Comic Con Outlander Panel 2017 – Apples to Oranges
Fans of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series are not shocked that the Starz television series is a huge success because people have been in love with Jamie and Claire Fraser for over 20 years, longer than the time period that Claire and Jamie were forced to be apart. That is true long-term commitment to a storyline. So far, there have been 8 published books in this series. Each book is the model for each television season. So season two, which premiered in April of 2016, was based on the 1992 novel called Dragonfly in Amber.
There were two distinct reasons why I loved the first novel, to experience the love story between Jamie and Claire and to feel like I got a vacation to Scotland. Everything changes in the second book. Our couple is not together, as in not in the same time period, for most of the story and France is the new landscape to tell this tale. It’s the strength of their relationship and the craft of the author that readers still tuned in even though the couple has been torn apart.
Which version did I enjoy best? Drum roll please….. the show!
Diana Gabaldon got to use her full range of historical knowledge by moving the characters to a new country and playing with their politics. I eventually got over the location change because they went back to Scotland but I was seriously depressed that my favorite couple was having such a rough patch and that they would miss two decades without one another. This is where I have to give the television show major credit for their adaption process. They used flash forwards so effectively that they were able to acknowledge that the couple ends up in two different places but for most of the episodes the actors are in some scenes together so there isn’t such separation anxiety for the viewers.
I read this series with the lens of a romance reader so the fact that my favorite couple has been separated, for what feels like a lifetime, pulls at all my heart strings. I want them to be happy but I know that there needs to be conflict to be a good story. I almost wanted to say that Dragonfly in Amber suffers from the sophomore slump syndrome but that is not quite the correct phrase. This book is the build-up for the long awaited reunion. This book puts readers through hell wondering if our favorite couple will ever get back together. Dragonfly in Amber has the difficult job of transitioning readers from instant gratification to embracing a large franchise and the long haul to a happily ever after.
After originally reading the end of the second book, I was tapping my foot with crossed arms in frustration. I swore that I was done with series and that I would pretend that it was a single book because I could convince myself that everything worked out at the end of Outlander. After talking with my friends who pushed forward, I was pulled back into the series by the lure of the promised print shop scene in the next book called Voyager. By the time this blog post is published, Claire and Jamie will be back together and Dragonfly in Amber will be a distant memory.
What isn’t a distant memory was the amazing Outlander panel at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con. I love this show so much that I entered the panel room at 10am in the morning to make sure I had a seat for their 6:30pm presentation. It was worth the wait because not only was the audience charmed by Caitriona Balfe (Claire) and Sam Heughan (Jamie) but they played the first episode of Season 3 and it reminded me why I’m forever an Outlander fan.
Columnist: Jessie lives in Oregon and writes to avoid the rain. She only feels compelled to kill her characters when she starts a new diet and if she hates the ending of a TV episode she’ll rewrite it to give everyone a happily ever after. Currently Jessie is an unpublished author but she works tirelessly to removed two letters – un – from that word.
Column book and movie tape drawn by Evangeline Owen