Why that damn EW cover still bothers me…a look at Outlander’s image

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As happens so many times when I sit down to write, the coincidences just keep piling on and I am left trying to make sense of it all.  It started with my pique at Outlander being left off of the Emmy voters radar and then was fueled by some Tweets about reasons for watching or not watching the show, articles that continue to play up the “bodice ripper” label, and the devaluing of women…always the devaluing of women.  I’m not sure I have answers, but I definitely have some concerns and frustrations.

What I’ve been thinking

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Let me start by saying, I understand that there is a lot of good television out there right now and that is a good thing.  In my opinion, cable TV has broken out of the box of standard TV fare and opened up a world of edgy and varied programs that appeal to once marginalized audiences and interests.  Obviously, the market will support their efforts because the ratings and money seems to be flowing in cable TV’s direction.  I understand the competition for awards is complicated by the sheer amount of good TV to watch, but I cannot believe that the performances on Outlander were not worthy of awards.  How anyone could not be moved by the episode “Faith’ and the shows’ treatment of such heartbreaking material is beyond me.

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I can only conclude that they didn’t watch it or that the speculation that Emmy voters tend to give votes for their impression of an entire series over individual performances is true. 

…academy rules insist that voters use tunnel vision when casting their ballots. They are told to base their judgments solely on the handful of episodes that actors, writers and producers submit for consideration. Just as jurors are only supposed to make their decisions without taking events outside the courtroom into account, Emmy voters are supposed to disregard knowledge of a series as a whole….

Nonetheless, Mr. Klein said, “I can’t say that a fondness for the series itself isn’t a factor.”

Ms. Cummings echoed that perspective. “That’s something you’re not supposed to do,” she admitted. “You’re supposed to just vote on specific episodes. But if you’re familiar with it, and you know the work on it is consistent, it’s hard not to think of the entire series itself.”  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/arts/television/emmy-voters-talk-about-sizing-up-the-nominees.html?_r=0

And, if they tend to vote for series that have a good reputation then Outlander is screwed because I think it has an image problem.  I believe the series is not taken seriously and I think it all has to do with our society’s value of women…

What I think about what others are thinking

So, I’ve been feeling a bit more than bemused by Outlander being ignored by the Emmy voters (even though I know lots of great shows never get awards), but trying to reassure myself that it is just a matter of time because there is a lot of story to tell and more people are jumping on the Outlander bandwagon than just book readers. Lately, I’ve been seeing re tweets of actors, producers, and generally famous people who have gone on record to say they finally watched the show and just wanted to let folks know how great it is!  These tweets are usually couched in a tone of surprise.

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I’m tickled to death that these folks found the series enjoyable.  I love the show and find myself sporting a smug grin when I read of another famous convert because we’ve been telling folks this is a great story all along.  However, upon reflection, I think what we book fans turned series fans have actually been doing is defending the series.  Which brings me back to one of my original points. People are surprised to find they like Outlander and fans feel the need to defend the show because it has an image problem.

Here is just one example that lends some validity to my claim that the perception of Outlander is other than what I believe the show is actually about. I was perusing my Twitter feed when I came across a re tweet of what I presumed to be another celebrity endorsement of the show.

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Neil calls himself an adopted Scot and is a journalist, novelist, radio broadcaster, film-maker and an Editor for the Sunday Herald (busy guy) and professed lover of Horror films. Originally, I skimmed over this re tweet, but then did a double take.  It didn’t seem as positive on second glance and so, I delved a bit further.image

Hmmmm…….

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Now, I’m intrigued and ventured to interact with these folks, but first I had to Google Mills and Boon…yep, as I suspected it’s the UK version of Harlequin…

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Hmmmm….and the “Fifty Shades of Tartan”?…

 

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Admiring my restraint aren’t you?  The key words in this scenario are “Mills and Boon”,  “Fifty Shades of Tartan” and marketing.  The perception that the show is Harlequin style women’s porn “guff” persists.  Here are just a few of the articles I found when I Googled Outlander, bodice ripper, and kilt.

http://www.salon.com/2015/04/06/spanking_on_outlander_the_outrage_and_the_turn_on_of_the_bodice_ripper_tradition/

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2014/07/starz-outlander-more-than-a-bodice-ripper

http://decider.com/2015/03/28/10-sexy-bodice-rippers/

http://time.com/3089580/outlander-recap-episode-1/

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-37467296

The label is consistently and extensively used.  Why?

Why I think people think what they think

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Mr. Mckay isn’t the first person to be surprised at the show’s actual content.  I’m thinking of a particular TV critic who was angry the show had serious themes because that wasn’t what she was “led” to believe the show was about! Neil said he got his ideas about the show from marketing and talking about marketing always brings me back to that EW cover.  Last season, this campaign aimed to bring new viewers to the fold and take advantage of a huge and enthusiastic fan-base to sell magazines by playing up the sex and romance in the show. Because, …what else could women possibly be interested in?  If you finished watching season 2 you know just how ironic the hoopla over this cover was.

If this was the marketing Mr. Mckay and Ms. Kane saw for the show then  I’m pretty sure the jump to Boon and Mills and “Fifty Shades of Plaid” wasn’t too strenuous a leap.  I remember when I first saw trailers and teases for the show begin to appear on my TV.  In my excitement, I failed to notice what my husband did, “They are selling sex”.  I took a look with new eyes and found it hard to deny there was a focus on flesh and romance in these clips.

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The were selling sex and the perception that this show is only about sex persists because there has been little done to counteract this impression.  This marketing choice coupled with the persistent referral to the show as a “bodice ripper’ is obviously making an impression.

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So, despite being brave enough to sink money into a program with a female protagonist and KNOWING that the plot was certainly more than a formulaic Harlequin romance ( I don’t have a thing against romances and will explain) Starz chose to use/allow these tired marketing ploys based on gender stereotypes despite research showing that their use may even turn women and (Emmy voters) away from viewing the show.

Megan Walsh, in an article for Romper, wondered if there wasn’t a  connection to the shows perceived image and the lack of attention the show was given by voters.

It could also be that Outlander is considered a genre show with a focus on romance and time travel that has had some people (stupidly) dismissing it as nothing more than a chick show (as if that’s a bad thing to be)….

Is it all to do with the network it comes from? Or could it be that the show has such an intensely female point of view that it has alienated the voters? If that’s the reason, it’s a dumb one, and it’s also even more proof that Outlander should be earning heaps of awards.   https://www.romper.com/p/why-didnt-outlander-get-emmy-nomination-it-deserves-the-accolades-14308I

I agree.  If the reason the show is considered less worthy is because it is something women would be interested in, a “chick show”,  then it’s a dumb and …insulting reason.

