One of the most daunting tasks someone can take on when creating a new television series or film is doing so while adapting its story from a famous book. This was exactly what the showrunners for Outlander had to do when bringing the tale of a WWII nurse that time traveled back to Scotland during the Jacobite Rebellion to television screens everywhere.
Because of the immense difficulty that comes with adapting a book of that caliber for viewers to watch play out on their televisions, there will always be differences from the books and what happens on screen. Sometimes, it's actually for the better and makes for a better viewing experience than if they were to adapt each episode word for word from the books.
This is typically the case for Outlander, but there are certain things that were cut from the books when adapting the series that left fans either confused or irritated. Granted, this may be because of the depth of their love for the book series they had read long before Jamie and Claire Fraser came to life on our televisions. But there were some things left out from the books that were altogether disappointing or just plain strange.
Read on to see the 25 Weird Things Cut From Outlander (That Were In The Books).
25 Murtagh Didn’t Survive Culloden
Murtagh is very different on the Starz series than he was in the books. For one, in the books, he was described as a much shorter man than the actor who portrays him on the show. But there were also elements to his story in general that were far and away from what is depicted onscreen.
Not only was he more of a background character, but he also met his ultimate demise at the Battle of Culloden. But because Murtagh became a fan favorite early on in the show, the writers decided to go a different route. That’s lucky for us because we can’t imagine the Frasers without Murtagh around.
24 Claire Didn’t Make Her Own Dress When She Returned To Jamie
In the third book of the Outlander saga, Voyager, Claire purchases a designer gown from Jessica Gutenberg that resembles a dress from the period that she would be returning to in order to reunite with Jamie.
It was described as, “a deep, tawny gold, with shimmers of brown and amber and sherry in the heavy silk.” But in the series, Claire constructs a blue dress of her own with raincoats that is meant to resemble a dress of that time.
23 Brianna And Roger Sent Claire Off At Craigh Na Dun
When Claire heads back to Scotland to go back through the stones in 1968 to finally reunite with her love, Jamie Fraser, she leaves Brianna with Roger at their home in Boston and goes there by herself. This was so she could leave without a dramatic, sad goodbye. At least, that’s what she decided to do in the television version.
But in the books, Brianna and Roger actually show up at Craigh Na Dun to say goodbye to Claire. They even dressed in period clothing for a proper sendoff.
22 They Never Showed The Battle Of Culloden
Something that was never described in the books was the big and infamous Battle of Culloden. The most we hear about it is Jamie waking up in a fog, not remembering what happened. We actually hear more from Claire’s point of view about her life than his on the battlefield.
But on the show, we see plenty of glimpses of what actually occurred during the battle, and how Jamie ended up with a deceased Blackjack Randall on top of him when he woke.
21 Jamie Broke Down When He Saw Brianna For The First Time
It makes sense that in the third book when Claire and Jamie reunite and she shows him photos of their daughter, that he was very emotional upon seeing her for the first time. He actually wept in Claire's arms when he saw his beautiful daughter for the first time.
But Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie Fraser, wanted to take a different approach when seeing her photos. He felt that Jamie would have an internal breakdown rather than outwardly show his emotions. This did not please all of the fans, unfortunately.
20 Claire Found Out About Willie From Lord John Grey (Not From Jamie)
Jamie tells Claire about his illegitimate son, Willie, very quickly after they reunite after 20 years apart. He didn't seem to feel the need to hide him from Claire, which only strengthened their bond in that moment. It was a wonderful scene with them talking about their two children together, Faith and Bree, and also Jamie’s son, Willie.
But in the books, Claire finds out about Willie in a much more dramatic way. Lord John Grey is actually the one who spills the beans.
19 Claire Fended Off A Wolf Outside The Prison
In the first book of the Outlander series, Claire actually defends herself from a large wolf after Jamie kicks her out of the prison he was being kept in.
It is a big moment for Claire, one that showed her taking charge instead of being a damsel in distress like she has been portrayed as time and time again. She actually ends the wolf’s life successfully, too.
While they were planning on filming the scene, it was too difficult to shoot so they cut it from the script.
