Outlander on STARZ
Are You An Outlander Fan?
Outlander is the first in a (so far) 8 book series written by Diana Galbaldon. If you are a fan of historical fiction- or of just good fiction in general, chances are you will enjoy these books immensely. They are very long books, some over 1400 pages, but Diana's millions of fans savour every word on each page. I've read each book several times as many of my friends have, and I have met Diana personally and heard her speak. She is a truly gifted, talented person and her vision is something that really piques my interest. I think of her characters every day, as they are all so relative with things I do in life. They're akin to my extended fictional family, and I know many of Diana's readers feel this way.
When STARZ announced that it was going to be coming out with a series for Diana's Outlander Books, it sounded a bit too good to be true. Her fans were cautiously optimistic. Diana started her series in 1992, and she takes a very long time to come out with a new book. It's taken her 25 years to write the eight books in the series because of her relentless research and her other writing endeavors. Fans were worried that the STARZ series quite frankly, wouldn't give Diana's wondrous books justice. The first sixteen episodes have, however, taken on new fans and caused quite the stir with the story of Claire and Jamie, and the risky violence and sexually mature scenes. Twitter was in an uproar as the harsh sexual scenes of the series finale aired last night, Saturday May 30th.
The STARZ series has gained new found love and respect from millions of viewers who have and have not read the books before. The books are selling like hotcakes in all fashions- paperback, kindle, audible, etc. If you don't know what the series is about, and you're not sure if you'd like it, please enjoy the information and perhaps you'll become an Outlander fan too. (Probably not as big a fan as me- but that's hard to beat!)
The Series, The Order
Above you'll see a picture of all of Gabaldon's 8 books which the series is made from. So far, the first sixteen episodes of 'Outlander' have followed just that- the story from the very first (and most popular) book in Diana's series.
The Chronological Order is the following:
2) Dragonfly In Amber
4) Drums of Autumn
5) The Fiery Cross
6) A Breath of Snow and Ashes
7) An Echo In The Bone
8) Written In My Own Heart's Blood
**Ms. Gabaldon writes novellas and short stories as well, and has a branched story about one of the characters in the 'Outlander' books named Lord John. I will not be discussing the 'Lord John' series in this article, however they give a lot of extra information for periods we don't see in the series, and you'll find a lot of the same characters throughout her other books that spawn from the 8 'Outlander' series.
And So, It Begins
What's The Story?
The Outlander Saga begins with what is the most popular and most read book in the series, 'Outlander.' The book is the shortest in the series, and we are introduced to the story's main characters and the flavour of the book.
Claire Randall is a twenty-something nurse in World War II, and the war is over and she is reunited with her husband, Frank Randall. Both of them are happy that the war is over, and decide to take a holiday in Scotland. Frank is a history buff and he is fascinated with the fall of the Highlanders and the Jacobite history. While visiting in Inverness, the couple has a wonderful time exploring. One morning, Claire decides to gather some flowers and herbs. While exploring the area, she finds some ancient standing stones. She goes to touch one of the stones and it starts to make an odd buzzing sounds. Suddenly Claire disappears and finds herself confused and stunned, not knowing where she was. The stones have put her back in time over two hundred years. She falls right into the path of an evil Captain Black Jack Randall, a twisted, dark direct descendant of Claire's husband. Before he has a chance to take her prisoner, she is rescued by Highlander Clan Mackenzie.
At this point, Claire meets the soon to be love of her life, James Fraser, or 'Jamie.' She tends to some wounds he received in a fight. Jamie has a bounty on his head and he is under the protection of the Mackenzie Clan. Claire is welcomed to the castle and stays as a guest of the Mackenzie's, and she is helpful as a 'healer.'
As the book goes on, we learn more about the politics of the Highlands, and meet several more key characters who will reappear in later books and story lines. The main part of 'Outlander' is the relationship between Jamie and Claire, how it starts, and how strong it becomes. While Claire is at first wanting to get back to 'the future,' she finds herself in love with Jamie and wanting to stay with him, even though times are hard.
Jamie brings Claire back to his home called Lallybrach where she meets his spunky sister Jenny and his brother-in-law Ian. This location will be key in the future books as well.