Why I’m concerned and frustrated

Maybe it’s this election and all of the subtle and not so subtle focus on toxic patriarchy , Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright telling me I have to vote for Hillary because she is a woman or they’ll wish me to hell, people criticizing Hillary for her laugh, her smile, her pantsuits and Donald Trump evidently getting a pass from his supporters for continually disrespecting women, that has caused me to look a little deeper at the issues of how women are valued and what it means to be a feminist.

I’m sure you are wondering what the hell does the election and feminism have to do with Outlander and where in the hell am I going with this?

I hope somewhere that makes sense.

Why should how Outlander is marketed and the perceived value of “Chick Flicks” or “Chick Lit” matter in the big scheme of stuff that matters? The answer is simple.  It’s because I have six granddaughters. I have six granddaughters who will get at least some of their cues from Hollywood and popular culture as to what their value is in this world.  I happen to feel that Hollywood has some ethical obligation to portray women as real people and not caricatures.

…a Strong Female Character. There are plenty of them in movies. But think of what comes to mind as traits for a woman being badass: loud, assertive, rides a motorcycle, maybe really good at martial arts. And yes that woman does sound badass. But we pretty much never explore the idea of strong female characters that save the world by being feminine, empathetic, and caring.  https://medium.com/@sailorhg/coding-like-a-girl-595b90791cce#.azsjq079h

I’m frustrated because I think Outlander does an excellent job of portraying women as real thinking feeling human beings. Outlander’s main character Claire is a principled and kind woman worthy of admiration. Claire is a badass who moves through the world “being feminine, empathetic, and caring” and sexually confident.

Let me say again, I have nothing against romance novels or romantic movies.  Like most things in life there are good and poor examples.  I’ve watched and read my share over the years. There is nothing wrong in the themes women enjoy watching or reading.  But, for some reason, a film or book with female-centric themes or romance makes them less worthy of critical acclaim and worth and this sends a message to the world about the worth of women.

Sex in the television costume drama is suspicious because it explicitly appeals to women (largely straight women, but 2002’s Tipping the Velvet and last year’sLife in Squares are rare exceptions) and is seen as bringing often high-brow source material too close to the lowbrow romance novel. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/arts/television/emmy-voters-talk-about-sizing-up-the-nominees.html?_r=1

While I certainly don’t agree with the article quoted above’s assertion that Outlander is to be counted among the low brow because the show is ,”laser focused as it is on the muscled male body”, I did agree that”Outlander, which has been praised for its “handling of on-screen sex,” had to prove itself a serious drama and not simply a “sexual fantasy.” and that when talking about costume dramas it has ” always been a problem with the genre—female fandom is seen to threaten its seriousness”.

Why can’t women be all things? Why must I apologize for liking movies that feature relationships and nurturing?  Why must female characters be skewed male to be considered worthy of any value.  Why do books and films written by males get more critical acclaim even when he is writing about the same themes as women writers?  Why can’t a woman character reflect who women where at the time she inhabits without it being considered an attack on feminist advancement and women’s identity? Why can’t a woman like sex?

Literary critics and establishments have long believed that bodice rippers were …

…manufactured to engage the lurid fantasies of frustrated housewives. Often, their authors suffer public disdain, viewed as the sordid peddlers of a mysterious and unfortunate contraband – female desire…

and not very feminist and yet, …

…The very contradiction at the heart of romance fiction is a lesson: within feminism lies the permission, even the imperative, to enjoy, even if the fantasies you enjoy are not very feminist. https://aeon.co/essays/can-you-enjoy-romance-fiction-and-be-a-feminist

One of the most frustrating things for me when it comes to the perceived identity of Outlander as a “bodice ripper” is  that those folks who aren’t tuning in because they believe it is just women’s “guff” are missing out on a show that is progressive in it’s story-telling and portrayal of women when compared to most women characters on film.

Outlander’s women talk about things other than men

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Over twenty years ago,  Alison Bechdel  penned a cartoon about two women discussing going to the movies.  One woman told the other she had three rules for attending movies;

  1. It had to have at least two women
  2. they had to talk to each other
  3. about something other than men

This cartoon has famously resulted in the “Bechdel test” for how women are portrayed in film and has become a standard by which feminist critics judge TV, movies, books.  An article on fivethirtyeight.com looked at Hollywood’s portrayal of women and cites research that found in, ” 1,794 movies released from 1970 to 2013, we found that only half had at least one scene in which women talked to each other about something other than a man.” http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-dollar-and-cents-case-against-hollywoods-exclusion-of-women/

Outlander  meets the Bechdel test and then some. What those who dismiss Outlander as unworthy of their time are missing are women who are strong characters who deal with the big issues in life that we all deal with love, loss, finding purpose, making tough choices, living with the consequences, and forgiveness. Mr. Mckay was a bit startled by some of the themes the show wasn’t afraid to tackle.  Let me reassure him that the show takes its time showing the aftermath  of such trauma and allows the characters to work through it.  They are telling more than a formulaic love story. It is well acted, directed and produced, a virtual feast for the eyes and ears. I shouldn’t have to defend this show or apologize for enjoying it even IF it is considered a “chick” show because it’s theme are not less important than a show featuring a male protagonist.

I’m sure you have heard that Lionsgate has purchased Starz and Outlander was a big part of that pitch.  I’m not under the impression that Hollywood is not in the business of making money, but I believe that some of the long held beliefs about marketing films about and for women need to be challenged.  Statistics show that women make 80% of the purchasing decisions in America and that they are becoming more discriminating. There is no money to be lost and a lot of money to be gained if Lionsgate gets it right.  I’m hoping that PR for season 3 of Outlander will look a lot different than the stereotypical pandering of last seasons’ EW spread.  It deserves a better more honestly reflective image than “Fifty Shades of Tartan”.

 

Spoilers: They tried to live without their hearts…Jamie and Claire the years apart

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imageAfter hearing the distressing noise, Lord John approaches the door thinking of perhaps going into the room to see if Jamie is alright.  He hears heavy breathing and realizes that Jamie has awakened from a bad dream. He overhears the big Scot talking to his lost wife, “Could I but lay my head in your lap, lass. Feel your hand on me, and sleep wi’ the scent of you in my bed”.  John knows he shouldn’t be hearing this extremely private conversation and tries to back away quietly. Before he gets away he hears Jamie sob and then whisper, his voice full of longing and pain, “Christ Sassenach, I need ye”.

Cue me, ragged intake of breath and leaky eyes.

