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Jamie & Frank Play Checkers

Jamie & Frank Play Checkers

Beyond the Books, Drums of Autumn, Outlander

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)

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)

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)


  1. corbinmom
    January 12, 2012 at 4:44 am

    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.

    • Theresa
      January 12, 2012 at 9:52 am

      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.

    • Lisa T.
      October 5, 2014 at 9:09 am

      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.

    • Liz
      October 5, 2014 at 10:14 am

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

    • Su
      June 17, 2015 at 3:20 am

      I see-saw back and forth about feeling sorry for Frank. At first i felt really bad for him but then he made Claire’s life miserable when she came back and i hated him for it. Then he made sure that Bree could ride and hunt knowing that she’d go back to find Jamie at some point and then i liked him again…..and so on and so on lol

  2. Lee Ann
    January 12, 2012 at 4:45 am

    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!

    • Theresa
      January 12, 2012 at 9:43 am

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

  3. Shelley
    January 12, 2012 at 7:21 am

    That was brilliant. 🙂

    • Theresa
      January 12, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Thanks, Shelley!

  4. 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!

    • Theresa
      January 12, 2012 at 9:42 am

      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!

  5. mrs graham
    January 12, 2012 at 9:10 am

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

    • Theresa
      January 12, 2012 at 9:41 am

      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? 😉

  6. Kiri W.
    January 12, 2012 at 9:39 am

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

    • Theresa
      January 12, 2012 at 10:59 am

      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!

  7. Donna
    January 12, 2012 at 11:20 am

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

    • Theresa
      January 12, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      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.

  8. MacZac
    January 12, 2012 at 11:55 am

    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!

    • Theresa
      January 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      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

  9. sireesanwar
    January 12, 2012 at 12:35 pm

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

    • Theresa
      January 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm

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

  10. Karen Henry
    January 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm

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


    • Theresa
      January 12, 2012 at 10:12 pm

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

  11. outlanderfan
    January 12, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Jamie would so win lol!

    • Theresa
      January 12, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      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!

  12. deniz
    January 12, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    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!

    • Theresa
      January 12, 2012 at 10:09 pm

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

  13. Jo
    January 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm

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

  14. Laura
    January 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    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!

    • Theresa
      January 13, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      Thanks Laura…I love feedback like that! Theresa

  15. Beth Michelle
    January 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    This was just wonderful!!! Great great post!

  16. Iseabail Wright
    January 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm

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

    • Theresa
      January 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm

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

  17. Barbie
    January 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    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.

    • Theresa
      January 16, 2012 at 1:41 am

      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

  18. Shari Nocera
    February 12, 2012 at 8:43 am

    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!!

  19. Denise Twist
    February 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm


    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!

    • Theresa
      February 16, 2012 at 9:44 am

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

  20. Heather Landon
    February 24, 2012 at 9:29 am

    That was absolutely fabulous!!!

    • Theresa
      February 26, 2012 at 6:40 pm

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

  21. tami hottinger
    February 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm

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

    • Theresa
      February 29, 2012 at 8:45 am

      Glad you enjoyed it, Tami!

  22. Mary
    February 28, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Your verra best posting!

    • Theresa
      February 29, 2012 at 8:45 am

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

  23. Yvette Burtschell
    May 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    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!

  24. Lori Renfro
    June 1, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    This is brilliant!

  25. Kim
    August 5, 2014 at 9:39 am

    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!

    • Theresa
      August 5, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Welcome, Kim! We’re glad you’re here. 🙂

  26. Theresa K.
    August 6, 2014 at 9:38 am

    This is an incredible piece. Love it!

    • Theresa
      August 6, 2014 at 10:13 am

      Thanks, Theresa!

  27. Chely
    October 5, 2014 at 8:49 am

    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.
    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? 🙂

    • Monica
      December 13, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      I love love love this idea of the fathers and Bree conversation

  28. Marie McKinsey
    October 5, 2014 at 4:50 pm

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

  29. Cathie Mayne
    October 5, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Theresa…You are a Genius. 🙂

  30. Carol Mackey
    October 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm

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

  31. Marjorie
    June 16, 2015 at 8:53 am

    This was wonderful! thank you!

  32. Janice
    June 16, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Well that was about awesome! Thank you for some interesting Droughtlander thoughts.

  33. Kylie
    June 17, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Fabulous Theresa! I loved this post and reading the by-play you compiled between the two men. Outstanding idea using the shot glasses too.

  34. Rachel
    September 7, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    I’ve made rum balls with that Highland Park… to die for, huge hit at the New Year’s Eve party!

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