The Symbolism and Sources of Outlander

The Scottish Fairies, Folklore, Ballads, Magic and Meanings That Inspired the Series


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About the Book

Outlander is much more than a television romance about a World War II nurse and a Jacobite soldier in a fetching kilt. The series—and the massive serial novel on which it is based—has been categorized as a period drama, adventure saga, military history and fantasy epic. Inspired by the Irish legends of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the prophecies of Brahan Seer, the storyline is filled with mythology and symbolism from around the world, from the Fair Folk and the Loch Ness monster to wendigos, ghosts, zombies and succubae.
Literary references abound, from the Bible to the classics, to Shakespeare and the English romantic poets. The series is also rich with its own symbolism: heather and white roses, the dragonfly in amber, Claire’s blue vase and wedding gown, her wedding rings and pearl necklace. This book untangles the myriad of myths, legends, symbols and literary references found in the series.

About the Author(s)

Valerie Estelle Frankel teaches English at Mission College and San Jose City College. The author of 75 popular culture books and more than 100 stories and essays, she lives in Sunnyvale, California.

Bibliographic Details

Valerie Estelle Frankel
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 220
Bibliographic Info: appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9952-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2116-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction  1


Book Titles and Covers  5

Clothes  18

Jewelry  30

Animals  37

Plants  42

Show Symbols  44

Other Symbols  47

Literature and Music

Literature  57

Writing on Writing  65

Literary Anachronisms  66

Music  74


Myth and the Standing Stones  81

Sun Feasts and Fire Feasts  95

Scottish Folklore

Introduction  105

Fairies and Their Kin  107

Gods, Saints, and Devils  125

Local Legends  135

Magical Animals  139

People and Their Talents  143

Rituals and Ritual Tools  164

Other Cultures’ Folklore

Caribbean-African/Vodou  173

China  176

Europe  180

Native American  190

Norse Myth  195

Conclusion  196

Appendix 1: Titles in the Outlander Series  197

Appendix 2: The Starz Series Cast and Creators  199

Bibliography  201

Index  205