Faces to the Characters

My journey from Outlander reader to Outlander watcher

I’m very much a book reader, therefore I will talk about ALL the books, you’ve been fair warned.

There is a blessing and curse with having your favourite book series turned into a TV show.

Number one reason is that no matter how hard the cast and crew works on transforming the words on the page into scenes on the screen, there are always going to be the little things you think they’ve missed. From little lines to gestures, to whole scenes and whole plot lines, there is always going to be something you think should have been included that wasn’t.

Just try to show me one book reader who can say the writers and directors did everything perfect, that they missed nothing of value from the books.

Now, I am not condemning them. I love the series for what it is, a visual adaption of a VERY complex series. But I am like any other book reader, they always could have done more with it.

The number two reason that this is a good and bad journey is seeing the faces on the screen versus the ones in your head.

This is the true definition of a good thing and bad thing.

The characters you’ve created are never going to match perfectly the faces you see on the screen. I recently had a craving to read the third book in the Outlander series, long after I started watching the series. I suddenly found myself switching between the Jamie I have always seen while reading the books; who looked very much a William Wallace-esque kind of character without the face of Mel Gibson, to Sam Heughan, who is an amazing Jamie but still very different than “my” Jamie.

The books get more intense as the series goes on since Jamie and Claire go through an insane amount of shit before they can finally be together.

Actually having a human face to relate to this heartbreaking story, even if it isn’t the one from your mind, adds to the feelings you have when you read it. When Jamie talks about living without Claire or the daughter he’s never met, you see a real human being having these feelings and not just the physical entity you’ve created in your head. Sudden these problems become more real.

Some days I wish I had never read the books before watching the show.

It’s hard sometimes to hear lines and as a book reader you are more likely to notice the foreshadowing.

One of these lines is when Jamie denounces James and Charles Stuart saying he has no loyalty to them. For the first time reading the books, this is just how the events transpired, a little tidbit of insight into Jamie Fraser. Said by Sam Heughan in the series long before events take place that you know are going to happen, this is the most heartbreaking line. Readers know how much he is going to lose by the end of the rising, including his wife and child because of his relationship that will develop between him and the Stuart cause.

As readers, what happens to these characters is well know. You are emotionally invested in these characters; you have grown to know, love and hate them. You know how they are going to live and, for some of the characters, you know how they are going to die.

This is also why I am happily a book reader. The books plunge into the deepest, darkest realms of the characters mind. You know their motivations, how deep their love goes for another person. In the show, without the book as your guide to the Outlander world, you just see the surface of that.

Whenever someone asks my opinion of what book they should read next, with no hesitation I recommend Outlander. I’ve become more adamant about this ever since the show came out, just because more people will be drawn to the show before being drawn to the books.


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