Outlander has managed to amass such a faithful fan following mostly due to the beautiful love story of Jamie and Claire. It's truly an epic romance that literally travels through space and time, breaking all sorts of barriers time and again. And as much as we absolutely love the dynamic between the two main characters, there's something to be said about Claire's first love and husband.
Those who've read the books have more than a few reasons to dislike Frank. However, the show made a series of departures from the books, and as such, the man we see on the show is very different from the one we read about. In order to understand why there's such a divide between those who read the books and those who've only watched the show, let's take a look at 10 things about Frank and Claire the show left out.
Age and time are very much a pivotal part of both the show and the books. After all, the whole series of events we saw developing throughout the years never would have happened if time-traveling wasn't a thing. Something that's related to this topic is the age of the characters.
From the series, we do know that Claire is four years older than the love of her life, Jamie Fraser. However, it is only through the books that we find out there's a considerable age gap between Claire and her first husband. A decade, to be more precise. It doesn't come as a surprise the show leaves this fact out since it doesn't add much to the main plot.
During the first couple of seasons of the show, the showrunners and writers made a point to continue to give us Frank's point of view in the story. This was one of the first steps the show took in order to make the character more likable. If you get someone's perspective on a story, you automatically understand them better.
In the books, however, Frank pretty much disappears once Claire goes through the stones. We don't hear anything from him, what he felt, or how he acted once his wife disappeared. Not knowing what Frank was going through was a big step in making sure people didn't care much about Frank, putting emphasis on Claire and Jamie's story alone.
Once Claire went through the stones, leaving behind her marriage and the actual love of her life, she found herself in Boston again. She was pregnant with Jamie's child but married to Frank, and she was forced to learn how to adapt herself to a reality that was no longer her own.
There's no denying that, in spite of all his faults, Frank had redeeming qualities. His choice to stay married to Claire, try to make a broken relationship work, and raise a child that wasn't his is definitely not for everyone. Frank truly loved Brianna like she was his own flesh and blood, and he provided her with a happy childhood. In the books, the family actually had two pets, a couple of dogs called Bozo and Smoky.
Once again, we find ourselves speaking of how much the series changed Frank's character in order to make him more likable and truly express his feelings towards Claire. While in the show we get to see an extremely worried Frank searching for his wife when she disappears, the books take a different direction.
There's no mention of him trying to find Claire once she disappears. In fact, we know very little about what his feelings surrounding the whole thing are. By not giving the character an opportunity to show what he's feeling and what steps he's taking to deal with it, audiences find it very hard to sympathize with Frank.
Those who've watched the show may be lead to believe that Frank, while far from being a saint, made a very brave decision when he stepped forward to remain married to Claire and raise a child that was not his own. Throughout two decades of living with a woman who didn't love him anymore, he persevered.
However, he did fall in love and begin an affair with this woman, which is morally questionable but understandable. In the books, it all goes down differently. Frank is depicted as a total womanizer, who takes several mistresses while he is still married to Claire. This is much worse than taking a mistress who he loves and plans to marry, and it angered fans who first met Frank by reading the books.
In spite of everyone being in love with the idea of Claire and Jamie being in love, the show does a great job of not completely ignoring the fact that Claire was once married to Frank. Not only was she married to him, but she also loved him, and we get to see this love story play out to a considerable extent on the show.
But the books don't go out of their way to display this relationship. They seriously downplay Frank's role in Claire's life, as well as in her heart. Sure, Claire's true and eternal love is Jamie, and there's no denying that. But she did have a life before him, and Frank was a big part of it.
It's understandable that anyone would be jealous if they were to marry someone who was previously married to another person. Jamie loves Claire to death, but he's still reticent when it comes to hearing about Frank, and he resents Frank for being the man who got to raise his daughter, Brianna.
In the books, however, Claire has no problem talking to Jamie about her first husband. There's a scene where she goes into detail about the life she had with him and the things they built together. This is actually the only instance in the book where we get to warm up a little bit to Frank and recognize that he was an important piece of the puzzle.
It's already been established that Frank isn't exactly the most likable person in the books. It's enough that he doesn't seem to be bothered to search for Claire once she disappears, and takes a lot of mistresses while the two of them are still married. But the books don't stop here in their campaign to make Frank a horrible character.
After Claire returns from her life in 18th century Scottland, she enrolls in medical school and becomes fast friends with a black colleague, Joe Abernathy. Frank frowns a lot upon this relationship due to Joe's race and accuses Claire of cheating with him. Just awful.
Frank is an intelligent and cunning person, and throughout the course of the series and the books, he's had more than a few tricks up his sleeve. Frank never could quite recover from the fact that Claire fell head over heels for another man, and he never got over his hatred and resentment for Jamie.
The shadow of Jamie and Claire's deep love for each other was always looming over their marriage, which prompted Frank to, in the books, make a fake gravestone for Jamie. He did it probably in the hopes that his wife and daughter would see it and forget about Jamie, which was extremely shady.
The show made a very bold move once it decided to bring back Frank after he died. This happened on a Brianna-centered episode that gave audiences a deeper look into the relationship between the two. The episode dives deep into a true father-daughter bond in order to show that Brianna truly has affection and love for the man who raised her.
In the books, Frank isn't offered this kind of redemption arc. Once he fights with Claire about taking their daughter away and meets his demise on a car crash, he never comes back in any way.