Outlander Book Club: The Fiery Cross Chapter 35 breakdown

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Just the Outlander chapter

It’s all about the Hogmanay celebrations, which starts with a big party. Claire shares everything that is going on during the party, including the dancing. We get to find out that sword dancing is done for three reasons, with one of them being before a battle. It turns out sword dancing didn’t happen at Culloden but did happen at other, successful battles during the Jacobite rebellion. This is certainly significant.

Another reason is for fun, and Jamie knows how to dance around the swords. We’re told about his inability to hear music in this chapter. I can’t remember if it has ever come up before. I thought it had, but I could be wrong. It’s part of the problem with reading and rereading the books.

Jamie explains that while he can’t hear music after the bash over the head, he can still hear drums. That means he can dance the swords.

He also tells Claire that Dougal was the one to bash him over the head with an ax. Dougal had tried to kill him, and he’d admitted to that when Jamie killed him the night before Culloden. However, Jamie has made his peace with his uncle. It was always going to be one of them dying at the hands of the other.

The celebrations move onto midnight. It’s all about the “first footing,” which involves someone stepping over the threshold of the house, becoming the first visitor of the New Year. I did this as a child, although I never really understood the tradition at the time. It was just a fun thing to do.

We find out a tall, black-haired stranger is the most welcome of all, being the one to bring good fortune. A red-head must stay away as they’re bad luck, which means Jamie hides in his study. Bree does go around the houses on the Ridge with Roger, but she stays away from the houses since she’s a red-head.