Looking for Mr. Fraser

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What is it that we love so much about the Outlander books?  Is it Claire and her bad-ass self? The history? The adventure? The steamy sex? The love story?  For me, it’s all of those things.  But above all else, it’s one James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser.

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 Outlander:  1636 vs 199

Dragonfly in Amber: 1832 vs 133

Voyager: 2508 vs 121

What are those numbers, you ask?  Mentions.

One of the best features of e-books is that they let readers (ok, maybe just me) indulge my obsession to find information about my favorite books quickly and easily (i.e., gather data, take notes, and highlight and/or bookmark favorite passages).  After the finale of Season 2, and to support my hypothesis that the show runners were getting off track where Jamie Fraser is concerned, I did a little search of Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager, the three books in the series where both Jamie and Frank appear.  The figures above show the number of times Jamie is mentioned versus the number of times Frank is mentioned.  The difference is pretty striking.  It’s also quite obvious who is the more important character.  Can’t dispute hard data, Ron.

Some fans (and apparently the showrunners) think that Outlander is strictly Claire’s story, and by extension, the story of her relationships with Frank and Jamie.  I don’t entirely agree with that.  In the wake of Season 2, I found myself in numerous discussions about this very topic with other “book people.”  I wasn’t surprised to discover how many of us see it quite differently; we see the Outlander series as more Jamie’s story than Claire’s. And even when we didn’t agree on that, two things about which we all did agree was that it is NOT Claire and Frank’s story, nor is it a “love triangle” between Jamie, Claire and Frank. The central character in the series is really Jamie.  The story may be told from Claire’s perspective, but her narrative is all about him: how he smells, the way he looks, his intelligence, his bravery, his sense of humor, the way he makes her feel…The few times she mentions Frank, it is usually to tell us that he was a good father to Bree and to let us know that in comparison to Jamie, as a man and a husband, he is woefully lacking (whether or not she had a hand in those failures is a topic for another post):

Jamie. Jamie was real, all right, more real than anything had ever been to me, even Frank and my life in 1945.  Jamie, tender lover and perfidious black-guard.

Perhaps that was part of the problem.  Jamie filled my senses so completely that his surroundings seemed almost irrelevant.  But I could no longer afford to ignore them.  My recklessness had almost killed him this afternoon, and my stomach turned over at the thought of losing him.

-Outlander

*Note: this passage is from right after she tried to get back to Frank, but was picked up by the Redcoats and taken to Fort William. Makes me wonder if her heart was really in it, or did she just feel guilty and obligated to try and return to Frank? Just something to consider.

As I mentioned, I realize that some people still see Claire as the main character-that the story is about Claire and what happens to her, and that Frank is just as important a part of her life as Jamie. I ask those people to please read the books again.  Once Jamie comes into her life, almost everything Claire does and says is relayed to the reader through the prism of Jamie: how events affect him as an individual, them as a couple, and the world they inhabit.  He is like the sun; a powerful, magnetic force to which everyone is drawn and around which everything revolves.  The difference in Outlander, though, is that the depth of feeling isn’t one-sided. For Jamie, Claire has the same overwhelming pull for him as he does for her

“I had thought I was well beyond that stage, had lost all trace of softness and was well set on my way to a middle age of stainless steel.  But now I thought that Frank’s death had cracked me in some way,  And the cracks were widening, so that I could no longer patch them with denial. I had brought my daughter back to Scotland, she with those bones strong as the ribs of Highland mountains, in the hope that her shell was strong enough to hold her together, while the center of her “I am” might still be reachable.

But my own core no longer held in the isolation of “I am,” and I had no protection to shield me from the softness from within.  I no longer knew what I was or what she would be; only what I must  do. (my emphasis)

For I had come back, and I dreamed once more, in the cool air of the Highlands.  And the voice of my dream still echoed through ears and heart, repeated with the sound of Brianna’s sleeping breath.

“You are mine,” it had said. “Mine! And I will not let you go.”

-Dragonfly In Amber

*Note:  these are Claire’s thoughts after 20 years apart from Jamie.  Her first instinct after Frank’s death is to run back to Scotland, in search of a ghost. Her grief is palpable-but it’s not for Frank.

……………………….

“It’s a lot too late to ask that,” I said, and reached to touch his cheek, where the rough beard was starting to show. It was soft under my fingers, like a stiff plush.  “Because I’ve already risked everything I had.  But whoever you are now, Jamie Fraser-yes.  Yes, I do want you.”

-Voyager

I don’t mean to say that Claire isn’t also a wonderful character, and Caitriona plays her brilliantly.  She embodies the characteristics that many of us, as women, possess ourselves (or wish we did!): strength, intelligence, resilience, compassion, resourcefulness, sensuality, and yes, a certain degree of recklessness and a “damn the consequences” attitude.  But for all of her great, and not-so-great, qualities, I would go so far as to suggest that Claire is at her most interesting when she is with Jamie (and before I get a lot of comments suggesting I’m being sexist, NO, I do not think a woman needs a man (not even Jamie Fraser) to be interesting, fulfilled or complete!).  I just happen to think there is a good case to be made for Jamie being the more fascinating character. (Side note: I’m not saying that he is perfect. If he were, he wouldn’t feel so “real” to the reader. However, I really wish the whole “King of Men” moniker could just be erased.  It’s silly and turns the very interesting character of Jamie Fraser into more of a caricature. Nobody wants to see that. Ron practically rolls his eyes whenever he says it, and Sam looks uncomfortable whenever someone mentions it.  Jamie Fraser is supposed to be a human being (granted, an exceptional one), not a comic book super hero).

Consider this:  would you be more interested in reading a story about Claire without Jamie, or one about Jamie without Claire? I know, I know, most of us would prefer them together as a couple, but indulge me.  I know which I would choose.  Even Diana Gabaldon finds Jamie the more interesting character:  beyond the core Outlander series, Virgins is about Jamie, The Exile is about Jamie, The Scottish Prisoner is about Jamie (even though it’s in the Lord John series).  Are there any additional books or novellas about Claire? No.  If I’m not mistaken, I believe Diana has even said that she relates more to Jamie than to Claire.  And why not?  Jamie is a much more compelling and nuanced character than Claire.  We know what Claire will do in almost every situation (usually something that ends up putting Jamie and/or herself in mortal danger…lol), but Jamie often surprises us.  In addition, it is Jamie that develops the most over the course of the series.  We see him as a young, slightly reckless warrior, a survivor of sexual assault, an outlaw, a prisoner, a merchant, a conspirator, a soldier, a laird, a printer, a smuggler, a pioneer… Most importantly, we see him grow and mature as man, a father, a grandfather and a husband to Claire.

So all of this begs the question: why are TPTB (the powers that be) changing the story and minimizing Jamie’s character in the show?  In Jamie they have a beautifully rich character in his own right, they have enough great prose and dialogue in the books for 50 episodes per season and they have the perfect actor to play him. It makes no sense to shift so much focus away from the most beloved character in the books. Here are some examples of what I mean.

For the most part, I loved Season 1, and after re-reading (again) Outlander, I realized why. THEY STUCK (MOSTLY) TO THE BOOK AND USED A LOT OF DIANA’S DIALOGUE.  Perhaps that’s less interesting for the screenwriters, but their job is to adapt an existing piece of work to film, not to re-write the characters. Wisely, that’s what they did in Season 1.  I will take exception to two, rather major, changes to the first season.  The first was in The Wedding. In the show, the focus was on Claire.  In fact, in the recap after the episode, both Ron and Terry said that it was “all about the dress, Claire’s entrance, the way Jamie reacts to her,”etc., etc. But if you re-read that passage in the book, you will see that they were wrong.  Diana wrote it from the completely opposite perspective. Diverging from societal norms, this wedding wasn’t all about the bride; it was about the groom:

It was a “warm” Scottish day, meaning that the mist wasn’t quite heavy enough to qualify as a drizzle, but not far off, either.  Suddenly the inn door opened, and the sun came out, in the person of James.  If I was a radiant bride, the groom was positively resplendent.  My mouth fell open and stayed that way.