With the romance and relationship the biggest story line in Outlander, the main villain also takes an important role. Captain Jack Randall has already done horrible things to Jamie, and he will continue to torture Jamie until the end of the book. The STARZ series portrayed the horrors Jamie went through perfectly to much of the audience's horror. Some of the viewers complained that things were entirely offensive, too sexual, and too violent. Personally I think that Diana Gabaldon would be happy with this reaction as she wanted the books to follow her vision.
Key Characters in 'Outlander taken from Wikipedia's site 'Outlander (novel)'
Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser: A warm, practical and independent World War II nurse who inadvertently travels back in time to the Scottish Highlands in the mid-18th century. Though married to Frank Randall in the 20th century, she falls for Jamie Fraser in the 18th century. A gifted natural physician and an amateur botanist, Claire is an only child and orphan, raised by her archaeologist uncle.
James "Jamie" MacKenzie Fraser(aka Jamie MacTavish): A strapping young Scottish redhead with a complicated past and disarming sense of humor. Jamie is intelligent, principled, and, by 18th century standards, educated and worldly. He picks up languages very well, and after initial conflict he falls in love with the mysterious Claire. Though he does not always know what she is doing, Jamie usually trusts Claire to know what to do.
Frank Randall: Claire's husband in the 20th century is a history professor with a deep interest in his genealogy and heritage. He worked for MI-6 during World War II as a spy.
Jonathan Randall(aka "Black Jack" Randall): The primary villain of the story is Frank Randall's ancestor, a British army officer. According to Jamie, the “Black” refers to the color of his soul. Sadistic Jack looks almost exactly like his descendant Frank, and seems to have a sadistic homosexual obsession with Jamie.
Colum MacKenzie: The Chief of the MacKenzie clan and Jamie's maternal uncle, who shelters Jamie and Claire from the English. He suffers from Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome.
Dougal MacKenzie: Colum's younger Jacobite brother leads the clan into battle since his older brother is physically disabled. It is hinted that he might be the biological father of Colum's son, Hamish. He also took Jamie as a foster son for a year as a teen. Dougal has four daughters with his wife, and a son with Geillis Duncan.
Geillis/Geilie Duncan: The wife of the procurator fiscal believes that she is a witch, and has knowledge of herbs and plants. Geillis is pregnant with Dougal MacKenzie’s child when she is imprisoned for witchcraft, which wins her a brief reprieve on her death sentence. She murders her husband, Arthur Duncan, and tricks Claire several different times. Ultimately Claire realizes that Geillis is a time-traveler from the 1960s.
Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser: Jamie's godfather is taciturn, quiet and brave, and very loyal to Jamie, whom he cares for like a son. At first he does not accept Claire, but changes his mind when he sees how much Jamie loves her.
Laoghaire MacKenzie: A young girl of 16 who is attracted to Jamie. She sends Claire to Geillis Duncan just prior to the witch trial because she "loves" Jamie and wants him back.
How Did STARZ Do?
Claire Tending to Jamie
The Big Four Reviewers
Outlander set a STARZ record for Multi-Platform watching. Also, by the last episode of the first set of episodes (they were divided into 8 in a row with a hiatus), viewers had doubled. There were rumours that Outlander was going to be cancelled but it was a hoax. They are filming Season Two now.
When the first episode on STARZ aired, Diana Gabaldon's book went to the top of the bestseller list after thirty-one years of being published. The other books in her series saw huge jumps in sales as well.
I am so glad Diana is getting such great feedback. The Outlander Season One was so true-to-life, touching, and ground breaking. Some of the scenes were shocking. The wardrobe, make-up, creators, actors- it was perfectly done. If you read the first book, you'll see that the first series is very faithful and the scenes have literally been brought to life. STARZ has really done a wonderful job with Gabaldon's beautiful book, and I am so looking forward to the next series. I hate the wait (I have to wait about 5 years in between Diana's books to find out what will happen to my beloved characters), but it will be well worth it.
If you're curious to watch, I suggest reading the book and watching along with it. Get the 'Gabaldon Goggles' and read away. These books have been such a wonderful part of my reading experience and they are unforgettable.
Thank you STARZ!
Thank you Especially For Using This Beautiful Man!
**Picture credit- STARZ
**Video credit- youtube clips for STARZ scenes
**Character analysis credit- Wikipedia (Outlander, novel)