Have you ever loved a story so much it hurts? You feel so passionately, you get a hole in your gut and it feels like your heart is being ripped in two.
That’s how deeply Outlander has affected me. I’ve been fanatical about various shows, characters, couples and the like in the recent past, but I can’t remember the last time something pierced my soul the way this show does.
Outlander actually debuted early last fall, but having never read the books, nor being a regular Starz watcher, it passed under my radar. I didn’t discover it until mid-December. The upside was being able to watch the first eight episodes in quick succession, without having to wait a full seven days for the next episode. The downside is that most of the fervent online activity has subsided.
I had read that Outlander‘s leading man was one of the most beloved romantic heroes in print. I’m not a huge fan of romance novels (even though one of my favorite people writes them for a living), and my heart has hardened over the years, so I was skeptical going in.
And now? No character has fascinated me as much as Jamie… MacTavish? No. MacKenzie? Nope. Fraser. See? He’s so fascinating we don’t know his real name until the seventh episode. And even now, those of us who haven’t read the entire series of books don’t know much of his history and are yearning for more.
I hate getting pulled in like that.
In an effort to alleviate the suspense of the first half-season’s cliffhanger ending, I bought the first book. Chronologically I’m only on chapter 2 (Claire is still in post-WWII Britain), but I can’t stop skimming ahead.
Therein lies another problem: the sweeping saga. Throughout such a story, the characters, the locations and circumstances change. The youth, innocence, and beauty that initially drew us in mature and evolve into something else, making us long for those early days.
[The best analogy comes, surprisingly from Arrow. Even more surprisingly, fromTommy Merlyn. He quotes a movie critic who says, if he could do one thing over, it’d be to watch his favorite movie for the first time.]
It looks like there’s some good stuff coming when Outlander returns in April. The final scene of the opening credits, of Jamie and Claire riding together across a lush, green plain symbolized their beautiful relationship. The actual scene hasn’t aired yet, but I’m fairly sure which event is being depicted. It truly is the most wonderful of moments, and it captures the feeling completely. But it occurs in the middle of the first book.
There’s much more to come, and that part isn’t pretty. In fact, it’s so disturbing, I’m worried it will affect my love for the show. So far the producers have done a superb job of adapting the book to television, and one has to have faith that these scenes will be treated with care.
At least I have to wait only three months for the second half of the first season. That’s a bit more tolerable than the five months original fans have had to wait.