• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor


What’s your line?

Recently, I saw a thread in which people presented/discussed their favorite sentences/lines from the OUTLANDER/Lord John books. Everyone has their favorites, from the funny to the touching, the dramatic, or the philosophical. And sometimes just because they like the way it sounds. {g}

Here are just a few that I’ve seen quoted as people’s favorites:

“…but it all comes right in the end. So it did, I thought–though often not in any expected way.”

“…for I was gromished from the fall and my right ankle gruppit–and was just about to call once more when I heard sounds of a rare hochmagandy…”

“You’re no verra peaceful, Sassenach… but I like ye fine.”

“And what was the ransom, then, that would buy a man’s soul, and deliver my darling from the power of the dog?”

“And if thee hunts at night, thee will come home.”

“Holy God.”

“And when my body shall cease, my soul will still be yours. Claire—I swear by my hope of heaven, I will not be parted from you.”

“Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own.”

“That’s all right,” I assured him. “We’re married. Share and share aline. One flesh; the priest said so.”

“Only you. Because ye will not let me lie – and yet ye love me.”

“Whatever (your feelings) are, though, they must be exigent, to cause you to contemplate such drastic expedients.”

“Don’t buy any peaches.”

“On your right, man.”

“Ye scream like a lassie,” he said, eyes returning to his work.

“Come to me, Claire, daughter of Henry, strength of my heart…”

“Stand by my side, Roger, son of Jeremiah, son of my house…”

“You are my courage, as I am your conscience,” he whispered. “You are my heart—and I your compassion. We are neither of us whole, alone.”

“That’s the Third Law of Thermodynamics,” I said. “No,” he said. “That’s faith.”

“What is it about ye that makes men want to take their breeks off within five minutes of meetin’ ye?”(coupled with) “Well, if you don’t know, my dear…I’m sure no one does.”

“Ian, … Ye, sound like your mother. Stop”

” I canna tell whether ye mean to compliment my virility, Sassenach, or insult my morals, but I dinna care much for either suggestion.”

“Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well.”

“I am the son of a great man”.

“I mean to make you sigh as though your heart would break, and scream with the wanting, and at last to cry out in my arms, and I shall know that I’ve served ye well.”

“Dinna be afraid. There are the two of us now.”

I do (naturally enough) like all of those, but my own particular favorite is probably the last sentence from THE FIERY CROSS:

“When the day shall come that we do part,” he said softly, and turned to look at me, “if my last words are not ‘I love you’-ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.”

Now, I like that one particularly, because I didn’t write it. It’s something my husband actually said to me one day, quite casually, looking up from his Wall Street Journal (minus the Scottish accent). I do know a good line when I hear one, though.

(Doug, having seen this, says he appreciates the credit, but would rather I mention that he is the source of the advice on how to get rid of crabs (of the pubic lice variety) that Murtagh offers in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER.  This is true.   The part where Jamie is teaching his young nephew not to pee on his feet, remarking, “It’s hard when your belly-button sticks out more than your cock does,” is also one of Doug’s lines, along with the bit where Jamie (after a drunken night) wakes up, sniffs his oxter and remarks that he smells like a dead boar.  And people wonder where writers get their material…some of us marry it.)

People always do ask me “Which book is your favorite?”—and to me, it’s all One Huge Thing, so I can’t really pick. But I’m in the habit of saying, “The one I’m working on now—because that’s the one where I don’t yet know everything.”
I’m now in the Final Frenzy phase of SCOTTISH PRISONER (this is where I know Everything, and it’s a matter of how long I can sit at the computer without interruption and/or stopping to eat {g}), so at the moment, I’m in love with this book. Just for fun, here are a few of the lines that I particularly like from it:

“I haven’t seen a cove that sick since me uncle Morris what was a sailor in a merchant-man come down with the hockogrockle,” said Tom, shaking his head. “And he died of it.”

“He at once felt better, having taken action, and smoothing his crumpled neckcloth, went in search of fried sardines.”

“And then I heard other noises—screeching and skellochs, and the screaming of horses, aye, but not the noise of battle. More like folk who are roaring drunk—and the horses, too.”

