Artistic Liscense…Looking Ahead to Changes in Outlander   40 comments



So, its been a busy week in Outlandia.  We have confirmation that Richard Rankin is our beloved son of the house Roger!


He has puppy dog eyes doesn’t he? And, have you heard his voice? The Scottish thrush …need I say more?

Starz has been keeping us looking forward to Season 2 with 25 days of #OutlanderOfferings and The Box magazine has kept us busy with pictures of Sam…

Read the rest of the article after the jump!



I. Got. Distracted. For a few millennium…I mean minutes, yeah, minutes, not millennium, cuz that would be …normal…sigh…(good Lort that picture #thud)

Golden Globes….The imminent arrival of Brianna…a holiday jumper party for the cast and crew…look at @Ginger_Jasper…awwwwww…


He’s a ginger pudding…get it? 😉

There were some lovely articles written about costume designer extraordinaire Terry Dresbach and Outlander’s costuming ( | | and today we got a live feed from the last day of filming with Sam and Cait.  Maril asked the questions and Matt was rescuing animated Santa Hats!


As soon as it was over, I’m sure the shippers, antis, and CSI were busy analyzing every word and look between the two.


Lots of stuff to buzz about!  But, one of the most discussed developments in the fandom this past week was this photo…


The question heard round the world was “What the heck is Leery doing in Season 2?” The book loving fans scrambled to find possible scenarios that would fit the future Leery story arc…there were a few educated guesses, It was rumored…I repeat…rumored that someone heard Leery was going to get her “comeuppance”, but in general fans came up empty. “Doesn’t Ron know what happens with Leery?” was the next question repeated throughout a variety of Social Media forums.

Per usual, the fandom “groups” were up in arms!  This particularly vocal group I’m calling the RON LOVES FRANK CAMP.

This RON LOVES FRANK CAMP rant about Ron’s adaptation on pretty much a daily basis.  It seems that he does nothing right!  He loves Frank and doesn’t understand that the story is about Jamie and Claire!  And, now he is bringing Leery back into the story! (the concern is expressed across all social media platforms, but the folks on Tumblr mince no words about their displeasure…they are very …uhmmm…colorful…)

When it all boils down to it, the issues fans have are based on their own personal idea of the story.  Ron’s ideas aren’t meshing with their’s and so, he is wrong!  The problem with this logic is that there are a lot of different fans out there with a lot of different ideas about how the story should be told!  How do you please them all?!  It’s quite simple really,… you can’t.

One of the things I find fascinating about people is how they interpret the same information very differently.  Seriously, someone is missing out on some really fascinating social research in this fandom! The following excerpt is a quote contributed to Diana Gabaldon about the “Leery in Season 2” scenario.


This statement is being used as proof that EVEN Diana thinks Ron is screwing this up!  I don’t agree with their interpretation.  These aren’t the words of a desperately unhappy author.  On the contrary, she has gone out of her way to express how delighted she is by the adaptation.  The cynical have commented that of course she has to say she likes it!  There is a lot of money involved and her reputation is on the line!  I’ve  never gotten the idea that Diana is motivated by money or fame, new experiences and new challenges, yes, but money, no.  If you have been following Diana for any length of time, you would know that she does and says what she wants.   If she didn’t like it she would say so. If you haven’t noticed she is VERY direct.  I think when she says she “generally” likes what they do she is being pretty open and honest!  I can’t imagine being able to let go of my story to someone else’s interpretation!  I’m afraid I would find it very hard to be rational and mature, which is exactly what Diana is modeling for us…rational maturity.

It would be irrational to think that her big books could be adapted word for word and scene for scene.  “But”, I can hear the Ron haters shouting, “he is taking away from what is really important in the story!  Who gives a flying fig about Frank!  I hate Leg Haire!  More Jamie and Claire!”

Here is the thing, Diana understands what I think a lot of fans don’t, the books and their story will always be there.  This TV series isn’t her story to tell…it’s Ron’s.  She has told us over and over again that they do NOT have to consult her, but that they are nice enough to do so. “But,” the concerned shout,”he promised to make a series that stuck close to the book and made the fans happy!”  Let me ask again…which fans?  So, what’s a writer/producer to do?

