Action-packed and filled with dynamic human interactions, it is easy to overlook important details when scrutinizing the narrative of Outlander. More so when considering some details from the series of books on which the show is based have been deliberately left out. Fans of the books would have noticed the discrepancies between the book and the onscreen adaptation of the story.
These fascinating titbits and details—which have been missed—add depth to the viewers’ understanding of Outlander narrative. Here are just 10 of them, equipping Outlander fans to go back and check their favorite episodes to catch things they might have previously missed.
10 The stolen ring
Only book readers will know the true story behind the loss of Claire’s prized wedding ring. In Drums of Autumn, the fourth book in the Outlander series, Stephen Bonnet attacks Jamie and Claire and the rest of their crew, stealing Claire’s ring from Jamie.
The book’s version of the incident differs in that the ring is stolen from Frank, not Jamie. This decision was made by producers of the series to have the ring stolen from Jamie to make the theft more noticeable.
9 Frankly my dear…
While series’ viewers can understand Claire’s choice of Jamie over Frank, book readers will have an even better understanding of why Claire has made Frank her second choice. In the books, the character of Frank is far less likable. In the series, in season three, Frank’s affair with Sandy is highlighted. But in the books, it would seem he has a succession of women keeping him entertained while still married to Claire. It’s simply easier to like him—even if not all that much—in the series than in the books.
8 A love that knows no bounds
How far would you go for love? It would seem the love between Jamie and Claire has no bounds. It is revealed in the second book, Dragonfly in Amber, that Jamie and Claire found a special way to celebrate their love and remind each other that they were together, even when they weren’t.
They did this through physically engraving each other’s initials into their hands. The onscreen series leaves this part out of the narrative. It is alleged it did appear in season three, however, it had to be edited out.
7 The ring in the spotlight
Claire’s prized wedding ring has been the center of many narrative discussions and it’s no wonder. In the books, the ring has been bought by Jamie for her and is described as, ‘A Highland interlace patterns, the links engraved with tiny, stylized thistle blooms.’ It’s hard to picture such a ring! This might be one of the reasons why producers changed it for the television series. On screen, Jamie has a ring made for Claire using the key to his Lallybroch home. Terribly romantic!
6 The crucifix and the witch trial
Just when viewers thought the narrative couldn’t possibly get any more romantic, in steps Jamie to the outdoors court arena of Claire’s witch trial brandishing a crucifix – ready to save the day and his beloved Claire. The series shows Claire’s saving from this witch trial slightly differently, however. In the television show, Jamie enters with a sword, just in time to save Claire from certain death. In the book, by placing the crucifix around Claire’s neck, Jamie demonstrates to her onlookers that she can’t possibly be a witch and saves her from execution.
5 Dreaded date revealed
In the books, there is an exact date in the obituary section of a newspaper, known to Bree, hinting at which Jamie and Claire will be killed in a fire at Fraser’s Ridge. This date, 21 December, 1776, made it possible for them to foresee the tragedy and plan for it. In the show, however, the date in the newspaper clipping of the obituary has been smudged. This presents a dilemma for the couple who cannot tell when the dreaded fire will be.
4 The pearl necklace
In the wedding episode of the show, Jamie extends a beautiful gift to Claire–his mother’s pearl necklace–after the exchange of their wedding vows and after the wedding night which seals their union.
This is not so in the books, which sees Jamie give his wife-to-be the pearls before she has walked down the aisle. This giving of the family heirloom is nonetheless a special moment both on screen and in the book.
3 Laoghaire and the witch trial
The witch trial takes center stage in the story’s narrative. However, only book readers will understand the shock Claire experiences when realizing Jamie has been married to Laoghaire, the one who put her through the traumatic with trial and her arch enemy.
The traumatic trial is depicted in the first book and first season of the show. In the show, Laoghaire is the young girl whose advances are turned away by Jamie because of his love for Claire. She subsequently has a lot of anger towards him. Only the books mention an actual marriage to Laoghaire, which adds to the thrilling dynamics of the narrative.
2 The center stage reunion
While the reunion of Claire and Jamie, after 20 years apart, satisfied a deep longing in the series’ viewers hearts and imaginations, let’s face it, the book readers got to read about the reunion, and this experience was elaborated on in greater technicolor and with words and nuances the screen couldn’t quite capture.
In such a scene, the book had the advantage in that it was able to shed light on details fans watching on screen might have missed. Still, these details didn’t take away from viewers reveling in the special moment – Jamie and Claire in each other’s arms again. There couldn’t be a more special moment.
1 Out of the blizzard
Not everything can be fitted into an onscreen adaptation of a book. One such scene is when Claire braves an actual blizzard to save her beloved Jamie on Christmas Eve. This scene was cut from season four of the series and if book readers expected to see it, they might be left slightly disappointed.
Who wouldn’t want to see the leading lady face a storm for true love’s sake? This section of narrative helped fans to see further than the domestic, passive Claire to a fiery woman whose heart and passions come first!