I’ve been rereading The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon, my favorite of the Lord John books.  Last night, I reached the scene where Lord John Grey hears Jamie cry out as if he was having a nightmare. This is one of those scenes that causes me to take an involuntary sob. The characters have become so real to me that I feel invested in their lives and experience moments of crippling compassion when I read of their moments of distress or pain.  I feel what John feels and what Jamie feels and have to put the book down and take a moment to recover, laugh at my silliness, and curse and simultaneously love Diana for writing books and characters that can move me this much.  I’ve often wondered if Diana feels the kind of empathy I do when she writes. Does she have to take a break and recover, does she smile through her tears at the beauty of these poignant moments she has written?

Diana has written many moving scenes in her novels, but this particular scene gets me every. single. time.  I’m curious as to why this scene, in particular, makes me so…so…verklempt! Reading that scene and “overhearing” Jamie’s private moment with his vanished wife makes me feel like I’m right beside Lord John trying desperately to get away from that door. Like Lord John, I want to go into that room and offer Jamie comfort, but I know there is nothing I can offer that would comfort him.  With that realization, we can now think of nothing worse than Jamie knowing his private pain and moment of grieving was overheard and we are quietly careful as we move down the hall.

Loved Diana’s metaphor of John missing a step and coming down hard as he escapes detection. Hearing Jamie longing for his dead wife brought John back down to Earth hard. The heart wants what it wants, but John is a realist and no fool.  He knows this man will never be his. This man will never be his because his heart belongs to a woman and a ghost at that.

It’s Claire’s ghost that I find myself thinking about this morning and Jamie’s as well, the ghosts of their lost love. I think this scene affects me so much because it is one of those rare moments when we get to see what Jamie is thinking and feeling.  We can guess how lonely he has been without Claire, but this overheard private moment confirms it.  He is trying to live without his heart and having a tough time of it. He needs her. Time hasn’t cured this. A decade separates him from that moment on Craig Na Dun and yet, his need of her hasn’t lessened.  His grief feels raw to me.

I’ve also been thinking this morning about the print shop and how the TV series is going to get us there.  I know there has been some speculation because people can’t wait to see our couple back together.  They want to get to the “good stuff”.  I understand that is “good stuff” and I would love to see them stay as faithful to that scene in the book as possible, but the show has to think about viewers other than book fans. I am reminded of an article I read about adaptations and good story-telling.

…Going from a derivative work to its source, people tend to expect fidelity less than when they start with the original, then move to the adaptation…When I read the book first, I go to the movie expecting to see a strict translation of what I saw onto the screen, even if that’s not truly what I want, or what best serves the story…

http://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2012/03/22/149145605/what-fans-will-love-and-what-they-might-not-in-the-hunger-games

“…even if that’s not truly what I want, or what best serves the story…”, the truth is those moments at the print shop need to be earned.  They need the context of knowing what has come before.  It will not be enough to segue way from Claire’s realizing Jamie might still be alive to her going back through the stones. Viewers will need to know what life was like in the in-between.  And, whether we want to admit it or not, we book readers will too.  Those moments at the print shop are meaningful and moving because of what happened in those twenty years apart and who Jamie and Claire were without their hearts.  They are starved for each other’s company and face the despair of knowing they will never again have the kind of mutual love they shared. They long for each other and when I read of their longing my heart aches for them.

Too many of us can relate to their need to go on living despite devastating loss.  In Claire’s case, she pushes forward for Bree and Jamie for Fergus, William, Jenny, Ian, and their children. They go on…they exist.  Diana lets the reader see that our beloved couple are never far from each other’s thoughts. She paints us a picture of two people who truly aren’t complete without the other.  Diana chose to tell Voyager in a mixture of present day with flashbacks to the past that slowly builds the suspense and intensity of emotion.  The search for evidence of Jamie’s survival is then followed by the reality of the Dun Bonnet’s real story and we see the names on the Ardsmuir roll sheet in the flesh.  We get glimpses of the deprived and lonely existence Jamie led.  We are then transported to the inner workings of Claire’s marriage of convenience.

We will need to see what life was like for Claire. I know this isn’t a popular idea for many fans because it means more Frank.  But, to ignore what life was like for Claire would not serve the story well and lessen the impact and meaning of the print shop reunion. These glimpses of life with Frank are sprinkled throughout the story, but it makes sense to me that the show will need to rearrange things and tell the story more chronologically. What was life like for Claire?  She made a promise and I believe truly tried to make it work with Frank.  She did love him, but what ever she feels for Frank pales in comparison to what she feels for Jamie. Frank believes they can make it work. He needs to make it work because he loves her, but her heart is irrevocably Jamie’s.  As a result, what started out straight and good and true becomes a twisted convoluted mess.

One of the few looks Diana affords us of Claire’s life with Frank comes from her remembrance of the night he died.  Not a very flattering portrayal that, but in his defense, what’s a man to do? What’s a man to do with 20 years of knowing your wife loves someone else?  When I think of that particular icy night, warped things come to mind; intentions, plans, relationships, and love.  You know what time and pressure do to a lump of coal, right?  A diamond.  Time and pressure left us no gems here.  What happens when feelings get suppressed? When time and pressure are applied to that suppression? Anger. Resentment.  Emotion doesn’t stay inside the skin.  Feelings can never be fully suppressed.  They find a way to come out and sometimes it’s sideways.

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I think some sideways feelings got straightened out that night.

“...he looked like Bree, didn’t he?  He was like her?”

“Yes.”

He breathed heavily, almost a snort.

“I could see it in your face– when you’d look at her, I could see you thinking of him.  damn you Claire Beauchamp, ” he said, very softly.  “damn you and your face that can’t hide a thing you think or feel.”

“…I did love you, ” I said, softly, at last. “Once.”

They go on to discuss why he didn’t leave and Frank wonders out loud,

“...but you couldn’t see her (Bree) without thinking of him, could you?  Without that constant memory, I wonder__ would you have forgotten him, in time?”

“No.”….

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The last straw had been reached for Frank, but it also served to let us see how impossible it has been for Claire to love anyone but Jamie and to live without him.  The show foreshadowed this with Breanna’s comments about her mother living in another world. She is present physically, but she left her heart in another time, another place. She is living a life she no longer wants, but tries for Bree’s sake.

The story will be best served by the show showing us how empty and difficult their lives were without the other. So, when the ‘voyage’ finally leads us back to the print shop, as viewers, we will be entirely invested in the reunion of these two lost souls.

