The Kingdom of Outlander…a cautionary tale



Once upon a time, there was a kingdom that had a great treasure. It was a big book that the subjects never tired of reading. The book was beloved and its story celebrated.  The Kingdom’s subjects read the book and talked about the book and bonded together over the book.  It was a beautiful thing.

From the very beginning, the subjects said “It isn’t fair we keep this book all to ourselves! We are being selfish! Surely we can share the joy our book brings with others!”  So, the story was shared all over the world and the kingdom grew and the people bonded again over their love of the book.  The more the merrier was the cry!

There had always been a wish in the Kingdom to see the characters in the story come to life! “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could actually SEE our story not just imagine it?! ” they said.  But alas, the book was VERY big and no one could figure out how to show the story in a way that would make sense and yet, still bring the viewers the same joy it had for those who were readers!

Many years passed and the story remained on the pages of the book and in the readers’ imaginations. The Kingdom’s readers had almost given up hope when the author of the beloved book made a pronouncement! “The Story will be told!  We have found a magician who has had a vision and knows how to make our Big Book come to life right before our very eyes! ”  The subjects of the Kingdom rejoiced! The Kingdom was alive with news of the magician’s progress and finally the day came and the citizens’ dream of seeing their story come to life came true!  They saw their well-loved characters speaking and moving and it was a wonder!

But soon, as sometimes happens, the shiny newness of the dream began to fade. The miracle seemed less like magic and more like a trick that anyone could do!  The citizens began to grumble, “But, he left the best parts out!” and “That isn’t in the book” and “Our hero would never act that way”.

The magic version of the book had brought new members to the Kingdom, members who had never read the book, but they loved the story too! But soon, as sometimes happens, the people began to divide themselves into groups.  The citizens grumbled,”But we were here first!” and “They don’t know the story like we do!”  The grumbling got louder and soon there was discontent in the Kingdom.  And, even though there were citizens who loved both versions of the story, some people began to argue with each other and the new citizens were made to feel less than the old.

What the citizens didn’t understand was that the magic the magician wielded depended on the continued goodwill and desire of those who wished to see it.  When the interest faded, so would the magic. The squabbling and discontent and outright attacks on those who “weren’t real fans” of the book, took its toll on the magician and his magic. Soon, as sometimes happens, the people destroyed the very dream they had longed for because of their intolerance.

The moral of the story is this, “a book belongs to no one”. You can’t harness what it makes others think and feel. People bring their own stories with them when they read or see a tale and, as ALWAYS happens, no two people will ever hear or see or read the same way. Kindness, tolerance and respect generate a magic that helps keep dreams and goodwill alive.


80 thoughts on “The Kingdom of Outlander…a cautionary tale

  1. Jules

    Amazing! I have to quote you back to you:
    “The moral of the story is that a book belongs to no one. You can’t harness what it makes others think and feel. People bring their own stories with them when they read or see a tale and, as always happens, no two people will ever hear or see or read the same way. Kindness, tolerance and respect generate a magic that helps keep dreams and goodwill alive.” This was my favourite part! Thank you,

    a new citizen 😉

  2. Excellent Beth! – (too weird we have the same name – Ryna is actually my middle name but what my blog is under). We seem to be thinking along the same lines today! Love the way you narrated this – spot on! Always enjoy your posts

  3. geejay

    Well said, I couldn’t agree more. Your blogs and articles have been to me the one’s that have reflected my thoughts and feelings about Outlander, the show and the book. Thank you for your common sense on things Outlander.

  4. Nina Hanssens

    Confession of a new citizen.

    Reading a book is a very private matter, watching a TV show is not… Do the old citizens feel somewhat invaded in their privacy? Maybe… All I can tel is that, after watching a few tellings of the story, I got so carried away that I plunged into the lines of the old book myself so I could absorb the story even more. I went on the “birdwise communication” and, yes, felt like a citizen soon!
    For me it was as if I had entered the kingdom riding two horses. The one was not better than the other, I love them both and – franckly- I couldn’t do without any one of the two!
    So if all citizens could embrace both the book and the telling (and with this the Magician and his “marvels”) for what they are … We might still become one big happy fa(n)mily?!

  5. Judy11

    Beautifully put Beth!!! I hope the Magician continues to work his magic and that the kingdom finds happiness and respect with the many views the people of the kingdom have and express – all are valid.

  6. mahailia

    I’m not sure what kind of citizen I am, I discovered Outlander about 3 years ago, and have read all the books at least twice, and am on the third reading now. I did not discover any of the “fandom” and blogs until after Reckonings, but have enjoyed all of them. I don’t do Twitter, but make a few comments here and there on FB and a couple of blogs.
    I love the STARZ series, have a few complaints about what they left out and what they changed, and I agree with most that there was not enough time devoted to the actual ransoming of Jamie’s soul. Other than that, I have really enjoyed reading the reviews, and the comments to them, and have the series recorded and watch over and over and over again, it is my favorite pastime.
    I am far removed from the intense bickering, condescension, and hate in the kingdom. I guess this is why I am commenting here, to add my perspective. I really doubt that the showrunner will loose the magic, and I know Herself is very pleased. Long live the kingdom, and Twitter is the devil! #EmmysforOutlander, #EmmyforSamHeughan
    And I love your blog!

