The Outlander Ensemble

Jamie and Claire – Claire and Jamie. The whole story – passionate love – middle-age sex [must have more] it’s all about THEM doncha know.

GAG

It has gotten to a point where I am so sick of hearing about Jamie/Sam and Claire/Caitriona it’s hard to follow some of the groups anymore. Don’t get me wrong – Jamie and Claire ARE the heart and soul of the Outlander story. Sam and Cait have done a magnificent job of portraying these characters (even though they really don’t look like them and have terrible wigs and really aren’t written correctly [NOTE SARCASM] ) – it’s just that there is so much of “it’s ALL about THEM” to the point of dissing other characters/actors that it really rather turns my stomach some days.

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Does Caitriona deserve the recognition and noms she’s getting – absolutely. Should Sam be getting some of that? I think so – but then Hollywood is a mucked up place that has its favorites and cliques and if you aren’t “IN” well then dahling that is just too bad for you. Personally I’m far more excited by all the other projects Sam has going and not that bothered he isn’t having to waste time on red carpets. But that’s just me.

I have never quite understood the ‘readers’ (or the ‘viewers’ now) who say they get so bored with the subplots and other characters. They skim through to get to the good parts that are Jamie and Claire – because, after all, that is what the story is all about.

It is – and it isn’t – IMHO.

As I said above, yes, Jamie and Claire’s love/relationship/journey IS the core of the Outlander story. However, J & C aren’t who and what they are ONLY from their interaction with each other. Those other people in their lives shape them. Who they touch – who touches them; those experiences and situations outside their own little bubble of each other. For me, in order to really grasp how these other characters affect J & C, you have to understand them a bit – THEIR stories and how J&C affect each of them. It’s a very give/take deal – just like in real life.

This last episode – #Providence – had very little J&C in it – which really seemed to annoy some people. Richard Rankin absolutely owned this episode and he deserved every bit of praise that was being heaped on him. Yet, I saw a load of J&C memes and comments as if to drown out the kudos Richard was being given on TW and FB. Why?! Roger’s story – along with Brianna and Lord John – are HUGELY important. These three have tremendous impact on J&C both individually and as a couple. Tests of fire, pressure, pain, loyalty and love. These events shape J&C as individuals and as a couple going forward. J&C have a similar effect on those around them in this time of trial and crisis.

Just because Richard/Sophie/David got to really shine in this episode in no way diminishes what Sam and Caitriona bring to the table – if anything, it enhances it. I am so jazzed that we have so many awesome, talented performers in this ensemble to bring Diana’s story to life! I know, I know – it’s not exactly like the books. Stuff gets changed, moved around, done completely different (next blog) but I don’t care! I am – overall – loving the show.

Fergus and Masali also have impact in this episode and I so wish there was more time to see them on screen. These two are smart and dedicated to each other and have their own trials coming up. They are the next generation of love and have been shaped by observation and interaction with J&C from the time they were kids. The other characters – to me – tell J&C’s story almost as much as they themselves do.

All the other players and situations can give insight into the character and depth of who Jamie and Claire are – beyond the passionate, still having great sex in middle age, kick-ass characters we love to lose ourselves with. All these things are wonderful, but they aren’t ALL the story. (P.S. – People keep saying “Outlander isn’t some bodice ripper romance novel” and the show isn’t meant to be ‘soft porn’….yet all the complaints about not enough sex scenes seem to contradict that sentiment. You can’t have it both ways kiddos.)

I simply can’t understand why people would want to cast aside the ensemble that is Outlander and lose so much of, what are supposedly, the main characters.

As always, these are just MY Random Thoughts – discuss, disagree, share or ignore as you will.

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The Rings of Outlander

Rings, wedding rings especially, symbolize many things. Unity, the continuous circle of life and death, connection. They are usually made from precious metals and gemstones to show the value of such a relationship. Diamonds are favored – perhaps because of what they go through to become the gem that they are, much like a marriage must go through the trials and fires of life. More and more people are choosing metals and or gems (or lack of them) for specific meaning to them personally. A friend of mine in college picked out a ring that had a lighter emerald center stone with an amethyst on either side. It was a beautiful setting, unique and very ‘her’.

WARNING: possible spoiler(s) below for those that are show only people.

The rings Claire has in Outlander have been the center of many discussions. I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while (since Claire got her new/original ring from Jamie in the series), but life and other issues had me putting it aside for a bit.