A Highlander in full regalia is an impressive sight–any Highlander, no matter how old, ill-favored, or crabbed in appearance.  A tall, straight-bodied, and by no means ill-favored young Highlander at close range is breathtaking.

Well over six feet tall, broad in proportion and striking of feature, he was a far cry from the grubby horse-handler I was accustomed to–and he knew it. Making a leg in courtly fashion, he swept me a bow of impeccable grace murmuring “Your servant, Ma’am,” eyes glinting with mischief.

“Oh,” I said faintly.                                                                                                         

-Outlander

Don’t get me wrong. I loved that episode, and still think it was one the best hours of film that I have ever seen.  I loved the way they started after the ceremony and worked backward. I loved the sex scenes, going from awkward first encounter, to the passionate, lust-filled round 2, to the beginnings of falling in love at the end. I loved the scene between Jamie and Murtagh talking about Jamie’s mother and how Claire’s “smile was as sweet” as Ellen’s.  I loved the “bible smack-down” between Willie and the priest.  It was romantic, funny, emotional and sexy as hell!  In short, it was perfection, so I didn’t mind the change.

At the time, I also didn’t really think anything of shifting the focus from Jamie to Claire when, for example, the writers had Jamie thinking that it was the vision of Claire that was “like the sun coming out,” instead of the other way around. I appreciated that the reversal was made as Ron’s homage to his wife, Terry.  In fact, I thought it was quite a sweet gesture and didn’t think it took anything away from Jamie’s character to do it. However, in retrospect, having seen all of the other changes where the focus was moved from Jamie to Claire in Season 2, I’m beginning to think that maybe it was more deliberate, and less romantic, than I originally thought. Maybe I’m just cynical.

The other significant change to Season 1, which I mentioned in my previous post, was the failure to allow time for Jamie to heal and for he and Claire to reconnect after his assault at the hands of BJR. Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe were brilliant with what they were given.  But why was that entire section skipped when it was so hugely significant to the development of Jamie and Claire’s relationship? Those of you who have read the books know what I’m talking about (the length and intensity of the “exorcism,” the tentative first intimate encounter, the passion and re-connection in the hot spring, and yes, even the dark humor). There really was no excuse for it, given that they had three additional episodes in which to address it.  Both Maril and Terry are huge fans of the books; I find it difficult to believe that this subject never came up in private discussions,  in the writer’s room or when they were blocking out the episodes before filming. I mention it again here because it was a rare, but crucial, misstep by TPTB.  Not only did it fail to give both the characters and the audience a much-needed catharsis after the events in Wentworth Prison and to Ransom a Man’s Soul, it resulted in the writers having to alter the natures of the core characters and much of the flow of Season 2.  I suppose we’ll never know why they chose to eliminate those scenes from Season 1, but someday I’d really like an honest answer to that question.  I would much rather know it was a miscalculation rather than an intentional decision to prop up Frank’s character and undermine Jamie’s.

As for Season 2, I’ve already made my thoughts known on the altering of Claire & Frank’s characters, the diminishing of Jamie’s and on the nearly complete, and incomprehensible, lack of sex and intimacy between Jamie and Claire (see Yeah…It Kind of IS About the Sex). I won’t revisit them here.  In preparing to write this post, I re-read many different parts of the first three books, among them “the print shop scene.”  As always, it brought me to tears.  I so want the filmed version to do the same.  I mean, seriously, I want to be like this when I see it:

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As of this writing, the cast and crew have reconvened in Scotland and are ready to start filming Season 3, Voyager.  So here are my pleas to Ron, Maril, and all of the directors and writers:

  • Please DO NOT continue down the path you were on in Season 2.  Focus on Jamie – and on the relationship between Jamie and Claire.  A LOT happens in Voyager, but don’t get so lost in the “action” that you forget why millions of fans love these books.  If we want to watch a high-seas adventure in the Caribbean with lots of gratuitous and unnecessary sex, we’ll watch Black Sails.  There are many scenes you can skip or merge together for the sake of time. Some suggestions:  99% of Claire’s life with Frank, the serial killer in Edinburgh, Mr. Willoughby, some of the events in the ocean crossing, much of the voodoo in the Caribbean.  There are plenty of things you can skim over that won’t affect the story going forward to Drums of Autumn. Please do not skip over Jamie’s time without Claire (i.e., Ardsmuir, Lallybroch, Helwater) or any of the time with him when she returns. Those scenes are far too important not to include in all their glory.
  • PLEASE, do not make the mistake you made in Season 2 (and yes, I do think it was a mistake) by skimping on the love story (including the sex) that is the heart of Outlander. There is no shame in producing a top-quality love story. They are sorely lacking on television today. You have enough talented people working on this show that you can weave the romance between Jamie and Claire seamlessly into the history and adventure of the story.  You did it in Season 1 and it was adored by critics and fans alike.  I challenge you to do it again. Let us see more of this:

“Do ye know?” he said softly, somewhere in the black, small hours of the night. “Do ye know what it’s like to be with someone that way? To try all ye can, and seem never to have the secret of them?

“Yes,” I said, thinking of Frank. “Yes, I do know.”

“I thought perhaps ye did,” He was quiet for a moment, and then his hand touched my hair lightly, a shadowy blur in the firelight

“And then…” he whispered, “then to have it all back again, that knowing. To be free in all ye say or do, and know that it is right.”

“To say ‘I love you,’ and mean it with all your heart,” I said softly to the dark.

“Aye,” he answered, barely audible. “To say that.”

His hand rested on my hair, and without knowing quite how it happened, I found myself curled against him, my head just fitting in the hollow of his shoulder.

“For so many years,” he said, “for so long, I have been so many things, so many different men.” I felt him swallow, and he shifted slightly, the linen of his nightshirt rustling with starch.

“I was Uncle to Jenny’s children, and Brother to her and Ian. ‘Milord’ to Fergus, and ‘Sir’ to my tenants. ‘Mac Dubh’ to the men of Ardsmuir and ‘MacKenzie’ to the other servants at Helwater. ‘Malcolm the printer,’ then ‘Jamie Roy’ at the docks.” The hand stroked my hair, slowly, with a whispering sound like the wind outside. “But here in the dark, with you…I have no name.”

I lifted my face toward his, and took the warm breath of him between my own lips.

“I love you,” I said, and did not need to tell him how I meant it.

  • Please stop changing the story by focusing so much on Claire (and giving so many great lines written for Jamie to Claire).  Diana wrote them for Jamie for good reason. It doesn’t bolster Claire’s character to diminish Jamie’s.  Claire is not a character who would give up everything for a man who was not her equal.  And Jamie wouldn’t be with a woman that was angry and shrewish.  If he wanted that, he would have stayed with Laoghaire.  And therein lies the secret to what makes this story so popular with your key demographic, i.e., women.  Jamie and Claire are not only soul-mates; they are a match of equals.

“You are my courage, as I am your conscience,” he whispered. “You are my heart-and I your compassion. We are neither of us whole, alone. Do ye not know that, Sassenach?”

“I know that,” I said, and my voice shook. “That’s why I’m so afraid. I don’t want to be half a person again. I can’t bear it.”

-Drums of Autumn

  • Please, please, please stop with the Frank lovefest.  I have nothing against Tobias Menzies, but ENOUGH. This story is NOT about Frank. We don’t need to see every detail of Claire’s life with Frank.  Even the non-book readers can infer what those 20 years were like. Personally,  I don’t want to hear from RDM & Co. ever again about how we “need to include Frank so that we can understand Claire.” No…we don’t.  And we really don’t if you keep changing Frank’s nature.  “Book Frank” was kind of jerk; not the nice, understanding saint you changed him into.  If Frank were that wonderful, why would Claire want to go back to Jamie? Why would she have spent that entire 20 years in love with a ghost?  The story needs to make sense to the non-book readers.  If you truly want to understand Claire, you need to focus on JAMIE.

“All the time after ye left me, after Culloden-I was dead then, was I not?”

