It was in 1994, after I finished reading Outlander for the first time, that I couldn’t help but think what a great television miniseries it would make. As I continued to read the book series, the world of Jamie and Claire came further to life in my mind. I was there. I could see the scenes clearly, imagine the sights and smells. I felt their happiness, celebrated their triumphs, mourned their losses. They were as real to me as any book characters could be. Throughout the years, the Outlander book series was my companion. Through life changes, moves, and heartache….they kept me company. They were a constant and gave me hope when life seemed to drag me down.
As with many things, Outlander took a backseat (or back shelf, as the case may be), as I pursued other interests and fulfilled my responsibilities. In 2010, after living abroad for several years, I moved back to my hometown. There in a box in my parent’s garage were my beloved books. I immediately re-read Outlander and found myself once again reunited with my old friends, Jamie and Claire. As if I’d never left. After I finished reading, I was curious if they’d ever been made into a series or movie, so I grabbed my laptop and Googled away. I was ecstatic to find mention online that there was a renewed interest in producing a series based on the books.
In late 2012, rumors were circulating online about Sony/Starz buying the rights and bringing Outlander to TV. Like so many fans, I monitored forums and websites, anxious for information. When it was confirmed, the search began for actors to play the lead roles. It was an exciting time. Finally, fans around the world would see the world of Jamie and Claire brought to life.
The initial excitement of casting announcements in summer of 2013, was slightly overshadowed by the reaction of some very critical book fans. Here fans were, about to get a gift, a television series based on books we loved for 22 years, and they couldn’t get past hair or eye color. Luckily, I found a newly formed group on Facebook that was equally as thrilled as I was, Heughan’s Heughligans.
Now, as the group as grown to over 13k members, I’m glad to have found my niche as both a member and admin. We remind each other (and new members) daily, how lucky we are to have both the books and the TV series. They compliment each other. Whereas the books have given us the flesh and bones of the story, the series has visually brought the essence of Outlander to life. I can easily imagine the Scottish highlands, but seeing it before us…a canvas on which the actors paint Diana Gabaldon’s exceptional words, has been breathtaking. Each of these mediums can stand alone easily, but are better when enjoyed together.
The gift of Outlander, both book and TV series, is one we should never take for granted. Is the TV series perfect? No. Should it be a word for word reenactment of the book, or a medium by which the books are expanded and enhanced upon? Whatever your opinion, I think we can all agree that when given a gift, it’s never polite to insult the giver or the way it’s wrapped.
So, thank you to the cast and crew of Outlander, who work hard to give us the beautiful gift of our favorite book brought to life. Thank you to Diana Gabaldon for giving them great material to work with; and to Ron D. Moore for showing us how the story can be enhanced in ways we hadn’t thought of.
Je suis prest for season 2…Dragonfly in Amber!