The reuniting of these two characters gives birth to some of the most poignant scenes I’ve ever read. Claire’s trip to the printer’s shop is full of those scenes.  Her nervous look at her reflection in the shop window, his fainting dead away at her sudden appearance, their holding each other both trembling with,”…longing of twenty years streaming down our faces”.  They touch each other’s features in wonder. I believe I could barely breathe when I read this scene.  The intensity of their need of each other was palpable.  Not the intensity of lust, but of need. And the scene where Claire shows Jamie Bree’s pictures?  My favorite. When he turns and ‘falls to pieces” in her arms, I couldn’t help but think he had been needing to fall apart for twenty years, but her arms were the only place he could do that…be himself…without fear. And for Claire, loving and being loved by Jamie was like  “the turn of a great key, each small turn setting into play the intricate fall of tumblers within me.”

Lord knows, the sailing will never be smooth for these two, but at last they will be together and nothing else will matter.

“…to have you with me again_ to talk wi’ you, to know I can say anything, not guard my words or hide my thoughts_God Sassenach” he said, ” The Lord knows I’m as lust crazed as a lad and I canna keep my hands from you _ or anything else_ ” he added wryly, ” but I would count that all well lost, had I no more than the pleasure of havin’ ye by me, and to tell ye all my heart”.  And she replies, “ It was lonely without you, ” I whispered,” so lonely.”

Yeah,…we need to see the years without their hearts.

 

Spoilers for sure! Lord John…he just wasn’t born the right person…for the one he loved

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Cast Watch Pays Off!

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Season three of Outlander on Starz will introduce some of the book series most popular and beloved characters. Fans are all on the watch for who will be cast as Jamie’s nephew Young Ian and this past week, the wait for news of who will fill Lord John Grey’s fashionable shoes was ended.  Australian actor David Berry will be playing the character who inspired Diana Gabaldon to write a spin-off series of books .

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David has been on set this week and according to Sam Heughan, “#DavidBerry is SLAYING it btw….”.  Given the Outlander casting departments’ track record…I have no doubt (despite differences in height, hair color, nationality, ice cream preferences, that he might or might not be a cat lover, and anything else folks can find to lament….sigh)  that he is perfect for the role.

Diana is all about tweaking expectations and Lord John’s character is no exception. He is a unique individual who challenges our notions of what it means to be a man.  Diana has always described LJG as small and hard bodied with delicate features that include lips and eyelashes that would make any woman jealous.  I can see David Berry’s features fitting the bill, but I don’t believe he is as physically small as the character is described in the books. However, if I’ve learned anything from watching the show for the last two years, it’s that physically fitting the part isn’t as important as embodying the spirit of a character. Caitriona Balfe certainly didn’t fit the exact description of Claire in the book, but it is now tough for me to picture the Claire I had in my head because Cait has done such a great job of portraying the important parts of Claire’s personality.

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The scene at the trial where she won’t bear false witness and her coming to terms with the loss of Faith come to mind. Both moments represented things I much admired in Claire; her integrity, her ability to be pragmatic, and her honesty and they were portrayed to perfection.  Sam, Tobias, Grant, Graham, and many of the other actors were not exactly like the characters I had pictured in my head, but it hardly seems to matter now because for me the show has earned a separate, but interrelated identity.  I will still always have the books and that Jamie, Claire, and BJR and now, I also have the Jamie, Claire and BJR of the show.  As one of my readers put it, “I have a double helping of Outlander”.  I have found myself looking forward to seeing how things will be the same and different and whether I will like it or not.  Mostly, I’ve liked it and learned to appreciate the storytelling and the acting.

Slightly Different Reflections of the Same Truth

 

Last week, Diana responded to a reader on Twitter who expressed concern over changes from the book to the TV series.

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This tweet and recent casting news have been percolating for awhile in my mind.  The resulting brew I’m writing about today is a cup full of Lord John and storytelling  about truths.  As Diana so eloquently stated, the show and books reflect the same truths. Storytelling is a lens through which we see it.  It’s something Diana does well. One of the reasons her novels have to come to mean so much to me is the truths I find revealed between those pages. The show is telling their version of her story of truths. They are telling us a story about what it means to be human, to persevere, make difficult choices and having to live with the consequences, to suffer loss, and to love…in all of it’s different shades of being.

So, I’ve been thinking of Lord John Grey and what truths the show and David Berry will get a chance to show us.

The Truths

Truth #1: Character has nothing to do with sexual orientation

Tom and Lorenzo, TV critics once wrote about Outlander and their feelings about the character Black Jack Randall.

…In other news, Black Jack Randall is clearly not entirely heterosexual. His face practically lit up at the sight of Jamie coming through his window and within seconds he asked him to a) take off his shirt, b)take turns raping his wife, and c) enjoy himself by watching Jack rape his wife. It’s all very sexually charged, and we suppose we can get offended by the idea of the evil raping gay character, but we’re willing to let this play out for a while. Jack is definitely in danger of becoming an unstoppable Terminator-like supervillain, though. We wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of a scaling back on the mustache-twirling.   http://tomandlorenzo.com/2015/04/outlander-the-reckoning/

Diana has gone on record saying that Black Jack is not gay.  She calls him an equal-opportunity sadist.  But, I know a lot of viewers like Tom and Lorenzo believe that he is gay.  I wrote an article about Tom and Lorenzo’s review and I remember saying I wanted to write to tell them one of the most beloved characters in the series was a gay man. I knew that the information based on my knowledge of the books wouldn’t really be appreciated or help them review the show as presented, but I so wanted to defend Ms. Gabaldon’s representation of gay men.

Diana’s characters are so layered and well developed, I have often said that it is possible to talk about and analyze them as if they were real people. John Grey’s story is a compelling look at what life might have been like for a homosexual in the 1700’s when it was illegal to be gay.   In Lord John, Diana has created a man who rivals Jamie in integrity and that is saying quite a lot.  And, …he is as different from BJR as you could get!  Viewer’s of Outlander on Starz met Lord John Grey as a sixteen year old who snuck into the Jacobite’s camp and tried to slit the notorious highlander “Red Jamie’s” throat.  He was prepared to die rather than give information, but relented when he thought a woman’s (Clever Claire) honor was in jeopardy.  Jamie spared the young Lord’s life and so, the young soldier acknowledged the debt of honor with a promise to kill Jamie once the debt was met. Raised to believe that a man’s word is his bond and his actions a reflection of his worth, Lord John is a man that lives his life by a code of decency and honor.  

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In some ways, I am sorry that they will not be able to use size as a part of John’s story. Diana used his smaller stature to bust stereotypes. He is small, but authoritative, beautiful yet, masculine, and the aggressor in most of his relationships.  He understands duty and while unashamed of his sexual preference, he is aware that if he is “found out” it would ruin the lives of those he loves and protects.  Please remember that it wasn’t that long ago that homosexuality was considered a disease.  Coming out in any time period isn’t an easy thing to do, let alone the 1700’s. Diana shows us how one gay man lived as honestly as he could while unable to show the world who is really was, heartbreaking and inspiring.

