Let Me Count the Ways

Word on the street is World Outlander Day is coming up on June 1! My family would probably tell you that every day seems like it’s Outlander Day here at Outcandour headquarters but I plan to celebrate accordingly. Tartan, bagpipes, an adopted accent, haggis…well, maybe not haggis.

And why wouldn’t I? This is a holiday I can really get behind; as I’m fond of telling anyone who will listen, there are only two types of people out there: those who love Outlander and those who haven’t discovered it yet. There is no alternative.

My love for Outlander can’t always be explained but I’m going to try nonetheless. Without further ado, here are my favorite things about Outlander:

The Fans

Man, we are a crazy (but lovable!) bunch. The fangroups, the cosplay, the conventions, the accessories, the giant Jamie posters (just me?)…we love to show our passion for Outlander. And, chances are (if you’re anything like me), running into a fellow Outlander fan out in the wild is cause for immediate celebration— and possibly alarm to those around you. No one understands us quite like we understand each other but that’s okay. Outlander fans are like a giant family and I wouldn’t trade my fellow lunatics fanatics for anything.

The History Lessons

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I studied biology in college and, sadly but unsurprisingly, we never studied the Jacobite revolution in high school. So what a pleasant surprise to discover this wealth of history and knowledge awaiting me once I immersed myself in the world of Outlander. Even the fuzzy parts of the American Revolution come into clearer focus for me after reading this series. Lessons on democracy and freedom will never not be relevant and it’s one of the many, many ways that the story of Outlander remains timeless.

The Men

Listen, as a warm-blooded woman there is no way I’m not going to notice the very deep bench of beautiful men on this television show. Lucky for me (or, perhaps, lucky for him) my husband is of Scottish descent because I am a total sucker for those accents, period clothes, and historically accurate muscles. More than their dreamboat status, however, the men of Outlander are awesome representatives of male characters on television (which I previously wrote about here). Not only are they equal counterparts to the female characters, they are also realistically flawed and capable of growth. More of this, please…preferably in kilts.

The Women

The meek and obedient types the women of Outlander are not. Strong women abound in this story, a topic I’ve addressed before here and here. Claire, Jenny, Brianna, and Marsali are all fully actualized and complex characters that are not defined by the actions and stories of the male characters. They speak their minds, they are honest, and they support each other. Tuning in each week or opening these novels is like a date with my favorite girlfriends.

The Novels

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There would be no Outlander without Diana Gabaldon and the amazing, rich world she created for us to enjoy. World Outlander Day is actually the anniversary of the release of the first novel, and it’s fair to say that so many of us have had our lives changed by this literary phenom. I know that no matter how my day is going, I can always slip into the world of Jamie and Claire for a few minutes and lose myself in Diana’s detailed prose. The novels truly are the gift that keeps on giving and I’ve never found any books that I want to return to with quite the same love or passion.

The Romance

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The relationships of Marsali and Fergus, Brianna and Roger, and Claire and Jamie are all fairly different from one another but they are all mostly accurate reflections of love and marriage. All are equal partners in their relationships and everyone’s voice and needs are given appropriate due. And, yes, the sex is pretty great and these actors are all beautiful people, but Outlander doesn’t shy from showing the nitty-gritty everyday stuff of relationships: Marsali washing Fergus’s amputated arm, Roger letting Brianna have a bit of an identity crisis and fall to pieces when Claire leaves, Jamie and Claire passionately fighting for their marriage…we’ve all had similar experiences. It’s all real and that’s what makes it great.

The Fantasy

Conversely, part of what we love about this story is the pure fantasy of it all: time-travel to a beautiful land, danger with a hint of romance, a dashing hero and his beautiful lady…it’s easy to get swept away by the magic and magnificence of it all. Nothing will turn a bad day of mine around quite like slipping into the world of Outlander.

And that’s probably where you’ll find me tomorrow— curled up on the couch, perhaps a glass of wine in hand, my favorite characters brought to life on the screen or page. Happy World Outlander Day, my friends.

Slàinte

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