 

rings of claire

 

Please remember as you read MY musings here that I am someone that can/does view the books and the show as separate, unique expressions of the same story.

The first ring is what is described in the books (pretty close). Jamie went out on their return to Leoch to get this ring for his bride with the limited funds he had available. Now, in the books, enough time had passed between the very difficult beginning to their marriage (near rape, Claire running off to the stones against Jamie’s orders, being captured, the tension between her and the men, her punishment, etc.) that things had settled a bit between them and Jamie disappearing to do this made Claire insecure again. In the series…they had not sorted things out yet and so it wouldn’t have made sense for Jamie to go get a ring and it wouldn’t have fit in with the alterations that were done to the story line as it related to Laoghaire.

Instead we got what I call the Lallybroch ring. (I’ll get to Frank’s in a minute). Most of the comments about this ring were negative. It was/is ugly, not special, and so on. Much debate back in S1 about this and much wailing and gnashing of teeth for not sticking to the books.

A couple of thoughts here. Claire is a very simple person when it comes to jewelry. All she wore as far as Jamie ever saw was the simple gold ring on her left hand. Jamie was a young man, an outlaw, with little money or immediate prospects. He took something valuable and precious to HIM (the key to his beloved Lallybroch) to make a ring for his wife. Not only precious (though inexpensive in terms of value) but a promise of all he hoped to give her one day. The ring is plain, but sturdy. There is beauty in the simple lines and meaning behind it (much like Frank’s ring). I thought it was a beautiful gesture and something Jamie (even book Jamie) might have done.

Frank’s ring is very plain, gold but inscribed. Claire and Frank were married on the eve of war when things were quick and needed to stay simple. It was still a token of their love and a promise of things to come. Not that their future together was remotely what either thought it would be at the time.

When in Ep1 this season, Claire lost the Lallybroch ring instead of Frank’s – I had a couple of thoughts about the change.

1) There was a possibility that the writers would not use the rape story-line with Stephen Bonnet. Of course that would radically alter many other things, but the writers and producers have gotten so much flack for the rapes, it was a possibility.

2) In the series, Bree would also recognize the Lallybroch ring as Claire had worn it every day of Brianna’s life. In some respects, it would be easier to spot/recognize than a plain gold band (though I’ll be honest, no idea how often gold was used for rings in that time/place). If they kept the Bonnet/Bree story, it would go much as it did in the book.

When Ep8 rolled around – obviously the writers had gone with the second option. At this point though, Claire has already been given her new (book) ring so what happens with the Lallybroch ring? My thinking, which did not go over very well in the FB group I posted it in, is that this might become the ring Roger and Bree could use. In the books, they use the ring with the red stone that belonged to Jamie’s father – but that ring is lost in the series.

I’m sure there are those saying that using the Lallybroch ring for Roger & Bree is a horrible idea because of what happened to her getting it back. True – that is one heart-wrenching memory connected to it. However, it is also something her mother cherished. It represents (in the series) the relationship Jamie and Claire have and all they have gone through to be together. Brianna comes to see just how special this love is over time and comparing it to the good marriage she thought Frank and Claire shared. It is THIS sort of relationship she wants for herself, not one of duty. It was also made from the key of Lallybroch, which is someplace that is important to Brianna (having been there, seeing where Jamie came from, meeting extended family) and becomes even more important later. I also think the simple lines and its origin as a key would appeal to the engineer/mathematician she is.

One last bit. I’ve seen many comments from people wondering why Claire would continue to wear Frank’s ring. Again, just my thinking from reading the books/watching the show, I believe because that was such an important part of her life and, like him or not, Frank made it possible. She had Brianna and Frank adored Bree no matter her origin. Claire became a doctor and then a surgeon – something hugely important/useful in the colonies and Frank supported that even if he didn’t care for it. Frank was a good man that Claire had deep feelings for, she wears it for memory and respect.

As always, this is JMHO.

Shaking My Head

The response to my last blog was mind-blowing and humbling. A huge thank you to all who read it and responded. The puzzling bit for me, was that out of the literally thousands of views and many comments/responses – I never got an answer to the question from the people that I was targeting with the post. SMH

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There is another thing I am constantly SMH over with this series/fandom.

Over and over again, the big complaint is “I wish they would stick to the material in the books! The episodes are so much better when they do!” Or some variation on this. Complaints about changing the story or making up something completely off book to fill in time when they have SO much they could draw on from the books. Again, I have laid out my thinking about this in another blog post The Book is the Book and the Show is the Show if you haven’t already seen it.

