Highlanders vs Vampires

2 August 2017

As anyone with any knowledge of me knows, I have a ‘thing’ for vampires. Long before they hit mainstream popularity – again – these creatures have intrigued me. They are compelling in their complexity while being simple predators. So many different directions an author can go with them by tweaking various points of vampire lore…….ok I’ll stop now because it really isn’t vampires per se I wish to discuss here.

I recently left my co-pirate and our boat to travel back to Washington State to help some friends with a major move. Vancouver, WA to Colorado Springs. Major because these people are not quite pack-rats but close and not very organized. They had been in the same house for years and are some of my oldest/dearest friends, so on a plane I hopped. They gave me an amazing deal on an extra vehicle they didn’t want to try to move which gave me transportation. With that, I went (between the moving packing due to my friends schedules) for a quick visit with my sister’s family and to help my dad do a yard / estate sale. All told, I was gone three months. Very glad to be home.

I tell you this because, while I was with my dad, he took me to a half-off book place. WOW! Not a safe place for me to hang out as I am addicted to the written word and being on a boat, hard copy books just don’t do well due to moisture and lack of space. However, they have pocket books on sale for 25¢ each on Tuesdays and I managed to get the Sookie Stackhouse books (2-8) by Charlaine Harris for that fantastic price. This is a series I had wanted to ‘try out’ for a long time but just hadn’t gotten around to it (so many books – never enough time). I tracked down book one and dug in. I had found and read all 13 books in the series twice within a few weeks. (I read through fast the first time for the story as a whole then go back for detail – yes….even with Diana’s books).

Why do I bring this little story here – to a predominately Outlander fan page? Well for those that don’t know, the Sookie Stackhouse novels became HBO’s series ‘True Blood’. After reading the books I commented on social media somewhere I would have to track down the series to watch. I was warned, several times, that the series deviates from the books – BIG TIME.

Once I got home, I tracked down Season 1 of True Blood and have watched it. Yes…it varies hugely from the book. Part way through S2 and there are bigger and wilder variations from the book. There is one story line I’m not fond of – not because it is SO far removed from its book elements, but because it is very dark and abusive.

Where Outlander has combined some minor characters for time / continuity or had a major character pick up some small thing to avoid bring in yet another character – True Blood has major characters going WAY off book (this is highlighted with Sookie’s brother Jason in S2 which we are part way through) doing things that book Jason wouldn’t dream of.

So, how do I feel as a book lover first seeing these huge departures from the story I fell for? Great! I mean….it’s the same characters with a different spin, two great stories in the same universe with the same characters. It’s interesting to see the differences and some of them, I actually like better. Now that one story line I’m not thrilled with…..so what. Overall the show is a good watch with great twists. I’m not going to bag the entire show for one storyline that I’m not thrilled with. If I felt I had to do that I’d never watch ANY series.

Ron Moore and the entire team that bring fans the Outlander series have done a phenomenal job of being true to the books. Yes…there are a few tweaks and changes. As has been discussed, ad nauseam it seems sometimes, television is a completely different medium than print with different constraints and structure. While some people would like to see 20+ episodes per season, it is just not going to happen. I already did a post on Outlander vs other cable series and how we are spoiled with our numbers. (THANK YOU STARZ) changes that have been made might bring out something book people feel is minor or tweak something so it flows better on screen. The always present combining of minor characters or having a major character ‘pick up’ something so another character doesn’t have to be introduced. This is all common practice when converting from book to screen.

My point here? The series CAN NOT – WILL NOT – SHOULD NOT follow the book verbatim. How boring would that be?! Embrace those changes as new facets and nuances on much beloved characters and story or make yourself miserable. Outlander fans have no grounds for griping about ‘changes’ IMO – after watching what was done with True Blood.

And please Outlander readers….if you truly can’t stand the series and the team’s vision of it – just stop watching and go back to curling up with the books. Don’t feel the need to dump your aggravation and disappointment on people that are enjoying the show for itself. I’m told there is actually a subculture of people out there that watch shows they hate simply so they can hate them via social media. What a sad, sad thing. Life is too short to embrace so much negativity.

Not everyone love the same things. I’m sure many reading this don’t like True Blood or even want to see/read it. That’s ok. Some people like all the super-hero shows out now while others are firmly entrenched in comedy. If you find you don’t like something – GREAT! One less thing to clutter up your life with. Find something you love and share that with the world. You never know, sharing your positive thoughts, love of new shows/books/music etc. may turn someone else onto it and make new friends.

Cheers!