Here’s a thing I never really understood about fans of books or TV shows…
Some of them get extremely nitpicky. Why? I’ve never really been a participant in a fandom–more of an observer. I read, I’ll watch videos, I look at websites and Tumblrs and I’ll read fan fiction, but I don’t take part in discussions.
That’s partly because I’m fickle; see the Men I’ve Google-Stalked tag for proof. Once upon a time, I was super into Lost. I got my college roommate watching it because I had to watch it when it was on (this is before DVRs). But after a few years, I wasn’t interested anymore. Still haven’t watched the last season.
But I noticed the nitpicky element especially with Downton Abbey fans. I think it’s great when a group of people connect with something so strongly. What I don’t understand about the pecking to death of a film or TV show are the fans who write things like, “The creators are ruining the show!” or “That’s not the way it’s supposed to go!” or “But he would never do that!”
Huh? Are they your characters? Do you write the show? No? Then how do you know that’s not the way it’s supposed to go?
But Outlander fans are on another level of nitpicky. Since the show began airing in September, I realized that it was probably a story I’d enjoy, read the first book, watched the first half of the season, finished the other seven books, and am watching the second half of season one as it airs.
I understand that the books have been around for twenty-something years and there are long time fans who have had these characters and stories in their minds for that long. So I can see how it’s jarring to now see an image of that story and those characters and it doesn’t match what you’ve always imagined.
But that’s why it’s an adaptation.
The writers, producers, and actors cannot look into your mind and depict what you imagined. They cannot film the book verbatim–there are things that work in novels that do not work on television–and there are things that happen in the books that seriously stretch credulity, even for a story with heavy doses of fantasy. Claire and wolves, anyone? Scenes need to be shuffled around, characters need to be cut, and new things are added.
I think they’ve done a really good job. I’ve liked the additions. If you’re watching the show determined to find something wrong with it, then you will. Relax, people. It’s a TV show.
You cannot compare the book and the show the whole time. And what with the nitpicky nature, I wonder if they’re enjoying the show at all.
“But that’s not what Jamie was thinking there!”
How would you know? Outlander the novel is narrated entirely by Claire.
“But he wouldn’t do that!” “That’s not how it happened in the book!” “Why are these writers creating new things when they have the novel?”
Perhaps because they’re writers and therefore creative and they want to create new scenes or flesh out certain parts that novel may not have elucidated. Perhaps because the production has a vision?
My favorite novel, Atonement, was filmed–and I didn’t like the way the movie did the ending. In the book, it builds up to the reveal. But the reveal is entirely internal and so, of course, they couldn’t film it that way.
I recently saw a video of George RR Martin, author of the Game of Thrones books, answering a fan’s questions–I think it was Comic Con. The fan asked if the book or the show was “the real story.” Which one should he regard as canon?
I liked Martin’s response.