There was not easiness between them any longer—but there was honesty. And that was a thing he had had—ever would have—with precious few men.---Lord John in The Scottish Prisoner, Chapter 18

His matter of fact acceptance of his situation and the world in which he lived has always impressed me.  I have always felt sorry that this wonderful man never found the love he deserved, but Diana isn’t done writing his story yet and I’m hopeful for him.

 

Truth #2: Love is complicated and yet, simple

Ron Moore and company will get the chance to expand on the theme of unrequited love. I say expand because they have let us see the relationship between Frank and Claire.  I have always maintained that Frank’s biggest sin is simply that he wasn’t Jamie.  Through no fault of his own, (Claire always said that she loved him and tried hard to get back to him) Frank is unable to regain what he once had with Claire.  There is nothing he can do to regain her love.  Her heart is irrevocably Jamie’s and he isn’t Jamie.

Like Frank, Lord John Grey was simply not born the right person;

"Do you know," he said again, softly, addressing his hands, "what it is to love someone, and never- never!-be able to give them peace, or joy, or happiness."

He looked up then, eyes filled with pain. "To know that you cannot give them happiness, not through any fault of yours or theirs, but only because you were not born the right person for them?"

Lord John in Voyager, Chapter 59

Lord John has had the misfortune to fall in love with a man who can never return his feelings.  Jamie has very real reasons for associating homosexuality with the abuse he suffered at the hands of BJR and could not, in my opinion and Claire’s and Bree’s , have a relationship with a man.  But, perhaps the greatest impediment for John is not his gender, but the fact that he just isn’t Claire.  Jamie’s heart is irrevocably Claire’s and John isn’t Claire.

Could you call a man who would never touch you- would recoil from the very thought of touching you- your lover? No. But at the same time, what would you call a man whose mind touched yours, whose prickly friendship was a gift, whose character, whose very existence, helped to define your own?

—-Lord John in Lord John and the Plague of Zombies

One of the most wonderful truths Diana’s Lord John teaches us is that love is a gift to be honored even if it is never returned.  Lord John makes a conscious choice to love Jamie because to not love him would leave a hole in his soul.

"I hated him for as long as I could. But then I realized that loving him...that was part of me, and one of the best parts. It didn't matter that he couldn't love me, that had nothing to do with it. But if I could not forgive him, then I could not love him, and that part of me was gone. And I found eventually that I wanted it back."

Lord John in Drums of Autumn, Chapter 59 

One of the most character revealing conversations between the two men was over Jamie’s young son William. John had rightfully guessed William’s true parentage and came to Helwater to tell Jamie he would be marrying William’s Aunt Isobel. This will essentially make him the “orphaned” William’s step-father.  Jamie tells Claire that he tested LJG’s motives by offering him his body in exchange for John taking good care of William.  He assures her if Lord John had failed that test he would have cut his throat right there and then.

“Ye dinna want me, then?” 

Grey got to his feet, dusting the seat of his breeches. “I shall probably want you to the day I die,” he said matter-of-factly. “But tempted as I am—” He shook his head, brushing wet grass from his hands. 

“Do you really think that I would demand—or accept—any payment for such a service?” he asked. “Really, I should feel my honor most grossly insulted by that offer, save that I know the depth of feeling which prompted it.” 

“Aye, well,” Jamie muttered. “I didna mean to insult ye.”

Jamie & Lord John in Voyager, Chapter 59


 

Lord John passed the test and Jamie tells Claire,

"He loved me, he said. And if I couldn't give him that in return-and he kent I couldn't-then he'd not take counterfeit for true coin."

He shook himself, hard, like a dog coming out of the water.

"No. A man who would say such a thing is not one who'd bugger a child for the sake of his father's bonny blue eyes, I'll tell you that for certain, Sassenach."-Jamie & Lord John in Voyager, Chapter 59

I can remember reading that scene and wishing my high school kids could understand what Lord John understood. You truly don’t want someone who doesn’t want you.  Don’t settle.  Don’t take counterfeit for true coin.

 

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The fact that they eventually become friends speaks volumes about both men.  I can’t help but believe that Lord John’s friendship became the most important of Jamie’s life.  On some level, it is not surprising that they would become friends. Had they met under different circumstances, they would have found they had a lot in common. John and Jamie are both learned men who share a love of books and philosophy. They are both soldiers who have had the responsibility of leadership.They get each other’s sense of humor. They are both fiercely loyal and protective of those they love.   And, I think as men of integrity, that they recognize the honor in the other.  John challenged Jamie’s beliefs about love and friendship and made him a more tolerant man and Jamie gave John a purpose of sorts and someone worthy to love. 

In fact, I think Claire saw John as a real competition for Jamie’s affection. In a scene in the cabin on Fraser’s Ridge, Claire is lying in bed pretending to sleep while John and Jamie play chess across the room. In true Claire fashion, she examines her feelings of animosity towards John and admits that she feels jealous of  Lord John’s relationship with Jamie. She can see what Jamie sees in Lord John and is a bit threatened by their connection over William. Leave it to Diana to make Claire’s only real competition a gay man.  John truly does understand Jamie, as only another man can.  I love this conversation between Brianna and Lord John that proves that point:

"I have never spoken to your father regarding Geneva, Ellesmere, or William himself--save to inform him of my marriage to Isobel and to assure him that I would fulfill my responsibilities as William's guardian to the best of my ability."
She set her foot on the stone, driving it into the soft sand, and stopped.
"You never said anything to him? What did he say to you?" she demanded.
"Nothing." He returned her stare.
"Why did you marry Isobel?"
He sighed, but there was no point in evasion.
"In order to take care of William."
The thick red brows nearly touched her hairline.
"So you got married, in spite of--I mean, you turned your whole life upside down, just to take care of Jamie Fraser's illegitimate son? And neither one of you ever talked about it?"
"No," he said, baffled. "Of course not."

From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 116

I believe Brianna’s response was…”men”. John loves Jamie and cares about those Jamie loves because that is what you do when you love someone.

Before you say this was unfair to Isobel, remember this was a time of arranged marriages. Why not John?  He  cared about Isobel and William.  I could think of far worse situations and men for her to be married off to.  Can you say Ellesmere?

So complicated and yet, to choose to love makes everything simple.

I’m sure there are many more truths to be found in Lord John Grey’s story.  These are just two that meant a lot to me and I can’t wait to see how David Berry and the show choose to reflect them.  And, I hope Tom and Lorenzo watch to see the honorable and beloved Lord John Grey.

