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Highlander (The Novel)

 This is a summary only, and no infringement of copyright is intended.

 

Highlander (The Original Novel of the Classic Motion Picture)

Highlander: There Can Be Only One
by Garry Douglas (Garry Kilworth on the cover) copyright 1986. Published by HarperCollins.

Back Cover:
McLeod (sic) is the Highlander -- a 16th century Scottish warrior, the noblest of the Immortals. Ramirez -- the Spanish peacock -- showed him his destiny and taught him swordplay. Heather loved him. But The Kurgan sought them out in McLeod's (sic) wild homeland, and dealt Ramirez the only death an Immortal can suffer -- decapitation.

Now the Immortals are Gathering. Seven lifetimes later in modern New York, the last of the Immortals face the final contest. One of them will receive The Prize they have awaited since the dawn of history. The others must perish. The Kurgan is strong -- with the strength of total evil. Finally, only McLeod (sic) has the power to destroy him -- and save the Earth from an era of chaos and darkness.

Excerpt from inside front cover:
The two heads, human and animal hit the ground almost simultaneously, followed by a tangle of limbs. The victorious Kurgan reined his mount and let out a scream of joy as lightning forked down -- out of the clear sky -- and into his body. For several minutes, the static electricity sought him out, arced into his giant frame.

When the Quickening was over, the dark warrior turned northwards.

'Now for the boy, Conner (sic) MacLeod,' he said.

By the way, sic means I copied the name as it was on the page. Throughout the novel, Douglas spells Connor as Conner. He does spell MacLeod correctly, as it is only on the back cover where it is misspelled.

While the movie begins at the wrestling match with Connor sensing another immortal... and flashing back to his past... the book begins with...

Prologue
We read of an ancient battle between two warriors... both rush on horseback at one another. One is described as dark riding a black horse... the other is the Mongol. The dark one is a Kurgan.

After an epic clash, the Kurgan beheads both the Mongol and his horse with a mighty stroke and accepts the quickening (see excerpt in first post).

The Mongol is described as the third immortal the Kurgan has killed. The Kurgan's teacher... the Arab is also mentioned as having taught him to kill immortals when he finds them... else they may grow strong enough to defeat him.

If this scene had opened the film... it would have shown early on the awesome power of the Kurgan and his ability to anticipate his opponent. It explains how he watches from a distance and learns their fighting style before he makes his move.

Interesting how the Mongol is number three on Kurgan's hit parade and that he plans Connor to be number four.

Cue *evil* laughter...

Chapter One
This is essentially the opening scene of the film which shows Connor MacLeod at Madison Square Garden watching the wrestling match.

It mentions that something (his sword) is strapped to his back and that he is uneasy, and slightly amused at the crowd chanting "kill" over and over. He is on alert... and reacts when a nearby spectator yells out "take his head" at the wrestlers. Connor considers the similarities and differences between this modern gladitorial contest and the real battles he has known.

This leads him to think back and remember...

Chapter 2
Scotland 1536
"I am against my cousin, but my cousin and I are against the stranger." ~Maixim of the MacLeods

Connor MacLeod and his two cousins Angus and Dugal are on a recruiting trip to gather the MacLeod clan for the coming battle with the neighboring Frasers. As darkness falls, they are attacked by a small scouting party composed mainly of youngsters whom they roundly defeat and disarm. They kill one boy... a fact that disturbs the young Connor.

On their return to Glenfinnan, they are met by Connor's woman... Kate MacLeod.

This chapter is not in the film. It serves mainly to introduce the characters and to give some exposition to the time, the place, the political situation, and the lives of the clanfolk. For instance... they ride bareback.

Chapter 3
Present day

Having had "enough" of the wrestling match... and the chants of "kill" by the spectators... Connor goes to the parking garage and heads for his car.

The chapter indicates that he doesn't "sense" another immortal... he is simply careful as the garage is dark. He hears Fasil draw his sword and turns to face him.

What follows then is the fight pretty much as shown in the film.

We learn the following about Fasil... that he learned his style of fighting from the Saracens at the time of the Crusades. He uses a slicing motion to get the best use out of a scimitar... and that his style is not dependent on thrust as it would be with a broadsword.

When he finally disarms Fasil... almost by chance... Connor knows that if he shows mercy... it will only lead to another fight. And the next time... these two evenly matched opponents meet... Connor might not be so lucky and Fasil would win. Fasil does not ask for mercy. Connor takes Fasil's head and his quickening... a pain filled with life not death. They are members of a clan tied not by blood... but by power.

Nowhere in this chapter is the famous phrase: There can be only one.

After the quickening... Connor hides his katana and heads for his Porsche.


Chapter 4
Scotland 1536
This chapter is the leave-taking from Glammis castle as portrayed in the film. Father Rainey bears the cross befor the riding of the clan. Kate MacLeod brings flowers to Connor and begs angus and Dugal to bring him back to her in one piece.

Connor is fearful of the battle... considering how when he was younger he'd anticipated joining in war with the men.

We learn that Connor's "father" was hanged by the Frasers... evidently the event which set off the war. This is not in the film. Connor also considers the Frasers even lower than the English.

On the shores of Lock Shiel... the opposing forces line up and Connor gets his first look at the huge dark warrior on the other side.

"He was not dressed like the clansmen around him... but in an animal skin cloak... Instead of a claymore... a broadsword, and on his head was a helmet made from the skull of a strange beast... His skin was swarthy... and it was pockmarked as though he had at once [sic] time suffered from the pox... His lips were full and blood-swollen, covering teeth that had been chipped in many fights."

Thus does the hero meet the agent of chaos in this story.

The Kurgan warns the Frasers not to touch or kill the boy and the battle begins.

The Kurgan does not know what Connor looks like... but watches to see whom it is that the Frasers do not fight... and focuses his attack on the boy. Again... there is no indication that immortals "sense" one another.

Only when the Kurgan comes close... and lightning is triggered in the sky... does Connor clearly see his opponent. And the Kurgan is described again as if the previous description were not there.

Connor is run-through by the Kurgan's sword and is dying as the Kurgan lifts his sword to deliver the death-blow and utters, "There can be only one!" Dugal and Angus interfere and bear their cousin away in fulfillment of their promise to Kate as other combatants get between the Kurgan and his prey. Connor can hear him... "Another time... MacLeod!" as he fades into unconsciousness.

Again... a few additional details... especially about Connor's father's death... although no name for him.

The Kurgan is also amused by Father Rainey who kills with one hand and administers Last Rites with the other.

Chapter 5
Present Day

This chapter covers Connor's aborted attempt to drive his Porsche away from the "crime scene". He is stopped by the police... already in evidence at the exit.

He considers driving through them and decides that there are too many of them. He finds it amusing not to jump and move as they order him to get out and spread them. His actions escalate his rough treatment at their hands and at least one shoving bout erupts between them. Lots of screaming and gun pointing.

