pleasure and enlightenment. It is so hard to wait for the next two!!

    Sincerely, Donna

  11. I love all the quotes everyone has put up…some of them had me laughing out loud. I love the parts of the books that aren’t always people talking. Diana you write in such a beautiful way that I don’t always need the conversations between character… the character’s very thought and actions are lovely in a way that make me feel them too. Some of my few favorite that i can recall are….

    I stood still, vision blurring, and at that moment, I heard my heart break. It was a small, clean sound, like the snapping of a flower’s stem. (Dragonfly in Amber)

    I was alive, though. Alive, and with a small feeling of certainty, like a tiny glowing sun beneath my ribs. He was here. (Voyager)

    Suddenly the inn door opened, and the sun came out, in the person of James. If I was a radiant bride, the groom was positively resplendent. (Outlander)

    Last two paragraphs of Chapter 29 Perfectly Fine (A Breath of snow and Ashes)

    The entire Chapter Loth to Depart in A Breath of Snow and Ashes. The first two pages of chapter 6 in Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade. The way John describes Jamie and what his very existence is for John, you can feel the love John has for him. I love, love, love John!!!!!

    Thanks Diana for all your awesomeness (Is that even a word? My kids use it all the time.)


  12. RE: Dutch cover. If the circle was unbroken, it would represent a prison. One solid entity with no exit, surrounded by a wall. However, broken apart, there is a stallion rearing up and the outline of trees. The green background is dynamic and seems to come through the broken circle. It reminds me of when John sends Jamie to Hellwater as a groom. It’s the only freedom John can give him – to be with the horses and in the green pastures. So, it’s John’s way of breaking Jamie out of prison. Back to the circle imagery though, two circles often also represent wedding bands. As you written Jamie and John’s stories so far, this act of John’s takes Jamie from prisoner to a place where the men are able through time and circumstances to form a friendship based on trust and respect. The events that transpire at Hellwater becomes the glue that then binds John and Jamie for life through the shared responsibility of the child, William. Also, rings show up repeatedly in both the Oultlander and Lord John series: John has Hector’s ring which ultimately he gives to Jamie to save Bree and her family; Claire’s two wedding bands, Jamie’s father’s ring with the ruby, and so on.

    Well, I’m probably very off base with these musings, but it’s early and I’ve only had one cup of coffee.

    Love, love, love your work.


  13. MY FAVORITE LINE – from Voyager (page 393, paperback, midway down.)

    “Me?” I said in surprise. “You don’t need to worry about me.”

    “I don’t?” He dropped my arm and rounded on me, glaring. “I dinna need to worry about ye? Is that what ye said? Christ, I leave ye safely in bed waiting for your breakfast, and not an hour later, I find ye downstairs in your shift, clutching a corpse to your bosom?…………………………

    This passage left me laughing til my sides ached.

  14. To me it’s a reared horse in a wood set in a broken medallion…

    but that’s just my opinion. :)

  15. “And if thee hunts at night, thee will come home.”

    I vote for this line from the end of Echo in the Bone.

  16. I am currently read An Echo in the Bone and I just read the following line by Claire and thought it was hilarious! This is after she finds Jaime on a battlefield, injured.

    “Yes, that! You- You-oaf! How dare you do that to me? You think I haven’t got anything better to do with my life than trot round after you, sticking pieces back on?” I was frankly shrieking at him by this time.

  17. I like the discussion Lord John and Jamie had In Voyager regarding authors and characters:

    “A Lady Novelists remarked to me once that writing novels is a cannibals art in which one often mixed small portions of ones friends and ones enemies together, seasoned them with imagination and allowed the whole to stew together into a savory concoction.”

    I think I am familiar with that “Lady Novelist” ;-)

  18. Great to be reminded of all these wonderful lines! I hope I don’t make too much of a hash out of this, because I’ve lent out my Dragonfly in Amber book and can’t refer to it for the exact quote……but it’s from the scene in Paris after Jamie has returned from the Brothel. Claire is pregnant and I think she finds love bites or something on his neck. They proceed to have an ugly fight with Jamie saying something like “What would you do if I slept with one of them…slap my face?…turn me from your bed?” And Claire says, “I’d KILL You.” And Jamie says something like “Jesus…If you did that, I’d kill him, not you” and Claire says something like ” Just like a man to miss the point”.

    I love how the passion in this relationship is conveyed. There isn’t much that goes unsaid between them.
    Thanks Diana!

  19. I am an avid reader. After my sister-in-law introduced me to the Outlander Series a number of years ago, I cannot think of an author or goup of books that I have enjoyed more than this series. Chesapeake and Centennial by Michner, Lonesome Dove by McMurtry, Mists of Avalon by Marion Bradley, Cold Mountain by Frazier, and ShoGun by Clavell are on my list of favorites. But up there with those books, but surpassing them all in humor and delight are the Outlander Series. Please do not ask me to consider a favorite from just one of the books from the series. I consider them all one HUGE book, simply divided into the individuals for convenience. It would be a rather large one to carry around, wouldn’t it?

  20. Doug’s line is also my favourite :)

    BUT I love the scene, I think it might be in ABOSAA, where Jamie picks Claire a bunch of flowers that remind him of her, and “she clutches to her chest the silly wee thing” (sorry don’t know the exact line…). Brings a tear to the eye! *sigh*

    • Oh one of my favorites too. It was the Fiery Cross – they had just got home to the Ridge from the gathering.

      “welcome home;, he said, and held out the small bouquet of leaves and twigs.

      “Oh, Jamie — they are wonderful”,

      He felt pleasantly foolish, and foolishly pleased with himself. {I LOVE THAT LINE!}

      and then later (snicker)

      “YE MIGHT HAVE TOLD ME, Sassenach: Jamie glowered at the table —-. THe bright, blotchy red of the posion ive glowere, even in the dimness of the firelight.

      “And ye might get rid of it, too. D’ye mean to mock me?”

      And Claire’s reply;

      “That’s the only posy you’ve ever given me, and I don’t imagine I’ll get another;: I mean to keep it.”

      {I know what she means! Oh, dear I am also obsessing, but it is fun!}

      • Your line you are remembering is’

        “Oh, Jamie— they’re wonderful.” She came up on her toes and kissed him, warm and salty, and he wanted mroe, but she was hurrying away into the house, the silly wee things clasped to her bresat as though they were gold.

        But the pleasantly foolish, and foolishly pleased { I have seen my husband trying to please me so many times, just like that and that describes perfect how he acts, and I just know that is how he feels too}

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