Outlanders & Underdogs

So, here I am two episodes into Season 2 of my favorite TV show since the introduction of Game of Thrones. And I’m miserable.

As with Game of Thrones, I was introduced to the show before knowing about the existence of the books, so I bypassed reading and sit googly eyed for scheduled viewings. (I know, I know. Hush.)

Here’s the main reason I’ve opted to ignore the books, for now: In the past when I’ve read before viewing, murderous rage gets a bit overwhelming. Murderous rage is exhausting. So, yeah, I get why all the fans of Martin’s and Gabaldon’s books sneer and call the shows mere fan fiction. I get it. With that said, leave me to my TV geekgasms. Kthnx.

Or misery, whichever.

What I do see besides utter heartbreak in this season of Outlander, is the attempt to bring Claire out of the muck of Mary Janeness. There were moments in Season 1 that made me quite sick of her. Okay… we get it… she’s a bundle of hotness in bed, she’s a brilliant healer, and a daring feminist among brutal patriarchal assholes. Got it. She’s so awesome she’ll even do favor after favor for the despicable Black Jack. Sure, she’s operating under the guise of ensuring Frank is born centuries later, but come on, anyone can see she’s digging the drama.

Then there’s Jamie’s own threat of Mary Janeness … he’s a bit much sometimes as well. It’s often in the moments of his inexplicable perfection that I long to read the books. Claire, one would think, is the intended protagonist of this story, this series. But it seems to me the directors and writers of the show just might be all about Team Jaime. I don’t see a thing wrong with this, but still, I wonder what was intended by Gabaldon. Seriously, just how much of an underdog can one character be?

More than a few acquaintances on social media have made remarks in past weeks along the lines of “but what about Frank? While all you sluts are swooning over Jamie, take a minute to think about how amazing Frank is!” I agree, to an extent. Still, Frank will never come off as an underdog. Maybe it’s the way he tilts his head when he speaks in that English accent — nobility on the verge of utter snobbery. This guy isn’t going to humble himself. Not completely. Whereas Jamie would, has, will. And so, in this respect anyway, the underdog wins it all.

After a couple decades of soul-crushing misery anyway.

Right?

While I’m twisting here in the conflict of to read or not to read before the series finale, the question of whether or not I could write such an underdog niggles in the back of my mind. Early on in my writing, I found out just how easy it is to write a Mary Jane all the while thinking this was an amazing, complicated, brilliant character. (Totally not, as it turned out.)

She was an underdog that eventually overcame three rather nasty plot twists. But could I, without setting out to, write an underdog of Jamie’s stature? Would I stop myself one day and say, WAIT. How many self-sacrifices do I actually need in this 50k word count? Why am I doing this?

What would be the goal of writing such a character, other than making certain another character, either his foil or one true love, survived to be called hero?

I’ve done really well, remained absolutely strong in avoiding book spoilers and online book reviews/analysis. I’ll stay strong and stick to a promise I made myself in the third season of Game of Thrones — I’ll get the books about five minutes after the series finale.

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