Any damn thing he wants.

It’s called creative license and it is the hard earned privilege of show runners.  In truth, it is why they are sought out.  Ron Moore fought for and sold his vision for Outlander to Starz and has earned his right to make creative choices.

After taking a beloved (but admittedly cheesy) ’70s space romp like “Battlestar” and imbuing it with cinematic scope, pathos, and philosophical and theological ruminations about the very nature of what it means to be human, it makes sense that Moore succeeded in adapting what, at first blush, seemed un-adaptable — a sprawling series of novels that blend historical fiction with time travel, romance, adventure and political intrigue. “Outlander” is based on the first of eight bestselling books penned by Diana Gabaldon, …

He is not unaware of fan expectations and has gone out of his way to involve the author.  Many show-runners have not and would not have done this.

…And its fans – Gabaldon’s series has sold 25 million copies – are a vocal, devoted lot.

Asked if he feels a daunting responsibility to Gabaldon’s readers, Moore is unruffled.

“The trick is, you try not to think about it in those terms,” he says. The lesson he learned from working on the “Star Trek” projects and on “Battlestar Galactica,” he says, is “it’s not a democracy. We don’t go out and gauge viewers’ opinions.”

With “Outlander,” Moore says, “We wanted to make as faithful an adaptation as possible, observe the spirit of the books, do the best television version that we can, and hope that fans embrace it.”

…While not one of the writers, Gabaldon is a consultant on “Outlander.” From the outset, Moore says, “we thought it was very, very important to embrace her.”

So Moore and his longtime colleague, co-executive producer Maril Davis (who has roots in Portland), spent a weekend with Gabaldon “before we even pitched” the project, Moore says.

“We wanted to get her thoughts. We’ve had a great relationship from the beginning. I would send her scripts, she gets to see footage, and she has sent us back some comments.”

We ARE embracing it, in droves, and the ranks of new fans continues to grow, despite the fact that Frank was given more time on screen,  Jamie was portrayed as less than perfect, Claire didn’t get to tell Jamie the reason she chose to stay, some scenes and dialogue were left out or changed, and  Leery will be in season two!

I find I get a bit incredulous when fans say they aren’t going to watch anymore…as they discuss the show…daily…post GIFS…vote…re-re-watch season one…again…really?  We feel deeply about Outlander and it seems personal to us and so, sometimes we get a little worried…I certainly did my fair share of worrying and wrote it for all the world to see.  It took awhile, but I finally let go of the book long enough to enjoy the show for what it is…a TV show based on my favorite books.

However, I still believe that conversation is good.  Discussion is good.  I certainly won’t stop talking about Outlander the books or the series.  I love them both!   Personally, I think the Leery story arc in the books is exciting, the betrayal we all felt as readers, the shock and disbelief.  I’m still mad at Jenny!   If Ron has chosen to go a different way, I would be disappointed and want to know why.  Maybe, he brought her back into the story to somehow intensify or set up the future?  The truth is I’m just as baffled on this one as everyone else and hope he really is taking a long hard look at that story arc.  But, to be fair, Leery isn’t one of Diana’s more fully developed characters, but then again, she isn’t done writing yet!   Is he trying to make her more likeable?  More complex? Give us a more interesting excuse for Jamie’s decision?  I guess I’ll find out this Spring just like everybody else.

I found this interesting article on criticizing in fandoms and thought I would share.

The cast and crew are taking a break and I think I will too!  Peace and Love to you and yours this Holiday season!  See you in 2016!



Posted December 19, 2015 by bethwesson in Outlandish Anticipation

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40 responses to “Artistic Liscense…Looking Ahead to Changes in Outlander

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  1. Thoughtful as always. Merry Christmas Beth to you and your family.