    • Thank you. Diana commented today that folks are attacking journalists for not reading the books before they interview and are coming off like rabid fans. Her point is that they are causing ill will that may effect the accolades and attention needed to continue to produce the show.

      • mahailia

        thanks for explaining that, I must have missed it. “Rabid fans” can definitely turn off the media, media do NOT like to be told they are not doing their job. This fantastic show certainly needs no ill wishes thrown upon it! Keep up the great work!

  7. Maury L.

    You’ve done it again! If only the new and disgruntled citizens could truly absorb the magic of the old book and the new vision. All worlds, new, old, real or imagined were meant to grow, incorporating the new with the known, thus creating greater richness, expanding knowledge which, hopefully, would breed tolerance in all things. Perhaps the new citizens will decide to live in the magic rather than create a wasteland. Long live the magic, the magician, his apprentices and the creator of the book!
    And……..long live your blogs

  8. Jackie Campbell

    Like the other responders here, I keep saying “why can’t everyone just get along!” I am a citizen but see the magic as a special gift to enjoy. I have never been in a fandom before and have loved the activity, the people, the glamor, the technology, etc. I simply cannot understand the nastiness and fighting over it. I avoid the FB pages for the most part because who needs that negativity! My fan activity is fun, relaxing, amusing and enlightening. Your blog adds to those positive things so Thanks, fellow citizen!

  9. harriet zeff

    Yes, the fair maiden, Lady Beth, had enchanted glasses that made her see clearly and magic potions that allowed her to think maturally and non combative. The villagers hope these treats will spread across the land, leading to peace, harmony and ratings for all!

  10. I have been reading the books for twelve years so I suppose I am an ‘old citizen’. But I love the TV version, perfect casting bringing beloved characters to life even the not so beloved character! Great job done by the magician and all involved in ‘outlander’ no complaints and can’t wait until the second series

  11. Brilliantly said. Brilliant. It is incumbent upon us to remember to honour the work of Ron, Maril, Terry, Sam, Caitriona, Tobias, and all the hundreds and hundreds of people who sweat blood and shed tears to bring this story to us. Gratitude. Unending gratitude…

  12. MrsSwordman5K2U

    Bravo! Very good. I love the books, I love the show. Do I have questions? Yes. Do I have doubts at times? Yes. But I will continue to read. And I will continue to watch. Diana, will always way your storytelling. Ron, I definitely love your work…as well as that of your lovely Wife. And Bear, well man, I’ve loved all your music across all your work, keep it up.

  13. Elisa

    Thank you for saying so creatively what I’ve been thinking for a long time now. The venting and attacks do no honor to themselves or the kingdom.

  14. smilesonwheels

    I am one that has read the books & love the show…… Do I wish there were specific scenes or conversations from the book that were in the show… Yes, but I am one that doesn’t nitpick or harp (as some of the other comments from others I’ve seen on other boards do) I see the the changes that has been done (as DG suggested we view them… possible additions to the book that could’ve/ might’ve occurred but weren’t added. And from that standpoint I see we have gotten a fantastic addition to a book we love w/ a visual Jamie & Claire & Murtagh, Dougal along w/ Rupert/Angus. Not to mention some Outstanding STELLAR acting by the cast. Can’t wait to see what season 2 brings with DIA.

  15. I am reading books now loving my vision of Sam, Cait, Tobias, Graham, Duncan, and all the actors as who I am reading about.. When I read something not in the show, I see it as a bonus, an extra scene I get to read. I cannot fault this series for adapting this book they way they have… I think most comments I read are loving this series so much they would never stop watching if one scene was not shown like the hot springs. We are all on this adventure together and this will hopefully be a long ride.. I think Caitriona said on one of the red carpets, the show is parallel to the books, they are each loved on their own merits.

  16. Mary G

    Well said. I only heard about all the negativity from your previous blog. It’s a shame people have to dwell in that. Think positive and be thankful for the wonderful talents and hard work of all those involved. Thank you Beth for continuing to keep the “positive” out there.

  17. MarshaS

    Quite well put!! Again I am impressed with your way of expressing the mood and view that should be Outlander😊

  18. Karen Smiley


    I wondered if you had an email address where I could send a quick (positive) thought on your blog. And ask a question. You have had such wonderful insights over the past few months, that I wanted to give you a couple of thoughts back at you, as they say. I am the shy type and not one to post or comment on blogs.

    Best regards and than you for the time you have spent on the series, Karen

  19. Marty Thornhill

    Wonderful and well-said! Totally agree with you! As usual, your blog is thoughtful, well-written, and right on the mark. We all love the characters and I know they wouldn’t want us to squabble with each other (WWJD? Jamie, that is.)

