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“Mark Me” (Dragonfly in Amber)


ep213-dragonfly-in-amber-cropMark me…. or, you know…. don’t….

I’d thought of posting this bit from DRAGONFLY before the TV show’s finale for season two, and warning you that the show wasn’t doing it this way, lest finding this particular bit omitted might cause some of you (you know who you are…) to become Disgruntled and thus miss the real beauty and intensity of Jamie and Claire’s farewell.

But then I decided that I shouldn’t do that; not only would it be a spoiler, it might well rile some people a priori and not only spoil the ending for them, but also cause any amount of hopping up and down and general agitation that I didn’t think would serve anyone going into what’s really a spectacular ending.

But I did want to show the original to you, both as a solace to the book-fans, and a small gift to the TV-show-only fans.

(BTW… one of the writers was chatting with me before a Writers Bloc interview in LA and said, "We’re not going to do the cutting initials, but you’ll love what we’re doing instead!" I didn’t say anything (out of shock) but the expression on my face must have given a general impression of not being proactively thrilled. I got a grip and asked calmly what that was, only to be told that they were going to have Claire give Jamie the chunk of amber with the dragonfly, prior to going through the stones.

I won’t recount the entirety of my comments to Ron and Maril in the wake of this conversation, but I recall saying, "…there’s a massive emotional distance between, ‘I love you so passionately that I want you to shed my blood and scar me forever so I can remember your touch,’ and ‘Here, darling, take the ugliest wedding present ever to remember me by for the forty-five minutes before you die.’"

They admitted the essential truth of this <cough>, but insisted that they couldn’t do the cutting because it would be messy (they had all kinds of trouble with the blood-knife at the wedding, and were envisioning blood dripping everywhere and smearing and what it would do to the costumes, which had to last through multiple takes) and take too long and interrupt the pacing of the scene.

In all of which contentions, they were indubitably right, but STILL. The only thing I was able to do was extract a promise that they’d speak to the props department about making a new chunk of amber that didn’t look quite so much like a piece off a broken telephone pole transformer.)

So anyway…. here you go!

Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #DRAGONFLYinAMBER, #MarkMe

dragonfly in amber coverA wave of anguish broke through me, so acute that I must have made some sound, for he opened his eyes. He smiled when he saw me, and his eyes searched my face. I knew that he was memorizing my features, as I was his.

"Jamie," I said. My voice was hoarse with sleep and swallowed tears. "Jamie. I want you to mark me."

"What?" he said, startled.

The tiny sgian dhu he carried in his stocking was lying within reach, its handle of carved staghorn dark against the piled clothing. I reached for it and handed it to him.

"Cut me," I said urgently. "Deep enough to leave a scar. I want to take away your touch with me, to have something of you that will stay with me always. I don’t care if it hurts; nothing could hurt more than leaving you. At least when I touch it, wherever I am, I can feel your touch on me."

His hand was over mine where it rested on the knife’s hilt. After a moment, he squeezed it and nodded. He hesitated for a moment, the razor-sharp blade in his hand, and I offered him my right hand. It was warm beneath our coverings, but his breath came in wisps, visible in the cold air of the room.

He turned my palm upward, examining it carefully, than raised it to his lips. A soft kiss in the well of the palm, then he seized the base of my thumb in a hard, sucking bite. Letting go, he swiftly cut into the numbed flesh. I felt nothing more than a mild burning sensation, but the blood welled at once. He brought the hand quickly to his mouth again, holding it there until the flow of blood slowed. He bound the wound, now stinging, carefully in a handkerchief, but not before I saw that the cut was in the shape of a small, slightly crooked letter "J".

I looked up to see that he was holding out the tiny knife to me. I took it, and somewhat hesitantly, took the hand he offered me.

He closed his eyes briefly, and set his lips, but a small grunt of pain escaped him as I pressed the tip of the knife into the fleshy pad at the base of his thumb. The Mount of Venus, a palm-reader had told me; indicator of passion and love.