“Distracted by the vision of amphibians in their thousands locked in slime-wrapped sexual congress amid the dark waters, he caught his foot in a root and fell heavily.”

“Abbot Michael was talking of neutral things: the weather (unusually good and a blessing for the lambs), the state of the chapel roof (holes so big it looked as though a pig had walked across the roof, and a full-grown pig, too), the day (so fortunate that it was Thursday and not Friday, as there would be meat for the mid-day dinner, and of course Jamie would be joining them, he would enjoy Brother Bertram’s version of a sauce, it had no particular name and was of an indistinct color—purple, the abbot would have called it, but it was well known he had no sense of color and had to ask the sacristan which cope to wear in ordinary time, as he could not tell red from green and took it only on faith that there were such colors in the world, but Brother Fionn—he’d have met Brother Fionn, the clerk outside?—assured him it was so, and surely a man with a face like that would never lie, you had only to look at the size of his nose to know that), and other things to which Jamie could nod or smile or make a noise. “

“Behind him, he thought he heard the echo of wild geese calling, and despite himself, looked back.”

[That's the cover for the Dutch edition of SCOTTISH PRISONER, and if you can figure out what it's supposed to be, you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.]

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166 Responses »

  1. Hi Diana,

    Below is a link to a website that features daily photographs of the Lake District. The photographer is a former postman who lives in the area, and has been taking shots during his daily walks. The scenery never fails to awe.


  2. I have so many favorites, I couldn’t pick just one .
    However I can’t believe no one said the line where Jaime says something like ” Not want ye, Christ Claire , I have burned for you for 20 years” !!

  3. I love reading everyone’s favorite quotes and scenes.
    Good quick way to revisit and share with others something I really enjoyed.
    But the one that got me in trouble because I laughed so hard that my husband stopped watching television and demanded that I share was embarrassing too.
    Thanks Ms. Gaboldon for getting me in trouble, by the way.

    And that is the whole scene involving Lord Lovat and his prostate.

    “And you’re needing such attentions, Grandsire,” he said. “I’ll see to it myself.” He spread out his hands on the tabletop, broad and massive, each long finger the rough diameter of a pistol barrel. “it’s no pleasure to me to be stickin’ my fingers up your hairy auld arse,” he informed his grandfather, “but I expect it’s my filial duty to save ye from exploding in a shower of piss, no?”

    Then the sterling picknic set with the dented spoon. All to look like they were supporting the Bonnie Prince but maybe not rich enough to get them in trouble with King Georgie.

    “Spell ‘prostatitis’ for Gideon, would ye, lass?”

    It is the very best!

  4. I hope not too late to add my favorites to the list:

    “Who the hell is John Wayne?” (probably misquoted…but definitely from Outlander)

    One of the (tso many) moving passages in the series is when Brianna recites the “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” to Roger..on the 18th of April of ’75… Diana, you brought history and poetry to life.

    • The best of THAT passage for me was Claire’s response,., “Who the hell is John Wayne?” her reply: “YOU are!”

  5. John Wayne was a great line!

    and so was the final exit of William from the Great Dismal Swamp, after nearly being struck by lightening, carrying around only a cast iron frying pan, with a fever from a piece of cypress tree stuck in his arm.

    “Oh good,” William said, with what vigor he could muster. “It’s not hell after all, then— only purgatory. What’s another thousand years?”

  6. I have been a fan of Jamie and Clare since 1999. Being part Scott, their adventure has been the most enjoyable, and educating, read! Once I discovered them through a co-worker at a law firm, I instantly became a solid fan. I am reading “Echo in the Bone” now, and absolutely thrilled that another one is in the works. I have read all the Captain John books, also. Today, I happened to catch the last two seconds of a commercial announcing of the 20th Anniversary Edition of “Outlander.” Since I had NEVER seen or heard a commercial for the series, it caught my attention. Went to this site, and, among other things, discovered the musical for the first book. After listening to a couple of the songs (and almost breaking in to tears at the sound (being part Scott)), I ordered it instantly, and cannot wait until it comes in.

