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26 October 2017
If you are not a fan of the Outlander books, and in particular the TV series (now in season 3) from those books you probably won't be interested in this entry.
And if you are following the TV series, but have not yet seen the latest episode, you might also want to wait until you have seen it because even though you know what is coming, it still may have plot spoilers.
It has been a surprise to me that though my favorite genre of books is crime drama, that I got so hooked on this historical romance. I rarely read romance novels. Some critics accuse author Diana Gabaldon of writing "bodice rippers," and there may be some truth in that, but the characters are drawn so realistically and the history so well researched that libraries and book stores have a difficult time knowing into which section the books belong.
I might never have become so hooked on the books were it not for Audible's audio books. Narrator Davina Porter is so good that I decided I could listen to her read the telephone book. All of the books are on my iPod and when I am not otherwise reading a different book and am only driving a short time, I might pick one of the books and just listen to it for awhile. I can pick up any volume in the middle and it doesn't make a different that I'm reading out of order because I know the whole story, all 8 books worth.
For those still with me who have not read the books, it's the story of a World War II British nurse, Claire Beauchamp, who falls in love with a historian, Frank Randall, marries him, and on their honeymoon to Scotland, by accident she happens to walk through a cleft in one of the famous standing stones which are found everywhere in that country and finds herself back in the 18th century.
She happens to get captured by the sadistic Black Jack Randall (coincidentally and conveniently husband Frank's long-lost ancestor) who intends to rip her bodice and do unspeakable things to her, but she is rescued by a band of Scottish highlanders, who hide her from Randall.
(I always wanted to know how Claire could ride for two
The only sure-fire way to save her, however, is to marry her to one of the Scots, young Jamie Fraser. As his wife, she will be protected by law and apparently even Black Jack respects the law. Needless to say, Claire is none too happy with this solution but agrees to go through with it, including the mandatory consummation of the marriage.
Many adventures ensue, including Claire and Jamie falling hopelessly in love over the first two books, but Claire knows that the Battle of Culloden is coming, the battle which ended the Jacobite uprising of 1745 and the clan system in Scotland. Jamie, an honorable man, realizes that he will be killed, but must fight with his fellow Scots. He also realizes that Claire is pregnant and he insists that she go back through the stones so that his child can live.
The anguished goodbye ends Season 2 of the TV series, as Claire returns to the 20th century and to Frank, having to explain that she has been living with an 18th century Scotsman for 2 years and is carrying his child.
Twenty years passes. Frank dies. Daughter Brianna grows up, learns Frank was not her real dad. Through research, a historian discovers that Jamie survived Culloden. Then they find him on a census role in Edinburgh. Claire realizes that he lived. Thus ends Season 2 of the TV show.
In Season 3, the producers of the show drove us nuts for five episodes, taking both Claire and Jamie separately through the 20 years separation, what they did, who they did it with, etc. Finally Claire makes the decision to leave now-adult daughter Brianna and return to Scotland to try and find Jamie. She quickly finds herself in Edinburgh (we miss all the preparation, the stones, getting to Edinburgh, etc.), gets direction to the print shop of A. Malcolm (which she has assumed was Jamie), goes to the shop, dramatically climbs the stairs. She sees him. He has his back to her and thinks she is his assistant and begins talking to "Geordie." As I knew it would, the episode ended with Claire saying "It's not Geordie, it's me -- Claire." Thinking she's an apparition, Jamie faints and the episode ends.
Then, those guys made us wait two whole weeks to continue the scene. But it continues in an episode called "A. Malcolm" and they reunite. (Interviewing Caitriona Balf, who plays Claire, Stephen Colbert said that he heard this was the sexiest show on TV. And yeah...lots of sex, including a violent and much too realistic rape of Jamie by Black Jack in Season 2). But better is the re-igniting of the passions that made the relationship between Jamie and Claire work to begin with. Their reunion awkwardness at first, the "dinner scene" so reminiscent of their wedding night, etc.)
Now, the reason I wrote all this is because many Outlander fans are crazy. At least crazier than I am. They get upset about everything. They intimately know every scene, every bit of dialog and if the TV version doesn't get it right, or leave something out, they are going to let someone know.
There are literally hundreds of comments on Twitter and Facebook, pro and con, about this episode alone. The one comment I made, similar to my comment here, received the most comments I have ever had on one Facebook posts--nearly 100!
I admit to having read each of the books at least twice but I can only remember the high points and it does not bother me that this or that "crucial" scene was omitted or that so-and-so does not match the mental image some had of him/her. I am enjoying the TV series as a TV show, and the books as books, both different and similar to the TV series.
Whatever, though--it's obvious that this series is wildly popular as they are already filming the 4th season (which will record my least favorite part of the saga and I'm hoping I will like it more than the book!)
I try to just ignore the negative comments,
but I feel sorry for the writers, who are missing something very special by
trying to hold the TV show to the exact same standards as the books.
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