People want the series to follow the books more closely – dialog/story/characters – but only really fuss about something important to them (and everyone has their own opinion of what is special/important). Yet other times – they do NOT want to follow the book because they don’t happen to like it.

For example – STOP CHANGING THE STORY but how cool is it that Murtagh is still around!

I love the character of Murtagh and I think Duncan Lacroix is awesome, but I’m not thrilled he is on the Ridge. To me, this is Jamie’s time to come into his own and deal with life without that safety net. Having said that, I don’t ‘complain’ about it (though I might explain my position) because I think the writers have done a good job folding him into the story and I DO like the character. So…it is what it is.

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Keep in mind – there is just SO SO much in the books that simply can’t make it into the series and that everyone has their own ideas as to what is critical to see and what isn’t. Also, even when The Team DOES do that critical scene or bit or costume, not everyone will be happy because it isn’t ‘right’ for what is in their head. Another post that covers this is Differing Opinions: Books vs TV Series – the comments are enlightening as well.

A final thought: the show is going to do what it is going to do. Some people will love it, some people will hate it – either in total or bits and pieces. The people that have accepted that the show isn’t ever going to BE the books, seem to enjoy it a whole lot more.

Why Keep Watching?

In doing some restructuring of my blog page, I’m realizing I’m not very good at practicing what I preach. I tend to sit down to do a blog (usually for Outlander) a bit hot-under-the-collar about something. I’ll try to do better.

I believe I am a fairly intelligent person. For the most part, I can reason things out pretty well and feel I have a good amount of common sense to get me through life. But I am seriously boggled by something and just can’t seem to come up with a reasonable explanation. Perhaps those who participate in this particular phenomenon can explain. I’m not trying to be snotty or dismissive or condescending here, I honestly want to, try, to understand.

 

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If Outlander, the TV Series, annoys/pisses you off/irritates you so much that you feel you have to bash/trash/condemn it across social media – why do you keep watching?

I am asking a serious question here. I’ve seen some comment that they ‘hope it will get better’ or ‘hope the writers will get their heads out of their arses and fix it’ or ‘they hold out hope the series will come back to its source material’. Really?

Keep in mind, I’m not referring to the many people that discuss or have spirited debates about what they liked/didn’t like, the variations from the written source material or, what they feel, are changes to the base of the character. I’m referring to those people who spew acidic speech making it seem this is the most horrible show they have ever watched and the world will end because the creative team doing it is totally f*cking up what should be a totally simple accomplishment of cramming 44+ hours of story into approximately 13 hours.

The series is the vision of the creative team, headed by Ronald D. Moore, BASED on the books that Diana Gabaldon wrote. Ron only ever promised that they would stay true to the spirit of the story. Television is NOT a novel – it can’t do/be the things the written word can be. It has restraints and constraints that books don’t. Ron and the team are trying to create good television, not ‘recreate’ the books written by DG. I address this in The Book is the Book and the Show is the Show (if you care to read it).

Also, it’s not that people have issues with what is being presented in the series, it is HOW they express themselves that sets my teeth on edge. I did a whole blog on that too (Courtesy & Respect) so I won’t repeat here.

I would seriously LOVE to get feedback as to why so many keep watching the show when they are so obviously infuriated by it. I saw one comment saying if we (those frustrated/angry/upset) quit watching the show will tank completely and be cancelled. But, doesn’t all that negativity and nasty comments turn off potential new viewers? If people search through social media about this show called Outlander and see all the really horrible comments, aren’t they likely to be turned off without ever giving the show a chance?

I simply can NOT understand if something – anything – frustrates and annoys you so much why you would continue to spend your valuable and limited time on it? We all only have so many minutes/hours/days/etc. to spend on things…wouldn’t we be best served to spend that time on things that bring us joy or enrich our lives or enhance our understanding?

You love the books/characters/story Diana has created but the series is driving you mental with the changes/adaptations/shifts. I’m not saying “just stop watching and stick to the books you love” …. I’m seriously asking “why do you keep watching when you know it will only annoy you?”

Comments? Explanations? Help me understand – seriously.

If I were to die tomorrow – Would there be any sorrow?

I hope so. But I’m not a celebrity or anyone important….I’m just me.

Most of us have been there at one time or another; for some, far more often than is healthy. That place of utter devastation, that crevasse of self-loathing, that arid plain of feeling completely useless to ourselves or anyone else. That heavy heart at lack of accomplishment or that pit of despair from loss.

