(Consider yourself warned: what you are about to read is a potentially frightening glimpse into the mind of an obsessive fangirl.)
I have special skills when it comes to seeing/making connections between those things that I love and obsess over and random things that I come across in daily life. Right now, I’m riding high on my Jamie Fraser kick and consequently noticing Scottish references everywhere. I watched Alice in Wonderland yesterday and was thrilled to see Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter as an angry Scotsman! When he dons a kilt and sporran during the final battle against the Jabberwocky and in his flashbacks to happier days before the Red Queen when he is sporting long red hair, my mind couldn’t help but make the jump to Jamie Fraser. (And by the way, Johnny Depp doing a Scottish accent= amazing. No matter what crazy make-up or costume that man is wearing, he still gets me every time…)
I recently discovered my new favorite beer, the Highland Brewing Company, and yes, I’m going to connect it to Mr. Fraser as well. I was drawn to it and decided to try it based solely on the fact that 1) the label has a Scotsman on it and 2) there were varieties with names such as “Gaelic Ale” and “Black Mountain Bitter,” but it turns out that it’s really good! On top of that, it’s made in Asheville, North Carolina! Now, if you know me then you know that I have been obsessed with Asheville for the better part of my life. (One day, I tell you, if it’s the last thing I do, I WILL live there! ) The Last of the Mohicans was filmed in Asheville and that movie makes me think of Young Ian in Drums of Autumn. (I was totally envisioning Daniel Day-Lewis the entire time I was reading about Ian in that book.) If you aren’t familiar with the area, Asheville is located very close to Roan Mountain, TN and Black Mountain, NC. It’s mentioned in Drums of Autumn that Claire can see Roan Mountain from Fraser’s Ridge and when at River Run, Claire longs to get back to Black Mountain. Roan Mountain also holds a very special place in my heart and I was so excited to see it mentioned in the book. My dad used to own a house there and my husband proposed to me on top of Roan Mtn! It’s arguably some of the most beautiful country you’ll ever lay eyes on and perhaps since I have so many ties to the area, it strengthens my connection to the characters? So anyhoo, to sum it all up, I feel a little link to the Frasers when I drink Highland Brewing beer because it has a picture of a Scotsman on the label, and it’s made in Asheville, which is close to where Fraser’s Ridge is located, and reminds me of the scenery in Drums of Autumn, which is my most favorite book in the Outlander series. Don’t judge.
I had the privilege this past weekend of attending the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in North Carolina. While my primary interest in the gathering was stemmed from my love for all things Outlander, in an unexpected turn of events I ended up discovering my Scottish roots as a result of the Games. My Grandfather has done extensive genealogical research on our family and he informed me that I am descended from the Kincaid clan of Sterling Shire in central Scotland. I was pretty pumped to find this out and it made my pilgrimage to the Highland Games that much more exciting, since I could add looking for all things Kincaid to my initial goal of looking for Jamie Fraser look-alikes.
The entire experience was extremely entertaining, from the shuttle ride in the rickety old school bus from 1950 that topped out at a max speed of 25 miles per hour up and down the insanely curvy and steep roads of Grandfather Mountain with our driver “Rosy” who didn’t seem to think it pertinent to keep his eyes on the road and off of his cell phone (or the blonde sitting behind him); to getting stuck in a torrential downpour with no umbrella or shelter other than some friendly pines with my brand new (not waterproof) camera and my Mom who was convinced we were going to get struck by lightning. All craziness aside though, I fulfilled my desire to see lots of real (live) people in traditional kilts and arisaids and we heard plenty of bagpipe music too. One of the highlights for me was getting to see Albannach in the Celtic Grove, which was pretty amazing. I also loitered around the tent of a Scottish kiltmaker just to listen to him talk (“the eight yard kilt will give ye mooch more swoosh than the wee five yard”). Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sample any traditional Scottish food since apparently the Scots diet is not very conducive to vegetarianism.
I didn’t spot any Jamie Fraser look-alikes. Not even close. But I saw a few potential Roger MacKenzies. Actually, I did spot a mannequin sporting a red kilt, white flouncy shirt and bright red wig and naturally I was convinced that this was set out by a fellow Jamie fan. I had every intention to get my photo made with it, but alas, my plan was thwarted by the sudden deluge and he was snatched inside before I got my chance.
In the end, a good time was had by all and I hope that I can recruit some fellow fangirls and make it back next year, although I think we must camp next time in order to get the full effect. Any takers?
If you are a fellow Outlander fan, you can probably relate when I say that it’s pretty hard to get a concrete idea in your head of what Jamie Fraser would look like. The closest I’ve ever come is Alexander Skarsgard. He’s got the slanted blue eyes, the height, and the Norse/Viking-esqe features that Diana Gabaldon describes, but I could never envision him with red hair. That being said, you can imagine my excitement when I opened an e-mail from Bridget this morning and found this:
Bridget, it took you long enough to hop onto my Jamie Fraser bandwagon, but I’m glad to see you are now fully aboard :)