  2. Excellent analysis. Only one thing has changed since one of your quotes…Diana is now one of the writer’s. I think that says a lot! Also Ron has discussed expanding the roles of characters who somehow distinguish themselves (think he said that in a podcast). Case in point – Horrocks. So I’m not entirely shocked to see Leg Haire again at this point in the story to rile Claire up a bit (my assumption). Really enjoy reading your articles! Merry Christmas! Let’s hope we get a really special offering from Santa Starz (Brianna?)!

  3. Love your analysis…always. Merry Christmas, Beth! Thank you so much for these fun posts!


  4. You’ve done a great service to “us” readers and watchers–I agree with what you are trying to say. What intrigues me is that there is so much in these books, WHY would anyone have to vector in another direction???? 🙂

  5. I hope they might show something of what happens to Laoghaire after Jamie and Clair. Something made her fearful of men and sex. I was always curious about that.

  6. Beth – always enjoy your writing.  Happy Holidays!

  7. I agree with Cara Rule. We must remember that Outlander was Diana Gabaldon’s first book and she never intended it to be published never mind have it be an 8+ book series. In retrospect, she may feel that characters like Frank and Laoghaire, who have important relationships with our lead characters, should have been developed more. With the TV series it is now possible to give these characters more depth to enrich the entire story. I think Ron was right, in order for us to understand the true depth of Claire’s struggle, we have to see that the love she had for Frank was deep and that he was worth getting back to and being protected. I wanted to know more about what he was going through in his time so that when Claire returns to him, you have some context as to the depth of his pain and sense of loss. Tobias pulls it off brilliantly. I wouldn’t mind seeing what happens to Laoghaire immediately following the rescue of Claire. We know that Laoghaire has a liaison with a known womanizer, ends up being married off to one of Colum’s tackmen and is widowed in the aftermath of Culloden. I am sure she is not going to be given a lot of screen time, but a scene to show what the consequences are for her actions would be welcome. I think it is a miracle that they have been able to squeeze as much of the books in as they have given the limited number of hours they have and the fact that each episode needs to stand alone as a cohesive unit with its own arc. As you said, it is not as if the books have been taken away from us. As long as the TV show is believably in Diana Gabaldon’s world and the essence of the development of Claire and Jamie’s relationship and deepening of their love is preserved, I have no problem with the adaptation. I will say however, that “The Search” was a disappointment. Too much precious screen time was devoted to it and it left us short changed in “To Ransom a Man’s Soul”. Have a Happy Holiday.

  8. Excellent article. Maybe Ron has Leery in season2 just to remind viewers who haven’t read the books how this character fits in later. Maybe as a flashback?

  9. TV is simply a different medium- Ron has to develop engaging content for a television audience that may or may not have read the books. He also needs to keep actors relatively involved so he doesn’t lose them completely when he will need them in the future. I frequently tell the vocally miffed that if they want every word from the books…listen to the audiotapes with Davina Porter. Just as the audiotapes are a different experience from reading…so is the tv show. I’m just happy to have ALL of them in my life!

  10. Great article! I was amazed that people could get so up in arms over nothing more than a photo. Yes, Laoghaire was not in book 2 and is apparently in season 2 but no one outside the show knows in what capacity or how big her role is. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but it seems wiser to wait until you have more facts/information before leaping to judgement.

  11. I, like many others, agree with you to a certain extent. When “creative license ” moves a wonderful story from adaptation, to mostly fan fiction, and character assassination occurs to the point that book characters are barely recognizable and do things which are completely contrary to their nature, and the essential thesis of the story goes away, I don’t think it unreasonable for fans, especially book fans for 25 years (TV only fans don’t know anything else ) to raise red flags. There is a reason why fans are vehemently reacting negatively to a potential story change including Leohaire, and given some of the questionable changes on season one, I don’t believe that they are totally unfounded. We understand adaptation. But there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed.
    I’m hoping that it is simply the scene in which Collum addresses the witch trial with Claire, offers to punish Leohaire, then tells Claire that he has married off Leohaire. That would make perfect sense.

    • We are going to have to agree to disagree. I don’t feel the tv series has assassinated characters or taken the story too far from Diana’s .

