Jamie & Frank Play Checkers

Jamie & Frank Play Checkers

I wish I could have fought him for you,” he said abruptly, looking back at me. His blue eyes were dark and earnest.

I smiled at him, touched.

“It wasn’t your fight, it was mine. But you won it anyway.” I reached out a hand, and he squeezed it.

“Aye, but that’s not what I meant. If I’d fought him man to man and won, ye’d not need to feel any regret over it.” He hesitated. “If ever –“

“There aren’t any more ifs,” I said firmly. “I thought of every one of them yesterday, and here I still am.”

“Thank God,” he said, smiling, “and God help you.” Then he added, “Though I’ll never understand why.”

Diana Gabaldon, Outlander (Chapter 25)

whisky vs sherry

J & F draw a line in the sand.

“Englishman,” he said softly, and it was a conjuration. The hair rose very slightly on the back of Roger’s neck; he could believe he saw something move in the flames.

Jamie’s big hands spread, cradling his grandson. His face was remote, the flames catching sparks from hair and brows.

“Englishman,” he said, speaking to whatever he saw beyond the flames. “I could wish that we shall meet one day. And I could hope that we shall not.”

Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn (Chapter 71)

Highland vs Harvey's

Single malt for the Highlander, sherry for the Englishman.

You’ll scarcely credit this, but I stood there with my hand on that bloody stone, and wanted nothing more than that it should open, and put me face-to-face with James Fraser. Whoever he was, whenever he was, I wanted nothing more in life than to see him — and to kill him.

I have never seen him — I don’t know that he existed! — and yet I hate this man as I have never hated anyone else. If what Claire said and what I found was true — then I’ve taken her from him, and kept her by me through these years by a lie. Maybe only a lie of omission, but nonetheless a lie for that. I could call that revenge, I suppose.

Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn (Chapter 71)

the faceoff

Hard stares across the divide; Jamie with the clear gold – Frank on the frosted, darker side.

“Big chap,” said Frank, frowning in recollection. “And a Scot, in complete Highland rig-out, complete to sporran and the most beautiful running-stag brooch on his plaid. I wanted to ask where he’d got it from, but he was off before I could.”

I went to the bureau and poured another drink. “Well, not so unusual an appearance for these parts, surely? I’ve seen men dressed like that in the village now and then.”

“Nooo…” Frank sounded doubtful. “No, it wasn’t his dress that was odd. But when he pushed past me, I could swear he was close enough that I should have felt him brush my sleeve — but I didn’t. And I was intrigued enough to turn round and watch him as he walked away. He walked down the Gereside Road, but when he’d almost reached the corner, he disappeared. That’s when I began to feel a bit cold down the backbone.”

Diana Gabaldon, Outlander (Chapter 1)

the melee

The battle for the centre of the board.

Fraser — shall I curse him for stealing my wife, or bless him for giving me my daughter? I think these things, and then I stop, appalled that I should be giving a moment’s credence to such a preposterous theory. And yet…I have the oddest sense of James Fraser, almost a memory, as though I must have seen him somewhere. Though likely this is just the product of jealousy and imagination — I know what the bastard looks like, well enough; I see his face on my daughter, day by day!

That’s the queer side of it, though — a sense of obligation. Not just to Bree, though I do think she’s a right to know — later. I told you I had a sense of the bastard? Funny thing is, it’s stayed with me. I can almost feel him, sometimes, looking over my shoulder, standing across the room.

Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn (Chapter 71)

melee

Jamie marches past Frank’s last defense to claim a (strong) king.

My mind was boiling over like a pot of parritch on the flame, yet I held to that thought. “Ye canna kill him.” And I didn’t. But I was half-mad wi’ the fury of the fighting, and the blood singing in my ears — and I didna stop a moment to remember why it was I must not kill him, beyond that I had promised you. And when I had him there on the ground before me, and the memory of Wentworth and Fergus, and the blade live in my hand –” He broke off suddenly.

I felt the blood draining from my head and sat down heavily on a rock outcropping.

“Jamie,” I said. He shrugged helplessly.

“Well, Sassenach,” he said, still avoiding my gaze, “all I can say is, it’s a hell of a place to be wounded.”

Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 29)

Jamie's 2 kings

A last-ditch rally by Frank only delays the inevitable.

“Bree is mine, my daughter,” he said, as though to himself. “the only child I’ll ever have. I couldn’t give her up.” He gave a short laugh. “I couldn’t give her up, but you couldn’t see her without thinking of him, could you? Without that constant memory, I wonder — would you have forgotten him, in time?”

“No.” The whispered word seemed to go through him like an electric shock. He stood frozen for a moment, then whirled to the closet and began to jerk on his clothes over his pajamas. I stood, arms wrapped around my body, watching as he pulled on his overcoat and stamped out of the room, not looking at me. The collar of his blue silk pajamas stuck up over the astrakhan trim of his coat.