“I was dead, my Sassenach-and yet all that time, I loved you.”

I closed my eyes, feeling the tickle of the grass on my lips, light as the touch of sun and air.

“I loved you, too,” I whispered. “I still do.”

The grass fell away.  Eyes still closed, I felt him lean toward me, and his mouth on mine, warm as sun, light as air.

“So long as my body lives, and yours-we are one flesh,” he whispered. His fingers touched my, hair and chin and neck and breast, and I breathed his breath and felt him solid under my hand. Then I lay with my head on his shoulder, the strength of him supporting me, the words deep and soft in his chest.

“And when my body shall cease, my soul will still be yours.  Claire-I swear by my hope of heaven, I will not be parted from you.”

The wind stirred the leaves of the chestnut trees nearby, and the scents of late summer rose up rich around us; pine and grass and strawberries, sunwarmed stone and cool water, and the sharp musky smell of his body next to mine.

“Nothing is lost, Sassenach; only changed.”

“That’s the first law of thermodynamics,” I said, wiping my nose.

“No,” he said. “That’s faith.”

-Drums of Autumn

 

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(Not sure who made this .gif, but thank you!)

 

You have found the perfect actor to play Jamie Frasier in Sam Heughan.  Diana has created one of popular literature’s most beloved characters in Jamie Fraser.  Give Sam his due; let him run with it.  The fans will love you, and the show will be all the better for it.

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142 thoughts on “Looking for Mr. Fraser

  1. While I can agree with some of your points, I don’t think mathematical calculations add anything to your “proof” that you are “right” and all of the production crew are “wrong”… All I heard, as I read the first few paragraphs, was Donald Trump saying “Many people say” before he tosses another pile of horse sh*t– sorry, but that is what I hear! (not that your points aren’t backed by ‘fact’, just the tone …) Many OTHER people, those who also have opinions that are as valid as yours, would disagree with the majority of your points. I read the books FOR THE TOTALITY of all the characters. For ALL of the story, as wild and improbable as it may get sometimes. I think those that are reading it all through the prism of Jamie and Claire only, or Jamie only? are missing some incredible storytelling, some amazing character building. And for the record, I believe firmly that Frank is the Professor Snape of this series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh….you’ve cut me to the core comparing me to that! (Seriously, that’s horrifying! I’m weeping over here 😨 😱) I merely wanted to illustrate that Jamie is a more important character than Frank in the story. In the context of a long series of books, the author can spend as much time as she likes developing other characters. The director of a film or TV series doesn’t have that luxury. My point is that, imo, I felt that Frank, was made into a more sympathetic character with limited and valuable screen time. Perhaps if he wasn’t “altered” it wouldn’t have bothered me as much.
      I was offering a hypothesis to support my view; I was not saying that people with a different view are wrong. Frank is an interesting character, but my main issue was not with the time spent on him, but rather the way he was changed from the books. DG wrote him a certain way for a reason- what is the purpose of changing him, when the it only serves, again IMO, to undermine the J&C relationship? In other words, if Frank was so loving and wonderful, why would this woman give up everything to go back to J? It almost felt that the viewers were left with the impression that the only reason she wanted to go back was because Frank died, not because of her undying love for J over the past 20 yrs.
      I thank you for taking the time to comment and offering a different view (except for the Trump thing! 😬)

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      • But, we only know WHAT Claire shared with us!! She is at BEST, an unreliable narrator! How do we know a thing was actually CHANGED for the show as to his character? It was just embellished and added on to…. At this time, in the reality of the show, there isn’t 20 years of proven history between F and C… a lot of those things, just like a lot of Jamie’s time apart, are sprinkled out, bit by bit over the course of 8 books ….
        And so sorry about the DT thing, but yikes, it is ALL I heard!!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi again, also wanted to touch on your Snape comparison. I, too, am a huge HP fan. Maybe you’re right, and Frank will turn out to be a nobler character in the end. If he does, great. I’m really not one of those “Frank haters.” But in the comparison here, the HP filmmakers never gave the viewers any hints that Snape was a decent soul until the very end, when his true character was revealed. They didn’t show us glimpses of Snape’s “good side” along the way, as RDM seems to be doing with Frank.
      On a side note, I have a feeling you and I would have great fun debating each other!😁

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  2. I agree with everything you wrote, and have said many of the same things throughout the year in my episode reviews. I never really saw in the show the deep love that Jamie and Claire built, the reasons why she chose to stay with Jamie rather than return to Frank, and why the years apart were so empty without him that she still feels compelled to leave her “modern” life and find her way back. They argued more than they loved. Even the final episode, as they’re saying goodbye for what they believe to be the final time, was rushed. Their last lovemaking was a quickie, without tenderness. There was much that I really liked about Season 2, but their relationship was minimized to the point of being unrecognizable as the great love that we want. I didn’t have a problem with the amount of Frank we saw, since he was only in the first episode, but the characterization, as you said, was completely off. And the end of Season 1 – if the hot springs were too difficult to film, there were MANY other options to create a scene that had the same emotional level. Since that was removed from the end of Season 1, we had to deal with several episodes of Jamie’s recovery in Season 2, drastically changing the way Jamie and Claire related to each other for at least half the season. I worry for Season 3- Ardsmuir and Helwater have much more of an impact on the entire rest of the story than do Claire’s years with Frank, but we’ll have to wait and see if the writers understand that.

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    • Thank you for you insight. You’re right, there were other ways they could have done the hot springs… Although, every time I heard that it would have been “too difficult,” I kept thinking of Kate Winslet and Leo DiCaprio doing Titanic…they managed! LOL. Anyway, what you said, too…from all of our lips to their ears. I, too, am worried that they will spend way too much time on Claire and Frank, and not enough on Jamie, which, as you said, is far more pivotal going forward. Fingers crossed that they’ve figured it out.

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  3. Agree with you.. I think the show took the meaning of feminism in a way many feminists take it now-a-days, that women are superior to men, or of that sort, not equals. That’s what’s happening in the show, Claire is superior, and Jamie is side-lined. They are not equals in any sense.

    Also, what the show did wrong in season 2 is the season premiere. It was a great episode, if we are watching it as an individual episode . But when it comes to the whole season, that episode ruined it all. It took away the very precious 40 minutes of run time from the season, for one. And it gave away the outcome of the Jacobite Rebellion (I know, same thing happened in the book, but there’s a difference. I’ll explain below).

    Showing that Jacobite rebellion was lost in episode 1 takes away the interest on what politics Claire & Jamie play to undermine it, because it’s already lost, and we know that. So, what book did right was that it didn’t lose it’s focus on Claire & Jamie’s relationship while focusing on the politics. It has those beautiful moments they share, so many. The show though, focused mainly on the politics And whenever it did focus on Claire & Jamie, it was all about heart break.

    We know that the cause is a lost one and that Claire & Jamie are going to get separated. And what the show focused between the premiere and the finale was that damned failed cause, and every horrific moments of Claire & Jamie. They both hardly shared a light moment in the whole season 2. Disastrous, I must say.

    I have watched season 1 three times and decided to read the books. After reading them, I have watched it a couple more of times. And every time I watched it, I look for those nice little moments that happen in the show. Be it Claire & Jamie, or Lallybroch, or even the final scene of the season 1. There are so many hard to watch scenes in season 1, but I can watch them knowing that there’s a beautiful moment coming around sometime now,. Though with season 2, that’s not the case. It is all about Claire & Jamie going through hell before they get separated. That’s what the show did. made a whole season seem like the hellish journey of Jamie & Claire before they got separated. I wonder why Claire so eagerly wanted to get back to Jamie in the final scene of Season 2 despite the hell she went through with him all throughout the season 2.

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    • Thank you for your comments… I really enjoyed your take on the chronology of events in the show vs the books. As a visual medium, you’re right…might have been “better” for non book readers not to know what was going to happen from a viewers perspective.

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      • Thank you for reply. Sorry for late response.

        I have more to say.

        About what the show runners promised us; they promised that they are going to stay true to the books, and now they aren’t.