    • I can’t help but point out that it’s LORD John and he is a major not a captain. Big difference. Captain John would be Black Jack Randall the most sadistic SOB in fiction that I have ever come across.

    • Karen – sorry to be pedantic but People are called Scot or more commonly Scottish – Scott is a formal surname. You are part Scottish – and it is a heritage to be very proud of, believe me.

      • Gael:
        It is a time warp thing.

        I grew up hearing the word Scot and even though my eigth grade teacher was Mrs. Scott, and my sister’s best friend was Patsty Scott, her daughter – we still used the word Scot just like Karen did.

        Of course we are from the Applachian mountians were language of past dialects are still in use.
        I can see that a lot in the spelling of how Jamie pronouces things.
        Like ” she is marrit” yeap, we never use a ed ending because it requries more work for the mouth.

  7. Abi;
    Do you know why he is called Lord in the first place? His older brother I thought was the Lord but would not take the title because it was their murdered/disgraced father’s title. But I thought the Lord title went to only the oldest son even so???? I am confused on that.

    • Benedetta,
      When their father died, the oldest son Hal should have been Duke because that’s what their father’s title was. Hal choose not to take the title of Duke until after their father’s name got cleared…he was murdered because someone thought he might be a jacobite sympathizer, which would make him a traitor in their eyes. So, Hal took the title of Earl, the highest rightful title he thought he could take in the circumstances. Being a Grey, and just as stubborn as his older brother, John decided to keep the title he was born with, and continued to call himself Lord John. Most all the younger sons of a duke or marquess would be called lord.
      Now the colonel, major and captain titles are strictly military. Hal was colonel and John was a major. Both in the same regiment and both with a higher military ranking than Black Jack who was only a captain and in a different regiment…thank goodness.

      Hope I helped:)

      • Yes you did. Thank You for your time and a good response!
        I have always been confused on English/European titles, never cared untill I read these books.
        So, Hal wether he claimed it or not was a duke because he was the oldest son.
        All younger sons were Lords.
        I Got it, finally.

        Now military titles I did understand, and yes indeedy, thank goodness that Black Jack was “only” a captian but still too high of a rank for one so evil.

  8. A little late to the party, but I don’t see my favorite line/scene, which comes from Outlander. This gets me everytime, even if it just crosses my mind while I’m doing something else:

    ‘Horrocks!” I exclaimned suddently sitting bolt upright in bed.

    “Hah?” Jamie, startled out of a sound sleep, shot sideways out of bed, ending on the floor in a crouch, hand on the dirk he had left on top of his piled clothes. “What?” he demanded, staring wildly around the room. “What is it?”

    I stifled a giggle at the sight of him, crouched naked on the floor, red hair standing on end like quills.

    “You look like a fretful propentine,” I said.

    “You couldna wait ’til I woke to tell me that?” he inquired.

    “You thought it would make more of an impression if ye woke me out of a sound sleep by shouting ‘Hedghog!’ in my ear?”

    • Haha, that is too funny about the hedgehog thing!!! Even better than the version I’ve known so far.

      I do own all books starting with “The Drums of Autumn” in both German and English, but Outlander I have only read in German…backtranslating it into English, in the German version he says to Claire: “You thought it would make more of an impression if ye woke me out of a sound sleep by shouting ‘HORROR!’ in my ear?”

  9. I have been transformed from the moment I picked up Outlander in the bookstore 20 years ago. I have too many favorite lines and scenes to recount here, but I bawled nearly all the way thru Echo. (I generally avoid movies and books that predict tears since I actually hate to cry.) And hard as it is to believe, there are a couple that aren’t listed here.

    Roger recounting something the minister had said to him – “If ever you find yourself in the midst of a paradox, you can be sure you stand on the edge of truth,”

    another – when Ian is near death and he and Jamie are saying their goodbyes. Jamie asks him if it is ok to bury his finger with him and Ian says “I’ll keep it safe ’til you catch me up.” That whole conversation had me bawling my eyes out!