Diana Gabaldon, Voyager (Chapter 19)

Frank, I've got ye surrounded

“There’s no hope, man. I’ve got ye surrounded.”

“Well,” I said, attempting a smile, “at least we know Frank is safe, after all.”

Jamie glowered down at me, ruddy brows nearly touching each other.

“Damn Frank!” he said ferociously. “Damn all Randalls! Damn Jack Randall, and damn Mary Hawkins Randall, and damn Alex Randall — er, God rest his soul, I mean,” he amended hastily, crossing himself.

“I thought you didn’t begrudge — ” I started. He glared at me.

“I lied.”

Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 45)

done

Defeated, Frank slides under the table. Jamie stumbles home to his prize.

“Jamie,” I said, “how, exactly, do you decide whether you’re drunk?”

Aroused by my voice, he swayed alarmingly to one side, but caught himself on he edge of the mantel piece. His eyes drifted around the room, then fixed on my face. For an instant, they blazed clear and pellucid with intelligence.

“Occh, easy, Sassenach. If ye can stand up, you’re not drunk.” He let go of the mantelpiece, took a step toward me, and crumpled slowly onto the hearth, eyes blank, and a wide, sweet smile on his dreaming face.

Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 6)

I am a professional chef, a food writer and an unabashed fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

54 Comments

  1. corbinmom

    Love it! Every time I read about the Scottish ghost outside Clare’s window before she travels, I get a little shiver. Of course she had to choose Jamie! But throughout the books I always do feel a little bad for Frank.

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Apparently, DG had to include 1 or 2 extra passages in Cross Stitch (the UK version of Outlander), because English readers doing the beta-test were upset that Claire wasn’t trying hard enough to get back to Frank. I kinda feel sorry for him too.

      Reply

    • Lisa T.

      I believe that I love this post more every time I read it. Truly. It always inspires me to begin another read of the series…so much remembered and yet so much forgotten. Now having watched the Starz TV series – your insights are even more compelling and profound. Congratulations on 24,000. There will be more. Many more.

      Reply

    • Liz

      Verra well done!!! lol Love the way you mixed the books with the game…..just brilliant!

      Reply

  2. Lee Ann

    What a beautiful game board! And I’m happy to say I kept up through the whole “battle.” Probably easier to do in spirit since I’d definitely be under the table if I was playing!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      and you made a pun with “spirit” — you’re definitely not an early morning drinker, are you Lee Ann? ;)

      Reply

  3. Shelley

    That was brilliant. :)

    Reply

  4. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    Oh, Bravo! I love how Diana introduced Jamie in the very start of the book as the ghost looking in the window. Well, well done!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      The collecting and putting together of all the excerpts was a blast, Christiane…and I can’t complain about the booze part of it either!

      Reply

  5. mrs graham

    beautifully done! i love this. such a battle of wills.

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Thanks Mrs G! Sometimes when I’m reading about the rivalry between the two, I can actually picture their “souls” intertwined, engaged in a battle to the death for all time…whoa, that’s weird, isn’t it? ;)

      Reply

  6. Kiri W.

    Haha, FABULOUS. What a great scene. Did you drink all those? ;)

    Reply

    • Theresa

      ummm….no…or I wouldn’t remember a thing! (Most) of it got poured back into the bottle, with the help of a funnel. Nary a drop was wasted!

      Reply

  7. Donna

    Beautifully done! Can I play? I’ll take the whisky side!!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      The more the merrier! And, considering that each of those glasses is about 1.5 oz, I think we’ll ask a few more if they want to play.

      Reply

  8. MacZac

    FABULOUS!! It gave me chills…just like they were really speaking to each other! However, I never feel bad for Frank…He was a CAD! He didn’t deserve Claire or Brianna!
    Of course Jamie would win. He’s a Scot!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Thanks MacZac! I must say, I couldn’t have done this post without my kindle. It’s amazing what a keyword search will find…Theresa

      Reply

  9. sireesanwar

    I love it. It almost felt real! I’m totally sharing this as it was brilliant!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Thank you so much. And I thank ye for telling any and all Outlander fans you know! Theresa

      Reply

  10. Karen Henry

    I love it! Great selection of quotes, and terrific pictures! Thanks for putting that together! :-)

    Karen

    Reply

    • Theresa

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Karen — thank you for all the links! theresa

      Reply

  11. outlanderfan

    Jamie would so win lol!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Just based on the liquor to body weight ratio, I’d have to agree Jenn. You have to be very large, indeed, to absorb that amount of alcohol!

      Reply

  12. deniz

    Brilliant! Absolutely wonderful. Love the defeated Frank, love the choice of quotes. Off to have a dram of The Glenlivet in honour of the best checkers win ever!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Thank you so much, Deniz! It was a fun afternoon.