        About Frank, and the show changing his character.

        I don’t mind them showing more Frank, so long as they don’t change the story-line of his role. Seems like they made him very understanding and very loving even after Claire’s return. What I always felt is that, in the books, when Claire returned to Frank, he couldn’t love her as he did before, and thus Claire couldn’t too. If he did love her as he did before, maybe Claire would love him back as she did before too. Now in the show, we have Frank still loving Claire as he did before and Claire trying to cope with it. In the end, if she couldn’t love Frank as he did (which probably is the case from the looks of it, and very unlikely too), then she’d feel guilty for that, which the book Claire never feels after her return.

        Frank always loving her, and her daughter; Claire certainly should feel like a brute for not able to love him back.

        Ron is a big fan of Frank, and I’m sure he’ll do whatever it takes to show him as a victim of Claire’s “cruelty”. Looks like Maril too is supporting it. In an interview, Maril told that the show’s Frank is different, and maybe he wont try to take Bree away from Claire.

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      • I agree. And changing Frank’s character affects a lot of other things going forward, which forces TPTB to diverge even farther from the core story, AND affects the way the viewers perceive the J&C relationship.

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  4. I agree with your articulate and detailed observations about season two. Episode 7 really broke my heart. Yes, Cait was amazing, but to reduce Jamie’s part to little more than a supporting role was so disappointing. Jamie Fraser was the man who fathered Faith. He was a good, kind, and loving husband, who wanted the child as much as Claire. His grief was real, too and deserved a bit more than a couple of minutes at the end. To add insult to injury, the few minutes he was given were obviously and ineptly edited. I truly hope TPTB read your post.

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    • You called it. Outside of the fact that Ron said he really likes “Frank” and Tobius, I see no reason for his hogging of screen or story or have any interest in him at all. I want to push a rush button when he comes on playing the loving kind doting daddy to be and once again Claire is the ungrateful wench. I love Jamie and the grand Sam and could watch him and his (our) Jamie forever and never tire. Hey maybe there is something in his contract saying he can only have x amount of lines or screen time or something. And the book does not depict any of the three the way they are in the show. Ron’s wife is a huge Outlander fan, which is where he got the idea in the first place..wonder what pillow talk is like at their house. haha.

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      • Yes. Terry stated very plainly on Twitter that this is Claire’s story and she could care less about the J&C relationship. Makes me wonder what books she was reading. Wish I could attach pics in these comments; I have a screenshot of the convo.

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  5. I haven’t read all of the replies so hopefully I’m not being repetitive – I heard an interview with Ron where he said the hot springs scene would have been too difficult to film mainly because of having the actors in the water too long – I think leaving it out was a mistake and even if they had to wear wet suits they should have filmed it. And I also agree that Jamie has been minimized too much. A better balance between having a strong female lead and really her equal in the story is needed. Often seems like as you state she’s got his lines or his good lines are left out. I’ve also just read on twitter where they are going to stay closer to the book in Voyager S3 – Fingers crossed especially Chap 24 or there will be such a universal cry heard around the world from fans. Reminds me of the “Hell has no fury as a woman scorned” kinda moment. i’m sure they’ve heard the complaints about season 2 – and hopefully they are paying attention. The costumes were gorgeous in Paris, but in truth for me, they could have been in gunny sacks if they had just stayed closer to the book story line. They are two different mediums I know, book and film, but it’s the books that we love and got us here so do right by them. Maybe easy for me to say and hard to do – I don’t know.

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    • Amen, sister! I hope they’re paying attention, too. I also saw where Maril said that S3 would be sticking to the book. You’re right about chapter 24, & the first intimate scene after…if they mess that up, there will be hell to pay with the fans. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments!

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    • I know a tiny bit about sets and budgets etc and understood losing the under water scene. in book three there is lots of in the water stuff. whole conversations. wonder if they will find a wet suit someplace. But changing the intro to Lord John which sets the stage for his entire character going forward by taking away the outside forest location, also her not fixing his broken arm and saying Jamie’s kidnapped English woman lines took me so out of the story all together. also noting that his light BLOND hair which was mentioned many times in the book was black, so I had to force myself back into it and as a rule i am totally able to disappear into a good movie or book. and try as i might after the show I could not make any good sense or logic to it. maybe it will be clear later, as there must be a reason. did Ron on any medium explain his thoughts on it?

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      • What I hear is mostly lame excuses. I think the loss of the hot springs rationale was, pardon my French, BS. All they needed was a heated swimming pool and a green screen for backdrop. But setting that aside, you’re right about the upcoming season and the high cost of the ship filming-want to bet they find the money for that?
        Re: Lord John, the young actor was blond…think it looked darker because of lighting, and the adult version’s hair can be lightened. I was more concerned with the way they changed the scene. Again, giving Jamie’s lines & actions to Claire, thus undermining him/making him look less intelligent than her. Not sure they understand these characters at all.

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  6. Absolutely agree with your entire article! I also was very disappointed in Season 2 (and the second half of season 1 except for the last 2 episodes) for all the same reasons you stated, and stated so well. The only thing keeping me hanging on at this point is my loyalty and love for the books and the fingers-crossed hope that they will get back on track next season because, like you, I want to love the show.

    Starting to reread Outlander for the umpteenth time, It definitely stood out how much they kept to the book, like RDM promised they would, and how much of DG’s dialogue they kept, and what a difference it made. While there were many great moments in S2, there were many more disappointments. No gratuitous sex (or hardly any sex) for J&C, but I would say that the sex scene with Murtagh and Suzette was somewhat gratuitous, no? So tired of the time constraints excuse when they add non-book scenes and expand minor roles/plots.

    I also hope this article and the comments somehow are brought to TPTB’s attention and they take heed.

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  7. I love the quotes, I love the books and the show. I have some issues with what you mentioned. I do see the first half of Outlander as a love triangle. So does Diana actually, and it is written that way in the synopsis. But we all interpret things differently. Maril and Ron have a similar view as I do on the books. I’ve read them several times, and adore them as I do the show. And yes, I also see the first two books as Claire’s story. But there is one thing in particular that I had to mention, you said “It’s also quite obvious who is the more important character. Can’t dispute hard data, Ron.” The problem with this is the amount of Jamie vs. Frank is the same in the books and show. In Season 1, Frank appears in 50:56 minutes of the whole season. Jamie appears in 396:30 minutes of the season. Compare the two brings you a ratio: 87.13. As you mentioned, in the book Outlander: 1636 vs 199 a ratio of 87.83. Season 2: Frank appears in 26:45 of the whole season. Jamie appears in 380:05. Comparing the two brings a ratio of 92.97. In Dragonfly in Amber: 1832 vs 133 a ratio of 92.74. Virtually the EXACT same ratio. Therefore, there is as much of Frank compared to Jamie in the show as in the books. I really hope people stop exaggerating the amount of Frank in the show and minimizing the amount of Jamie. The show actually gave us Jamie’s POV throughout half of the first season and almost every episode all of the second season. The books didn’t. Now to question the “type” of Jamie, that is a debate, but as so many people interpret the books in different ways I’m not sure that can be solved. But I will say for myself, I have yet to see someone mention a characteristic that Jamie has in the book that isn’t in he show. To me, its the same character and he is true to the book (but that is just my opinion if course).