As he is cuffed... his mind drifts away to a time... when there were fewer people... who still managed to fight over every patch of land.

So far... most of the present day chapters (1, 3, and 5) are pretty much as presented in the film. It is in the flashback ones that additional information is found. (Prologue, 2, 4, and 6)

Chapter 6
Scotland 1536
As Connor lies dying in the croft... Kate weeping over him... Father Rainey discusses the Kurgan with Dugal and they pray they never see his like again... believing him something sent from Hell.

Within the hut... Rainey gives Connor a final blessing and moves on to see others.

Angus warns Kate to be silent... so that the last sounds that Connor hears will not be a woman's wailing... Then he and Dugal stand outside, listening to a lone piper, and consider the futility of war... and its inevitability in their lives. They mourn the oncoming death of their cousin... and resolve to visit the widows of those already dead.

Again... some extra depth to the flashback characters.

Chapter 7
Present Day

This chapter introduces Brenda Wyatt, daughter of a retired to Florida watch repairman who'd had a life-long interest in antique weapons, New York born and bred, forensics specialist for the NYPD, and too damned attractive for her own good.

She teases Frank Moran about his ulcer, tries not to encourage the attentions of Walter Bedsoe who so wants to have an intimate relationship with her, and views the corpse in the parking garage.

Finding the sword... a Toledo-Salamanca... beneath a car, she gives the cops their motive for the murder... and a reason to question their suspect... Russell Nash... an antique dealer on Hudson Street.

This chapter which again is essentially the same action as the film, gives additional background on Brenda, and her tough-as-nails-I-don't-take-crap attitude toward the police. It offers a commentary on how she views the cops... especially Moran and Bedsoe.

Chapter 8
Present Day

This chapter covers the scene in the police station where Moran, Bedsoe, and Garfield grill "Nash" in a confrontation that ends up in a fight.

Vasilek the Polish National who died two nights earlier in New Jersey is mentioned. Moran's ulcer is mentioned as the chapter is written from Moran's POV as he tries to figure out if "Nash" is guilty.

"... it's gonna be a long night," he thinks at the close of the chapter when Nash tells him to ask his questions, charge him, or let him go.

Chapter 9
Present Day

Connor sticks to his story about knowing nothing and is released the next morning. After making certain he isn't being followed, he returns to the Garden parking garage to retrieve his sword.

While there, he watches a young woman appear and pull a sliver of the katana from the pillar in which he'd embedded it after the fight. Curious... he follows her home.

Later that evening, she emerges from her apartment and goes to a restaurant where she sits at the bar. Connor learns her name is Brenda, asks her innocently if she goes often to the Garden and follows her when she leaves. Then he returns to the restaurant to ask the bartender more about her... and learns that she works with the police.

In the film... the bar scene follows the parking garage scene immediately without the passing of time.

Chapter 10
Present Day

This chapter crawls inside the mind of the Kurgan.

Cruising the slums, the Kurgan finds he likes the scenes of whores, pimps, and drug dealers. He considers how he has killed more people in his long life... than are on the crowded street. Yet he finds something akin in them... even adopting their manner of dress and their blaring music.

He teases a drug dealer... blowing the man's drugs back in his face and notes a young hooker... 15 going on 50. He checks in at the Ansonia Hotel and entertains... Candy... who is a disappointment to him. He notes that she says nothing about his scars which evidently cover his body.

He ponders how many women he has had over the centuries... and how long it has been since "the act" has done anything for him. He remembers killing magicians... charlatans... forces of darkness. He considers the darkness within him as something all men have and seeks to keep it under control.

His custom-made broadsword is about three centuries old. Until that time... he could walk anywhere carrying a broadsword... but no longer. This one is a work of art and craftsmanship.

Leaving the hotel... he stakes out MacLeod's apartment... thrilled that the Gathering has come... and with it... a time when he can reveal himself to all men... as a living god... for surely ultimate power and godhood is the prize.

Chapter 11
Present Day

After MacLeod leaves the restaurant (bar in the film), he realizes that he is being followed. And not just by Brenda whom he pulls into an embrace and tells her to be quiet. She pushes him away and begins an argument.

Enter the Kurgan...

MacLeod uses a cable to fight off the Kurgan until Brenda throws him an iron pipe. His concern during the fight is to keep her safe although he kicks himself mentally for his foolishness in leaving his apartment without his sword. (In the film I just thought he was not wanting to get it out in front of a witness.)

The police copter hovers overhead... the Kurgan signs off and vanishes in one direction... MacLeod in the other, although he tells Brenda that she has only one life and to never follow him again... then he calls her a cab.

When he returns to his apartment... he gets the sword out of its hiding place and notices the notch. He gets out a whetstone and begins to work on the edge until it is without blemish and sharp as a razor's edge. He ignores the ringing telephone. The only one he wants to talk to is Rachel (Note: this is the first mention of Rachel... and at this point we know nothing about her.) and he knows that she isn't the one calling him.

He begins to wander about his apartment... and considers an African statue of a god... and thinks about a time when he was once called...devil...

Chapter 12
Scotland 1536, the following day

Connor awakens to the sounds of the pipes and notes that his wound has healed. He calls to Kate who runs from him. Getting dressed, he follows her to the local tavern where Kate accuses him of being in league with Lucifer. The other clansmen agree... even Father Rainey and Connor finds himself yoked, beaten and forced toward a bonfire about a stake.

Angus intervenes and he walks out of the village as in the film.

That night he frees himself from the yoke and the following day rhe sets out south. After an arduous journey, he reaches a croft where he meets Heather MacDonald milking a cow and begs some milk from her. Her father is suspicious of the stranger, but lets him chop wood.

He flirts with Heather and she with him. she asks if he'll be staying... and her father agrees to find a use for the young man about the place.

A couple of things that we learn in the book is that Kate's fear of Connor is partly due to her fear that she has slept with the devil and might be carrying the devil's seed. Father Rainey seems confused... unable to explain how a man with a mortal wound can be healed. We learn that Connor saved Dugal's life once and that Angus is the chieftain... and that's why he can save Connor from the bonfire.

It's a little more complete portrait of these people and the time they live in. We also get Connor's initial thoughts about Heather, and why he remains at her father's croft.

Chapter 13
Scotland1541

Three years after Connor came to the MacDonald croft, old MacDonald died. Before his death, he taught his former trade of blacksmith to the young man. Heather took the old man's death hard and it was a year before she recovered.

Sometime after that, Connor and Heather married. While not blissfully happy, they loved and respected one another.

One summer day, while he and Heather had decided to take a tumble in the field... Connor felt sick... as he'd felt that long ago day on the field of battle when he'd first seen the black knight who'd wounded him.