      Reply

  13. Jo

    I would love one of those drinks just about now. Would love for you to share your pictures with us over at foodepix.com.

    Reply

  14. Laura

    This was bloody brilliant! You captured the right quotes and loved the visualization of the chessboard was great. I am a huge fan of this blog. I look forward to your new entries. Keep it up!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Thanks Laura…I love feedback like that! Theresa

      Reply

  15. Beth Michelle

    This was just wonderful!!! Great great post!

    Reply

  16. Iseabail Wright

    Verra Nice! How creative you are! Your photography Fabulous! Loved the …conversation!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Thank you Iseabail! It was just as much fun to create! Theresa

      Reply

  17. Barbie

    Theresa, you did a fabulous job with the pictures and the quotes! In the beginning I couldn’t help but think that Claire’s eyes have been compared to sherry, so I saw her sitting there on the board as her two men fought over her. And wouldn’t it work that as one player takes the other player’s piece (or shot, as the case may be), he drinks the shot before upending the glass? So, as Jamie conquers Frank on the board, he’s taking Claire away from him as well.

    When I read all those quotes together, I can’t help but think that while he may not actually recall the occasion, Frank’s meeting with Jamie’s ghost does stay with him and continues to haunt him. I’d say “poor Frank” but I know I wouldn’t really mean it. I’d choose Jamie any day.

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Thanks Barbie! Claire has also been referred to as a “whisky-eyed lass” by Jamie — there’s a lot of booze in these books! — she’s actually represented in my photo of the two bottles by the box in the background. She’s always in Jamie’s corner…Theresa

      Reply

  18. Shari Nocera

    saw the picture of the board when you first posted it but never read the whole blog entry before…this was amazing! you have such a way with photos and weaving the quotes….I could hear them and felt like I was there!!

    Reply

  19. Denise Twist

    Theresa,

    This is my favorite post yet; it is so incredibly inventive! You’ve outdone yourself by pulling excerpts and creating the ultimate fight!

    Now I’m off to start your chicken fricassee for my three menfolk!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      I’m blushing at your praise, Denise! Many thanks…

      Reply

  20. Heather Landon

    That was absolutely fabulous!!!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Aww…thanks, Heather! That was a verra fun afternoon…I still smile when I think about all those shots of single malt and sherry!

      Reply

  21. tami hottinger

    you, lady, are too cool. this was great reading….can’t wait to try the game, my husband’s off liquor for lent…

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Glad you enjoyed it, Tami!

      Reply

  22. Mary

    Your verra best posting!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Figures this boozy post would be your favourite, Mary…;)

      Reply

  23. Yvette Burtschell

    Not sure why I’m just getting around to reading this post. . . I agree with everyone else – absolutely brilliant!!! However, I’m left realizing just how inconsolable I’m going to be when it is all over :-(. As a cooking and Outlander fanatic, I adore what you do to bring life to this bestest story ever!

    Reply

  24. OK’s 1st Anniversary, Tasting the Cherry Bounce & A Giveaway « Outlander Kitchen

    [...] second-most viewed post of this annus mirabilis is Jamie & Frank Play Checkers, where I set up the whisky and the sherry in shot glasses, and had the 2 men battle it out for [...]

    Reply

  25. Lori Renfro

    This is brilliant!

    Reply

  26. Kim

    I accidentally found Dragonfly in Amber in used bookstore at least fifteen years ago, which of course led me here (including trips to Scotland to find Jamie!) What a wonderful journey! I am older, and a little social media challenged, I just signed up for twitter where I found this incredible world of Outlander. I love your site, soooo much fun. I look forward to joining this new world, how exciting!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Welcome, Kim! We’re glad you’re here. :)

      Reply

  27. Theresa K.

    This is an incredible piece. Love it!

    Reply

  28. Chely

    This was wonderful! I’m so glad it was re-posted/bumped on Facebook.
    As the books have progressed, Frank has become a brilliant, complex, unseen character, mostly through flashbacks and those discovered heart-tugging letters.
    Spoiler!
    My head, heart, and body (ahem!) have always been with Jamie, but I fell in love with Frank as Bree’s dad, and how he was preparing Bree to be _Jamie’s_ daughter. Frank knew she would travel and become Brianna Fraser. No. Frank was definitely not a cad. Sniff.
    Perhaps you could do another version of this ^, but juxtaposing Frank and Jamie in regards to Bree. Please? :-)

    Reply

  29. Marie McKinsey

    This is such a clever post! I had forgotten just how many of these back and forth bits there were.

    Reply

  30. Cathie Mayne

    Theresa…You are a Genius. :-)

    Reply

  31. Carol Mackey

    This was really wonderful to read! Great job, Theresa! Thank you for re-posting it.

    Reply

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