Written by: Anne Gavin
I know very little about the business of television. Some others associated with this Blog know a lot. But, I consider myself more *average* when it comes to the ins and outs of television production. I think most Outlander fans are in the same boat. Also, I have never published a novel although I do enjoy writing which, for me, is really trying to convey all my thoughts, feelings and passions in a way that can touch reader’s sensibilities or incite them (either positively or negatively) to think or feel a certain way. Again, most of us probably fit into the category of non-novel writers. So, here’s the thing. I REALLY hope we don’t have to go through the rest of Outlander Season 2 debating ad nauseum the differences between the Outlander series of books and the Starz television production.
Please. No. Stop.
In a recent interview with Collider, Outlander star Sam Heughan was asked about the changes that are being made to the story and how fans will react. Sam’s very introspective answer says a lot about why changes must happen but also about what checks and balances exist to make sure the story doesn’t go too far afield.
However, our dear Sam may have unwittingly let us in on another of Diana’s secrets. I can’t say I am surprised, given the formidable nature of the woman, but it appears that if certain changes and/or suggestions important to Diana are not heeded at the production level, then Diana’s carefully cultivated personal relationships with both Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, provide yet another opportunity to infuse the television show with vital character attributes or impact how major characters play a scene. I am not an actor, but from what I can tell, there is a large spectrum from which one can swing when choosing how to fundamentally portray a role. I think this is an important note for those of you who decry any changes from the book. It signifies to me that there is actually a fairly fail-safe mechanism in place to be sure that the television production does not substantially change the original story.
So, back to my point. Endless debates regarding the differences between the book and the show just take away from the story and distract from the precious time we have to enjoy the screen adaptation. I can’t imagine how completely bored I would be if there was nothing new or different about the show. As a book reader, I watch and know what’s going to happen but I don’t necessarily want to know exactly what’s going to happen. There has to be a sense of novelty permeating an adaptation of a book series that has been around for 20 plus years. So far, somehow, I am surprised at every episode. This is good television story-telling. You can’t really ask for more. At the same time, I don’t believe Ron Moore or his writers are infallible. They will make mistakes. Everybody does. Even Diana. But, as Diana herself so wisely counsels, “If you watch the show with the book in your hand, you’re not going to enjoy either one.”
And, really, who wants that?
As a book reader are you able to enjoy changes made in the TV show? Do you feel as if Season 2 thus far reflects major plot lines in “Dragonfly in Amber?
–Diana Gabaldon quotations from The Outlandish Companion