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    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

“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. Oh, I cry for both of them….

  2. I so enjoyed the tv series, THANKYOU.

    Looking forward to reading the books. What is the title of the book where Clair and Jamie’s daughter returns to the past?

  3. Just wanted to say that I read all Outlander books starting in October 2015 while my right leg was in a cast for four months. That was just two months after my husband of thirty years died. My friend and dog trainer, a nice Jewish lady gave me the first big book to take me to another place. And they really did. I don’t care if tv needs to make a few changes Starz etal are doing a great job.
    Thank you so much for creating such a really thought provoking series. It has lead me into a new direction.
    I now take Gaidhlig lessons at San Diego House of Scotland in Balboa Parks International Houses and some day hope to go to Scotland!
    Many thank yous, and Best Wishes to you, Pat Goodman

  4. I do love the part from the book where they mark one another because it shows the depth of their love and commitment but the ending of season 2 where they hold hands as Jaime pushes Claire aginst the stone to send her back was also endearing. I love Jaime & Claire through the books and the show and hope for many years more enjoyment of my favorite couple ever.

  5. I’ve read that so many times and it still brings tears to my eyes and my heart breaks. Thank you, Diana, for sharing your beautiful gift of writing.

  6. Mark Me was/is so important to this story. Why couldn’t they do it CG?
    Very disappointed.

  7. I just finished reading “Outlander”.
    Your writing is amazing. A book written
    by a woman about a woman usually would
    not interest me but it was recommended to
    me and I thoroughly enjoyed this page
    turner. I bought the DVD and will watch it
    soon. You are a fine writer and I wish you
    all the best. Keep writing.

  8. Never, have I read or watched such an intricically detailed story. Fact & fiction intermingled perfectly. This is the most captivating and exciting story that I have ever read !

  9. I just finished Dragonfly in Amber right before this past TV season began. I found myself going back to the chapters and reading them again… Needless to say I had to renew the book from the library several times. I am so hooked on this love story, I can’t wait to get the third book, read it, and finally anxiously wait next the season. I think Ron Moore is brilliant with what he’s done with your books! The casting is phenomenal! I do remember you Diana in one of the scenes the first season. At any rate I’m in love with the whole thing. I could watch this series forever! Thank you for writing it, thank you to Ron more for producing it, and thanks to the actors for bringing it to life !! Sharon Lyn Stein, SAG-AFTRA

  10. Hi Diana,
    Have you ever considered adding pinterest to your newsletters? Maybe my lack of computer wizardry is showing because facebook, email and pinterest as well as saving online pictures & instagram screensavers are my entire skill set. If you don’t wish to add pinterest then I may be forced to ask one of my grandkids to teach me and that would be embarrassing since I have told them grandmas know everything! Lol
    On a better note, I am so happy Outlander is on tv. I caught the first show when dish was showing it to get Starz subscribers. I doubt I would have stumbled across the books had it not been for that program. I am currently reading Voyager and awaiting my copy of the second season dvd and soundtrack. I love watching a genuine romance. The pages take me back to where my ancestors came from and each show helps me understand that journey you’ve penned even better. The acting breathes such life into your pages and their interpretations are pretty close to that of my own imagination. I don’t worry about the leaving out, or changing things here or there, because the story is intact..it needs to flow within the time constraints found in tv.
    I learned very little about Scotland growing up. Only Norway because mom is Norwegian. But now I get to learn about dad’s heritage. Outlander is my guilty pleasure that I share with several friends and a sister-in-law. Thank you for drawing folks like me into a world so rich in love, passion, savagery and emotion. It’s about so much more then that but I lack the vocabulary to articulate it all but I am sure you know what I mean.
    I look forward to your newsletters,
    Meredith Terry
    P.S. Good luck with the 3rd season…I understand many think this volume is their favorite. I am quite enjoying what I have read so far. Oh, and if there are any typos or mispelled words….let’s just blame it on spell check, okay?! Go ahead and give Sam a hug for me…you don’t have to mention I am old enough to be his mother…barely…hey, I may be older and married but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a bit of God’s handiwork! Take Care!!!!!