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This picture, a moment on celluloid, has always captured that for me.

Interestingly, it also comes from one of my favorite movies – especially this time of year. To me “It’s a Wonderful Life” is all about realizing that I (along with every person alive) have worth in this world. Some people choose to throw that worth in the gutter by committing evil acts and some just can’t grasp that about themselves, but I believe it to be true.

George Bailey wasn’t anyone special. Just a guy who had hard slaps in life, yet managed to keep moving forward. He had big dreams he never quite realized. He often felt let down, a failure, unable to provide for his family the way he wanted to – yet those were small moments in a productive life.

He had no real idea (nor do we) just how many lives he touched and affected. He just lived his life, doing what he felt was right, even when it wasn’t always convenient. More, each of those lives he touched, affected others, who touched others and the ripple continued. Like we each do every day. When Clarence gives him the chance to really see what others lives would have been like without him, it is a startling revelation of how ordinary acts can make a huge difference.

PTSD, depression and their related issues are too big an issue to include here. Maybe another time – if it’s something people would be interested to see.

I understand, all too well, the idea that just giving up on life would be far too easy some days. The situation I am in currently, I often feel like more of a burden to my wonderful partner than a helpmate. So many goals and dreams I’ve all but given up on…what is the point of continuing?

So, I’ll watch the movie again and remind myself that, while I may not get to see it, I have no idea how much that tweet or FB post or email or note might lift someone else and be helpful. That simple smile given to a stranger. All the little things I just DO because it’s who I am – that may make a huge difference to someone I’ll never know about.

I’ll remember that, just because some of my dreams haven’t been realized, I’ve been blessed in other ways I never imagined. Just as, to him, George’s dreary existence made his little corner of the world a better place – maybe I can do that too. I don’t have to be a superstar or a celebrity to make a difference. Alive or dead a may not have thousands who will follow all I say or do or would mourn my passing. All I can do is be true to myself and strive every day to be the best I can be and thankful for all I have.

I hope all my ‘friends’ on social media can find their ‘hope’ in something over the holidays. While the holiday season is great in many ways, it can also bring out the bad stuff in a big way.

However you celebrate, be blessed. If you need it, here is a hug to help get you through.

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EMBRACE LIFE!

Someone sent me these gems in an email today – and I wanted to pass them along to anyone willing to open their heart to the message. I don’t know if any or all of them are ‘true’ – but that really doesn’t matter. They touched my heart – I hope they will touch yours.

helenkeller1-2xI’ve seen too much hate for our fellow human beings lately over things that – should bring us together to find solutions rather than tearing us apart creating conflict. We all need to do better.

These moments can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere – if we just open our hearts and let them. Namaste.

 

Tissue recommended.

 

Today, I interviewed my grandmother for part of a research paper I’m working on for my Psychology class. When I asked her to define success in her own words, she said;

“Success is when you look back at your life and the memories make you smile.”

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Today, I asked my mentor, a very successful business man in his 70s, what his top 3 tips are for success.

He smiled and said; “Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, and do something no one else is doing.”

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Today, after my 72-hour shift at the fire station, a woman ran up to me at the grocery store and gave me a hug. When I tensed up, she realized I didn’t recognize her. She let go with tears of joy in her eyes and the most sincere smile and said;

“On 9-11-2001, you carried me out of the World Trade Center.”

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Today, after I watched my dog get run over by a car, I sat on the side of the road holding him and crying. And just before he died;

he licked the tears off my face.

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Today at 7AM, I woke up feeling ill, but decided I needed the money, so I went into work At 3PM I got laid off. On my drive home I got a flat tire. When I went into the trunk for the spare, it was flat too.

A man in a BMW pulled over, gave me a ride, we chatted, and then he offered me a job.

I start tomorrow.

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Today, as my father, three brothers and two sisters, stood around my mother’s hospital bed, my mother uttered her last coherent words before she died.

She simply said, “I feel so loved right now. We should have gotten together like this more often.”

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Today, I kissed my dad on the forehead as he passed away in a small hospital bed. About 5 seconds after he passed,

I realized it was the first time I had given him a kiss since I was a little boy.

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Today, in the cutest voice, my 8-year-old daughter asked me to start recycling. I chuckled and asked, “Why?” She replied, “So you can help me save the planet.” I chuckled again and asked, “And why do you want to save the planet?”