It was only as I completed the small semicircular cut that I realized he had given me his left hand.

"I should have taken the other," I said. "Your sword hilt will press on it."

He smiled faintly.

"I could ask no more than to feel your touch on me in my last fight— wherever it comes."

Unwrapping the blood-spotted handkerchief, I pressed my wounded hand tightly against his, fingers gripped together. The blood was warm and slick, not yet sticky between our hands.

"Blood of my blood…" I whispered.

"…and Bone of my Bone," he answered softly. Neither of us could finish the vow, "so long as we both shall live," but the unspoken words hung aching between us. Finally he smiled crookedly.

"Longer than that," he said firmly, and pulled me to him once more.

&&&

"Frank," he said at last, with a sigh. "Well, I leave it to you what ye shall tell him about me. Likely he’ll not want to hear. But if he does, if ye find ye can talk to him of me, as you have to me of him— then tell him… I’m grateful. Tell him I trust him, because I must. And tell him—" His hands tightened suddenly on my arms, and he spoke with a mixture of laughter and absolute sincerity. "Tell him I hate him to his guts and the marrow of his bones!"

We were dressed, and the dawn light had strengthened into day. There was no food, nothing with which to break our fast. Nothing left that must be done… and nothing left to say.

He would have to leave now, to make it to Drumossie Moor in time. This was our final parting, and we could find no way to say goodbye.

At last, he smiled crookedly, bent, and kissed me gently on the lips.

"They say…" he began, and stopped to clear his throat. "They say, in the old days, when a man would go forth to do a great deed—he would find a wise-woman, and ask her to bless him. He would stand looking forth, in the direction he would go, and she would come behind him, to say the words of the prayer over him. When she had finished, he would go straight out, and not look back, for that was ill-luck to his quest."

He touched my face once, and turned away, facing the open door. The morning sun streamed in, lighting his hair in a thousand flames. He straightened his shoulders, broad beneath his plaid, and drew a deep breath.

"Bless me, then, wisewoman," he said softly, "and go."

I laid a hand on his shoulder, groping for words. Jenny had taught me a few of the ancient Celtic prayers of protection; I tried to summon the words in my mind.

"Jesus, Thou Son of Mary," I started, speaking hoarsely, "I call upon Thy name; and on the name of John the Apostle beloved, And on the names of all the saints in the red domain, To shield thee in the battle to come… "

I stopped, interrupted by a sound from the hillside below. The sound of voices, and of footsteps.

Jamie froze for a second, shoulder hard beneath my hand, then whirled, pushing me toward the rear of the cottage, where the wall had fallen away.

"That way!" he said. "They are English! Claire, go!"

I ran toward the opening in the wall, heart in my throat, as he turned back to the doorway, hand on his sword. I stopped, just for a moment, for the last sight of him. He turned his head, caught sight of me, and suddenly he was with me, pushing me hard against the wall in an agony of desperation. He gripped me fiercely to him. I could feel his erection pressing into my stomach and the hilt of his dagger dug into my side.

He spoke hoarsely into my hair. "Once more. I must! But quick!" He pushed me against the wall and I scrabbled up my skirts as he raised his kilts. This was not lovemaking; he took me quickly and powerfully and it was over in seconds. The voices were nearer; only a hundred yards away.

He kissed me once more, hard enough to leave the taste of blood in my mouth. "Name him Brian," he said "for my father." With a push, he sent me toward the opening. As I ran for it, I glanced back to see him standing in the middle of the doorway, sword half-drawn, dirk ready in his right hand.


I originally posted this excerpt and comments on one of my social media accounts on Sunday, July 10, 2016, about episode 213 (titled "Dragonfly in Amber") of the Starz Outlander TV series.

Top image credit: Starz.