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    • Thank you for your comments. I noted the number of mentions to illustrate the relative importance of Jamie vs Frank within the time constraints of a television show. They had a huge amount of material to cover in a very limited amount of time. But that was the minor issue. The major issue, to me, was the WAY in which he was portrayed. Book Frank wasn’t exactly welcoming or understanding to Claire when she returned, pregnant with another man’s child, telling a wild tale of time travel (and, in his defense, rightly so!). He also tried to remove Jamie’s ring from Claire’s finger, at which point Claire kind of freaked out (“NO, you can’t take it, I won’t let you! That’s my wedding ring!”-Voyager). However, in the show, Frank is portrayed as loving and understanding. And then they had Claire start to remove Jamie’s ring (which “book Claire” would NEVER have done). Frank then tells her to “take it off when she’s ready.” (What??). This is just one example of changes to the characters that serve to bolster Frank and (subliminally?) diminish Jamie in the story, imo. There are many other subtle changes like this throughout S2 (read some of the comments in this and my previous post for other examples. I could go on for pages, but I won’t.)
      My criticism of the season is because of those character changes. S2 could have been great – it SHOULD have been great. The performances by the principals and secondary characters, the costumes, the sets – all amazing. All they had to do was keep true to the way Jamie, Claire and Frank were written by Diana. Why they didn’t is a complete mystery to me. I did not hate Season 2. I just think they fell off track in that one (major) way and it distracted the book fans from everything else that was wonderful about the season.
      I’m just one one person with an obscure blog. But between this post and my last, I’ve gotten over 20,000 views and hundreds of comments on this topic. I’ve read all of them (and the comments to the comments, as well). Only 5 people thought I was off base in my assessment. Five. I say that not to toot my own horn, but because I clearly hit a nerve in the OL fandom. (Nobody was more surprised by the response than me.) But this isn’t about me-it’s about the level of discontent out there. My fear is that this may affect the series going forward. TV is all about ratings and money. I don’t want the fans to stop watching because they aren’t seeing the Jamie and Claire they love from the books, As I’ve said before, we’re criticizing not just to hear ourselves complain about something, but because we love the books, and we want to love the show just as much. We did in Season 1. We wanted to in Season 2. We want to again in Season 3.

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      • Trust me, more than 5 people disagree with you, this has been circulating FB groups too. And yes that ring scene wasn’t handled right, I didn’t like that 5 seconds of the adaptation either (btw, in the book he doesn’t try to remove it out of anger or jealousy, he was surprised by it and did it out of wonder) I never said I agreed with the whole adaptation, Also I think the scaring with their letters should have been in. And no, considering all they had to deal with the Hot Springs, I agree it should have been left out. Ron listed many reasons why, and they were all valid. I said I loved the show. Some scenes (only a few really) I liked the way the book handled it better, but most of the adaptations I liked better in the show. And it disagree strongly that the show minimized Jamie, we have gotten Jamie’s POV though the show, halfway through season 1 and into season 2. We never get to see what happens to Jamie when Claire isn’t with him in the books, we do on the show. Most readers of the book did not see the books as Jamie being the main character more than Claire the way you described. Some see it as Jamie and Claire’s story, some (like me) see it as Claire’s story-probably because she’s the one telling it. And just because a character might be more interesting or they get more novellas doesn’t mean they are the main character, if that were the case then Voyager is about Lord John Grey as he got a whole other series. And most of the characters on the show have been adapted to make characters more likeable, Rupert, Murtagh, Angus, Geillis, Dougal and yes Frank. Why is Frank the one that gets constantly bashed by fans I have no idea. No one complained about Geillis getting dialogue of other characters given to her and she ends up doing a heck of a lot worse than Frank ever does. The show is staying true to the story overall. Yes, they’ve missed a few points, I would have liked to see more intimacy between Jamie and Claire, not that it wasn’t there, but I would have liked more. Diana has even said they’ve stayed very true to the story considering all they have to deal with. Things that fans will never understand. She wrote a huge FB post about the complications of adapting when she wrote the script for an episode. An end note, Jamie was in almost half of the season, he wasn’t in half of DIA. And there is not one characteristic-not one-that someone can name that Book Jamie had that Show Jamie didn’t. Would I have liked more Jamie? sure. But if you re-read DIA just reading Jamie parts (like I have), you will thank Ron and Company for adding more Jamie.

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      • Hi again, I honestly appreciate your comments…nothing wrong with healthy debate! I know there are many people who disagree with how I saw S2. What I said, was that in all of the responses I got, only 5 disagreed. I’m not saying that I, and the people who agree with me, are 100% right, just as you, and the people who agree with you aren’t 100% right either. We are all entitled to our opinions, and we all see and enjoy different things when we read the books or watch the show. My concern is that if enough of the book fans perceive that the show is straying from the story or the characters, they may stop watching altogether, and I really DON’T want that to happen. Like I said,I’m just one person who felt like S2 didn’t have that same “magic” that S1 did. I had no idea there were so many others who felt that way, too; people weren’t saying it out loud, at least, not until the end of the season. I think a lot of us felt “disloyal” to the cast if we said anything… I know I did. But, in the end, it bothered me enough to “put it out there.” It was never my intention to offend anyone.

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      • Good discussion and debate is also ways good. And off topic I know, but I just realized I left my comments under “Anonymous”, and I really didn’t mean to (I don’t like commenting under anonymous)

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      • I was a book fan.

        I have already abandoned the show. I dropped out after S2E1 because of the Frankfest – basically I tuned in for Jamie and got Frank shoved down my throat.

        I waited until S2 was halfway done, and then binge-watched the episodes. I shared my troubled thoughts online… about the emasculation of Jamie and about how the show created a showcase for Tobias. About how taking iconic lines from Jamie and giving them to Claire in the name of “feminism” was NOT necessary – it was a conscious decision that had nothing to do with the difficulties of adaptation. I expressed my disappointment with how I had trouble recognizing Jamie and the J/C relationship that I fell in love with in the books.

        And the “fandom” went rabid on me. I was called names. I was called a troll. I was not a ‘true fan’. I was banned from blogs and FB groups. I was told that if S3 did not come about that it would be *entirely my fault*. I was an idiot for not seeing how the producers were brilliant, that Tobias was brilliant and that the story was really nothing without Frank. I “read the book all wrong” and now I was ruining the show for “true fans”. The tone of what I endured is repeated in Anonymous’s reply: “Trust me, more than 5 people disagree with you”. IOW, if you don’t support the series, we will gang up on you and vote you off the island.

        And then DG Herself made a comment about how my feelings put me into the category of “Disgruntleds” and that she had no time for people like me.

        I have given my novels away to goodwill, deleted e-books from my tablet and walked away. I get reeled into the Outlander world from time to time because I struggle with killing a 15-year love affair with the books and Jamie, and your blogs helps sooth the frustration and disappointment of feeling ostracized, but I know I will never be able to read them again without feeling negative feelings about the experience I had with the fandom and its blind support of RM and the “adaptation”.

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      • Wow…I am so sorry you had to deal with all of that just for expressing your opinion. I really struggled with whether or not to say how I felt about the changes for precisely the reasons you cite. The OL fandom can be a lot of fun, but it can also get REALLY ugly, as well (I’ve been on the other side of some cyber-bullying myself over OL, but not because of this blog. It was a different issue, but I hear you…it was actually quite nasty and scary).
        I hope in time you will feel better and are able to enjoy the books (and maybe the show) again. You are not alone. I am hoping that this was a fluke and that going forward, the show will find it’s heart again, namely the love story (of equals!) between Jamie and Claire. All of the other events, IMO, should revolve around that.
        Thank you for taking the time to tell how you were treated. I hope it gives everyone pause. As I’ve said before, all views are welcome here, but only if they are expressed in a civil, respectful manner.

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      • Oh my gosh, Wooden Shoe. I’ve avoided the vicious platoons in the fandom but continually hear about their attacks, and how utterly sad that this has been your experience. Possessive, territorial asinine behaviour. I’m truly sorry it’s resulted in this for you 😦

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    • Thank you for responding, I appreciate you taking the time to do so. In fairness, I believe there are ‘extremists’ in every fandom and it’s not just the OL crowd that can get rabid. And I’ll go ahead and state the obvious and say there are great OL fans as well.

      I never did make it to the end of S2 and I have no intention of spending any amount of money on this franchise ever again, so S3 is out if the question. I walked my money out the door and I have no intention of looking back.

      I just find it utterly disingenuous for them to hide behind the claim that the changes were necessary to be able to adapt it to the small screen when many changes were clearly a choice and not an obligation. I think any intelligent fan can absolutely understand that it is an adaptation and that we are not going to get the books word-for-word. But even the changes *not* required by the adaptation process are always covered with the same excuse. RDM and co. should grow a pair of cohones and stand behind their decisions, not try to hide behind a transparent excuse and say ‘but we haaaaaad to’ or the even more insulting ‘fans just don’t understand the process’. Your most excellent post says it better than I ever will… It’s not a love triangle, enough Frank, stop changing Jamie and Claire and let their relationship shine as it was meant to.