But it was not the black knight whose horse leaped over the lovers. Juan Sanches Villa-Lobos Ramirez enters Connor's life. Connor sends Heather to the croft and follows Ramirez to a mountain cliff where Ramirez begins to explain who and what they are. When a storm begins, he orders Connor to stand with his arm up and take the charge of lightning into his body. "We are brothers!" he tells the Highlander when he survives the lightning strike.

One historical note. When Ramirez tells Connor that he was chief metallurgist to Charles V of Spain... this is an error. There has never been a Charles V of Spain... even by today. At the time of this story, Charles I was king of Spain. Somebody did some sloppy research at that point.

Another thing to note: I've always been curious why Ramirez wanted Connor to become a lightning rod. Did he want to let him know what a quickening felt like? The novel has him mention how he waited until the storm was developing and moving into the area before he made his presence known to the young man.

One other note: When Connor tells Heather to "Do what I say, woman!" he then apologises for treating her roughly and speaking to her sharply. He doesn't do that in the film.

On the concept of immortals and why they exist, Ramirez says he doesn't have the answers as he doesn't have an audience with God. But he makes it seem as if some are just born different. Not many... but a few.

Again, the concept of immortals all being foundlings is absent from this. Immortals are just people born with an ability to be immortal.


Chapter 14
Present Day
Brenda Wyatt finds the next day that she is curious about MacLeod and his assailant and wonders why they don't use guns. She visits Moran and notes a file on his desk with MacLeod's... or Nash's picture. He slaps her hand and she invites the older man to lunch.

Returning for her purse... she finds the file and reads through it quickly before replacing it and re-joining Moran.

Across town, MacLeod is doing some investigating of his own. At the public library he learns that Brenda's father Peter Wyatt was an expert in ancient weapons. He checks the card catalog and discovers a book on the subject by Brenda. He checks it out and returns home to read it.

When he reads the phrase about the importance of the balance of a weapon... he smiles and recalls a conversation Ramirez once had with him where he mentioned that the sharpest blade was not enough... balance was also needed... and the Spaniard lay his sword across his finger... b-a-l-a-n-c-e...

In the fish tank, a guppy leaps in the water...

Again, the present day chapters are pretty much as shown in the film.

Chapter 15
Scotland 1541
This chapter covers the scene in the boat when Ramirez tips Connor into the lake. We read Connor's thought processes as he realizes he's not drowning... that he can breathe underwater... and his plans to kill Ramirez who undoubtedly believes him dead.

He fails and Ramirez's blade is at his neck. The Spaniard... correction Egyptian... he informs Connor... explains that he cannot dead unless he loses his head. "Your neck is your Achilles... neck," he smiles. Connor has no idea what he's talking about as he's never studied the classics.

Ramirez describes the Kurgan as "a black-hearted boor with a penchant for power" but insists he is not an oaf when Connor calls him one. "He was playing with you," warns Ramirez.

Later after dinner, Connor notes Ramirez reading a book. The Book of the Sword by an Italian, Lorenzo de Orazio of Florence. He explains that the book tells how to refine steel of impurities and forge a blade that is as hard as a diamond. Connor insists his claymore is good enough.

Ramirez suggests they test it out... tomorrow.

Again... a few little extra scenes and bits of humor in the flashback sequences. I would suppose that the book is real... but have not found anything on it or the author.

Chapter 16
Scotland 1541

This chapter covers the training montage as Ramirez teaches Connor how to truly wield a sword and covers a period of several months. Ramirex routinely beats Connor and Heather laughs.

Connor asks about the prize and why Ramirez is teaching him. The Egyptian indicates he feels he won't be there... that he has lived too long already. "There are no more surprises." This statement foreshadows events in some of the episodes of the series... when Duncan meets older immortals who have lost the zest for life and no longer have the passion to survive.

The two run, then train some more. Ramirez still easily beats Connor at all things... but Connor shows improvement and begins to close in on the older man. "Balance." reminds Ramirez during their sparring.

At a meal, Connor asks if it happens that Ramirez and Connor are the final two... will Ramirez take Connor's head. The older immortal offers his sword to the Highlander and goes down on one knee before him in answer to the young man's question.

Heather meanwhile is weary of this talk of the two fighting and killing one another; she wants them to admit that they are friends... more than friends... brothers and insists they hug. They do so.

Not long after this, they ready to run again. This time... Connor feels the beating heart of the nearby stag and knows that immortals are somehow connected to the very gift of life of all living things on the planet. "This is the Quickening," explains Ramirez. When next they fight again... Connor finally beats Ramirez but lays his sword aside. "Brothers!" they exclaim joyfully.

Most of this chapter is in the film... albeit in shortened form. The novelization again clarifies that the Quickening is not just lightning and power... it is a connection to life that should make immortals reverent of all life... and custodians of the future.

While the Kurgan is not mentioned in this chapter... there is the implied contrast with his understanding of the game. He understands the Quickening only as power and has no reverance for life. If he wins... then he will simply master the earth... not be its champion and protector.

Chapter 17
1541, Market Day at Jedburgh, at the crossroads north of the Cheviot Hills
Ramirez teases Connor about wanting to buy Heather gifts so that he can win her away from the Highlander. While Heather is off making purchases he tells Connor that he must leave Heather or watch her grow old and die. Connor learns that he and his wife will never have children.

The elder immortal tells Connor about his last wife... Shakiko who died in 593 B.C. and whose death still haunts him. He explains that he is about twenty-five hunderd years old. He wants to spare Connor the pain of loving... and losing to old age and death... a beloved wife. He further mentions that his sword was made by her father Masamune... a great craftsman. Since he also mentions that Shakiko was a princess... one wonders that her father was remembered as a sword-maker.

The two also discuss the Kurgan. "The Kurgan were an ancient people from the Steppes of a land called Russia. For amusement they tossed children into pits with hungry dogs. He... is the strongest of us all. The perfect warrior. If he wins the prize, mankind will suffer an eternity of darkness."

Later, Connor asks how he can beat such a man. "With heart, faith-- and steel," replies Ramirez.

"But are they enough?" Connor asks. Ramirez has no answer for him.

This chapter covers one of the focal scenes of the film as we learn something about what it truly means to be immortal... and something of the loneliness of long life. It is a chapter that describes the character of the principles... and gives depth and a sense of reality to their long lives.

Chapter 18
Scotland 1541

The writer explains that upon returning to the croft and feeling that cold weather was on its way, Connor left to go hunting and told Heather to light a fire in the old crumbling keep next to the croft to keep the animals warm in the face of the oncoming cold. Then he left.

Heather fears to be alone in the old keep and asks Ramirez to join her. She's watched both the men carefully all day and realizes that something is going on between them. Ramirez, she fears, has come to take Connor away from her. In watching them spar over these past months, she feels that there is a connection between them not born of friendship. That they have become friends in spite of whatever it is that drew them together, is in itself a small miracle. She is determined to draw the truth from the older man.