OUTLANDER FANS CAN DO EPIC SHIT

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Hey guys,

I know it’s been awhile since I wrote.  Real-life (aka granddaughters who play Volleyball,

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and Golf,

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and a little thing called work)

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have kept me away from writing and connecting with Outlander folks on social media, but I haven’t forgot about you!  In fact, I was thinking about you this morning when I watched the news about the earthquakes in Italy and the floods in Lousiana and tornadoes in Indiana.  Last year, Caitriona Balfe, our Claire, asked us to turn our formidable powers to do epic shit towards helping others.  One of the things she suggested was to donate to Shelterbox an organization that helps those who find themselves homeless due to some kind of disaster.

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The work they do serves to help with people’s immediate need for shelter and basic nesscessities.

This morning I got an email from Shelterbox asking for my help.  I’m lucky enough to be in a position right now to do just that and after my busy month watching granddaughters and getting ready to do a job I love, I am humbled by my blessings. I believe the folks in Italy, Indiana, and Lousiana were most probably going about their lives much like I have been and that it could just as easily been me and those I love caught in a disaster.

I’ve donated the cost of a Shelterbox before and I think I will again.  Shelterbox is addressing needs all over the world, so there are plenty of opportunities and places to help.  I’m hoping other Outlnder fans will check out Shelterbox and maybe donate in the name of Outlander fans. It truly is a concrete way to make a difference in a world that sorely needs our help.

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Here is the link http://shelterboxusa.org/index.php

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

Beth Wesson

Great insight… From someone who knows…Outlander from a scriptwriter’s perspective 

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I’ve said this before, but one of the great things about writing a blog is hearing from people from all walks of life. In the past,  I’ve posted comments from actors and producers because of their unique perspective.  This past week , I heard from someone who adapts books into scripts for TV.  We all would like to think we know how to adapt Outlander for the screen (just look anywhere the show is discussed on social media), but this person KNOWS.  She agreed to let me share her thoughts in a post.  

Thanks Lori! 



I am an avid Outlander fan. Been reading the books since they were each released. I remember being at the library for each subsequent release and waiting anxiously for them to catalog it so I could be the first to take it home. (LOL – it got to the point that they’d call me the second it came in – small town libraries are wonderful!) That said, I am now a screenwriter. It has been my job to adapt books and stories for the screen.

There’s a lot that goes into storytelling on the screen that is totally different from what’s on the page. The reason that the books are always better is that an author has no limitation whatsoever in what they imagine. It can all come to pass. But for the screen, a variety of things need to be considered. Budget. Pacing. How does the action happen from point A to point B” Would the carving of their initials slow down the overall pace or cause it to stutter. Would it add to the storyline in the future? Is it something easily done by the props department or could that one scene add a hefty amount to the budget? On that one specifically, it would add a bit of a headache for the makeup department – ANYTIME their hands would be shown in the future, the initials would need to be exact. precise, and there. It adds a bit of a headache for continuity purposes. Cause I promise the second they would be seen without it, there would be an uproar! Heck, fans are angry now because it isn’t the proper hand on Jamie that was injured by BJR. I have seen entire blog posts on it -and that’s a simple one to explain!

When adapting to for film, you need to take the book (whatever length it is – 300? 500?) and put it into about 90-120 pages. MAYBE 150 if you have a good budget and are able to put a longer version into theaters. For television, it’s usually 42 pages per episode. That isn’t a lot of space to get in all the good stuff. And sometimes you just need to switch things up a bit to make the story flow better.

This is, by far, the best adaptation I have seen from page to screen. They have been beautifully faithful to the books. Often, when buying or optioning the rights to books, the filmmakers love the story, but they want to tell it their own way. They see it more as an inspiration. I have been brought in often by authors because they know how much I love the source material and that I will usually remain faithful to it rather than try to change it to make it my own. I have had a couple of authors who have given me leave to run with their characters and build what I want from their universe (Jodi Thomas was beautiful about that – just want to give a shout out there!) but more often than not, it’s the other way around. And authors just aren’t as understanding of how storytelling goes on the screen because it’s so different.

I deeply admire the creative team and showrunners on Outlander. I watch each episode and come away utterly delighted from the fan perspective and blown away as a writer. I know the razor’s edge they walk in order to keep fans of the books happy AND reach out to new viewers who have never read the books. It’s a horrible balancing act and it’s rarely done as well as it has been here.
:) Thank you for highlighting some of the differences and showing perspective on this!:) Love your wraps/insight!  Lori Twichell (@Twichie)

 

 

Fandom Shaming Needs to GO #RespectTheFandoms — The Word Peddler

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LOVED THE THOUGHTS EXPRESSED HERE AND WANTED TO SHARE!

I have no idea what a Magmar is, other than the word kinda looks like Ragnar. Which makes me think of Ragnar Lothbrok…which makes me wonder when the new season of Viking starts. I don’t know because it isn’t my fandom. And I’m okay with that. Some people, however…aren’t. My kids like Pokemon Go. They […]

via Fandom Shaming Needs to GO #RespectTheFandoms — The Word Peddler

“Find your way back to us” …a reflection on the Outlander fandom today

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I’m hoping the dust has settled enough for me to write this.  Be patient please it is longer than I normally write and I need you to read to the end! It has been an -interesting -year in the fandom to say the least.  Those folks who have been around since the beginning will testify that things have changed. I’m not sure if this is a natural progression in all fandom, growing pains if you will, or something unique to this fandom. This is my first.  I started the blog about two and a half years ago and in that time I’ve had a lot of contact with fans and had time to observe changes…

IN THE BEGINNING

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I tiptoed into the fandom.  It started with being fascinated by the books and wanting to know more about the author.  I discovered Herself’s Facebook page and CompuServe.  I was at the time, but didn’t know it, a lurker.  I watched and read others interactions, but didn’t feel confident enough to wade in myself.  One day, news came that the books were finally being made into film and my interest was piqued.  I found myself showing up on social media at least once a day to see what was happening.  Eventually, our “cast watch” paid off with the news that the last person we expected to be cast was cast first.  Sam Heughan was to play Jamie.  To say his reception was lukewarm might be an understatement.  Now that I’m reflecting, I realize this was probably my first exposure to the negative side of our fandom.  Sam just didn’t fit the image of Jamie folks had in their heads and he didn’t fit Diana’s description in “the Book”. I just genuflected. Fidelity to the “book” is a major issue in the fandom.  Despite Diana’s assurances that she had her doubts until she saw the audition tape and explaining what it is that actors do…the debate and complaints continued.  At first, the passion was amusing to me. I found myself more times than not reading these raging debates about hair color and height while chuckling and eye-rolling.  It just couldn’t be taken seriously and I assumed most people could see it for what it was…silly, but harmless.

