After getting Jamie and Claire safely on the ship to France, I purposefully avoided social media for a few days. I wanted to let the hoopla die down. I didn’t want to hear the inevitable bitchfest that would most certainly ensue. Of course, people are entitled to their own opinions, I don’t mean that. I just was not up for all of the comparisons ad nauseam. I wasn’t ready to face all of the They Should Haves and How Could Theys and But They Left Outs.
Diana Gabaldon encouraged readers to “Put Down the Book”…I really wish more readers had heeded her words. Because, let’s face it, the woman’s a smart cookie.
Of course a book and a televisions series are entirely different mediums. Television shows are restricted by budgets, time constraints, and, well, more limitations that I am qualified to itemize. Books are only confined by the reader’s imagination. But both mediums have a place, both serve a purpose and, dammit, both deserve some respect.
I view the books and the show as two distinct but related things. You know, kinda like my kiddos.
My oldest likes manga and All Things Japanese and is a night owl. She loves to read and is messy and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about fashion. I kinda love that about her.
My mid-kid spends hours picking out clothes. She likes to garden and to cook (no idea where she gets that *blinks innocently*) and to adopt stray animals. She also rolls her eyes a lot, and her sarcasm can wilt a soul.
My son eats and breathes sports. He rises with the sun in the morning, makes the sign of the cross whenever he hears sirens in the distance. He also thoughtfully informs me when he feels “hug deficient.” He melts my heart.
And just as I try not to compare the My People but instead love them for who they are, that is also what I try to do with the books. I can love how, in the show, Claire’s pregnancy is revealed by her increasingly queasy stomach in times of stress. (My non-OL-book-reading husband even noted that Claire was starting to puke with alarming regularity.) But I can also love that in the book the quiet revelation of hope and new life is found in the warm, life giving waters under the abbey. I don’t have to choose…just like I don’t have to pick a favorite child.
The television show is not a “bastardization” of the books. The changes they make take nothing away from the books. You can enjoy both. You don’t get your Outlander Fan card taken away if you can’t angrily recite every deviation from the books. Honest.
It makes me a happier fan when I allow the books and the television show to work in the way that they can…then I can sit back and better enjoy the distinctions instead of itemizing them for an angry post mortem. Good Lord, if all I did all day was try to hyper-analyze the differences I (and those around me) would be miserable!
Life is too short to waste time in a hate-filled Book Versus Television Deconstruction. There are too many Really Important Things In Life to get riled up about. So, for me at least, I will treat the show and the books as I would my children. I will watch proudly as they find their footing, as they grow and evolve. I will proudly tell others of their exploits. But I will not compare them or try to make them into clones of one another.