Ramirez hesitates when she asks him what he and Connor has talked about but then tells her the truth... that he'd told Connor to leave her.

"Why?" she asks.

Ramirez then begins to explain what he and Connor are, and what staying with her might mean for both of them. Then he plays his last card when Heather insists that their love is strong enough to face this life that lays before them. He telss her there will be no children.

Heather accepts this. She'd wanted children... but she'd wanted them to be Connor's. If he canna have them... then that is the way of it.

She wants to know more about Ramirez and his long life and he begins to tell her of his age and his adventures. He speaks of trying to rescue a woman from another of his kind... and finishes with the story in the film about swinging into the window... not finding the lady he sought and thus introducing himself to the lady he found there.

When he goes to his horse to get wine... he senses something but dismisses it and returns to her side. He is flirting with her shamelessly and she with him.

The Kurgan bursts through the door like some huge demon and attacks. The fight is described pretty much as it is shown in the film. After Ramirez' death... the Kurgan pursues Heather into the woods, drags her back by her hair and rapes her.

When Connor returns, she tells him nothing as he says if the Kurgan had hurt her, he would pursue him to the ends of the earth. She says nothing so that she can keep him safe and keep him with her. They bury Ramirez within the keep where the ground is not frozen.

He lives a life with Heather, only noticing the passage of time as her hair turns white and she ages. When he finds her collapsed next to the milk bucket in the stall, he carries her to her bed and climbs in beside her, talking to her until she dies.

He buries her beside Ramirez and remains at the croft for two years. Then he goes to London to study and finds he must move on ten years after that. He discovers he must move on every few years. He fights in several wars. During the 18th century he travels to the Far East and through the years meets two others like himself whom he kills using Ramirez's samurai sword which he'd found in the weeds near the keep.

Connor often wished he were normal. He didn't want to die. But neither did he want to live forever.

A fantastically described fight scene. As a writer whose own fight scenes fall far short of truly describing what I see in my mind... I savored every word.

I really liked the conversation between Heather and Ramirez as it shows his understanding of immortality, as well as her strength of character and her love for Connor that it is so strong... she can face anything to keep him safe and with her.

Chapter 19
Present Day
This chapter is from Brenda's perspective as she stalks Nash... or is it MacLeod (?) whom she finds attractive and interesting. She waits across the street from the antique store for several hours until she sees him enter and then goes in.

She meets Rachel Ellenstein, attractive and in her forties, and wonders if she's involved with Nash. After calling the woman on her lie that Mr. Nash is not there... not available... etc... he enters the store to deflect Brenda's questions about a seven foot lunatic and a 600 year old Japanese sword. (Note: the sword is closer to 2400 years old as Ramirez had it by at least 593 B.C.E.)

Nash flusters Brenda by suddenly asking her if she can cook... and sets up a time and date for their meal. She decides she's not such a fool as to do this alone... and plans to have back-up. After all... she thinks Nash might be involved with drugs... but then... there's that sword... and he is charming.

He's investigating and following her and she's doing the same to him. You just know these two have chemistry.

Chapter 20
Present Day
After Brenda leaves the shop, Connor goes to his apartment. The writer mentions that a visitor would think that inventory from the shop has found its way here as many items are antiques.

One item that stands out is a small Celtic bronze cross set with garnets that Connor had made for Heather... and was the only piece of jewelry she ever owned. She loved it so much, she forbade him to bury it with her but wanted him to keep it always.

Now Connor wonders why events of that time are so much on his mind. After all, there had been centuries when he'd not even thought of Heather. And when he did think of those times, he would recall the lice, the privation, the cold, the near starvation, and be thankful that he now had a better life.

He knows why Heather is on his mind. Brenda Wyatt resembles Heather by the color of her hair, the shape of her face.

Of recent events... he recalls most clearly meeting Rachel during WWII as a little girl whom he later adopted and raised. She thought he was magic. Now she appears to be twice his age (in her 40's). She is his friend and his confidant. He will sorrow when she dies, but his heart will not be ripped out. He will not allow that to happen again. He closes his heart and mind to further thoughts of Brenda.

Rachel arrives and tells him that she sees more than he can guess. She bemoans his never letting anyone love him. He calls her a romantic and asks if she loves him.

She does... but not that way.

Only a small remnant of this chapter made it into the American theatrical release. Later the WWII flashback was reinserted, but even then... some of the poignancy of Connor's feelings for Heather and Rachel... and his fear of becoming involved with Brenda are lost.

Chapter 21
Present Day

After leaving the antique shop, Brenda Wyatt returns to police headquarters and asks Bedsoe to unofficially watch her place tonight. When she tells him it's because of Russell Nash... he explodes with worry. She assures him it's not part of the case... it's about an antique... but since Nash was questioned... she'd just feel safer with him nearby. She smiles pleadingly. The besmitten Bedsoe agrees. Brenda knows and feels guilty for using his crush on her to get her way.

She returns home and prepares dinner, loads a revolver and sets up a hidden tape recorder. She likes Nash... or MacLeod... but if he killed Fasil... he's a murderer... unless he was attacked like he'd been by that giant the night they met. Her head spins in confusion.

The doorbell rings. It's Nash. He holds onto his coat and steps in when invited. Brenda asks him to make her a martini while she finishes up dinner. As she sets the first course on the table... she notes him looking out the window.

During dinner they talk pleasantly. He asks what she does for a living. She says she works for the museum and explains about her love of ancient weapons and her father. She asks about Rachel. Connor tells her that he is Rachel's adopted son.

"Your mother works for you?" she asks in bewilderment.

"Anything wrong with that?" Nash replies. He sips the brandy he's drinking and talks about the year 1783. Then he gives her a package.

Her book on swords. He notes the bio says she works for the police in forensics. The jig is up... he comments on her hidden revolver and tape recorder... and Bedsoe sitting stakeout... She tries to explain that she's only interested in the samurai sword. The fragments she recovered date it to 600 B.C. It shouldn't exist as the technique was not used in Japan until the Middle Ages. "If I had such a sword," Nash/MacLeod says... "wouldn't the discovery be mine?" He smiles and then leaves.

Brenda signals Bedsoe to come up. He may as well have the dessert she made since Nash/MacLeod left before dessert.

This chapter fills in the reasons for Bedsoe's sitting outside the apartment... and adds a bit to his infatuation with Brenda. Considering that her death before the third film is the reason he's really on Nash/MacLeod's case at that time... this resonates beautifully with that and foreshadows his attitude. *NOTE: Bedsoe is not the cop in the third film.

His comment that Rachel is his adopted mother (rather than daughter) is another clue that he should look about eighteen to twenty while Rachel should look about forty.

Chapter 22
Present Day

Note: This chapter covers an entirely new scene and is set immediately after Connor leaves Brenda's apartment.