    • I agree with you, Megan. Adaptation is fine, but but don’t change the spirt of the story of the characters. If he Jamie kiss Laoghair at the river, that would have been so against his character. Also If he doesn’t start S 2 in 1968, Spoiler ………

      We will miss one of most emotional scenes in the whole book, which is when Claire discovers Jamie’s grave.

  12. I am pleased so far. About Leery, I’ll stick with Murtagh’s comment to Claire, “Leery’s a lassie, and she’ll be a lassie at 50. What Jamie needs is a woman!”

    The most amazing thing about DG is that she likes us to see things from different points of view. The main series is basically from Claire’s point of view. The side novels give us different aspects of how things went. I see the TV series as yet another point of view. Some of the scenes on the series are actually better than the books. The out-takes are even wonderful and wished they had had time to include them……things we always wanted to know but were not privy to, because it was from Claire’s point of view and she did not know these things (part of the reason I like The Exile.) I particular liked the scene in the series on the night before Jamie took Claire back to the stones. It was so bittersweet, especially for those of us who knew what was coming, and it really was about Jamie’s sense of honor. Their reunion wasn’t like the book, but it had its own poignancy. That Sam Heughan is one of the best actors I have ever seen and he can express with his face in 1 second that would take the book 4 pages and never accomplish the same feel.

    I will allow Ron Moore some artistic license, because he has shown his metal, and he is worthy. It is another perspective of DG’s work and it fits her mold. I get it. I don’t like some things being left out, but when I saw the out-takes they left out, I realized that they can’t put everything in there. My friends who watch the show but have not read the books have no doubt about Jamie and Claire and are just as thrilled and intrigued with the show as I am.

    And we are all ready for more!

  13. You are a breath of fresh air. I sometimes want to back away from this Outlander fandom but your common sense, positive spin on things always reels me back in.

  14. Love the level-headed analysis on the creative license of showrunners. I’m not truly worried about Laoghaire. I think the producers may have thought she was a big enough character in Season 1 that non-book readers may wonder where she is in S2, especially if they see the rest of the Mackenzies. Now if things DO alter, then I suppose Ron Moore and co. will figure out a way to still make the S3 arc dramatic.

  15. The books are the books, and the series is the series! I love them both! If not for the series, I would never have read the books, of which I have finished 4.I hope everyone can enjoy them both and know they are 2 different entities. thanks for your insightful article. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  16. As an apologist of sorts for RM, Beth, none could do better than you. I am deeply offended by the idea that I should like what he is doing because it is an “adaptation” and he is a creative genius. I’m intelligent enough to make critical judgments about a book and a series; what I apparently can’t do is understand how his creative license is off limits to analysis and criticism. I know the show cannot replicate the books exactly, but I did not know that the EP could completely change plot and characters at will, making minor characters into more important figures and minimizing major characters. I guess, in effect, it’s legal plagurism. . .I suppose he said, “Gee, Diana, I really like your books. Let me “adapt” them . .I’ll borrow your character names, use a bit of your plot and create a whole new story, and your fans will love it because I’m brilliant, because I’m always right, and because I can, as you say, damn well do as I please.” Well, he has done as he pleased. . .some of us do not like it, some are indifferent, some think the show is wonderful and he is beyond reproach. While the scenes omitted were a disappointment, it was the new, “creative” stuff that I found to be weak, poor quality, and objectionable. Personally, he and his writers have ruined the TV story for me by adding scenes that do nothing to further the plot, by adding crass dialogue, by changing locations and by changing characterizations and their “arcs” (I’ve come to hate that word). I do not use tumblr, I do not make gifs, I have used Twitter rarely and I do not belong to bunches of fan groups, but I do follow articles about the show and a few blogs; RM and his writers may be entertaining the unread, they may have a wonderful relationship with DG, they may be superior beings in their professional world, but they have not done justice to one of my favorite books and my initial enthusiasm has waned. I don’t expect anyone to care. . .I realize I am insignificant. . . I just believe I have the right to say it.