  20. GGW

    Thanks Beth! I enjoyed this. I am hopeful that the magic will last for many years and that I’ll be an able ambassador of the kingdom! 😊

  21. Reblogged this on sassypants25 and commented:
    It is always hard when you love something to let others into your world, but everyone has a place. Every perspective has value. Everyone deserves to enjoy a great book, movie, t.v. show, play, or piece of art.

  22. Denise

    I love your blog too – and am so happy I recently found it!! I like your Kingdom comparison… there’s always a moral to learn 😉
    I’ve been a citizen since 1991 and I love all the new fans joining our ranks. I saw the weekend banter with Terry and Herself, and I completely agree! Some of us need to take a step back and remember a few things we (most of us anyway) learned as kids:
    *If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!
    *Don’t judge me until you’ve walked in my shoes.
    I think all of us can remember a time when we worked on a project, created something, or wrote something, and some dolt with no social graces opened their mouth and made a comment that hurt to the core… right? We ALL need to remember what that felt like!! For MANY years I’ve tried to envision how these characters looked & sounded. I am absolutely blown away by this cast, and I’m sure I will continue to be!! I was never able to picture Dougal clearly. I reread Outlander again – Graham McTavish doesn’t fit the description in the book, but I absolutely cannot picture anyone else! He IS Dougal. The same with Rupert, Angus, and Murtagh. I think it’s wonderful gift to be able to picture their faces and personalities when I read the books. I can’t think in any other terms but this being a win/win for everyone involved with the show. I’m so very happy to see the careers of these fine actors skyrocket! Truly, I’m just filled with gratitude that I’m experiencing it! 😙💕💕

  23. Well, if Herself is pleased with the series as created by the Magician, then All Should Be Well In the Kingdom! The access given to the fans by all involved, was optional; they didn’t have to “bring us all in.” But what a lovely gift to us the inclusion has been! But sometimes these gifts of technology and inclusion can be turned on the providers, because so many people feel that they are intimately included in everything these days, and that their verbosity will be the ultimate in decision making–not so people! And thank goodness! We are readers and viewers and have unlimited access to sites in which to discuss our opinions–and that’s all they are folks–just our opinions! We have not been hired to write the books (as if anyone else COULD!) nor to create the episodes on Starz (as if anyone else COULD!). Ask questions–sure. Share feelings and opinions–sure, in a courteous and respectful manner–not as professional critics! Frankly, my dears, we should give a damn and follow the examples of interaction provided by Herself, the Magician and his “magical” assistants, and the actors, by being courteous and genuine–and yes, THANKFUL! And as citizens of the Kingdom, we are responsible for putting out this message with other citizens at every opportunity because we need enough years to see all of the books on screen, and that takes ratings in the real world. Interlopers and poseurs be gone!

  24. Pat Rasmussen

    This is a fabulous post and my sentiments exactly. Diana’s favorite fan comment today drew a few really rude comments. (the one where the author of the comment said she was healed by the book). I hope everyone reads this blog today because you are just right – the magic is in each of us. No one person should be telling another how they should feel about the books/show. Thank you!!!

  25. Pat Rice Talma

    Beth, everyone has to be careful that they don’t kill the goose (Ron et al) that laid the golden egg (Outlander series) or all we’ll have is a dead goose!!!!

  26. kathyi

    Love your Blog! Thank you for continuing to share your thoughts. You always give me something to ponder further.
    I don’t think everyone has to agree that the TV Series is the best thing since Outlander was first published. As you previously pointed out so well, everyone brings their own history to their reading and watching experience. I think the feeling of entitlement that seems to be everywhere these days, makes people believe they have the right to bash whatever they disagree with. Respectful discussion is becoming an old art form, very sadly. Maybe it will disappear as more and more people think it is their right to state their opinion as fact, and promote it as The Right Way To Think AND YOU ARE WRONG! Let’s hope these people ‘s comments don’t negatively effect the future of the series.
    Keep on writing Beth!

  27. Nancy Skellenger

    As always, Beth, you have a way of voicing what so many of us feel. I came late to this fandom, but after reading all 8 books, I love what Ron & Co have done with Outlander. I’ve missed a few fav quotes, but I realize that decisions must be made. Plus, I’ve enjoyed the expanding of all the characters..even Frank. This is the story of Jamie & Claire & their Family…real & extended. That is what I enjoy about this book series. Bravo to Diana for creating them & Ron for bringing them to life! Hope we have many more years! And Bravo to you for your insights!

  28. Carla

    I read Outlander 3 years ago and after that, I bought the whole 7 books set and read them one after the other in my Kindle. So I do not remember which book is which! For me it was just a very very long Outlander book.
    Since movies based on books are always adaptations it´s impossible to include every detail, dialog and scene so I purposely avoided reading Outlander again (was tempted but refrained…)
    I wanted to enjoy the TV version without the constant comparison and I truly did enjoy it !

    Now, waiting for season two is the perfect time to do it, and rediscover those details that were left behind….

Leave a Reply to bethwesson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s