“Because that’s where I keep all my stuff,” she said

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Today, when I witnessed a 27-year-old breast cancer patient laughing hysterically at her 2-year-old daughter’s antics, I suddenly realized that,

I need to stop complaining about my life and start celebrating it again.

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Today, a boy in a wheelchair saw me desperately struggling on crutches with my broken leg and offered to carry my backpack and books for me. He helped me all the way across campus to my class and as he was leaving he said,

“I hope you feel better soon.”

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Today, I was feeling down because the results of a biopsy came back malignant. When I got home, I opened an e-mail that said, “Thinking of you today. If you need me, I’m a phone call away.”

It was from a high school friend I hadn’t seen in 10 years.

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Today, I was traveling in Kenya and I met a refugee from Zimbabwe. He said he hadn’t eaten anything in over 3 days and looked extremely skinny and unhealthy. Then my friend offered him the rest of the sandwich he was eating.

The first thing the man said was, “We can share it.”

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The best sermons are lived, not preached.

 

 

Drama and Politics

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*BIG SIGH*

As a general rule, I refrain from commenting about politics on social media for a couple of reasons. One, there are many people I enjoy interacting with that do not hold the same political ideas that I do. Politics are a f*cked up deal and I don’t want them dictating my personal interactions. Second, on Twitter especially (even with the increase in characters) it is difficult to have a really decent discussion about something as layered and nuanced as politics are. Just for example…I am pro-choice AND pro-life. Yeah, try to explain that easily on any social media platform where you don’t have tone, body language and other markers to help give and get the message.

Every person has an opinion, a belief system, things that are of vast importance to them and it is their right to express those thoughts and ideas. Social media has been a mecca for people all over the world to do just that. Yes…that includes celebrities. Actors and other ‘names’ are still just people with things that are important to them and the right, like everyone else, to express their ideas and opinions.

It can be very difficult when someone is a ‘fan’ to have that ‘celebrity’ espousing things they are dead set against. The current political climate is just nasty and having a celebrity you have long enjoyed and supported be on the opposing side can be frustrating. You don’t want to hear their political agenda, you want to hear about their current project or their great new character or nifty little tidbits about their personal life. There has been a lot of ‘hate’ in the last year on this subject, and it came up again pretty strongly in the last 24 hours.

Celebrities have every right to post, discuss, and support what is important to them – just like their fans do. If a favorite celebrity is on the other side of politics from you, there are a couple of options. 1) Just scroll past their posts about politics – don’t engage. 2) Stop following them on social media. If it is going to bug you that much, don’t put yourself through it. 3) Mute them when they are talking politics so you don’t have to see it. No one talks politics all the time and that might be an easy fix. 4) Try engaging them in a respectful conversation about your differences of opinion. Telling them to shut up, just do your job or calling names – never appropriate. It just isn’t. Have a little class and respect yourself enough not to look like a loon.

I completely support any celebrity that wants to post their feelings/ideas/political thoughts on social media – they, however, need to keep in mind a few things. People most often DO follow them for their ‘work’ (be it acting, sports, music….whatever makes them a ‘celebrity’) and not for their political leanings. That is what your public is interested in. You have every right to post political comments, just as your fans/supporters have the right to not appreciate it and stop supporting you. I also have the concern that, celebrities often live in their own little bubble – what is real for them may not translate well to their fans. With a huge following, in my mind, there is a responsibility to be accurate and informed when commenting. Thousands follow – and things can get ugly very quickly. How many celebrities have tweeted something out in haste only to be in a shit storm for a week? Everyone has to make their own choices in what they will or won’t post on social media – celebrities just need to understand that because of the numbers they command, some responsibility come with that.

One of my biggest frustrations that causes me great sadness in the current political climate, is how nasty people are being to each other. Harsh language, ugly names, slurs, threats…..it’s all so stupid! Families that are split; parents keeping kids away from grandparents; brothers and sisters not speaking to each other, people that have been friends through the worst sort of trials for years or decades at war with each other. WTF?! Really?

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We are where we are politically. Both sides need to grow up and start taking some personal responsibility. If you don’t like a political standpoint – see my points above – don’t attack the other person no matter who they are. All attacking does is put them on the defensive and throw out any possibility of sane conversation. There is a lot of bad mojo going on in the world right now, but until we can act like civilized adults and start working together instead of constantly fighting, NONE of it will get fixed.

Here is another really good thought to leave you all with. We’ve all seen it before, something to keep in mind these dark days especially.

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Namaste