by Michelle Miller
My obsession with Outlander came really late. My sister and I have always been voracious readers, and right before season 1 was to air, she mentioned that I just had to watch this show. She explained that it was based on a series of books. Since we both tend to like the same authors and types of stories, I heartily agreed.
Then the first episode aired…
Claire and Frank as a happy couple, trying to start a family while on holiday. Claire wishing to have the stability in her life to have a place to place that vase. Frank’s zeal for history, particularly his own ancestors, which is only matched by his love and lust for Claire. All the makings of a great romance story. Then Craigh Na Dun…
Wait. What ???
All of a sudden Claire is not in the 20th century anymore. There are soldiers shooting at people – even herself. As she is trying to make sense of it all, so are we as the viewers. What in the world is going on? She sees someone who looks exactly like her husband by a riverbank, but quickly realizes that this man could never be Frank. As she comes to that realization, she gets hit on the head and dragged off by a Scottish Highlander. This is getting juicy! She has no idea where she is or what is happening, but she does know how to tend to the sick and injured. She is put to use in that capacity almost immediately to tend to young Jamie MacTavish. And here we go…
Sam Heughan appears on the screen. From that moment on, I was completely and utterly and absolutely hooked. It’s not just the rugged good looks and knee porn and the Scottish accent. Jamie is immediately recognizable as an honorable man – someone who you would want on your side in a fight, but also someone who would protect you and keep his word once given. I got that out of just the short time he was on screen in this episode. Sam’s acting skill is on display.
When the episode was over, I was still glued to the screen. Is that it? Do I have to wait another week for another episode? OMG How will I survive?
With each week that went by, the episodes just kept getting better. Claire finds out that she has somehow been transported back to 1743. Claire yearning to return home to Frank and the life they were building. Frank searching for her and annoying the heck out of the local police. Claire having to use her medical skills to make herself useful so that she can have a wee bit of freedom. Claire is drawn to Jamie in spite of the fact that she is already married and in love with her husband in the future. The first appearance of Laoghaire. Colum, Dougal and the other Highlanders and their skepticism of Claire’s story. They are sure she must be an English spy. The first time Jamie says “Sassenach”. (*SIGH) Black Jack and his connection to Jamie and Jack’s utter evil. And then The Wedding. Oh, my….There has been so much said about the wedding, that I won’t say anything lengthy here – just that it is simply one of the best hours of episodic television ever filmed. Finally, episode 8 rolled around and ended with a cliffhanger and a looming Droughtlander until the second part of the season.
What was I to do ???
At this point, I remember that the series is based on books. I’m thinking they must be recent books – I have no knowledge of how many books when they were published, that the story is still being written. I just know that I have some time, so I might as well buy the first book and read it.
So I went down to the local Target and bought Outlander. I started to read. Whoa… this book is amazing. This author is amazing. I’ve never read something written so beautifully. I devour the book like a ravenous wolf – not unlike the one Claire kills – getting past what has been on the show and on to the end. Wentworth Prison. Jamie’s torture. Claire’s search. The rescue. Father Anselm. The recovery. By the time the second part of the season was ready to premiere, I had finished Outlander and was ready for more. I watched with trepidation as the story unfolded on film. To Ransom A Man’s Soul is one of the most gut-wrenching hours of television ever produced. The flashbacks to the torture and rape are so hard to watch because I am so invested in these characters and their sacrifices to be together.
As soon as I got midway through the first book, I knew that I was obsessed. I had to get ALL the books immediately. I went to the local Barnes & Noble as Target only had the first book and bought them all (or what I thought was all) in small paperback form. The next months were spent reading and savoring the story. I just couldn’t get enough. At the end of the 7th book, I found out about MOBY. It was only available in the big trade paperback and hardcover. I don’t like hardcover books, so I splurged to get the trade paperback. Wow…it just keeps getting better.
By the time the second season came around, I had finished all the Big Books and had read some of the novellas. I am spoiled. I can’t go back to any of my former favorite authors without thinking of Diana Gabaldon and how good this writing is.
I have since read all the Big Books twice (Voyager three times) and can’t imagine my life without this wonderful story. I devour any tidbit about the series, follow all the stars on Twitter – which I did not even use prior to a year ago – and fangirl out with my fellow Sassenach Sisters over every detail.
I know I’m obsessed, but I’m proud to be an Obsassenach.