Eurydice (eurydice72) wrote,
Eurydice
eurydice72

December Talking Meme - December 1

Topic (per falena84): Things I like about Outlander and things I don't like so much

I'm not sure which one she intended for me to address, so I'm going to talk about both.

In 2000, I was stuck at home with an infant, in a different country, surrounded by Craig's family and not my own. I'd been unemployed for over a year - the two months prior to moving to the UK, and then all the time since, because I got pregnant right after the wedding and didn't get my passport back with my residency stamp until I was four months along. In all my adult life, I had never gone so long without a job. I was pretty much cut off from a lot of stuff, because I wasn't driving, either. (Same reasons. I got my license later that year.)

To sum up: I was going stir crazy.

Enter my sister. K was a manager for Borders, and I didn't get to talk to her very often at all. She'd come over for the wedding, but after that, well, the time difference sucked. As did phone calls. And she didn't get online regularly until well after that. On one of the rare occasions we got to talk, she recommended a book to me. "It's time travel," she said. "You'll love it."

So I went and bought my very first copy of "Outlander." Except in the UK, it was called "Cross Stitch." And I fell in love with a Scottish redhead named Jamie Fraser.

I've said it before but Jamie is my favorite romantic hero in literature ever. I was drawn into the story, not so much because of Claire though I did really like her, but because Jamie belied a lot of the romantic hero tropes I'd grown up on. He had the honor and determination that I needed, but he was also not perfect. He got hurt. He had to be rescued. He turned everything on its head and made it impossible for me to stop at the first book.

I can't say the rest of the books have held the same magic for me. The first and third are my favorites, but while I've read the others, I don't devour them. The problem is that I don't find Roger and Brianna all that interesting, and they get featured more heavily as the series progresses. But when it's Jamie and Claire...well. That's all I need. It doesn't matter where they are. I know some people don't like the books after they leave Scotland, but I'm not one of them. Theirs is a real love story. They're mature, they fight, they love, they show weakness, they do really stupid things, but always, always, it comes back to how much they truly need each other.

The show is doing a good job so far in building that. It's still very early, but the chemistry between Balfe and Heughan is wonderful, and the writing is staying true to the spirit of the books. It has the same leisurely pace the books have as well. In some ways, it all feels like one grand impressionist painting that isn't done yet. Creating it is all about the individual dots of color, the single moments of time that elapse, the tiny details that sometimes seem superfluous. But as the picture/story/show unfolds, the beauty of the art is revealed. Minutiae means more in the grander scheme of things.

The show is successful in a whole host of other ways, too. The cinematography is STUNNING. Scotland is a gorgeous country, and they are definitely doing it justice. I've been to the Highlands four times, and it's not enough. The show makes me yearn for it even more. They've also done an excellent job in casting. I was never really a fan of Dougal in the books, but damn if Graham McTavish isn't making me think of him in an entirely new way. He's absolutely magnetic to watch and my favorite beyond Balfe and Heughan. Gary Lewis is also excellent (and I totally didn't realize he was Alator on "Merlin" until I did a rewatch recently).

That's not to say both books and the show are faultless. Far from it. Other than my general boredom with Roger and Brianna, there's been a sense of sameness in the most recent books, where certain scenes are way too reminiscent of earlier scenes and make the story drag even more. Gabaldon suffers from what a lot of popular writers do at this stage. She doesn't get edited as hard as she did with her first couple books. (As much as I love Stephen King, he falls into this category for me, too. And JK Rowling. Don't stone me. Though it's not just writers. It happens with directors, too. Look at every James Cameron movie since Aliens. Some might even say since the first Terminator.)

When the show returns, I truly hope there's a lot less of Claire's narration. It's grown tedious and unnecessary. I'm also a little tired of all her "I must get home to Frank" whining because I'm one of those who still doesn't like Frank. Tobias Menzies hasn't made him any more interesting for me, and until we got to the meaty Black Jack scenes in later episodes, I really wondered if the actor was going to be a huge hole in the show.

But when it comes to this creation, whether book or show, I really am a huge fan. I have all the books in both hardcover and paperback, and I've saved all the episodes on my DVR until they're available for me to purchase in either DVD or Blu-ray. In all the years of reading since, I've never found someone to replace Jamie at the top of my romantic hero list, nor have I been more invested in a love story. I wonder sometimes if I ever will, or if "Outlander" will always hold that spot. I guess time will tell.
Tags: december, outlander
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