The drama around Brianna and Roger’s relationship at times seems forced and contrived. The quarrelsome pair have been criticized for their very ‘Scottish’ temper, and readers of the Outlander book series have commented on how different their characters are in the books to the series.
Love them or hate them, the couple has been the center of much debate as of late, but before coming to a final verdict on them, it’s a good idea to see how they differ in the books compared to the screen.
10 Jamie's emotions over Brianna
In the book, when Jamie sees photos of his daughter for the first time, in Claire’s album, he weeps in Claire's arms. This is an emotional moment for him and he isn’t afraid to express this emotion.
However, on screen, actor Sam Heughan takes a different stance, hardly showing any outward emotion at his first glimpse of his beloved daughter. Fans of the books who expected a dramatic emotional breakdown from Jamie on screen at this pivotal moment were probably left somewhat disappointed.
9 The truth about Jamie revealed
Brianna finds out about her father’s true identity under different circumstances in the book than she does on screen. In the book, she witnesses her mother, Claire, weep at her father's gravestone and subsequently learns that Jamie is her real father.
On screen, however, Brianna learns the truth in a very different way. Here, Roger Wakefield presents her with a plethora of information which reveals her father's identity. This initially causes substantial drama between mother and daughter, which is eventually ironed out.
8 A definite date
In the books, Brianna knows the exact date at which her parents are expected to perish in a fire at Fraser's Ridge. This telling date is specifically highlighted as 21st of December, 1776. In the TV series, however, the date has been smudged in the newspaper, as has the year at which the tragedy occurs.
This leaves Jamie and Claire somewhat in the dark about the impending fire of doom. They are left without knowing when the fire will occur and therefore have to carefully negotiate their way into the future to prevent this from happening.
7 Brianna's 1968 appearance
In the books, Brianna makes an appearance in 1968 when viewers are introduced to Claire, who has gone back to her time and is with Frank, with a daughter named Brianna. Readers find this introduction to Brianna (which begins with the start of the second book, Dragonfly in Amber) somewhat disorienting.
They have to read to find out how Claire ended back in 1968… and alongside Frank (who is a bit of a crank in the book accounts of his character). In the series, Season 2 begins in the '40s with Claire's return through the stones and her appearance in a hospital where she awaits recovery.
6 Brianna's character
The actual character of Brianna differs slightly in the books to her character in the series. In the books, Brianna begins as selfish and unsophisticated. As she ages, she matures and becomes a likable character. However, this transformation only happens in the last few books.
Fans of the books have expressed discontent with the portrayal of Bree in the TV series, who many have described as dramatic and irritating compared to the more believable character of Brianna in the books.
5 Temper tantrums ahoy!
Let’s face it – television benefits from a heavier focus on visceral drama than black and white narrative in a book. This is because text can convey subtleties of meaning which screen has to convey visually. In many instances, for writers of Outlander, this has meant upping the action a notch or two.
Fans of the books have commented that Brianna and Roger are a little more hyped up on the screen. Specifically, comments have been passed about their volatile tempers on television and about how narrators have portrayed them as stereotypically Scottish with a 'temper edge.' They are somewhat tamer in the books.
4 Roger and Brianna's parting
Roger and Brianna’s parting in the book was not as amicable as the TV series' viewers might expect it to be. In the books, when the two parted, Brianna stormed off and shouted that Roger could do whatever he wanted. Roger then later shouted to her from outside her window that he would come for her…this was why she awaited his return.
The TV series omits Roger’s intention to go back to Scotland and return to Brianna through the stones. For this reason, viewers are left with the impression that Brianna believes he won’t return.
3 Prophetic subtleties
There is a lot of prophecy and speculation in the series, and this often differs from book to TV series. In the books, there is a prophecy that the new King of Scotland will be born from Lovat’s line. According to research and some snooping done by Geillis on Claire and her lineage, the last surviving member of this royal line is Brianna.
The TV series changes this prophecy somewhat. This time it states that a new king will arise with the death of the child born when the prophecy is 200 years old. Geillis’ scary interpretation of this is that he must kill Brianna to hail in the new king!
2 To save Brianna!
Geillis is bent on killing Brianna to bring to pass a historic prophecy which he believes points to her death as the key to releasing the future king. In the TV series, Jamie and Claire rush to Jamaica to thwart Geillis’ evil plans.
However, in the books, the Frasers travel down to the island of Hispaniola to save their beloved Brianna. In both TV series and novel, Geillis is stopped. In the book, Claire bashes his skull in. On screen, he is stopped by a machete.
1 Brianna's brother
Brianna has a brother, from a different century and mother. Her mother Claire finds out about William, Jamie’s son, differently in the books than on the screen. In the TV version of Outlander, Jamie tells Claire about how he fathered a son while she is in the 20th century.
However, book Claire finds out about William much later. In the novels, her source of information is Lord John Grey, who tells her that Jamie has a son by another woman.