    • Jody, Thank you for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts. We all have our opinions about the show and I find that mine have changed over time. I found I wasn’t able to enjoy the show because I was holding on too tightly to the book. It is not the book, but it is an enjoyable TV show. As far as being an apologist…I think he has earned the right to tell the story as he sees fit because that is what he was hired to do. Critiquing his creative choices certainly isn’t off limits, but to be fair most of what I see isn’t thoughtful critique. A lot of what I see fans express are personal attacks which you probably don’t see since you don’t appear to frequent social media venues. I’m making the assumption that you have not read my pieces that critique the series. I’ve written quite a few at I never intended to suggest that anyone MUST like the series, just that creative choices can not be based on fan opinions because I believe that is a battle that can never be won. I will say that I do not agree that he has created a whole new story or minimized major characters. I’m curious does the author’s being pleased with adaptation hold any value for you? Thanks again, Happy Holidays

  17. I was surprised that they did not show Loaghaire’s reaction when Jamie rescues Claire at the witch trial. She caused Claire to be arrested so I thought that “reveal” would be a natural follow up scene. Nothing more than showing her expression was necessary. Perhaps we’ll find out about that in season 2.

  18. Hi Beth, and a very Merry Christmas to you and your family! I really enjoyed your comments as usual, They were well reasonedt, fair minded, and very interesting. I am one of the lucky ones. Started reading the series in 1991 when Outlander was first published, waited somewhat impatiently during the long periods beteen books, and have done several rereads of the series. I also totally enjoy the TV series and think it is wonderful. It is a top notch product with high production values, very very good actors, wonderful scenery, and music…….need I go on. There are some episodes I like better than others, but I can say the same about the books. I have never been a “Frank hater”, and initially hoped Claire would get back to him when first reading the book. As Jamie’s character is developed I changed my mind, but always felt badly for Frank. The new season looks to be exciting and lush, a visual feast! I am so looking forward to it, and can’t wait to see my favorite characters, and story come to life, even if there are a few changes!

  19. Thank you Beth for your wonderful analysis. It is always such a comfort to read your notes. I dont comment much but I read your posts every time. You are right, there are things I dont like about the show diviations from the book but I love the show and its awesome acting and actors. So I just take the show as it is and enjoy it. I dont think Ron will mess it up. maybe Ron feels Starz might cancel the show due to lack of funds so he needs to place it in a way that if the show finishes earlier than organic, it will not be such a FULL STOP and leave us hopping furious. (shrug) only an opinion.
    Wishing a most Blessed Christmas and a Marvellous New Year to you and your family.

  20. *SPOILER FOR S3*

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a scene of Jamie and Claire running into a married Leoghaire in a village near Lallybroch. That would keep Leoghaire in the viewers’ minds, and be the perfect setup for S3, when Jenny tells Claire that she set up the wedding to keep Jamie at home. I don’t believe for a second that Ron makes reckless changes. I think he’s always planning ahead.

  21. As I ve said before–no matter how Ron and company changes the video version–we always have the books. We can go back to Herself’s words any time we want. SO the change it. . I’d never say I wouldn’t watch it–I look forward to an Outlander-fix each week. The story, the costumes, the added personalities of Frank and Murtaugh, the beauty of acting of Cait and Sam-facial expressions are incredible–I Love me some Outlander! However, as I ve said before, if it strays too far for me–I always have the books to get lost in!!! Go Ron, Go Merril, Go Diana!!! #Obcessed by anything Outlander!!

  22. Pingback: Sharks, Angst, and Mournful Things…A Look Ahead to Outlander Episode 2×07 | Outlander Online

  23. Hi Beth, goodness, I read and now I’m troubled. Not a drama…😊
    You wrote on book’s lines or issues they didn’t film. One: “Claire didn’t get to tell Jamie the reason she chose to stay”.
    But, which is the reason? I watched outlander S1 last october & then I read the first 3 book! But I can’t remember that reason or I don’t understand well what you mean…
    Beth, I need your answer as soon as possible or I’m not going to be able to sleep!!! 😊😊😊

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