I would love to say things stayed that way, silly and harmless, but they didn’t.  Oh, for awhile things were great!  I ventured on to Twitter because I heard Sam tweeted and I wanted to say congratulations.  No, I still haven’t heard from him…grumble…grumble. But, in his defense I haven’t tweeted him very often and he has just a few fans now. I also began interacting with other fans.  Some folks were playing around with writing Outlander Haiku. I was amused and took a risk of posting one!

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Low and behold, people responded and I began to tweet back.  It was fun!  I was talking to people from all over the world! People were nice, polite, and funny!  We all marveled at how we had come together over a book and the phrase “because she wrote a book” was born.

Then, I had my next run in with the negative side of the fandom.  I’m not sure why it surprised me, people online are likely to be pretty much the same as people offline, but I was taken aback and saddened.  You see, I have an alarming lack of a suspicious nature.  I want to believe that everyone is genuine and has good intentions and I tend to overlook what most people would see as red flags.  I was warned.  My husband who is a good bit more cynical than myself was a bit worried about my interactions with people I only knew online, “People can pretend to be whomever they want to be on there.  You have no idea who you are talking to.”  He was right.  I struck up a friendship with someone I thought I had a lot in common with and ignored what were certainly red flags.  This person was not who she presented herself to be.  I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I have my suspicions that it had to do with jealousy.  I found myself ostracized for something I did not do and would never do.  I was hurt and angry for awhile, but remembered the advice I gave my daughter when she came home devastated by a rumor.

“Consider the source”, I told her.  “How important is this person’s opinion really?  Just because someone says something it doesn’t mean you have to take it in and give it power.  The people who know you best won’t believe it and they are the folks that matter. The best revenge is living well (or in my case writing well). You know who you are.  Find those people who know who you are too and keep being yourself.”  Pretty good advice and so, I decided to follow it and I wish others would too.  Not everyone you meet in the fandom is who they present themselves to be (hence multiple handles and sock accounts) it’s okay to be cautious and please understand not everyone plays by the same rules.

JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE SAYS SOMETHING

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I’ve done a lot of different things in my life.  My husband was a college football coach and we moved quite a bit.  Every time we moved I got a chance to reinvent myself and try on something new. My Gemini side liked it!  One of the things I had a chance to become was a mental health/drug and alcohol counselor.  I know this seems strange given my lack of a suspicious nature, but I think that same nature made me more empathetic.  I remember several of my clients because of their struggles with addiction and disease, but I also remember how much they taught me about what is important in life.  One client in particular helped me be a better mother.  Despite her own struggles, she was a good parent and I believe her daughter would most probably survive being the child of an addict because of life lessons taught by her mother.  It’s a paradox, I know, but life is rarely simple and easy to understand and addiction doesn’t care who you are or how you were raised.  One of funniest and most moving things my client ever told me was how she responded to her daughter when she came home from school upset by a bully who had called her names.

“Jimmy said I was a poop head!” her daughter tearfully exclaimed.

“Well, are you?” said her mother.

She told me her daughter looked shocked and puzzled.

“Go look in the mirror”, she suggested. “Is your head made of poop?”

Her daughter took a serious look into the mirror and responded, “No.”

“Then I guess you aren’t a poop head”, my client confirmed.

People say mean things, but that doesn’t make them true. When someone in the fandom calls you a name take a serious look in the mirror.  If you aren’t a poop head let it go and if you are? Acceptance is the first step to recovery.  You give it power when you take in the meanness and give it free rent in your head. Believe me when I say your being upset isn’t bothering the name caller at all.  They are most probably on their merry way spreading more shite…the poop heads.

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I used to believe that it was wrong to tell folks that complained about the show or fandom to stop watching or to get out.  I believed that they had every right to talk about what they liked and didn’t like and feel how they wanted to feel .  But, I think I might be changing my mind.  I get comments on the blog sometimes that give me pause to reconsider my stance on issues including this one. I hear from folks who find themselves so caught up in this fandom and show that it is affecting their well-being.

…there are certain iconic moments and iconic lines that readers have spent years investing themselves in that are ignored or given to the wrong characters, and we’re supposed to be grateful when it happens.

Too many iconic moments were “adapted” into oblivion or – an even worse sin – they were kept, but handed over to other characters. Hearing Claire deliver some of the lines that I have waited years to hear from Jamie’s lips was worse than omission-through-adaptation. At times, it felt like a betrayal of the book fandom, as though the book fandom got it all wrong and RDM was going to show us what we *should* have wanted instead (like shoving Frank down our throats when we’ve been waiting 20 years to see Jamie, and so on, and so on). The Harry Potter films were proper adaptations; if RDM and co. had “adapted” those series, he would have given Harry’s lines away to Snape and Ron, and Hermione would have defeated Voldemort herself, because letting Harry be Harry would have been ‘too predictable’ for book fans and women must be ‘liberated’…

I’m tired of feeling like a “Disgruntled” (as my once-favorite author labeled me on her very own Twitter feed… ) How silly of me to love something for over 10 years and be disappointed when it isn’t delivered, eh? I have been told so many times this season to love it or leave it that I have made the decision to leave it – all of it. It was fun while it lasted, but I give up, I’m shelving the books and leaving Outlander groups and blogs because I’m tired of being vilified for wanting more of what the books were actually about (hint: they are not about Frank; Jamie and Claire are partners and equals and Jamie doesn’t have to be emasculated for his wife to be strong; the love story is a character unto itself, not a side-plot to the Jacobite cause). I’m tired of walking around in an awful mood because of silly TV show and because internet strangers have made me feel bad about feeling bad.

Beth Wesson, your research is thorough and your blog well-written, and I am sad to disagree with such great efforts and writing. Good luck with S3, I’m sad I won’t be with you.

 

I replied.

I’m really sad that you feel this way, but I support your need for self care. If you find your self walking around upset and vilified it truly isn’t worth it. Thank you for reading.

If being in this fandom is causing you to feel angry and bad about yourself and affects your real-life … get out.  It truly isn’t worth it.

IF YOU LIE DOWN WITH DOGS YOU CAN GET FLEAS

A friend and I were discussing all the drama in the fandom.  She had gotten caught up in all the shipper/anti wars.  She wasn’t participating, but found herself fascinated.  It was like a car wreck that she couldn’t look away from. She found it was interesting to see how people interacted and thought…from a scientific psychological standpoint..ahem.