After having a drink at a nearby bar... Connor boards a subway and notes the taggers' graffiti adorning it. He glances up at a stop and notes a "black guy in traditional dress" who boards at the other end of the carriage and sits down. Two stops later... several members of a street gang board the car and complain about some of the graffiti as it is of a rival gang.

When Connor voices his approval of it and stares down the leader... the gang withdraws to discuss if the guy has a "piece". Meanwhile the African approaches and sits down across from Connor. Only then does Connor recognize him... Kastagir. MacLeod doesn't have to ask why he's in New York... he knows. He asks him if he's seen "the big man". Kastagir shakes his head and asks MacLeod the same. Connor begins to tell him of his encounter.

The street gang... deciding the men are unarmed buddies... pull knives and close in for an attack. Kastagir and Connor swiftly draw their swords and stand back to back. The gang backs off... deciding that these two are vigilantes like Charles Bronson in that Death Wish movie. They stow their knives before the next stop... as do the immortals. A group of theatre-goers get on. The gang members later exit.

Kastagir rises to leave at the next stop when Connor suggests they meet tomorrow at the bridge in Central Park... at 2:30... to talk.

Kastagir thinks a moment, then says it won't do any good... "there can be only one." Connor asks again and Kastagir finally agrees. After all... there is no sense in the two of them fighting until they've met the big man.

This scene really should have been in the film. It shows Connor's continued amusement at the self-destructive ways of mortals and illustrates his world-weary attitude. This scene also explains just how he and Kastagir knew to meet the following day.

Chapter 23
Africa, the Zulu Wars, 1879

MacLeod recalls that this was the last time he'd seen Kastagir.

MacLeod was serving in the 17th Lancers as a private soldier and Cetawayo's superior numbers had decimated the group until only about fifty men remained. At dawn on the third day, the Zulu attacked the remnants near the River Singasi. Evidently... after Rourke's Drift (site of the film Zulu where British forces actually held the fort and survived) Cetawayo was through being a gentleman and overran the British without mercy... slaughtering anyone who moved.

Trouble was... Connor MacLeod failed to die when killed. Intrigued, they carried him to their encampment and imprisoned him in a cage where he was poked at through the bars by the women of the village as sport. Otherwise... he was not bothered.

Eventually by means of signs and signals, MacLeod came to understand that he was being fattened up for ritual combat.

At that point... a plumed warrior teasingly asked him in English if he thought he'd survive. MacLeod realizes he knows this warrior... "Kastagir?" he asks. Obviously he doesn't sense him... he just recognizes the man's voice.

He'd first met his fellow immortal in the West Indies in the early 1800's and thought that he'd still be there. But Kastagir didn't like working that hard. MacLeod had spent most of the intervening years since they'd last seen one another in London.

Kastagir tells MacLeod that the Zulu warrior he will face in combat is one of them... an immortal. MacLeod asks how he knows. Kastagir shrugs. The man uses a broadax in the ritual battles while the opponent is given a spear. "You can't decapitate a man with a spear." MacLeod realizes he's in big trouble.

MacLeod expresses doubt that two men of the same tribe would be immortal as there are only a handful of them on earth. Kastagir reminds MacLeod that he was from Ethiopia and was not a Zulu.

That night, MacLeod manages to break out of the cage but is recaptured. Kastagir tells him "too bad" as that was likely his only chance at survival.

MacLeod is led before Cetawayo and into a ring to face the tall Zulu champion. It is as Kastagir said... he's given a spear that is only good for stabbing and close fighting. He and the champion fight for some time... MacLeod trying to stay out of the way of the broadax. The crowd loves it. Finally in desperation... he thrusts the spear into the champion's chest in hopes that he can get a breather and manage to get the ax away from him. The warrior gasps. The crowd gasps. The champion falls over... dead.

Connor is led before Cetawayo where Kastagir interprets that the chief praises him.

MacLeod growls at Kastagir about the champion being immortal. The Ethiopian shrugs. "I lied." Then Connor is led back to the cage. He protests as he thought he'd be let go. Kastagir calls after him cheerfully, "I lied about that... too."

That night, Kastagir helps him escape and leads him to British forces. He hadn't seen him since.

This flashback is especially interesting as it fleshes out Kastagir's character and illustrates that Ramirez was not the only immortal who didn't kill all others... that friendships were possible.

It also shows that in the original concept... there was no buzz... no way to know if a man was immortal unless he failed to die when he was killed. Evidently... death was not something immortals experienced at all.

Also... MacLeod's comments about two immortals in a single tribe or grouping being remarkable seems to counter the later development of the series... and the existence of his kinsman Duncan MacLeod. It further reiterates that there are only a handful of immortals.

Chapter 24
Present Day
Connor meets Kastagir on the bridge. They greet one another as friends... after all... there is no sense in fighting until after they fight the Kurgan. Kastagir offers "boom-boom" which Connor declines... Kastagir might be trying to poison him. He doesn't trust anyone and says so.

They mention their last meeting in Zululand... as neither of them have forgotten Kastagir's joke...

They speak of love... but Connor explains that he has only loved once... and will never do so again. Kastagir mentions their previous meeting in "1793."

"1783," corrects Connor.

Boston, 1783
At a party, Connor attempts to avoid a rather persistent woman. He attempts to escape the party by exiting through a bedroom. She follows and begins to remove her clothes. He calls her a name and she is off to in a huff to fetch her husband who challenges the drunken Connor to a duel on Boston Common with swords. They immediately set out for the Common.

The man is able to kill Connor quite quickly with his foil through Connor's heart... but the Highlander gets up... The scene is repeated several times until a sobering Connor finally apologizes for calling the man's wife a "bloated warthog" and walks off. The man's second suggests that his friend shoot his opponent... but it is the second who ends up being shot in the foot.

Present Day
The two men realize that they have nothing more to say. The hundred years since their last meeting means they have no real frame of reference to discuss. They've mentioned two meetings... talked of loves lost... the lack of children... and the Kurgan. There is nothing more to say and they part company.

I have heard that in a deleted scene... the two go to a nightclub and harass one of the policemen following Connor... but this is not in the book... nor alluded to. In fact... it is suggested that these two men... not quite friends but not enemies... are like two ships passing in the night. They have nothing in common beyond their rare meetings a hundred years apart... and their immortality. They separate to go their different ways. It is the last time they meet.

Also, the previous chapter mentioned a meeting in the West Indies in the early 1800's. I'm not certain how that fits in with their relationship as mentioned in this chapter.


Chapter 25
Present Day
This chapter consists of two scenes from the film. The first is the scene in the hotel where the Kurgan threatens Kenny, the desk clerk by lifting him into the air and telling him not to speak to him again. Kenny had asked jokingly about Candy... and the Kurgan's kinky tastes.

The second part of the chapter is from the POV of Kirk Matunas... the Vietnam vet and gun enthusiast who drives through the city... so paranoid that he has loaded guns in the car with him.

