“King of Men” – really?

As anyone who has read this blog for a while knows, I go a different direction from most of the Outlander blogs. There are several exceptional bloggers out there that recap and discuss the various episodes so well that I wasn’t even going to try. I have read some fabulous takes on Ep306 and many of the comments following them were enlightening as well.
Looking back at my various posts; I can get preachy. Sorry. That really isn’t my intention when I’m writing (well ok sometimes it is). I just see something I really like or really hate and spout off about it. It’s just my personal take on things meant to give people a different perspective. Should be interesting to see where this post lands.

306 A Malcolm tagged

Some people were disappointed with certain aspects of this episode. I can empathize with that, but not with how a few chose to express themselves about it. I already ranted about that – done – no worries. However, I saw and interesting comment on one of those many great blogs yesterday and it made me think, which prompted me to write something so here we go.

This brought some different perspective to me & helps me not hate the episode. But I still always get the feeling that the writers just don’t “get” Jamie & his larger than life personality as the “king of men”.

I paused over this for quite some time. First because I’m pretty sure it was in the writer’s room with RDM that this phrase first came into use. *Edit – I have had this confirmed by DG. Second – I’ve never seen Jamie that way.    *ducking*   Let me explain.
Part of what makes Jamie the ‘king of men’ is that he always says exactly the right thing (he doesn’t ALWAYS because he isn’t perfect, but way more often than not). He says all these ‘perfect’ things because he has an incredibly talented, witty and wise woman writing his lines for him. She also writes his actions and thoughts. The character may ‘talk’ to Diana – but it is still all in HER head.
Sam/Jamie has the same benefit with amazing writers and directors to help him out.

Jamie – contrary to often voiced opinion – is not perfect. He has a tendency to be arrogant. (Be honest with how full of himself he was taking over Lallybroch and how WAY out of his league he was). He can be a hot-head and not think through the possible repercussions of his actions; probably why it drives him so crazy when Claire does it. There is other smaller stuff, but those are the big things. I mean, some of what Jamie does – if it was anyone else (including your own partner for those that have one) you’d probably want to slap them silly.
Part of what made me fall in love with this story is that the characters were so ‘real’. They all have flaws, they screw up, they have moments of perfection and they slog their way through life like all mortals must. Perfect is plastic and very uninteresting.
Sam plays/portrays Jamie in a very physical – yet often subtle way. He so reminds me of one of my favorite actors – Roy Dupuis (I have a page dedicated to him here). Roy is a master at communicating a great deal with only his eyes and the tiniest of movements. If anyone has seen the original La Femme Nikita series and the character of Michael – you know exactly what I mean. Sam has a lot this same talent; the ability to let things just power out of his eyes and use of body language and movement to express things rather than words. The performances are all the more powerful for their subtleness. It also means when a line is delivered or big movement is used, they are that much more dramatic.
The actor and the character he/she portrays have a unique bond. Sam has made some choices in how Jamie acts and reacts based on the character that has been developed over the first two seasons and where he knows things are going. The ‘base’ of Jamie is the books – of course – but this Jamie is in the alternate reality of the TV series so, while still Jamie, there can and will be minor differences.
Maybe part of the reason I don’t get all wound up about the differences or even outright changes in the show from the book is I expect them. I’m not asking the show to be ‘perfect’ – I’m asking that it be good, well-done television that stays true to the characters and story (within the constraints episode numbers/time imposes). I believe ‘The Team’ has done this. The story – the important main artery of the story – is still there. The characters a still very real and relatable – not perfect.

I don’t feel Jamie is the ‘King of Men’ – I don’t like putting anyone on that much of a pedestal for them to fall from. I like him better being a good guy that still screws things up (people will understand, trying to be nice here to non-readers) yet is steadfast for his love, family and what he feels is right.

Well done.

Courtesy & Respect

Edited: Updated to reflect current issues Jan. 23, 2019

This is something I’ve written about several times coming at it from different directions. Two good examples are here Differing Opinions: Books vs TV Series and here But that’s not what’s in the books!!!!!!

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Discussion, asking questions, understanding the process – all these are GOOD things! Having differing opinions and viewpoints is great because discussing different perceptions help open up new facets to people seeing the same material.

My huge frustration is with people who just bash and whine showing little to no courtesy or respect for the actors, all the behind the scenes people and the process that are vital to the making of this (Outlander) or any other creative endeavor. These are skilled professionals doing a damn fine job and as fans, we need to respect that.

The Team (Ron, Maril, Gary, Terry, Matt, Toni, Anne, Ira and all the other writers, the directors, scouts and hundreds of others whose names/jobs we don’t even know) work their tails off to bring us the very best adaptation of Outlander they can. Their job isn’t to recreate the books, but to bring us (and their bosses) great television that will retain viewers and make the studio money. (They are doing a FABULOUS job IMO).

These people work long hours, often in miserable conditions (night shoots+Scotland+winter) with little in the way of breaks between seasons. Knowing a fair few creative people, I imagine that even on their ‘down’ time from the show it is never far from their thoughts.

The actors have been stellar – both in ability and their willingness to interact with the fans. STARZ has been wonderful doing multiple giveaways and exposure to keep the show going.

So what do I mean about Courtesy and Respect? Here is an example. These are not actually ‘direct’ quotes from any one person, but close to things I’ve seen the last two days after the recent episode and through the entire life of the show.

