As an Outlander fan, of both the books and the series, I often have to wrestle with the Book vs Film dilemma. Diana Gabaldon has written a series of 8 books depicting the life and times of a family. This is no ordinary family but one that includes a nurse who had time-traveled from the 20th century and fallen in love with a Scottish laird who leads his clan with strength and loyalty through years of trials both in Scotland and the New World, North Carolina.
Because these books are so dense and filled with imagery and detail, it would be almost impossible to do justice to all of the myriad side plots and characters that Gabaldon weaves throughout this series. The producers of the film version have been faced with the challenge of winnowing down the main story and guiding the viewers on a journey of action and romance, without losing the underlying love and tenderness of the multitude of characters that populate the community known as Fraser’s Ridge. The producers and filmmakers adhere to the adage put forth in PIrates of the Caribbean by none other than “Jack Sparrow” – “they’re just guidelines”.
It must be understood that Gabaldon, in her writing, is able to allow us to really feel and understand the emotions and reasoning that propel the characters to do the things they do, and this is truly an enhancement over the film version. However, as one who is watching with a film-only spouse, the temptation is always there to insert a “wasn’t that way in the book” comment. While it might not have been that way in the book, it doesn’t take away from the acting and the writing that brings the story to life on the screen.
All in all, it’s just a guideline…sit back, relax and know that even if it didn’t happen that way in the book, it’s still darn good and because I’ve read the books I can understand more clearly the motivations and humor that shore up the story. I’m good either way!!
∼ Kirsten, Head of Reference Services