    “To see the years touch ye gives me joy, Sassenach,” he whispered. “_for it mean that ye live.”…….”Come to me. Cover me. Shelter me, a bhean, heal me. Burn with me as I burn for you.” (Fiery Cross)

    Tom Christie to Claire in ABOSAA – “I have yearned always,” he said softly, “for love given and returned; have spent my life in the attempt to give my love to those who were not worthy of it. Allow me this: to give my life for the sake of one who is.”

    Like I said – too many! Can’t wait for the next one or the next Lord John installment either!

  10. My favorite line also, Diana. When I read it, it brought a tear to my eye, and I wanted to share it with my sister, but she is behind me in reading the books, so I had to let her come across that jewel herself. If you are married to a man who says such romantic things, you are a lucky woman.

  11. Diana,

    The part in the second book where Claire has had the hair removed from under her arms and she’s describing the experience to Jamie — this is when they are in Paris. I don’t have my book now because it’s on loan to yet one more friend who I’ve managed to turn on to your books!!

    Anyway, she describes the hair removal process to Jamie and then says something like “the hair comes off and bob’s your uncle”. Jamie then comes back with his usual clever repartee something like Bob not being a very nice uncle, whoever he was!! I laughed so hard my husband wanted me to read the lines to him. I did but he’s not read the books so there was no way he could understand the characters or the humor!!

    I’m trying to be very patient while I’m waiting for the Scottish Prisoner and book 8 but as every day goes by that is getting more difficult. I ordered the 20th year edition of Outlander and have been rereading that YET AGAIN, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve done that. The book itself is beautiful and has made a wonderful addition to my library!!

    Thanks for your wonderful stories and especially the love story between Jamie and Claire!!!

  12. One of my favorite lines that I haven’t seen posted yet…from Voyager…
    “I don’t know how long we sat there on the dusty floor, crying in each other’s arms with the longing of twenty years spilling down our faces.”
    You have such a gift for translating emotion to words…

  13. I love the scene when Roger and Brianna get married – and everyone puts on their “happy faces@ – and end up like a bunch of grinning idiots

  14. You do know a great line when you hear one. That line tore at my heart like no other. Brought me to tears! I’m not sure I could handle hearing that in person.
    I love all the comments posted here. I’m literally waiting on tenterhooks to read the next new books. I love Lord John. I’m not quite sure if it’s for him, himself, or for his love of Jamie and Claire.

  15. There are So Many favorites! But one of mine is at the opening of “Voyager” when Jamie tells Lord Melton, “I dinna want to go home! I want to be shot!” Only Jamie can have a plan go so utterly wrong that not only does he not get killed on the field at Culloden, he gets found by an English lord with a sense of honor…

  16. The Scottish Prisoner is in at my local library branch! I just got the notification in the mail today! *jumps for joy*

  17. Help!

    In one of Diana Gabaldon’s books — when they are in the Americas — Claire describes Jaime as, “He’s a Man…and that’s no small feat.”

    Can anyone help me with the book and the chapter/page number?


    • Dear Stacy–

      “He’s a man–and that’s no small thing to be.” I think it’s in A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES, but no idea what chapter. You might check Amazon.com’s “Look inside” feature for it, though.


  18. “Ye could raise me from the dead for that, Sassenach, and I wouldna mind it.”

  19. In the first book of Outlander series ( Stitch in Time ) it mentions Frank passing a dark stranger in highland kilt whilst standing in mist watching Claire brush her hair ( he had red hair???) – who is this character – could it possibly be Jamie??? is there anymore ‘Bulges’ as so aptly put in you new book “Trial of Fire’ that explains this??? I’m more than curious…

    • Dear Tanya–

      Nowhere does it say he passed a “dark” stranger. And yes, of course it’s Jamie. (We’ll explain that, but it will be the last thing in the last book, and we aren’t there yet. [g])


  20. I have a lot of favs… But just read this one and it’s great description….
    (Snow and Ashes) Mr. Bug speaking about how he lost his fingers…
    “A bow’s like a good-wife, aye? Knows her master, and answers his touch. An ax, though”. “An ax is a whore. Any man can use one— and its works as well in either hand.”

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