  11. I agree with you that the leaving out of this very important part of the book was NOT compensated for by the piece of amber…I was waiting for it, and was very confused and upset that it was left out. I realize that not everything can be included in the TV show, but they need to leave in the best parts, the important parts, such as this, even if it is tricky…..

  12. I am just now reading your first book OUTLANDER and i am watching the TV series also — I love the series and your first book — I have 6 of your books and now waiting for the last 2 to be shipped to me — I would like to know as each season ends will there be DVD’S to buy ?
    Great Writer
    A big fan

  13. Yes, it was a disappointment that the “branding” was left off the TV Series, but not so much that I am heart broken. This leaves the allure to read and reread, and yes, reread the books. I am pleased so far with the TV Series, and hopeful that all books will be produced. I do wish they would have let Jamie say “Name the Bairn Brian, after my father”.
    Like so many others, I am a devoted fan, and thank you for giving this gift to us readers.


  15. Thank you for your truly wonderful books. This series from beginning to end (with another on the way!) has captivated me and has been so enjoyable to read. I am an avid reader and am never without a book in my hand, and I could not put down books one through eight without finishing them entirely and absorbing all there is to know about Jamie and Claire. I read your books after first seeing Season One of Outlander which I thought was great. So I am hoping that I can post this comment here – I don’t really do social media – because I have been seeing a few articles and comments about the “book fans” and the “TV fans” of Outlander. (Maybe I should take the media with a grain of salt?) I consider myself a book fan. I think this ties in with your above post. (Some spoilers here!)

    I hope that going forward the producers and directors will stick more to the story of Jamie and Claire from your books because you wrote it beautifully. Just a little disappointed in Season Two because Paris was different from the books – Jamie and Claire still had issues, but they were more loving when first coming to France; also when Faith died and the reconnection of Jamie and Claire; the death of Alex Randall was perfect the way you wrote it and Laoghaire was not in Book Two at all!!! (See the exclamation marks) There was no marker for Claire to see in Scotland when she returns (I felt that was important for down the road) and, of course, the marking of the hands. There are definite storylines that continue throughout the series from one book to the next. Once something is changed it will have repercussions in the following seasons.

    I noticed an article where it was said that because of what they had written in with Laoghaire, in the upcoming season when Claire comes back and finds that Jamie is married to her, he can state that “Claire told me to forgive her.” (This just is not true and not the way it was written.) Also, it was mentioned that the TV fans don’t know what’s coming up because they haven’t read the books. Well, us book-readers do. I don’t think the producers/writers are appreciating that people who have read the books are expecting to see the story we read. Exactly as we read it. That is why we fell in love with this story, these people, and everything that they experience. That is how you wrote it. I understand about filming, etc. but let’s please keep Jamie and Claire’s story the way it is.

    I do appreciate that I have been able to vent a little frustration here! I will continue to re-read these books for many years to come. Looking forward to Book Nine and also to Season Three of the show. I just hope that they will be sticking to the story that we know and want to see. A thousand standing ovations to the cast – they are all wonderful actors and actresses. Love them all! And thank you, again, for writing such an amazing story.

  16. Well done, Diana, this is such an essential piece of the puzzle. I hope that all who watch the show pick up the books. They will experience the wonder of your work. God be with you!


  18. I can’t imagine the pain of parting, like this. Ms. Gabaldon, you write so beautifully, from the soul. Thank you. Yours, Aye, Ann Douglas-Heflin.

  19. Wow! Once again I was in the moment and felt their pain.

  20. I think they really missed a major part when they didn’t put this seen in the show. Think of how many time the subject is brought up. Even little Jemmy asks his grandma what the mark is from. Maybe they can put it in as a after thought. Just saying. Love all thing Outlander anyway. Your the best Diane.

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