He witnesses the fight between the Kurgan and Kastagir... and Kastagir's beheading. At that point... Matunas loses it and begins pumping the Kurgan full of lead... whereupon the Kurgan rams his broadsword into the gun enthusiast and then tosses him to one side. Matunas then witnesses the Quickening. He thinks his mind can't possibly be seeing what he is seeing.

Little extra in this chapter other than the comment that the Kurgan had evidently had Candy for a second night and the amount of loaded weapons in Matunas' car. It was an arsenal on wheels.

Chapter 26
Present Day
After the Kurgan kills Kastagir, skewers Matunas, and accepts the Quickening... he hears sirens and pushes through the crowd of on-lookers toward a rag-top convertible holding an elderly couple. He rips off the roof, throws the man out and drives off wildly with the old woman screaming. He feels energized now. There is only one immortal left for him to kill... Connor MacLeod... and then the prize is his.

After he disposes of the car, he dismantles his sword and hides it in the pockets of his coat. Then he goes to a bar for a drink. While there, a news report comes on about the beheading.

The bartender makes a comment about the authorities not being able to find the head. The Kurgan tells him where it is. Just then... it is found... where the Kurgan says it is. The bartender looks at him strangely.

Then the description of the assailant is broadcast. White, Caucasian, nearly seven feet tall, black hair, nasty scar on his throat.

The bartender stares fearfully at the Kurgan who smirks and points to his black hair and then the scar on his throat.

No one else is in the bar so the bartender nervously offers the Kurgan another drink and tries to make smalltalk.

The Kurgan doesn't care if he's recognized. He only has to kill MacLeod and then none of this matters. He's won!

The bartender keeps pouring drinks. The Kurgan notes that the vodka must be American... it tastes like swill that he wouldn't even clean his sword with.

Ahh... another chapter that takes us into the mind of Kurgan... the perfect killing machine. He's big... he's bad... he's nearly won. He's fearless and he feels good.

So tell me... why do I feel like showering after reading this chapter?


Chapter 27
Present Day
Once the big guy (the Kurgan) has left the scene... the by-standers close in to look at the decapitated body... but find Matunas who was still alive... far more interesting.

After the ambulance arrives... the police do so as well. Moran and Bedsoe are on the scene... interviewing the witnesses.

They get descriptions... but nothing seems to make sense. Moran says it's because they see... but then doubt what they see and get caught up in the blood and gore... rather than the face.

They identify the dead man as Kastagir from Chad. Moran snorts. "All these guys hop a plane to New York just to lose their heads? Doesn't make sense."

Bedsoe tells him they can interview the survivor tomorrow after he recovers from surgery.

Moran goes home to his wife and kids and jokes with her about her landing him. The kids are in bed... she's watching television and he grabs his dinner plate to sit leaning back between her legs for her to massage his neck and joke with him. He's glad he's married... unlike Bedsoe.

"Isn't he chasing after Brenda Wyatt?" his wife asks.

"Yeah... But she's too classy for him."

"So was I," she teases.

"Yeah... but I was a handsome swine."

The next morning Moran and Bedsoe meet at Belle Vue and interview a pale and still in pain Matunas. Moran shows him a picture of Russel Nash... but Matunas insists that's not the guy and then describes the Kurgan, his neck scar, and his size. Then he tells them about the quickening.

"The guy enjoyed it... like he was on speed or something," Matunas insists.

He mentions that even with all of the weapons he carries... he's not safe.

After they leave him, Moran tells Bedsoe, "Don't mention the swords or the light show. Say only that we have a witness."

I loved the little scene of Moran with his wife. She'd been mentioned earlier in the book when Brenda had asked about Moran's ulcer, but I'd forgotten she actually has a brief scene.

I found it especially interesting as one of the so-called "cut" scenes suggested a romance might bloom between Rachel and Moran at the conclusion of the film. Evidently that never happened in this version of the story as Moran is happily married.


Chapter 28
Present Day
Brenda Wyatt spends a day and a half researching Russell Nash and discovers that he had died at birth. She researches Connor MacLeod and found references going back centuries... which made no sense at all.

To clear her mind... she hops a flight to Miami to visit her father. She talks to him about her infatuation with a man who may be dangerous.

Her father, admitting he's being over-protective, warns her to stay away from this man. As he reads the newspaper that night, Brenda sees the composite of the Kurgan and realizes that this is the face of the man who attacked Nash. She feels relieved. Nash was likely innocent of the killings, but he was involved somehow she fears.

She remains for several days in Miami.

This chapter glosses over Brenda's search for the truth about Russell Nash that was shown in the film and reduces all the clues to a few sentences. Then it develops this nice little side-trip to see her father... and further develop her character by showing her loving relationship with him, and their easy familiarity with one another. She can tell him almost anything. He also helps her to realize that she is likely in love with Russell Nash... and might well come to regret it. After all... if the man is involved in something dangerous, she could die.


Chapter 29
Present Day
Learning that Kastagir is dead, and that only he remains to face the Kurgan and prevent his winning the prize, MacLeod is off to church. It is Heather's birthday, and he is off to light a candle for her, knowing that this might be the last chance he has to do this. Over the centuries he has done this whenever he could, and he vows not to fight this day.

At the cathedral he prays for Kastagir, Heather, and Ramirez... and then the Kurgan enters... disturbing the peace of the holy place. People comment quietly on his appearance... he looks like a biker without his gang.

The Kurgan admires the artwork and craftsmanship of the cathedral... he's not unappreciative of beauty.

He stands next to Connor and comments that only the two of them remain. They reference their previous meeting in Scotland 400 years ago... and discuss whether or not, if Connor had been burned at the stake, he would have risen again. Connor comments on the Kurgan's haircut... to which the Kurgan replies...

"I'm in disguise!"

They toy with one another as to why each left the other until last. It's all very mano-a-mano. The Kurgan considers raping some passing nuns and teases them yelling, "Happy Halloween!"

Connor is unperturbed, but mentions Ramirez' cut to his enemy's throat.

The Kurgan calls Ramirez an effete snob and comments about "raping his woman."

Realization dawns on the Highlander... and then on the Kurgan. "Oh... she was your woman," he says gleefully. Then he taunts Connor. "And she never told you. I wonder why?"

Connor's furor boils over and he is suddenly ready to fight the Kurgan... here and now. He angrily tosses the Kurgan's suggestion that she enjoyed the rape... back in his enemy's face as something she was ashamed of. But it is still a shock. He's ready to fight... but the Kurgan isn't... there's no hurry now that it's only the two of them. The Kurgan reminds him this is Holy Ground. Connor says he'll meet him outside and rises to leave... but the Kurgan indicates he'll stay as long as he wants.

When a priest approaches to admonish the Kurgan to be respectful as people are trying to pray... the Kurgan becomes playful and loudly insults God, the priest, and all about. He leaves joyfully saying...

