Monday, November 5, 2018


Yesterday was a day to wallow.

STARZ ran all 13 episodes of Outlander, Season 3 leading up to the start of Season 4 at 8 p.m.  I told myself I wouldn't just sit in a chair all day and watch TV, but that's what I did, even though I had just watched the last 4 or so episodes a couple of weeks ago when STARZ did another marathon that I caught toward the end.

I don't know why I love this series so much when there is NOTHING else that I read or watch that comes near to this genre.  I am a crime drama fan and rarely read anything that could be classified as chick lit.

But I guess what I like about this is that it encompasses many genres and is far beyond a mere "chick lit" category (what chick lit runs over 1000 pages???)  It's a love story, it's science fiction, it's medicine, it's history, it's a travelogue, it's biology, it's adventure and it's a bit of porn too, to keep everyone titillated.  
It's a little bit of everything and it always boggles my mind to think that Diana Gabaldon wrote the first book "to see if I could write a book."  She knew nothing of Scotland or its history, nothing of the kinds of medical things that happen throughout the book as a result of Claire being, at first, a nurse and, later, a doctor.  Mostly I like the books because the writing is so damn good.  The sort of thing I would like to do if I had any kind of bent toward fiction (which I don't).

The fans for these books must surely rival those for Harry Potter.  For the sad few who may not know what these books are about, in Book 1, Claire Randall, on her honeymoon in Scotland with husband Frank, whom she loves very much, happens upon a circle of standing stones, which are so common in Scotland (I visited a few myself).  Only this circle is special for some who respond to it and in touching one of the stones, Claire is instantly transported back to 18th century Scotland where she first encounters a sadistic British soldier, Jack Randall, who looks amazingly like Frank (turns out he's a distant relative of her husband's) who is hell-bent on raping her.

That's for starters.  She is rescued by some highlander Frasiers and, through all sorts of machinations ends up having to marry young Jamie, a red-headed virginal hunk, in order to protect her from being captured by Randall.

The newlyweds learn to love each other and then after a year in France (Book  2), the Frasiers return to Scotland, where Bonnie Prince Charlie is trying to recapture the Scottish throne for Scotland.  The Battle of Culloden is looming and Claire knows that the highland system will be broken and most of the soldiers killed.  She is ready to die with Jamie, but is pregnant with his child and he insists she go back through the stones so that his child can be born safely.

Twenty years pass, during which Claire and Jamie live separate lives (Book 3), though each still in anguish over the loss of the loves of their life.  Claire lives a loveless marriage with Frank, who takes her back in her pregnant state and becomes a father to daughter Brianna.  Jamie is in and out of prison and while working on an estate is blackmailed into teaching the adolescent daughter about sex before she marries an old fart, in an arranged marriage.  Naturally she becomes pregnant with Jamie's child.

Toward the end of Book 3, Frank has died and Claire confesses her story to her daughter.  With the help of a friend, Roger Wakefield, they begin research and discover that Jamie did NOT die at Culloden.  Claire decides to go back to the 18th century and see if she can find him, which, of course, she does and they take up where they left off, with lots of ups and downs which make me think I will never, ever go on a ship again..

So now we start Season 4 of the TV season and in preparation, I re-read all of Book 4 to reacquaint myself with what happens.  In truth, when I read it the first time, it was my least favorite of the 7 books (book 8 is promised for 2019).  But re-reading it this time I really liked it and was ready for the new TV series to begin.

There are lots of fan pages on Facebook and I occasionally look at them to find out what is coming up.  The fans are slavish.  And helped by the fact that Gabaldon herself, along with many of the stars of the TV series are very accessible, always doing interviews and conventions and Sam Heughan especially (Jamie) is very active on twitter and often answers fans' questions.  (Heughan is a very handsome guy almost young enough to be my grandson.)

But because the fans are so slavish, they are very particular about the TV series and they complain about everything if it isn't just the way it was in the book.  For some reason, this first episode seems to have more complaints than the others.  They don't like  the new theme song (which I love....keeps the old tune but updates it to fit the action taking place in America), they don't like a switch that was made, which I won't describe but which jolted me too, but then I realized why it had to be done for TV when it was not necessary for the book, they don't like the violent end (which IS from the book), they complain about the costumes...and this is just the first episode.  I, for one, am willing to overlook a lot of differences from the book as long as the TV series keeps the lush look, the relationship between Claire and Jamie, and keeps the story moving forward, which this promises to do.

I can't wait till next week's episode.  Slaves and Indians and bears are coming in the weeks ahead.

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