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She urged me to go to Tumblr and check it out.  She was right.  The rationalization and need to be right I saw was fascinating and …staggering.  I found myself reading what can only be termed as manifestos!  People were invested in this drama and it was getting uglier by the minute. It made me want to jump in and fix things and yet, I felt hopeless because I knew that there was nothing I could say or do that would make a difference or not make things worse! I found it was very easy to get caught up in the drama and I soon began to feel uncomfortable.

I will say that I think who you hang out with in this fandom might have a lot to do with how you feel about the fandom. What you spend your time on and who you spend it with matters. I found myself becoming anxious and upset when I read all the complaining and truly awful things said about other fans, the cast, crew, writers, producers, and Starz.   Then I realized that I needed to take my own advice and ask myself how much these people’s opinions mattered and how much power was I going to give them?  I took a look and realized that most were people I didn’t interact with and in the scheme of the millions of people who watch the show they were vocal, but certainly not a majority.

Spending time reading their stuff made me feel bad about myself and the fandom and so, I stopped going to certain blogs and pages and reading certain people’s tweets. Distancing myself was a positive choice. I felt much better and my friend and I, who had also decided to stop going to certain blogs, laughingly  wondered if something is said, but we didn’t read it did it actually happen?  Truly, in some instances, what you don’t know cant’t hurt you.

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I know there is a popular idea that turning a blind eye to this stuff is wrong.  On some level,  I agree. There are times to stand up, but I also think that there are folks out there who crave the attention and drama and when we respond we feed the behavior. We have all been witness to bullies bullying in the name of stopping bullies.  I truly have yet to see any attempts, no matter how well intention-ed, to discuss and build bridges between fans that have actually worked. I applaud and admire the peacemakers’ courage and hearts. But, I’ve come to understand that there are more factions in this fandom than you can shake a stick at! Try to build a bridge with one group and you’ll just piss off another.  I don’t think it is a battle that can be won.

So, what’s to do?  I’m sorry to say, but I think our only option is to block, mute, ignore, skim on by, report it if it is truly heinous, and find your own tribe.  If bitching about the adaptation is your thing then go for it!  Find your own group of like-minded folks and bitch away, but if you don’t like being told what to think, what makes you think you have the right to tell someone else what to think? We don’t have to make the choice to get involved or put in our two cents. Some of the most effective ways I’ve seen folks deal with this stuff is to agree to disagree and …let it go!  It’s a big fandom and there is room to let folks just be themselves whether we like it or not.

I’ll admit that I still get mad at folks.  Just yesterday, I saw some fans discussing the fandom on Twitter. They are the “this fandom drives me crazy” and “I hate this fandom” folks who believe they are the only sane fans out there. The drift of the conversation was that they couldn’t believe that some of these fans were grown women because they acted like teenagers and they were tired of making excuses for them.  They knew fans had waited a long time to see the “books” on the screen, but the show isn’t perfect and neither are the books.  They then proceeded to explain why they didn’t like the show…because it wasn’t like the “books”.  It’s hypocrisy like this that makes me the most angry.  It is much easier for me to forgive a fan who gets carried away in passion than those who like to pretend they are above it all while they fawn on the stars and expound on their on cleverness and insight.  There is more than one way to be a fan.

Every-time I get angry at some hypocrisy or deliberate attempts to bait cast and creators, I try to remember that there is a multitude of fans who just want to enjoy the show and some for whom it has meant…something more important…and I often hear from them…

Stories make us feel and think. Stories have power. Stories move us, shape us, and do the same to the world.” What a powerful statement….and for me so true!!! This has been an extremely emotional morning for me, after watching the finale early Saturday morning alone, I came to the realization just how important DG’s books and finding this show has been for me. When I discovered the Outlander series I was in a very difficult place emotionally. I first heard about Outlander through a Starz commercial prior to the first season and had every intention of watching. But, as the saying goes, make plans and God laughs….In 2014 my husband was diagnosed with kidney failure, which launched a year long search for a kidney donor and his name being placed on a donor list. After a year, my son, who is not my husbands biological son, made a decision without discussion, to donate his kidney to my husband. He saved my husband’s life. It was a courageous and unselfish thing to do, and for me overwhelming, since both of my men would be on the operating table together, and would suffer the same risks. While this was a very successful transplant, it was nonetheless extremely traumatic for me. In order to be a care-giver and advocate, initially to both and eventually to only my husband, meant that my life had to be placed on hold. I built a wall that protected me emotionally… that wall went up….and never came down…. until…. I read Outlander & watched the show. I wonder if Diana Gabaldon knew when she wrote the Outlander series that she would have the power to change a persons life…but her story had power, and the actors who portrayed those characters and the writers who gave them a voice only enhanced that power. I found her spiritual references, poems, and the love she created between her characters absolutely moving, life-changing and refreshing. Which is why some of us wanted so badly for the adaptation to follow the books, absolutely. But, because RonDMoore had the courage and power to adapt for TV many scenes from the book, one in particular for me, the violation of Fergus, I was forever changed. He gave me power and courage to write on this blog, my experience as a victim. Thank you Beth for providing the safe place to have these discussions! And lets not forget DG’s historical references, which also lead me to trace two of my family lines..Cameron and Fraser….right to Scotland on the battlefields…incredible! I know there are many people who have had their life enhanced or changed by reading the books and viewing the show; just read all the various tweets & this blog. People sometimes laugh at us when we talk Outlander and about the greatness of this show; my husband is one of them, but he doesn’t realize that it saved me emotionally, brought me back to him, and really left an impression on my life. I hope the actors, Diana, Ron, Terry, and all the writers realize how many people have been touched by their creativity….it is absolutely incredible how a series of fictional books and a television show could have that much power, for so many people! It is also a reminder that true love conquers all things, and that love & communication are so important in a relationship. Thank you to all the Outlander cast & crew and especially to DG for writing such wonderful books that have touched me in so many ways. Finally, thank you Beth for utilizing your God given talent to touch us with your insight. You are the best at being able to put into words that prompt us to think and respond……. I am forever grateful……

GETTING OFF MY SOAPBOX

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Being a part of this fandom has brought a lot of wonderful things into my life including real-life friends! #cgng #bawdybabes  This fandom used to be a fun place.  And, I think it still can be. Mining is wrong.  Name calling is wrong. Vilifying people for not agreeing with you is wrong.  I once wrote a whole researched piece on this topic and realized I’d just be preaching to the choir and so, I put it in the trash.  Those who are perpetrators of the drama in this fandom won’t see themselves as such and so, weren’t likely to change their behavior just because I wrote about it.  But, there are a lot of folks out there who get caught up in the drama like my friend and I did and it’s you I’m speaking to.  Be slow to anger and find joy in this fandom again.  It’s there.  There are a lot of wonderful, interesting, talented, and generous people from all over the world in this fandom, “Find your way back to us”.