"... it's better to burn out... than fade away."

A puzzled Connor watches him leave, unable to understand this behavior. Is the Kurgan bored?

This confrontation scene in the film is one of the highlights of the movie and only a little extra is added here... mainly in the thought processes of MacLeod as he thinks about the end of the game, his old friends, and learns at last Heather's darkest secret. He is at last truly ready for the final fight. But... the Kurgan is willing to remain on Holy Ground until he's ready for the fight. Then suddenly, he makes his huge disappearing act... and it is Connor who remains until he is ready to leave.

Once again, Connor does not "sense" the Kurgan... there is no "buzz"... they simply acknowledge one another's presence when they see and hear one another.

Chapter 30
Present Day

Brenda Wyatt returns to New York from Miami, secure in the knowledge that she does indeed love this Nash/MacLeod guy, and is determined to tell him.

She dresses in her killer suit with the tight skirt, the one that makes Bedsoe's eyes bug out, and heads for the antique store where she confronts Rachel. When she insists she knows that Nash is dead and that he died at birth, MacLeod steps out and ushers her into his apartment.

Brenda's attention is immediately drawn to all the old weapons there... especially the claymores. She realizes that she is not leading this conversation into one where she can express her love for him... and then he picks up a knife, and explains who and what he is... Connor MacLeod... of the clan MacLeod. That he was born on the shores of Loch Shiel in 1518... and that he cannot die.

Brenda does not want to believe and refuses to touch the knife, understanding what he wants her to do. He reaches out and tenderly places her fingers around the handle and then covers them with his before plunging the knife in. He doesn't die... and when the knife is pulled out... he heals.

She nearly faints and then hears him murmur "darling" in her ear before he apologises with a kiss.

He tells her of Heather... the only woman he has ever truly loved, and how hard it was to watch her grow old and die.

Brenda asks, "Do I remind you of her?"

"Yes," he admits. "But don't be jealous... she has been dead four hundred years... but she is a part of me."

Connor then suggests that they go to the zoo, something mundane that regular people do when they first discover they love one another.

They do so, but Connor is still concerned about pursuing a relationship with her, after all, the Kurgan may well take his head before the week is out.

Brenda assures him that he will survive if he has faith.

From nearby, a figure watches them and laughs softly.

This chapter is pretty much the same as the movie. It also suggests that after kissing Brenda, Connor and she really do go straight to the zoo and the author makes this activity on their part make sense.


Chapter 31
Present Day
That night, on her way home, Brenda feels as if she is being followed. She is... by Walter Bedsoe. She confronts him and sends him home.

She enters her apartment and smells something that reminds her of wet leather. She turns and comes face to face with the Kurgan.

Recalling that MacLeod told her that the Kurgan had raped Heather, Brenda... a modern and very practical woman... offers herself to him.

He feigns disappointment and says it's more fun when they struggle. Then he picks her up and tosses her over his shoulder. She screams... bringing a neighbor to her assistance as the Kurgan carries her down the stairs. The Kurgan man-handles the neighbor and tosses him away with one hand. Brenda decides to be quiet so that no one else will be hurt.

When he tosses her in a car, she realizes that unless he holds a gun on her... she can get out. Trouble is... he drives wildly as if unafraid of dying... which he is she realizes. But she could die. She begins to scream.

Finally... after a wild ride, she is able to open the door and fall out. She tries to flag down passing motorists or pedestrians to help her. None of them wish to be involved.

Seeing a policeman... she runs to him. He is in the process of drawing his gun when the Kurgan flattens him... literally... with a tossed garbage can.

Picking Brenda up once again... the Kurgan continues their wild ride, finally arriving at a building with a Silvercup Bakery sign on top. He stops at a pay-phone, calls MacLeod and tells him that Brenda is a real screamer, forcing her to scream into the phone. Then he tells MacLeod where he can be found.

"Hurry... before I take another of your women," he warns.

Hanging up, he carries Brenda to the roof and ties her to the flashing neon sign. She wonders how long it would be until MacLeod comes. Then another thought crosses her mind. What if he didn't come?

This chapter sets up Brenda's abduction slightly differently than in the film as the Kurgan is already inside of her apartment. It also gives a more complicated wild ride than the final version in the film.

Brenda gets to show her stuff as a tough modern woman who knows all the things to do when kidnapped... but in the face of the Kurgan's treatment... ends up screaming anyway.

Chapter 32
Present Day
After hanging up the phone from speaking to the Kurgan... Connor prepares to meet his enemy, angrily he wonders why the man involved Brenda in this.

"To unnerve you... get you off your game," suggests Rachel. "Do you love her?"

When Connor admits that he does, Rachel says that may be the reason. If he is vested in Brenda... he won't be able to concentrate on the fight.

"Are you tired of living?" she wonders.

Connor thinks a moment. Until he'd found Rachel, he was. She gave him a purpose for living... raising a child who needed him. But now... for the first time in four centuries... he is in love... and someone else needs him. "I've lived too long. I'm tired," he admits. He embraces her and leaves.

Downstairs, he notes as he pulls away in the Porsche that Bedsoe is following him. He manages to lead him a merry chase and finally lose him.

Arriving finally at the bakery... he wonders where the Kurgan will be hiding. He climbs the fire escape until about fifteen feet from the roof, breaks a window and enters. Then he breaks open a skylight and climbs to the roof. He sees Brenda tied to the Silvercup sign... and wonders again... "Where is he?"

Almost none of this chapter is in the film. The goodbye scene with Rachel is different from the film, and the car chase with Bedsoe is absent. If it were even in the script, it was likely cut as it slowed the pace of the film. By this point... everything moves swiftly to the final confrontation. A book can move more slowly.

Once again, there is no indication of "the buzz" nor that Connor ever really loved anyone after Heather. That is not to say he was celibate... but just indicates that he has not allowed himself to truly care about anyone... other than Rachel and now Brenda in four hundred years.

Connor's feeling his age in this chapter reminds me of Bilbo's telling Gandalf in Lord of the Rings that he feels thin... like too little butter spread on too much bread. Connor wants there to be an end to this eternal going on, and he considers that joining Ramirez and Heather in death would not be an unpleasant thing.

Chapter 33
Present Day
While waiting for MacLeod... the Kurgan recalls his past.

He is nearly 3000 years old, the oldest of the immortals and just a shade older than Ramirez would have been.

He prefers war to be chaotic and over the centuries has fought on the side of the barbarian hordes. He always felt Europeans too civilized in their wars.

His earliest memory is from when he was five years old. His father, tired of the extra mouth to feed, had dashed his head open with a rock and cracked his skull. He'd recovered, and finding his father asleep, dropped a hot pebble from the campfire into his father's open mouth and watched him choke to death. After that he'd led their herd home, and told his mother that his father had been killed by a bear.