67 Responses »

  1. Once again … As always … You impress me with your choice of words & your style as you capture the soulful bond of love between Claire & Jamie … Either way … Your written words work … To experience this kind of soulful love with another is truly a blessing … Thank you … For who you are as a person & for your hard work as a writer & author of some amazing stories …

  2. Dear Diana, Iam of Mexican decent and my birthday is JAN. 11. I love your books and feel like a family member. Waiting for book nine keeps me anxious for more. I admire your intelligence and compassion for the characters of the books. I will reread from book one hopefully at a slower pace because you have kept me excited throughout these books and I would hurry to read more to have an outcome of a chapter or chapters. Thank You for an exciting experience. God Bless you! Linda Hallmark

  3. Dear Diana,

    thank you so much for recalling this originall farwell scene of these two, I was reading it with the tears in my eyes!

    I just completed seson II of Outlander TV series, generally think that they did a brilliant job again (I love all the actors playing in it) but it is a shame not to follow the most breathtaking farewell ever and replace it with something we saw in the episode 13!

    Wish you all the best from Poland!!!

  4. Thank you for this opportunity. Even though the cutting scene was omitted, which was sad as it was so beautiful showing the deep love felt by Jamie & Claire, the ending was still lovely and emotional. Sam Heughan did an absolutely fantastic job with his final words to Claire. The books aand series are amazing with in depth character studies. The Emmy voters should be ashamed. Could go on and on …..

  5. Love! <3

  6. Loath as I am to see changes to your own prose, as a once (and future?) television writer/producer (The Lazarus Man), I understand the occasional need. It’s a testament to your fine work and Outlander’s exec producers’ respect of same that they alter (nay, tamper) as little as they have done thus far. Takes intelligence at the expense of ego for a writer to know when to leave well enough alone.

    I must say, having read “Dragonfly in Amber” multiple times in the last 15 years, I did not miss Claire telling Jamie “Mark me.” Partly because “Mark me” has become such a catch phrase of that insufferable turd, Prince Charles, in the tv series, it’s slipped into my daily vernacular, God help me. But mostly because in the finale, Jamie’s speech — promising to find Claire again, even if only after 200 years in Purgatory — moved me to tears. Especially “God gave me a rare woman and I loved her well.” I believe these ARE your words, (or a close variant) tho’ I can’t recall whether from “Dragonfly” or from another of your Outlander novels. Please clarify.

    Congratulations on the series turning out so splendidly. Bugger on the Emmy nominations — what do they know? And can’t wait for “Tell the Bees I am Gone.”

    Yours truly,

    Colleen O’Dwyer

  7. So happy you posted this wonderful scene for those folks who are not readers of the Outlander Books. (and for me t00!) I love your quip about the dragonfly in amber gift! You have a wicked sense of humor…and I mean that as a compliment. Your story telling is spellbinding…..Thank you for sharing your talent with all of us. You are one exceptional lady…..Wishing you “all things bright and beautiful.”

    Joyce Goodstein

  8. Thank you for sharing this with those of us who have yet to read the book. I wish the cutting had been in the series on Starz, it’s powerful and so real. I want to read this book badly. Thank you.

  9. I cried again. You wrote a beautiful scene that SHOULD have been in the show. Some parts of it. A little blood would not have shown up on those dark costumes.
    But then I think everything you have written for Outlander series is really special. Sometimes I think it would have better if I had not read the books over the years but I would have missed your beautiful writing. and Ron has tried to keep to the books so I really am glad I did read them.

  10. …My eyes still fill with tears. Thank you for sharing this amazing gift with all of Us. It’s been 16 years since I first read this. Dragonfly was the only copy of any of your work in the library-so I started my journey here :).

  11. I absolutely love the Outlander show on Starz but your words leave me breathless!!

  12. As much as I appreciate the reasons for the show doing as they did, the emotion and rawness of the book is so much more powerful in this scene. This, honestly, has been the only changed scene where I get they didn’t hit the mark as far as keeping to the tone of the book. The absolute tearing of their hearts as they parted was palpable in the book. It was sad in the show, but not at the same level. Heck, they could have done the scarring without showing the actual cutting (or show it from the back side and then close up of the wound after with sfx.