      Thanks for reading, thanks for replying and thanks for the safe haven for calm discussion. It’s appreciated more than you know!

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  8. Excellent commentary that reflects what we book fans have felt for quite some time about the show, particularly Season 2. I cancelled Starz after episode 13, and really have no desire to reinstate it unless I read reviews that indicate the story focuses on Jamie and Claire. If RM continues his development of Frank’s character just to provide Tobias Menzies with a job, I’ll never watch the series again, nor will I watch anything Ron Moore produces. He is in the process of destroying an absolutely unique series of books.

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  9. The books were introduced to me as “the Jamie books” so I have always had him as the focus of the story even if it is told from Claire’s perspective! They will forever be “the Jamie books” for me even though I love both Sam and Cait and their magnificent talent in bringing Jamie and Claire to life!

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  10. What a great post! I couldn’t agree with you more. I stopped watching season 2 after the 4th episode. I was very disappointed in the portrayal of Jaime’s character. I think Sam has done an outstanding job with the material given him, but I couldn’t stand to continue to watch the watered down version of Jaime. I understand that an adaptation is never going to mirror the source material, and I’m ok with that as long as the main theme of the story is conveyed. I don’t see this with Outlander, though, because I believe the core of the story is the Jaime/Claire relationship, but it is lost in season 2. I’m not optimistic for season 3 at all, and don’t plan to watch. Looking at the name of the production company (Tall Ships) leads me to think that there will be great adventures on the high seas, but little focus on the core relationship of the two main characters. I can’t bear to watch them change the focus of one of my favorite books.

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  11. I believe all of this is personal perception. As a man, when I have asked the women “Why all the focus on Jamie? What about Claire?” They said, “We are Claire!”

    Ron Moore is ultimately a male romantic and has focused a bit more on Claire. He wanted the Jamie character to be a bit more realistic, in Ron’s mind. I see the story that Claire tells is her perspective. We know little of Claire because she, naturally, is relaying us information she is witnessing and not going to deep into herself. I love Claire, I love her being a healer, I love her roughness due to her past circumstances, I love her inquisitive mind. Jamie, of course, is fantastic, but he is not the one telling the story, Claire is. Remember in season 1 first half, the tv series was told from Claire’s point of view and in season 1 second half, the perspective is from Jamie.

    I don’t like all of the series. But I think they do a pretty admirable job with it. I have friends watch with me who have not read the books, and they have no doubt about Jamie, his stature and his importance, or his love of Claire. I think Sam Heughan has done the most admirable job of making Jamie, from the books, real to us…..Sam is amazing! As is Cait! Flawless is actually my comment on both.

    In any case, while we can debate the series, to me, I will always have the books and I will never lose their meaning. All in all, I am extremely happy with all of it!

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    • Thank you, Marc…nice to see a man’s perspective. Please don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but praise for the actors and their performances. Sam, Cait and Tobias have all been fantastic. We have to agree to disagree, though, on the treatment of the characters.There have been many subtle, and not so subtle, changes in the book versions of J, C & F that serve to undermine Jamie, IMO. The characters are wonderful as Diana wrote them, so it seems crazy to me to risk alienating potentially millions of book fans. From a woman’s perspective? We love Claire; we’re “in love” with Jamie.

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    • Nice to have a male prespective, but just one this “Remember in season 1 first half, the tv series was told from Claire’s point of view and in season 1 second half, the perspective is from Jamie.” is not true…we had ONE ep from Jamie’s prespective, all the other went back to Claire’s.

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  12. Thank you so much for your spot on analysis of the season 2 problems. You have touched on so many of the major issues – lack of emphasis on the central love story, the move to make Jamie a secondary character, the harsh, humorless depiction of Claire, and the unending ode to Frank. It is so frustrating to see a show which has all of the elements for greatness faltering because it is failing to see what has made Diana’s books popular for so many years.

    Like you, I hope that Voyager will have Jamie and Claire’s love story as its center, but I’m afraid we might be in for strictly adventure on the high seas. I just hope tptb will take a look at the overall audience reaction to season 2 and make some serious changes.

    It will be interesting to see what the new writers bring to the show. I really wish that Richard Kahan could have a full time slot on the writing staff. I thought his Untimely Resurrection was one of the best episodes of the season. He gave us a truly great Jamie/Claire fight scene.

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  13. Thank you so much for expressing how so many of us feel. You took the words right out of my mouth. I have and still do watch season 1 ( thank god I bought the videos, because Starz is not showing it anymore) I recorded season 2 but have not watched any of them again! I have been re-reading the books. I wish Ron could produce the series like the books!

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    • Ron COULD produce the series like the books. However he seems to think his perceptions of and changes to the story are better than Diana’s. Gotta say NO to almost all EXCEPT where Dougal, Willy, and the Priest have a go at each other over doctrine and the banns. We Laughed Our Ar$es Off! Holding my breath to see what extraneous storylines they choose to leave out to make Voyager fit into two episodes. (They both should be 90-minute episodes!) I’ll be happy so long as the romance (AND SEX dammit!) remain in the forefront. Gawd, I hope Ron can keep his hands off for once.

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      • I’ve read an interview with either Ron or one of the writers that explained that the changes in plot/character were on purpose, so that book readers will ‘stay interested’. I will try to find the link… That was one of the interviews that made me walk away from the series.

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      • I think I know the one you mean. My thought was that, “No…the book fans want the books brought to life on film.” I loved some of the changes, esp with regard to the enhancement of some of the other characters, Murtagh, Angus, Rupert, Willie, etc. Just leave J&C as written!

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  14. I couldn’t agree with you more than I do about all of this but particularly the romance. What Ron and the writers seem to think is unnecessary gratuitous “sex” because they’re a married couple in season two and not newlyweds anymore just shows they’re missing one of the (if not THE) most important themes of the story. It’s not sex, it’s romance. It’s the deep, insatiable, uncontrollable, eternal love that they feel for each other that keeps sex integral. It shows that they aren’t your run-of-the-mill couple where romance goes on the back burner and sex happens every now and again. They are drawn to each other no matter how much time goes by because they are Jaime and Claire and their love, this romance they have, is what all of us fans, at the core, are in love with about the books. It’s the glue that holds it all together. And it’s the glue that is NOT gratuitous. It reiterates that our favorite couple is still “them”…and that as long as they are, our story will continue to be the one we love above all others.

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    • Thank you! Exactly!!! Don’t know if you saw my previous post, but that’s precisely what it was about…the lack of intimacy/sex/romance/love in S2. I kept my mouth shut, or made excuses, during most of the season, hoping it would get better, and by the time we got to about Ep 10, I gave up and vented my frustration in that post. And I was shocked by the overwhelming response to it…there’s A LOT of frustrated fans out there. I really hope they right the ship (pun intended) in Voyager!

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  15. All I can say to this is AMEN, AMEN, AND AMEN AGAIN!!!!!!!! You nailed what I have been saying for so long now! Bravo and I truly wish that the powers that be and Ron would LISTEN!!!

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  16. I would like to just click through and ‘LIKE’ every comment! You said it so succinctly-it’s not about Claire. It really is Jamie and Jamie and Claire together. I am new to the series and the books. I watched all the episodes first and now I am engrossed in the books. I now understand why S2 felt so ‘flat’ to me. They left out so much of the intimacy between the characters. I couldn’t give a fig about Frank or BJR after S2. A little blurb and let’s “wrap it up” and move the story back to where it should be. I really do hope TPTB have eyes reading and watching what the fans are discussing because in the end, it’s all about the ratings and marketshare and that’s where the fans are most important!

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    • Thank you Heather. Totally agree. That’s part of the reason I wrote this and my previous post…I’m concerned that the fans are going to stop watching if they keep altering the characters, esp Jamie’s. I appreciate your comments!

