If you are like me, you’ve been watching the Starz channel for possible glimpses of Outlander. The tease definitely was and the disappearance trailer gave me goosebumps! I’ve been searching for every image I can find. The sheer beauty of the costumes and scenery of the down-under clip left me speechless (and inspired to play it over and over). But, the trailer that I can’t stop thinking about is the one where the cast is commenting. The lines that keep running through my head are spoken by our beloved Ron Moore, “we are going to try to make you believe this really happened to this woman…This is a character you should care about…”
I’m loving the direction he is taking. Despite all the focus we fans tend to place on the sheer magnificence that is Jamie, Ron recognizes that this has always been Claire’s story. Her story to tell. He wisely asks us to come along and watch Claire make sense of the unimaginable. In that clip alone, Cait Balfe made me feel Claire’s resolve and anxiety as she adjusts her unfamiliar 18th century clothing, stiffens her spine , raises her head and “fakes it till she makes it” down the hall. I’m seeing the pragmatic, strong woman I loved in the books. As readers, we saw everything through Claire’s eyes, heard her thoughts and experienced her feelings and I am thrilled that Starz has decided to let us do the same. As a result, I believe the viewers will care about Claire because they’ll discover she is a woman worth caring about.
We can put ourselves in Claire’s place:
We may not have recently fallen through some standing stones, but I’ll bet we’ve all found ourselves strangers in a strange land at some point in our lives. People will care about Claire because on some level they will sympathize with her struggles. She is a woman alone trying to figure out how to survive without a rule book. There aren’t many of us who have not had to navigate our way in a new job, new place, or establish relationships with strangers. Viewers will know how Claire feels because we’ve all been there 18th century or not. They’ll admire Claire for her tenacity, pragmatism, and strength. They’ll feel sorry for her because she is a modern woman forced into a submissive role and that won’t sit well with Claire or the viewer.
Her love story:
She is a war bride. Many viewers will care about Claire because they know what it feels like to be separated from the person you love. They’ll understand the joy of her second honeymoon with Frank and feel the devastation of her losing him so soon after their long wait to be together. Viewers will admire Claire for her devotion to Frank and her determination to return to him. But, …what about Jamie? The viewers will struggle with Claire as she tries to not fall in love with him. It’s a battle they’ll both lose. What’s a woman to do?… The viewer will want to see how she’ll deal with her forced intimacy with Jamie and her eventual capitulation. Claire becomes a woman in love with two good men. Many viewers will be able to relate. And, the sex? Claire is a sexually confident woman and thank God Starz won’t shy away from some of the best sex scenes ever written.
Claire is a woman with strengths and weaknesses just like us. Readers can tell you why they admire her and some can tell you why she makes them crazy. But, most agree that she is genuine.
I believe the characteristic I most admire about Claire is her lack of guile. She’s a terrible liar. Everything she feels shows on her face. She isn’t motivated by greed, or fame, or political gain. She is just as she appears to be and what she appears to be is a kind woman who cares about the people around her. She is a good person. In a t.v. (and real-world) full of characters with ambiguous moral character, I think viewers will be ready to root for a character with a redeeming character. <g>
We’d like to be like her:
Viewers will care about Claire because they will recognize she is a woman to be admired and emulated. I recently asked some Caitriots (Caitriona Balfe fan club) to tell me what they liked and disliked about Claire. I received a lot of responses and I noticed that most of the responses fell into particular categories, like ….
Claire’s passion; a two-edged sword: The viewers of Outlander Starz will find plenty of reasons to admire Claire for her passion. If she believes in something she has no problem commiting. She blazes ahead and jumps in with both feet, often…to the detriment of herself and others. This impetuous-ness seems to be the thing readers most admire about her and yet, it drives them nuts.
She’s smart: The Caitriots found lots to admire about Claire’s intellect. They used words like; ingenious, clever, adaptable, and resourceful.
Her personality: It was noted that Claire could be stoic when she needed to be, but most times she uses humor to help her cope. Claire can laugh at herself and life. She is witty and at times scarcastic, but never mean. She just knows life is easier to swallow when you can see the humor in situations. We could all learn from Claire’s ability to laugh.
Her bravery: One of the most frequently cited of Claire’s admirable qualities was her bravery. Readers noted that no matter how scared she was Claire felt the fear and did it anyway. They said that she was a loyal and responsible person and that she had the courage to make difficult or unpopular decisions. They also laughingly noted that she doesn’t back down from anyone, “she doesn’t take anybody’s crap”.
Dichotomy: Claire doesn’t seem to fit the mold for women in either the 18th century or her own time. She is unapologetically unique. She is strong and yet vulnerable. She takes on traditional male roles and yet remains wholly feminine. She is strong-willed and yet pragmatic. She is compassionate and yet as ruthless as the situation requires.
There were two Caitroits that really summed up why Claire is a woman to care about, they said; “She makes the best possible life for her self with dignity, humor and compassion…” and she ” makes you think deeply about life, relationships and spiritualism; what’s really important…” We care about Claire because she is a woman who cares about the important stuff.
Starz and Ron Moore are betting that viewers will find Claire and her story fascinating and relatable. I’m betting they will too.