A Few Words From An (Outlander) Fan

Oh, like many of you, I’ve been pondering Outlander author Diana Gabaldon’s, “A Few Words From The Author” tweet. 

Also, like many of you, I didn’t appreciate the delivery toward how some fans feel anticipating viewing the rape and torture of Jamie Fraser by Black Jack Randall in the  season finale episode 1×16 To Ransom A Man’s Soul.  Those of you who worry about how difficult it will be are not whiners or complainers. You’ve a right to your own feelings about what is to come, just as Herself does.  Apples and oranges the perspective of a fan and the perspective of an author.

I’ve no doubt the acting is exquisite and award-winning. I’ve no doubt the actors had to be excessively brave and trusting of each other, the crew, and the team.  Those are not the issues at hand here. Nor is Sam’s humor or Diana’s. Frankly no one has the right to tell a reader or viewer,  how to feel, how to process, and how to interpret the material. Once the characters and story spring to life in any medium, they now in essence belong to the individual reader or viewer.

Loving a book series and accepting what is within the pages, does not mean absolute love or fealty of every scene, every character, every choice, or every path that unfolds. Secondly in the written, the reader ultimately chooses what imagery exists in his or her mind’s eye. There is a choice to what level the material is let in. In the visual medium, there is no room for softer filters or integration. It is what it is. Take it or leave it. Watch or close eyes. Viewing is much more vibrant and dare I say real than reading. There is little room to move toward or away from content as desired or needed. Reading is also an active participation where viewing is a more passive engagement. Again, the experiences are vastly different from one medium to the next.

to the content, the elephant in all of this. Experiencing rape and brutality in the written is nowhere near what is experienced in the visual.

Being an avid lover of the Outlander series doesn’t mean I relish all the challenges the characters go through. They’re vehicles toward character growth and depth. We see the personalities dim and flourish under hardship. We see truly what each individual is made of. The fruits of devastation as it were. The meaning of grit, love, brokenness, grief, joy come flooding in. Gifts at the end of near mortal losses or actual deaths. These events are mirrors into the souls of people created from one and placed onto pages to fall in love with or loathe to the end.

All that said and knowing Outlander intimately since 1991, during the horrific events, I struggle in heartbreak, anxiety, gut wrenching awareness, whether by delving into the word again or into the visual medium. In general, rape and torture are not topics I wish to read about or see, yet I do and I will for what will be born out of them in this instance. And perhaps for the hope of justice, even revenge that might come upon the perpetrators against my friends, these characters so real.

I will watch. I am excited and scared. I will not enjoy seeing all that will be seen. I set my joy on the beauty from ashes that will come for these beloved friends.


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