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  17. Terrific blog! I completely agree. Season 2 was definitely the sophomore slump for all the reasons you mentioned. The writers need to stop thinking that they can write a more interesting story than Diana did. Because they have proven that they can’t. We have had far more than enough of heroic Frank who never existed for anyone but Ron. I hope they recover in Season 3. I want to see Diana’s Jamie and Claire. Voyager is not the Claire in charge story that we saw in Season 2. Every character but 1 got an increased story line in Season 2. And the 1 was the 1 we want to see. I used 1 for a reason. Jamie is #1 and Sam can bring him to glorious life if given his lines and enough screen time. For pity sake he had just a few minutes in episode 7. There was hardly any consideration for his pain and grief. He thought Claire was dead. He knew nothing and had spent months in prison. But his pain was ignored. Ron even cut an important line that Diana asked him to leave in. So disappointing. Thank you for voicing the concerns of so many. The prism concept is so true. I wish TPTB and Rin Moore could read your blog and all these comments.

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    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I agree…the Faith episode bothered me on several levels, the one you cite being one of the biggest. I thought Cait was wonderful, but hated the end. Claire would NEVER have said she “hated” Jamie….esp after she learned about Fergus, no matter how angry and grief-stricken (although I WAS glad they had her accept some responsibility). And then, once again, not having them console each other? Completely off the book and out of character for them. (Sorry, I got a FB comment that I feel I need to respond to, so I just reread that part again last night). The commenter is someone I like and respect, but we definitely don’t agree about this problem). Anyway, I digress. Thank you again for reading my post.

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      • Great post. You’re totally right. While the S1 was told from Claire’s perspective…in the rest of the books, Jamie’s presence and leadership is what stood out for me. ie: the folks coming to him at Fraser Ridge to solve their problems. I read a comment once made by a young woman, wondering if J and C continue having intimacy in their old age, as like 50 and 60, and it made me laugh out loud. In one of the later books, they do, and so many times that it was quite wonderful. I don’t think TPTB realize that we all love the show basically because of Jamie and the love story between him and Claire. I did read though, that the folks at Starz do check out what the readers and watchers say online, so maybe they and Ron Moore will read your blog. In one interview with the cast, the emcee had fan questions for them…and then added, there were over 300,000 questions for Sam. Duh. Yes, we’re all interested in Jamie/Sam. I have to agree, he is fabulous in the old. Don’t feel like you have to be apologetic. You’re braver and more articulate than all of us, and we do agree with you! Thank-you!

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      • Thank you Yvonne, I appreciate that. I admit I’m sometimes “made” to feel disloyal to the show for not being 100% on board with Ron’s vision by some fans. But after about 3/4 of S2 went by, I just couldn’t stay silent anymore. Every week I felt myself losing faith (so to speak). Ironically, I wrote these posts not out of disloyalty, or just to complain; I wrote them because these are among my favorite literary characters, and I didn’t want to see them changed for the worse (IMO). I want the show to be as wonderful as the books. In S1, it WAS! <stepping off my soapbox, now 😏)

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  18. Great research. I have one question though. What if the only reason it was green-lit (produced) was precisely because RDM sold it as a strong female protagonist story?

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    • Claire IS a strong female protagonist. That doesn’t mean they should turn her into a bitch, or emasculate Jamie to make their point. They were right on point in S1, so they are clearly capable of portraying both Jamie and Claire as strong characters. Not sure what happened in S2.

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      • I feel your pain, but overall viewership is UP from season one to two, (1.04 mill to 1.09 mill of non-book readers) and with the move to the new “prime time” Sundays, it will be a golden season three.

        RDM took a gamble with his approach, and it paid off. I fear there’s is no incentive to change anything.

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      • I guess S3 will be the test. People loved S1, and WANTED to love S2 just as much (myself included), but there are lots of disgruntled fans out there. I was shocked at the response I got to my little, mostly unknown, blog on my last post. No idea I was going to hit such a nerve. Whatever they do going forward, I’ll be happy for the cast and crew, but if they continue on the path they started in S2, they very well may start to lose the book fans. Such a shame if they do, since it was their enthusiasm that made sure it was a success in S1.

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  19. I read a lot of Outlander stuff and never post, but you really got my attention with this. I now understand why I was not as enthusiastic about Season 2. I truly hope TPTB and Ron pay attention to what you’ve said, and your dead-on reasoning. I believe the majority of the fans would agree, and after all – aren’t we the ones they should aim to please?

    Liked by 3 people

  20. This is SO like what I have been saying since the start of the second half of season one (I had a few more quibbles than you over when the changes/minimalization of Jamie’s character began) that I keep having to tell my long-suffering friends (who have heard it all before) that I did not write this! LOL Thank you, at the very least, for making me feel I am not a ‘misfit’ for having these same opinions! And for stating very well what I’ve been thinking for some time. I hope and pray that TPTB see your post and — more importantly — take some of your comments to heart as they move into the scripts for season three. I don’t need every scene from the books, nor all the side characters who add little to plot and ‘feel’ of the story — but I DO want my principal characters back: Jamie and Claire and their relationship (which is in itself a ‘character’.)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you! Trust me, you are NOT alone. I got a huge reaction to my last post about the lack of sex/intimacy in S2. I was happy to see I wasn’t the only one, too! Appreciate your comments!

      Like

  21. The little hints regarding next years series i see are already talking about Boston and frank ..am guessing they will again make a frank lovefest (by Ron) about his cheating,his heart problem and car accident and taking care of the baby etc which could all be done in a 5 minute report to jamie after she goes back rather than drag us through more of frank. Ron has said last year he really like Tobious and we will see more of him. he did warn us and he told the truth. sigh. so prep yourself. i mean there is so much really life changing important stuff that goes on with jamie in the 20 missing her years of his life. i just dont care about selfish frank. really never did. but oh i do love that Jamie.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve heard those things, so not happy about it. He thinks we’ll all keep sticking around to watch this, but hearing lots of ppl saying they’ll cancel their Starz subscriptions. I may be one of them. I love Cait & Sam, but I don’t need to see one of my favorite stories/characters ruined by Ron’s ego.

      Liked by 2 people

      • yes sad but true. only reason i have starz no jamie no starz as far as i am concerned. i always made a plan to watch on saturday night and made no other plan ever. this season i recorded it and watched when i got to it. huge change and i am an avid Outlander books fan. Allllll of her works everywhere i have all dog eared and well read. I am open to change in the scripts etc and understand that. But I agree with all you said. maybe ron signed a contract with tobias with a promise for x amount of screen time… forever

        Liked by 2 people

  22. Every word so exact, meaningful, well thought out and useful. perhaps if they are wise they will grip you by your pen and fling you to Scotland as our brilliant mind reader of a representative! The most insightful discussion of our beloved Outlander I have seen. well done!

    Liked by 3 people

  23. I have always felt the books were more about Jamie and being the main character with Claire, more than a narrator, but still being about him and her feelings and reactions to him. Thank you for this piece as you have brilliantly expressed what many of us feel about the book and the shows. With time constraints we all understand that some things have to be left out or tightened up but adding things changes the story, and not always in the best way. If they don’t have time to tell the story as written, then don’t add things that are not there. Caitriona and Sam are so fantastic in these roles and embody them so completely. We are lucky that the production team found them. Now, let them play the characters as they were written. Thanks again for such a well-written piece that speaks for many of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I had read other critiques of Season 2 that more or less just said it was weak and un-satisfying. I read a few things that critiqued a particular treatment after an episode and didn’t see it as a big deal. I was a TV person first, then read the first book before the wedding episode, read the rest of the books before Season 2 started. I wasn’t so sure the second season was weak but still felt it was lacking something due to the overall narrative shift. Perhaps I had read everything too fast to “get it”. But your explanation finally lets me understand the criticism. I do agree with your explanation about how Jamie is portrayed. I hope they can get back to the original more displayed in Season One.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. I love this blog. We can say what we REALLY feel, so I want to send a message to RDM & CO.

