Sera-Lys McArthur, on Playing Johiehon

Photo: Sera-Lys McArthur as Johiehon, Starz

Happy 4th of July! (if you celebrate, and Happy Thursday! If you don’t ?). 

As Outlander fans, July 4, 1776 really doesn’t seem that long ago, what with Claire et al, dashing back and forth in time. Outlander has brought history to the forefront for me. Traveling, listening, discussing, reading, and researching for writing articles and doing interviews, processing with my own brain – my life, where I come from, how we got here, and current world affairs, all lead me to the conclusion that our lives and history are complex, to say the least. As Now People, I don’t believe in carrying around the shame and hurts of the past; it does not serve us in the present. But, I do believe in seeing the truth of things (as much as we can), and speaking that truth – it’s important to know and tell our stories.

This land belonged to the First Nations/ Native American people and Western European ancestors took it from them, and made it their own. And then, a group of rebels took it from those guys, and made it theirs, continuing the systematic removal of the original people from this land. That is the truth. My ancestors were immigrants, who came here after the US was established, but all of us who are, or come from Pilgrim Americans, Immigrant Americans, First Nations or American Indians live with the ripple effects. Holding this knowledge can inform me, my behavior and decisions in the present, and it can help me develop compassion for myself and others. 

Outlander Episode 412 was a standout for many reasons, one among them being First Nations actress, Sera-Lys McArthur, who played the tragic Johiehon, Father Alexandre’s lover, the mother of his child, and the woman who made the ultimate sacrifice to be with him. I had the pleasure of spending time with the bright and beautiful Sera-Lys recently, discussing Outlander, her heritage, language and culture, her career, what’s next, and more. 

It’s fun to notice what the actors have in common with their characters; for Sera-Lys, I would say she shares Johiehon’s intelligence, beauty, her big, generous heart, an underlying strength and dedication to that which she holds dear, and an element of fierceness and determination.  Sera-Lys is talented and ambitious, and it will be fun to follow her career over the years. 

Please enjoy my discussion with Sera-Lys McArthur…


For more interviews like this one, go to OutlanderBTS Original Interviews.

To watch out Episode discussion of 412, go to OutlanderBTS Episode 412, The Discussion – Providence (filmed before I met Sera-Lys!).

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12 comments on “Sera-Lys McArthur, on Playing Johiehon

  1. Just finished watching your thoroughly enjoyable interview with Sera-Lys McArthur, what a lovely, beautiful lady. I loved her performance in S4/E12 of Outlander and hope we are able to see more of her work.

    • Thank you Susan! I agree, she is gorgeous inside and out! And I loved her performance too, a major reason I wanted to interview her. ?

  2. Courtney, thank you for bringing her on and giving us the full prospective of that whole episode. And yes, I didn’t realize either that she was only in one episode. You are right, she and her character brought the story to life and hearing how they shot those fire scenes was so very interesting with doubles and fire suits. I was wondering how that was all done so well.

  3. Thank you for your perspective and reminder of how the country changes, by force, certain cultural existences. I am saddened by what is happening on our southern borders as more people trying to escape a horrid life get met by more hatred and anger. Many in this country arrived by choice, some by force and some by running from unbearable situations. Our history is of great violence. Sadly that mind set still exists in many. My favorite part of S4 is the connection to our history and the Native Americans here long before most of us. I am not happy with the ending of S4 but see the value of most of it. I look forward to the integral parts of US history played out in the rest of DGs books. You are so lucky ti have has a chance to meet with the actress. I too will follow her career.

    • You’re welcome, Nancy, yeah, we are just part of the overall journey. It’s easy to forget that in the every day. I think most of history, when I look around, includes great violence, not just ours. And I agree, about our borders. I hope we can attract leadership that is less black and white – profits AND people. Suffering is part of life, it seems, but if we learn moving forward, hopefully a better future. x

  4. Another wonderful interview…Thanks so much for doing these…I really appreciate your passion! Sera-Lys is a very interesting and lovely person who we’d never know without your interviews. :-}

    • Thanks Leslie. It’s a lot of work, but very gratifying. I especially like to dig into the minor character actors, who play such interesting roles and are such cool people, but often don’t get the coverage. ? I hope your arms are coming along! I loved seeing you at DCC.

      • And that is the beauty of what you do….the minor characters who do not get so much attention….such a lovely way to learn more about them. Arms are coming along…3 months today since the accident…I actually drove yesterday..the first time….so lots of progress. Now back to work and attempts to pick up where I left off months ago…LOL. Loved seeing you as well. ???

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