Thoughts on Adapting Outlander for TV: Voyager 15 – 16

After a few days thinking about what and how to write about these next few chapters (and all the rest in general) I realized I really have to focus on a few major points of interest if I don’t want to these posts get out of hand. So in this post I’ll ignore aspects like new locations / characters and focus on the few scenes I consider essential for the plot or want to see for any other reason. No idea what the next post will be like. These “Adaption Outlander” thing is a work in progress after all :-)

15: By Misadventure | 16: Willie
I have no idea how they will let Jamie find out about Geneva being pregnant, the birth of her baby, her death and everything. But I think they will (have to) show the argument Lord Dunsany is having with the Earl of Ellesmere about Geneva and the baby and of course Jamie coming to the rescue. They might in fact make that into quite a huge scene on the show. It does or at least could contain a lot of information and it’s quite a dramatic setup. There’s shouting and fighting and life and death danger and of course, hero Jamie saving his newborn son!

“He stood, eyes tight closed, shaking like a leaf, unable to either move or to think, arms wrapped tight about the shapeless, squirming, squawking bundle that contained his son.”

They can’t refuse to show that to us on TV, right?

Another scene I’d love to see is:

So, I have come to ask you – do you want to go home, MacKenzie?”

Lady Dunsany (or even the Lord, I don’t care) offering Jamie the chance of having his parole revoked and go home to Scotland and Jamie passing up on that offer, because he can’t bear to part from his newborn son yet. In general I hope we’ll see a few  scenes with Jamie and Willie, and by now I think deviating from the book’s timeline structure with the main plot in 1968 and flashes of the past, is a good idea for the TV show. The only sensible actually. Show Claire pregnant or with a newborn in Boston and then cut to scenes of Jamie in the cave at Lallybroch etc. Cut back to Claire but now with Brianna being a few years old, which is such an easy plot device to show that years have passed. Cut back to Jamie at Ardsmuir prison a few years on in his timeline and so on.

Not literally switch from scene to scene course. I guess they will have like 10-15 minutes bits or even half episodes. But for TV I really only works doing it in a chronological split-timeline-structure. And I’m fine with that. I think. Anyway, in this way they might show a few scenes of Jamie and Willie at various stages of the boy’s life. Or maybe not.

Jamie coming to realize that the boy is looking too much like him already and that it’s time to leave and then the actual good-bye scene in the stable are essential to me as well. Especially the stable scene. I already know that I’m going to cry buckets. Jamie comforting Willie and of course the whole “stinking papist” / baptism scene. The beechwood rosary.

“Dinne fret yourself,” he said. “I’ll remember ye.”

*sigh* If you’ve read the whole series, you know why they have to keep this scene, right? At least *I* think they have to keep it in ;-)

The last scenes or plot development I consider essential is Jamie and John re-building their odd friendship, once Jamie has realized that John actually did him a huge favour by bringing him to Helwater and never once trying to take advantage of Jamie in any way. I have no idea though how they will incorporate this development, which is told in just two pages in the novel, into the TV storyline. There’s a lot more of footage of that development in the Lord John novellas and it would be cool to bring some of these scenes (the one fight in the stables for instance) into the TV plot, but I honestly doubt it. I’m sure they’ll find a way though. Half-way through “Voyager” we’ll learn of another scene which is set at Helwater, where Jamie tells John about being William’s father and asks John to take care of him in the future and all. It would make scenes to include this one in these scenes now as well and not to a flashback later on. We’ll see.

So that’s that for the Helwater scenes. I repeat myself when I say, that I can’t wait to see Sam do all these emotional scenes: guilt over Geneva’s death. Shock over having a son. Enjoying time with Willie. Having to say goodbye. Sam is going to slay it, I’m sure…

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