    PAY ATTENTION TO THE BOOKS AND THE FANS. WE WANT MORE JAMIE; WE ALSO WOULD APPRECIATE IF YOU WOULD RETURN THE LOVEMAKING AND INCLUDE JAMIE’S EXPRESSED VERBAL AFFECTIONS TO CLAIRE.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. I had a great post ready, but lost it when I had to sign up… Thank you for picking my brain and finding every little thing I wanted to say to Ron and TPTB. You have said it much nicer than I would have. My first reading of OUTLANDER was more than 20+ years ago, and I read the books as they came out. Now I read them over again about every two years. Always thought Frank was too self-absorbed to have much more than a passing interest in what Claire thought or felt. Jamie became the soulmate she needed. He was so different from Frank; she just had to fall for him. The Wedding was really about Jamie – his transition from horseman/soldier to proud Highlander, then to very successful husband! 🙂 (For that matter there are probably some out there now who would trade their current man for their own living, breathing, Jamie Fraser.) The changes made in S2 were a huge disappointment. Ron et al’s idea of cutting down the lovemaking and pillow talk was a verra bad idea. I hope they don’t mess up Voyager the way they did S2. A couple of the earlier post-episode comments rubbed me the wrong way. “This is Claire’s story..” really bugged me.. I’m glad though, that I didn’t write to Ron and TPTB. I give kudos to whomever thought up the ‘Bible Smackdown’ – It was terrific. Personally, I want them mostly to stick to what Diana wrote. If they do that, and continue to keep casting perfect or almost-perfect characters, there will be much less unrest among us fans.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you for your comments, Joann. I know I would trade in just about ANYONE for my own JAMMF, lol. I really hope Ron realizes his mistake and puts his ego aside for the sake of the show. I wrote this post (and the previous one) , not to hear myself complain, but because I WANT SO MUCH to love the show as much as the books & season 1. Hope people read the blog in that spirit.😬😊

      Liked by 1 person

  27. EXACTLY!!!! YES, YES, YES!!!! From your lips (well, keyboard) to Ron, Maril and all TPTB’s ears!! You put into words everything I have been thinking since the end of season 2! Season 1 perfect (almost anyway) – Season 2 was definitely a sophomore slump. I must have re-watched the entire S1 at least 20 times during the last “Droughtlander” but I haven’t re-watched S2 once, only the last episode once or twice. It was good but still left me feeling let down as the rest of the season did. I feel they focused way too much on the costumes and set designs for the show and totally lost the core of the story. It seemed to became about Terry’s costumes, which were phenomenal, but they should have complimented the story, not taken it over. Ep7 was the best of the season, closest to the story but the rest became a war story with Jamie and Claire’s love a side note. I hope this finds it’s way to be read by all TPTB!! Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you… Totally agree with your comments, esp regarding costumes and sets. They were spectacular, but would much rather have the focus on the writing and story of J&C. All the window dressing in the world can’t make up for the lack of passion between the main characters.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I have thought that maybe he needed a “you can’t do that” person but then I thought no.. That would be a miserable job to have. You’d need a very large supply of rolled up newspapers to bop RM on the head with and way more patience than I possess.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I think he DOES have some ‘you can’t do that’ people based on reading some of the scripts (after the fact) and comments about some of them. The problem is, RDM vetoes them all — he has said (with great pride) that he is the final decision maker and they regularly have fights but his decision once made is irrevocable.

        Liked by 1 person

  28. I wrote on a fan page some time ago that there was a lot in Voyager that could be left out or not made too important and take too much air time. We absolutely must have more of the Jamie Claire story. They only have 13 episodes to get a lot of important stuff into. As for Jamie, Diana gave him some of the best dialogue I’ve ever read for a male. In the books he and Claire are absolute soul mates. They need each other , it is when they are at their best. Jamie is a complex character, loyal, strong, funny,empathetic, responsible loving. Need I go on. But they both have failings. They behave like real peopleand that I think is why we love them so much. I don’t want more importance placed on others than is in the books .ie. Frank Laoghaire etc. We must see Jamie in the cave ,at Ardsmuir and Helwater to explain the man he’s become on the last 20 yrs.It doesn’t have to be long but it must be there. They are both different people now. 20 yrs is a long time to be apart, but their love has remained true. As for the sex, they are both very passionate beings and sex is very important to them even as they get older. DON’T mess with it. To end I agree with most of what you said. Thanks for allowing me to rant on. Sam and Caitriona will do our lovers the justice they deserve.

    Liked by 4 people

  29. Amen to all you’ve said !!! PLEASE Ron don’t spend time on the Voodoo crap – totally not required. Let’s get back to the LOVE stories-Jaime/Claire’s/Ian’s etc. Nuff said :-]

    Liked by 3 people

  30. wonderful! agree with it all! Lets hope someone in the creative team reads your blog and LISTENS! The story will not make sense if it continues as season 2 did…the love story just wasn’t there :o(
    I’m currently listening to Voyager audiobook (have listened to the series all through probably 5-6 times) This time I’m listening with an ear for what they can cut out…and yes there is a lot of it. But agree with your suggestions. Hope they leave Jamie’s 20 years alone intact. I’d be ok if they show some of Claire/Frank’s 20 years (to maybe highlight that she could never fully love him as her heart was Jamie’s) but hope they don’t dwell on it much.
    Anyway thanks for this blog and for articulating what so many of us book readers feel!

    Trish

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Agree 100%. Thank you for putting it out there. I just spent 30 minutes typing a detailed response and lost it. 🙂 Oh well, it felt cathartic anyways. TPTB are going to do what they do either way, but I do hope that the “Frankfest” is less than I am imagining. As a consumer that is not what I want to pay for. Voyager is their last chance to put the “epic” back into the relationship of Claire and Jaime. I hope they find a way to do it. Oh also, I would be perfectly happy if they adapted Murtagh into Season 3 and 4 though. That change I could really appreciate. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lol…sorry you lost your response! That’s happened to me before, too…really frustrating! But I appreciate the effort and thank you for your comments. I hope they keep Murtagh, too! #SaveMurtagh

      Like

  32. Absolutely fabulous article. I could not agree more with every word you wrote. I especially love the comparison of Jamie vs Frank mentions and the perfect quotes from the books!

    Liked by 3 people

  33. You wrote so beautifully for all the reasons to return to the book story of Jamie & Claire Fraser. Diana Gabaldon wrote such a superb story to begin with, she has legions of fans behind her. The powers that be should take it run with it.

    Liked by 4 people

  34. Yes, yes, yes! This so perfectly encapsulates the majority of book-readers’ objections to RDM’s ‘vision’ for this adaptation! The best adaptation should keep the main characters’ CHARACTERS intact; you don’t mess with success, unless you do not have an accurate view of what makes the books successful, or you want to make a different statement with your adaptation. I think it may be some of both in this case, & it seems a bit arrogant to me. Making show-Claire bitchy & manipulative does not make her more of a ‘feminist’ – in fact, it is an insult to women & feminists, in my opinion. And as you said, diminishing Jamie doesn’t make Claire stronger or better. They are meant to be equals, & therein lies true feminism.

    Liked by 4 people

  35. This is awesome, love every passage you used to explain Jamie, brought me back to the books and my heart was beating like a drum just like it did when I read the books. I think it would be hard for a man to explain Jamie as the central character like he IS in the books. Seems like lately most shows are about a strong woman, hence, Claire, whether she is a nurse, a doctor, a lawyer etc., I don know, I don’t think men can get that mushy on TV anymore and maybe that is why they don’t bring all those wonderful lines to the show! Not an excuse though, maybe they will for this coming season, since the last few lines from Jamie on the last episode #213…”God gave me a rare woman and God I loved her well” for example, were taken so amazingly well by everyone. This may have showed them what all of us want!! The adventure parts from Voyager are good and all, but YES we need the romance, the intimacy and the re-connection, the sex, the love story that Jamie and Claire share in the books!! Thank you for another wonderful writing and and you for sharing!!

    Liked by 3 people

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