Ok, so I am so late to the Outlander party, but I finally sat down on Friday to watch it. OMG. WHY??? WHY have I waited so long? Considering I absolutely adore historical romance novels – especially those set in the Highlands of Scotland. One of my very favourite series of books is Monica McCarty’s Highland Guard. I’m seriously questioning my judgement as I can’t believe this has been sitting on my PVR since September and I’m watching it in February.
I read the Outlander books years ago. While I wouldn’t classify them as historical romance fiction – it truly is a love story at heart. The story of Jamie and Claire is so beautiful and special. The Starz network certainly did put the money and time into making this story come to life in the most beautiful way. I have been reading a lot of time travel books lately and I bet if I asked those authors they would have to say that Outlander had some impact on their decision to use the genre.
First of all, how beautiful is Claire? I know that Caitriona Balfe is a former model, but my lord, when she stands tall and proud, she is just so beautiful that it takes your breath away. She makes Claire come to life in a way that I couldn’t even dream of. She is passionate and righteous, yet fragile and brave. Claire seems worldly but can’t find her footing in 18th century Scotland. All her street smarts and experience from World War II can’t help her navigate Clan issues and the distrust from both the Scots and the English. You feel her frustrations and anger at the world she has travelled to. Her beautiful face shows her morals and values and I can honestly say I fell in love with Claire in a way that I never did with the books.
I have a serious issue with men from the British Isles. I would probably throw away everything just to hear an Irish, Scottish or British accent every day. Jamie is perfectly portrayed by Sam Heugen. Where has this actor been hiding? Between him and Jamie Dornan, I’m overwhelmed by the hotness coming out of the Highlands and the Emerald Isle. That is something the UK does really well – they have their own celebrity culture and being popular in North America is not required. I’m now heartily suspicious that there are more heartthrobs they are keeping from the rest of the world. Sam is perfectly cast as Jamie. Brawn and buff, young but a man, he has an innate kindness that seeps through his smile and actions. Just like the character of Claire, I loved Jamie more in the flesh than on the page. I’m not interested in Gingers as they just don’t do it for me, but Jamie isn’t the carrot top I imagined him to be in the book. This is when things left to my imagination are not a good idea.
The setting of the story was so lush and amazing. I read that most of the movie was shot in Scotland. I couldn’t help but think how cold they must have been filming up in the Highlands. It is such beautiful scenery and it has only reinforced my desire to visit Scotland again – preferably for a month! When Claire and her husband Frank visit Castle Leoch and wonder what it looked like when it was inhabited, it was so amazing to see the Castle in its splendour. I couldn’t help but cringe at how dirty things were – the muddy courtyard had me grimacing.
The amazing detail given to the costumes was just outstanding. I couldn’t believe how gorgeous the dresses were. The dresses that Claire wore were so stunning. I loved the knit gloves and scarves she wore. I think what I found so fascinating about the costumes was the kilts. I know, I know…insert kilt joke here. But what I found so interesting was the way the men wore them. Some wore them draped over their shoulders, some wore them wrapped and Jamie wore his with a longer section in the back that he can pull his plaid over his shoulders. I guess I am so used to seeing kilts on modern men that are borrowed and all look pretty homogenous. I read on EOnline that each actor had his own method for wrapping the kilt.
Of course, Jamie and Claire don’t spend all their time in clothes. They have a right proper wedding night. I remembered from the book that Jamie was a virgin, but it was something quite different to see it on the screen. They are both such perfect specimens and look so good together. Of course the love scenes come in the 7th episode and I had waited all weekend to see it AND then my kid came in the room and I had to turn it off, lest he see something I didn’t want to talk about. Once I watched it sans kid, it was so special. I have to say, there was more nudity and sex than I think there was in Fifty Shades of Grey. The latter spent a lot of time building up to the event and the kink factor was equal to the sex. In Outlander, it was just candlelight and the newlyweds. The setting of their room was lovely. The lighting and the furs helped to keep it grounded in the time and century.
Spoiler (in case you haven’t read the books) I’m a little worried about where the series will go from here. We know that Claire returns to her time and stays for twenty years before reuniting with Jamie. I like them so much that I don’t want them to be separated. It’s hard to distinguish her husband Frank from Black Jack Randall and I don’t want her to return to Frank. How will they age Jamie and Claire? I’m sure the brilliant minds that have brought the first eight episodes will figure it out. I just hope I like what they do since the first eight episodes have been excellent.
If you haven’t watched this series yet and you love Scottish historical romance novels than this is required viewing. I’m hooked. The only benefit to having waited is that my wait for the next season won’t be as long!
Here’s the trailer for season 2 which starts in April!