    Oh well. They’ve done a pretty good job all season – this really is the only scene I’ve missed terribly.

  13. Diana, thank you for blessing us with your magnificent literary creations. Ron Moore and staff have developed a visual translation of the living, breathing, heart filled creation that is “Outlander”. Just as a film about the life of any famous individual falls woefully short of reality, so must a film adaptation of a great literary work fall short.

    I have been as fan of all things Outlander for over 20 years. My love of the novels continues and includes the fantastic work done by the Outlander cast and crew on the Stars screen adaptation. I encourage everyone to read the books. Through a complete understanding of the books, it’s only then that the work done on screen can be truly appreciated.

    Although I was disappointed not to see Claire and Jamie ” mark” eachother before being separated by the stones, it remains that their hearts are marked forever.

    As a reader I trust Diana to remain vigilant and keep the film train on track. Remember that those train passengers are her “babies”. We, who are parents, can certainly understand the bonds between parents and children.

  14. I loved the entire series and look forward to the next episode!

  15. I love your books. I am a history buff anyway, love historical novels and romances. I really think I was perhaps born in the wrong century but then I think of hot baths/showers any time I want, washing machines and other modern conveniences and I sigh. But I could never not take baths for as long as some of these women who would dump huge amounts of scent on them instead. Just not my style. But please continue your writings. I started reading your Outlander books when the first came out, got as far as Voyager and then children, jobs and in general, life got into the mix. When the series started I realized that you had written other books after Voyager and I never knew. So I started all over again with the first and now I’m into An Echo In The Bone. Then I will finish MOBY and patiently await the new part of this fabulous saga. Can’t wait for next season and the reunion of the two souls. Thank you for your writings and be well and happy in life.

    Bonnie Amato
    Outlander Fan

  16. I like this ending the best.

  17. You have left a MARK on all of us who have been touched by these — your stories…

    I just got back from Culloden after visiting Scotland this past June with my family – because of you, btw — it is a haunting place that calls me (us all) back …

    the Highlands are indeed “a beautiful, WILD country…”

    Both the TV series and the books carry with them so much TRUTH in their own way – love, beauty, passion, loyalty, trust and betrayal, the sex isna bad either…

    Hearing Jamie say “I hate him (Frank) to the marrow of his bones…” — and then actually seeing him (Sam) say it on the screen, and to see Claire notice the Dragonfly in the 1968 tourist center (it’s a wee bit better these days) was just as much a gift as knowing that there’s a small, crooked “J”in her mound of Venus, and a “C” in his…

    Each has it’s place and being a fan of both, I get lucky twice over!!!

    Thank you soooo much — will be waiting for the BUZZING of BEES…

    drj

  18. Dear Diana,
    I absolutely love, love, love your books and have read them over and over again. The show on Starz is breathtakingly wonderful in so many ways, from the actors, to the accents, to the landscapes, seas, ships and glorious French artistry, period scenes, Scottish Highlands and the outstanding outfits.
    Firstly, Claire and Jamie are perfect (both actors-Catriona and Sam) and so close to what I envisioned when I read your books. I am pleased with both the child character and the adult character in Roger! Brianna is spot on for her part…American, sassy, smart, fearless and beautiful.
    I cannot thank you enough for these wonderful books and for keeping me engrossed in this saga year after year. I cannot wait for the next new novel featuring the Fraser and McKenzie clans and for season 3.
    Congrats to you Diana!
    Kind Regards,
    Debra

  19. I love your books. You are an incredible writer. Thank you for giving somewhere to go when I am too stressed with the day. :)

  20. Love the books. Couldn’t put them down and can’t wait for the next one. The TV series is amazing. he best TV I’ve watched in years. Please make all the books into TV. Can you work in the Scottish Prisoner somehow?

    • Ron Moore and Starz are the ones who decide which of my works will be in the TV show. Plus it all depends on ratings year to year whether the show will continue. Seasons 3 and 4 are confirmed. After that, it’s up to viewers!

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