18 They Carved Each Other’s Initials On Their Hands
In Dragonfly In Amber, before Claire goes back through the stones at Craigh Na Dun to return to her own time, Jamie and Claire carve each other’s initials into one another’s hands. This was never shown in season 2, but there was a scene in season 3 that almost made the cut that showed the carvings.
On The Artemis, eagle-eyed viewers actually caught sight of those carvings on their hands, but it was eventually edited out, much to some fan's dismay.
17 Frank Had Many MANY Relationships
On the television adaptation of Outlander, Frank is depicted as a much different man and husband than what we read about him in the books. He only had one romance with a woman named Sandy, who he actually fell in love with.
But in the books, it was hinted that he had many new friends over the course of his marriage to Claire. None of which, he was actually in love with, that we know of. While Claire was still in love with Jamie, it was still like a slap in the face.
16 The Ring Jamie Gives Claire Was Different
In a sentimental and romantic gesture, Jamie actually had Claire’s ring made out of the key from his home, Lallybroch, before they were married.
When you go back to the first book, though, he actually purchased the silver ring he gave Claire that was described as having, “a Highland interlace pattern, the links engraved with tiny, stylized thistle blooms.”
In season 4, Jamie does give this described ring to Claire to replace her stolen ring that was taken by Stephen Bonnet, which was a nice nod to book fans.
15 Jamie Didn’t Know Laoghaire Was Responsible For The Witch Trial
Jamie had absolutely no idea that Laoghaire was the one responsible for the witch trial Claire suffered through after they were married, in the books. He didn’t find this information out until 20 years after those events when Claire returned to him and she found out about his marriage to Laoghaire.
But in the series, Jamie finds out quite early on of Laoghaire’s role in the trial. Yet, he still marries her when Claire is back in her own time. It was a bit of a headscratcher as to why he would do that, knowing what Laoghaire had done to Claire.
14 Brianna Finds Out About Jamie When Claire Breaks Down At His Gravestone
Bree first learns about her real father, Jamie Fraser, when her mother is weeping at his gravestone. Claire then decides she needs to tell her daughter the truth about her past and her marriage to Jamie. She then proceeds to sit her down and tell her about the long and romantic story.
In the series, however, Brianna finds out in an entirely different way, thanks to Roger Wakefield and his plethora of information. This may cause drama at first between mother and daughter, but they eventually work it out.
13 Frank Is Hardly Mentioned After Claire Goes Through The Stones
One of the most obvious changes from the books to the television series is how large of a part Frank plays in Claire and Jamie’s story. Throughout the books, he is only mentioned when necessary, which is hardly ever, especially in the first two books.
But in the show, he is much more sympathetic and involved than what book fans are used to when it comes to Frank Randall. It was a large departure from the Frank Randall from the books but still meshed well with the story that was told.
12 Laoghaire Wasn’t With Colum To See The Old Fox
Claire’s nemesis was always Laoghaire, who couldn't let go of her "love" for Jamie, and in season 2 of the show, the two had a confrontation while visiting Jamie’s relative, the Old Fox. In Dragonfly In Amber, though, Laoghaire was never a part of their story.
Yet, Laoghaire traveled with Colum to represent Clan Fraser in season 2, where she ran into Claire and Jamie and claimed she was apologetic about her actions. Little did Claire know, she was still vying for Jamie’s affections.
11 We Never Get Jamie’s Point Of View
Throughout the entire Outlander book series, Jamie’s point of view is never something the readers get to enjoy. It is always from Claire’s perspective.
But in the midseason premiere of season 1 of the show, the story starts to be told from Jamie’s point of view for the first time ever. He narrates the episode and we get a glimpse into his emotions and views on everything occurring around them. This was especially interesting since he and Claire were at a crossroads in their relationship.
10 Jamie Uses A Crucifix To Prove Claire Is Not A Witch
During the infamous witch trial in season 1, where Claire and Geillis are both accused of witchcraft, Jamie comes to the rescue and saves Claire in the middle of the courtroom. He draws his sword and saves her from her certain demise.
In the books, however, the trial takes place outside and Jamie rides in with a crucifix. He puts it around Claire’s neck to prove her innocence of witchcraft. It's an action-packed and heart-pounding scene that ultimately saves Claire's life.
