Before I take off on my Viking adventure, I just want to add my Congrats to Outlander on their win of the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Cable Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show!!! THE hit Scottish-set US show beat The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, and American Horror Story to win the fan voted award. Wow! What a huge accomplishment for this show, to beat out Walking Dead and Game of Thrones along with Doctor Who, all in their first half season on the air! Of course, all of the dedicated fans of the show made this win possible, so a huge round of applause and gratitude to all of those who so diligently kept up with the voting process to get the show this recognition and credit it well deserves!
Hopefully this award will bring the show an even broader audience than it already has! I hope too that the recognition will spur more interest in reading the Outlander book series by Diana Gabaldon that the show is based on. I have already sung my praises and appreciation for Diana’s work in all of my posts here regarding the book and the show so I am not going to repeat it… If you follow and read this blog, you already know what a huge fan I am of Outlander!
What I do want to mention here is the continuing on going debate over the category of Diana’s work? I also want to address once again, the debate on the criticisms of historical fiction and it’s worthiness of acceptance or acclaim as far as history in accuracy and authenticity go.
First of all, let’s review quickly the debate over what category Diana’s work should be placed in. Some people were and are upset, annoyed or confused about where her books and of course, the show, fits into various categories? I know that we have discussed all of this previously so this is basically a repeat of that early discussion. Diana herself has often repeated and clarified that she does not consider her work as “historical romance” and does not want that label attached to it. It was not intended to be a romance in those terms, and anyone who reads or watches for that specific reason may be disappointed or dissatisfied with the outcomes. Yes, there is a love story involved, a difficult and turbulent love and life story of two people… but it so much more than that. To label it as a love story- a romance, I feel, discredits the importance and value of the overall story. The story involves an in depth and intense walk through history and all of it’s harshest realities. There is nothing left sugar coated or softened for our sensibilities in this work, and hopefully the show will continue on that route. There are times when it is an incredibly dark and difficult read, and I believe that Ron Moore will continue to reflect this with the show. Some readers never get past book 3 or 4 because of this highly detailed and graphic portrayal of the past, and the fact that it becomes more about life in general during those times than just a love story between Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall Fraser. Already, many viewers of the show are complaining that they want more of Jamie and Claire… they want this epic love story, I think, without all of the other integral parts that encompass that story. It is my personal opinion that you can not have one without the other! It is all of those harsh details of life that make up the fabric of Jamie and Claire, that define their character and their identities as well as their choices in the future. So, it’s not really a romance, nor is it just historical in it’s content. It twists and bends from past to future and back again, and it does involve the aspect of time travel in order to do that. That puts it right into the Sci-fi fantasy realm!
Now, as to it’s worthiness or credibility in reference to historical accuracy. Diana Gabaldon has woven so much historical accuracy into this series that it is often hard to tell the accurate history from her well woven imaginative bending of that accuracy! One of the criticisms from readers of her books is that she provides too much in depth detail of those historical events! As I mentioned previously, they often times just want the epic and grand story of Jamie and Claire- they want nothing else to distract or sway from that one portion of the story. Once again, I make the point that this is so much more and so far beyond just a love story of Jamie and Claire! As I became involved in this series, Jamie and Claire became almost secondary to the larger scope of the story. They became simply, the vehicles, mechanisms or tools that Diana uses to tell this story of history and all that it encompasses. I did not pick up the book originally for it’s romance value, but for it’s historical value, what ever that might be. I do not watch the show for it’s romance value either and in both cases, I am not disappointed. I am thoroughly impressed with the historical content, with it’s ability to lead me down paths that were previously unknown. The series leads you down those paths and yet leaves you with an intense curiosity to find out more about those events and time periods which are covered in it! Does Diana at times bend the facts or adjust them to fit her story? Yes, of course she does, that is why it is called historical fiction! It is up to the reader to discern those facts or inaccuracies and search for more information on their own. In my personal opinion, that is the mark of a quality historical fiction novel! One that gives you an excellent story, provides you with enough accurate and authentic history but yet leaves you with a feeling of wanting to know so much more about the person, the event or the time that you head off on your own search for knowledge. Diana has done this in such an excellent manner, as many of her fans will attest to. I believe that Ron Moore is doing for and with the show, what Diana has accomplished with the books, spurring an interest in the real history of that time period. For that, they both deserve a huge round of applause and appreciation from historians and academics as well as the general viewing audience and fans of the books!
Ohhhh just one more thought and personal opinion from me before I leave… Yes, Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan looked wonderful! They deserve their fair share of credit and applause for bringing the characters of Jamie and Claire to life so well. For me though, it is not so much about Sam and Cait, their personal lives or their oft mentioned celebrity status, it is about the characters they portray in such well done performances that I do not see Sam and Cait at all in them while they are on screen! In fact, when I see Sam in Cait in real life, I feel like I am seeing two completely different people with whom I have difficulty connecting? This comment and observation includes most or all of the cast members, which is a high praise indeed, when you think about it. The fact that they are so capable of totally immersing themselves in the characters says a great deal about their acting abilities as well as the quality of writing and directing on the show!