At twelve years of age, he'd left home, joining a group of bandits who preyed on caravans. He'd become proficient with the slingshot.

At twenty-five, his aging stopped. He realized he was as old as he would grow and that not only would he never grow old... but that he couldn't be killed by any weapon he knew of.

He still had no idea of what he was until the Arab, a Bedu found him and taught him, much as Ramirez taught the Highlander. He foretold the Gathering, prophesied that the Kurgan would be one of those there, explained the Quickening, and how to find and recognize other immortals. Then he revealed that he was an immortal. The Kurgan waited until his teacher slept and cut off his head for his first Quickening. He kept the Arab's scimitar to use until he'd had his broadsword made centuries later.

Hearing a step on the roof, the Kurgan faced his enemy. He knew that the Highlander had grown into a fearsome opponent. That he was no longer the boy he'd once faced in that long ago battle with the Frasers. That Ramirez had likely prepared him well. It was time. The final battle was at hand.

This chapter fills the reader in on the Kurgan's origins and gives his motivations for what he is. For three thousand years he has been focused on one task... becoming "the one." His time has at last come... and he was ready.

While the previous chapter gave us MacLeod's weariness of eternal life and his desire for an end... this one gives us the Kurgan's anticipation in facing this battle which will at long last give him his reward for being the best, the strongest, the greatest warrior... the one.

Chapter 34
Present Day

The final battle.

Feeling his strength flow into his wakizachi (yes folks... not a katana), the shorter samurai blade with its masame grain... Connor MacLeod steels himself to be impassive, to give nothing away. Psychology in the fight is as important as strength or skill. He must become a wall. He fingers the carved dragon hilt, tracing the old Sanskrit words... I cannot cross another river. He has a task to do. He must kill the Kurgan.

He hears Brenda screaming... but he cannot pay attention to her. All he is must be focused on his opponent... on each move he makes. He must withstand the blows and land his own. He must evade the slices and get an advantage. He must gain the advantage and defeat his opponent.

Back and forth they cross the roof, destroying in the process the supports of a water tower, the electric power cables to the Silvercup sign... and the supports of the sign itself, which allows Brenda to free herself.

The Kurgan seems surprised at MacLeod's endurance... and his creativity. MacLeod sees that the Kurgan is the better technical swordsman... but he is not an innovator. MacLeod is better able to adapt to the changing situation.

With a lunge, the Kurgan manages to force both of them through a skylight so that they and some of the water from the water tower... fall into the room below. MacLeod loses his sword in an exchange of blows. He has lost. The Kurgan raises his sword for the final blow.

Brenda interferes. She finds a broken pipe and hits the Kurgan on the head. He picks her up and tosses her at MacLeod who had managed to regain his feet and his sword.

"What kept you?" he says lightly to her and then turns once more to the battle... no longer defeated but energized once more. His enthusiasm turns the tide... his blade slips past the Kurgan's defense... and into his chest.

The Kurgan staggers. His mind is partially on his wound. It gives Connor an opening. The Highlander slices through the Kurgan's neck and the head hangs to one side. Even then... his opponent struggles to live. For a moment... Connor thinks that the Kurgan will simply re-attach his head and continue on.

But it is over as power streams from the neck and the body falls to the floor.

"I am the one," Connor says... but even in saying it... knows that he is here only because of Heather, Ramirez and Brenda. He survives and wins because he is not alone. His ability to trust in others gave him an advantage that the Kurgan never had. The Kurgan was alone. Connor's friends and loves over his life have made the difference. It is our ties to others that give us strength and keep us in this world.

He stretches out his arms to receive the final quickening... a blast of power that lifts him from his feet and pulls him into itself as he pulls the power into him. It flows through his veins and makes him feel truly alive. He feels god-like... and then blacks out.

When he comes to... his head is in Brenda's lap.

"Is it over?" she asks.

"It's over. It's all over," he replies.

Okay... this chapter describes the battle blow by blow and takes up ten pages. What I found most interesting was the mental processes of MacLeod as he faced the battle. How did he prepare himself? How did he adjust? What went through his mind?

The final realization that he is not alone... nor that he was the winner by his own strenght has always been a key point for me. We succeed with the help of others.

I also found it interesting that the fabled samurai sword that Connor carries... is the shorter wakizachi.


Chapter 35
Present Day

In his loft the following day, Connor tells Rachel he is leaving and that Russel Nash dies tonight.

He wipes a tear from her eye, murmuring that there has been no one in his life but her since WWII, but that now it is time for him to move on. She is fearful of being alone, but he tells her she need never be alone... or afraid... that she has much to offer. He hates good-byes.

"Good-bye my dearest Rachel... my daughter... my friend," he tells her and leaves to start his life with Brenda.

"Good-bye Russell Nash," Rachel says sadly.

"Hey... it's a kind of magic," he teases.

Brenda meets him at the airport with her luggage. She's told her father she's leaving, and has taken a leave of absence from her job. They're off to Scotland where he takes her on a tour of Glenfinnan and the land he grew up in.

He recalls his cousin Dugal catching salmon for them to eat on Connor's tenth birthday... over four hundred years ago.

She asks about the prize.

"I can't explain it except to say I am complete. I'm not as I was before. You'll have to see how I cope with the change." Connor also senses his old friends about him.

Brenda offers a wine for them to toast their future... a 1976... and she nudges him to mention the things that happened that year... things that she can also relate to.

They tour Scotland for two months, and then open an antique shop in Camden Alley. On one occasion, he returns to the Scotish Uplands alone and stares at the remnants of his home with Heather. There is no croft there, but he finds a few stones from the fallen tor and locates the burial place of Ramirez and Heather. He finds two timbers and fashions a rude cross, telling Heather that she would like Brenda. "She is much like you."

He stays until night falls, comfortable in the company of loved ones and the ghosts of his distant past.

In the film, this scene with Rachel is placed before the fight. It always felt odd to me there... and when I read the book... I understood why. He told Rachel good-bye only after he'd won.

Notice that in the book... the prize is still not explained... but Connor feels complete for the first time in his life. If you recall... Ramirez had told him that immortals were tied to the life force of all living things. Therefore, having won the prize... Connor feels strongly this connection. The film suggested he read minds, that he was mortal, that he could age and have children. The book does not say this. It does not suggest that he is now mortal... only that he is changed and that together the two of them will explore the changes.

Perhaps the lame explanation at the end of the film was an attempt to tie everything up in a neat little package for the viewer. At any rate... the novel seems to hint that while Connor might not have to fight another battle... there are still adventures out there waiting for him... and things for him to discover.

At long last... he finds that he is not alone... that he has never been alone... and that he is at rest with the thought of his immortality. He has come to finally see it not as a curse that causes him to endure... but as a gift that will allow him to experience a wonderful future.

#30#

 

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In the end, all shall be one

In the end, all shall be one.