“You all just ruined the absolute most important moment of the series! How could you?! What were you thinking? RDM is an idiot that should be fired for screwing up the story!”

Or

“Fans have been gypped again! Totally blew such a great scene! Jamie/Claire/Jenny/???? was supposed to be/do/act THIS way – not the stupid/wrong way you did it. WTF were you thinking?!”

Or

“WTF? Jamie and Claire are the story here! Why are you wasting time on other characters when we get so few episodes! How can you be such f*cking morons! Just follow the damn book – it’s all right there!

Or

“What happened to all the great sex scenes?! You are totally screwing up this major love story! Jamie and Claire are still passionate people that have sex! Get it right for a change!”

VS

“I was so disappointed that this (pick something) was done differently from the books – it was a favorite bit. Could the writers/director/actor please explain why the decision was made to do it the way you did so I/we can understand?” Thanks!”

Or

“I have to say I’m angry. I just don’t understand the way the writers are doing these recent episodes. The balance of the story seems WAY off to me – and I know a lot of other people. Would you mind explaining how/why you decided to spend so much time on secondary story lines / characters at the expense of Jamie & Claire’s awesome story?

Or

“Many fans are really unhappy that the main romantic couple seems to be getting pushed into the background and aren’t being allowed to portray the deep, passionate feelings they have for each other. I get it’s not a ‘soft porn’ show, but you can have great intimacy without having to use sex (though I wouldn’t complain about that).”

 

Now…be honest if only in your own head…which of those questions shows respect for the people and the process? Which will promote discussion and add understanding? Which wind situations up in a bad way and make people feel defensive? Which is so discourteous it’s just plain rude?

Express opinions, discuss different viewpoints, give the makers of the show feedback – but do it with the respect they are all due and gratitude that we have a series to watch.

And please, please, PLEASE – let’s show that same courtesy and respect to fellow fans. I get that feelings can run hot and strong, but everyone has their own things that are vital/important to them and seldom will two people have the exact same bits they are upset about.

 

 

    

Words Matter

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I haven’t written here for a long time. Honestly, I didn’t see much point. The things I was saying didn’t seem to be reaching very many people and the ones that needed to see/hear them most don’t even look at my blog. The few that do seem to stop by and read, well, I’m pretty much ‘preaching to the choir’ there.

Recently, while discussing a fandom issue on a Twitter thread, a couple of people expressed the wish that I would continue with my blog. I guess if it helps or makes even a single person think then it has fulfilled its function. It isn’t up to ME to dictate how my writing affects others, it’s up to ME to write it and let the universe handle the rest. Makes sense given what I want to talk about here today.

First, I am going to ask…beg really…for people to respond to this question either here on the blog or via Twitter. Please look at this picture and tell me if you think any of these girls are ‘fat’…. ‘porky’……. ‘chunky’ ….. or any of a number of other adjectives used to denote being overweight. I seriously want comments on this – as detailed as you will like to get them.

 

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Now, this is an old picture so no feelings will be hurt. I happen to know that one of those girls (they were all….16 or 17 in this picture) was told repeatedly by her family that she was overweight and needed to trim down. She was told she was fat and would never make anything of her life if she didn’t fix it. At school she was called a variety of names all indicating that she was overweight. Can you pick which girl this was said to?

She believed what people said; believed it so completely that she dressed differently from her friends, constantly stressed about how ‘fat’ she was and never felt good enough for anything. I happen to know she reached adulthood consistently gaining weight and now, as those words that she was bombarded with from the time she was a young teen said, she is indeed fat/overweight. Very likely she would be told she is obese by a doctor – though she tests out fairly healthy. Joint issues are beginning to manifest and the extra weight likely isn’t doing her heart any good, but overall healthy.

Words matter. How might this woman’s life have been different if she would have told – especially by her family – that she was a perfectly normal teen? If she had been encouraged to be more active at a younger age? (She’s a bookworm, has been since she was six and likes to do crafty things – all sitting down activities.) I wonder if she would have had more confidence and followed her dreams rather than working in jobs that she was good at but never really enjoyed. Would she at this stage just be slightly overweight rather than obese?

Words matter. I am using this story to illustrate that. The tongue is one of the strongest muscles we have; it can build up or tear down. If you have never read them, I highly recommend two books: Hung by the Tongue and The Tongue: A Creative Force.

Words matter. What we say matters. How we say things matters. How often is ‘constructive criticism’ actually more DEstructive and meant to be? What we say to others, tweet to others, respond to others – blog – matters. It has cause and effect. Should we keep silent in our own worlds? Of course not – but we should be ever aware of the words we use and how we use them.

Some people are very secure in themselves and their chosen professions and so can take a lot of criticism in stride without too many negative side effects. Many are not in that place. I encourage you to ‘speak’ to people from a place of respect: both for yourself and them. They may look different, think differently than you, believe differently or have different ideology – but they are still a human being just like you. You may not agree with them, but respect that they believe differently. Discuss those differences! Learn about and from each other! Have respect. Words matter.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not perfect. I screw up on a regular basis. I have probably ‘said’ things here in this blog I shouldn’t have or that came across badly. I try to be very mindful when I post anything as to how it comes across and might affect others – but I get angry sometimes and just don’t police myself well.

I just pray I never do to anyone else what was done to that girl that so irrevocably affected her life.

Words matter.

Namaste