Reading Is Good For You

Book Reviews, Literary News, and Thoughts on Life

Books that Rock: The Outlander Series

Haven’t done a Books that Rock post in a long time, so I thought I’d better get back on the bandwagon and there’d be no better way to do so than with The Swell Season. If you are not familiar with this group, they are comprised of the lovely and talented Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (the pair who brought us the movie Once and the Oscar winning song, Falling Slowly), and Glen’s old band, The Frames. I had the distinct pleasure of seeing them a couple of weeks back from the front row of Butler University’s Clowes Hall (que fan girl squee). It was totally worth the ferocious crink in my neck I had by the end of the evening, let me tell you.

The great thing about a Swell Season show is that it’s all about the music. There are no pyrotechnics or back up dancers or glittery costumes. It’s just poetic lyrics, expert playing, and passionate singing. If that’s up your alley, you owe it to yourself to check out The Swell Season. Their albums are amazing (especially Strict Joy, from where most of the songs I’ll be using come), but definitely see them live if you can.

Now, on to the Outlander part. So many of the lyrics to Swell Season songs apply to events that have occured throughout the series, so I’ll post a video of the song and describe the scene to which I’m referring. There will be spoilers up ahead, so be forewarned if you haven’t read all of the books (though they wouldn’t be spoilers if you’d read these amazing books, now would they?). Everyone else, please enjoy!

I Have Loved You Wrong

This comes into play in Dragonfly in Amber, after Jamie and Claire are reunited when Jamie has been released from the Bastille. It’s clear that though they love each other deeply, both have done terrible things that have hurt the other. This song could be from either Jamie or Claire’s prospective, as they ask forgiveness of one another and accept it in return.

What Happens When The Heart Just Stops

While perhaps the whole song does not apply, the first few stanza’s definitely describe the way both Jamie and Claire feel in Voyager during their twenty year separation from one another. Beyond that, it’s a beautiful, sorrowful song and shows how Glen truly feels the words he sings.

Back Broke (song starts at 2:43)


I initially thought this song would be perfect for when Jamie and Claire are reunited in Voyager, but as I read the lyrics I realized that it applied even better a little farther along in the plot of that same book. Claire has found out that Jamie was married to Loaghaire, but didn’t tell her. She leaves Lallybroch, intending to return to her own time, but goes back when Young Ian tells her that Loaghaire has shot Jamie and is dying. The line ‘I came on your command; don’t give me false hope’ describes perfectly what Claire is feeling as she tends to Jamie and truly begin the process of rekindling their relationship.

The Court of New Town (playing starts around 1:15)

Here’s a fiddle tune from Frames member, Colm mac con Iomaire. For this one, we skip all the way to the newest novel, An Echo in the Bone, when Claire is in Philidelphia tending Henri Christian and Jamie is forced to remain in Scotland until his brother-in-law passes away. The haunting, though lovely, melody perfectly describes the longing they feel for one another. In this respect, it could also represent the period when Claire believes that Jamie is dead and is feeling so lost without him.

Hope you’ve enjoyed these tunes and the walk down the Outlander memory lane.


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This entry was posted on November 16, 2009 by in Books that Rock and tagged , , .
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