9 Frank Accuses Claire Of A Relationship With Joe Abernathy
Though Frank has multiple romances in the books, during a huge fight he has with Claire before his car accident, he actually accuses her of a relationship with her dear friend, Joe Abernathy.
It is ironic since he is the one who has been carrying on with different women. When Claire calls him on that fact, he is shocked to learn that she knew about them all along. It also wasn't a great look for Frank since he seemed to have a prejudice against Joe Abernathy and his son aside from what he was accusing Claire of.
8 Claire And Frank Had Romance After Her Return
One of the biggest turning points in Frank and Claire’s marriage on Outlander was when they decided to live together, but lead separate lives, including romantically. It was unusual for them, too, since before she went back in time, they were a very passionate and affectionate couple.
But in the books, their separate lives never happened. Claire still stayed with Frank all throughout their marriage, even when he was having relationships with other women and despite the fact she was still in love with Jamie.
7 Stephen Bonnet Stole Frank’s Ring, Not Jamie’s
When the pirate, Stephen Bonnet, attacks Jamie and Claire with the help of his crew, he steals one of Claire’s prized possessions - Claire’s ring from Jamie.
But this was entirely different in the books. In Drums Of Autumn, he actually ended up stealing Frank’s ring instead.
The writers changed this plot line because they felt Brianna would easily recognize her mother’s ring from Jamie when she comes across Bonnet, rather than a simple gold band that could be anybody’s.
6 Fergus Was On Trial For Attacking A Redcoat
In book 4, our very own Fergus actually goes on trial for an altercation he was in with a Redcoat who tried to steal his horse. Not only does Jamie come down from Fraser’s Ridge for this trial to defend Fergus, but even Brianna attends the trial before heading back to the ridge.
This was never explored on the show, however.
It was later explained that Marsali was actually the one to attack the Redcoat. It would have been interesting to see that play out on screen.
5 There Was A Definite Date For The Fire At Fraser’s Ridge
Bree in the books actually knows the exact date of the fire that occurs at Fraser’s Ridge, ultimately ending the lives of her parents. It is December 21, 1776.
But on the show, to amp up the drama, it looks like the date was actually smudged on the document they found, so they could not see the exact year it occurred. This will make their decisions about the future all the more complicated without knowing when the fire will actually occur.
4 Jamie Became Captain Of The Artemis From A Mutiny
Jamie actually becomes Captain of the Artemis after he had convinced French sailors to assist him in taking over control of the ship in an all-out mutiny. After this, he cleverly turned the tables and threw them in the hold with the Artemis crew.
The events went down much differently on the show, though, with a storm claiming the life of Captain Raines and Jamie leading the crew and helming the ship after that. This was most likely an easier approach for the showrunners to choose in the end for the storyline.
3 Claire Unknowingly Came Across Lord John Grey On The Porpoise
In Voyager, Claire crosses paths with Lord John Grey on the Porpoise during their time on open waters, but unknowingly since she had not seen him in over two decades. But instead of the two coming across one another on the ship, the show decided to have them meet again in Jamaica, at the Governor’s Ball.
This led to tension between the couple and John Grey when Claire noticed Grey’s attraction towards Jamie. It actually made their "reunion" of sorts more fun to watch, in all honesty.
2 Geillis Gained A Lot Of Weight Over A 20 Year Period
When we were reacquainted with Geillis Duncan after 20 years had passed since we last heard from her in Scotland, she looked far different than the Geillis we once knew. In the books, she was described as having gained a lot of weight over the course of 20 years.
But in the show, she still not only retained her youthful appearance but kept her lithe figure intact, as well. No wonder she so easily lured those poor young men who were not long for this world.
1 The Second Book Begins In 1968
In a confusing turn of events, the second book, Dragonfly In Amber, began in 1968. Claire had somehow gone back to her time and now had a daughter named Brianna and was with Frank once again.
This was disorienting for readers at first, and it wasn’t until later that we had flashbacks to Claire’s time in Paris with Jamie to explain how she ended up back in 1968. It was an interesting structure choice but was not the easiest to adapt.
But at the start of season 2, it begins in the ‘40s when Claire first returns through the stones and is in the hospital. After she goes to Boston with Frank, we then flashback to her time in Paris. It was much easier to follow this way.