Chapters 14 and 15 of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander cover the wedding of Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp (Caitriona Balfe) and James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser (Sam Heughan) known to one and all by the nickname Jamie.
The wedding in the book was similar in many ways to the wedding on the show, though there were a few differences, such as the show choosing to present the events out of order as the couple discusses the day they have just been through.
In the book the greater difference was in the marriage of Claire and Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) and this is a case where I was glad the show chose to make not just minor changes, but major ones. I understood why the author chose to write the book the way she did, and the emotions she was putting her character Claire through, but when I first read it, the passages struck me as a bit much. I agreed that her wedding to Jamie would undoubtedly remind her at every turn about Frank, about her desire to return to 1945, and this is a tremendous fork or turning point in her life.
Is Claire giving up hope of returning to 1945?
Is Claire now accepting her life in the 1700s?
Is this a marriage of convenience or emotion?
Is this Claire simply doing what she must to make it through another day, or week, or does this marriage to Jamie mean something more?
The wedding is given an entire episode and I feel rightfully so because it means so much for Claire, and coming out of this day Claire is in a new position figuratively speaking. Not because she is Mrs. Fraser so much as because she has made a permanent move in this time-frame instead of just treading water in an effort to find her way back to Frank. That is a decision that should have emotional ramifications.
Sam Hueghan shows his acting abilities quite well in several of these scenes with Claire. As she is reacting to her own thoughts and emotions in the wake of what she has done he is clearly noticing them, observing her and realizing there is something going on with this beautiful lass he has married. The nuances to both his performance, and that of Caitriona Balfe were quite nice as they took the audience on an emotional roller coaster with them.
With only one more episode before a mid-season break that will take us into the new year, it will be interesting to see how much further into the novel the show carries us. My hope when they first announced the divided season was that the show would take us to Part IV of the novel before the winter break… but we shall have to wait a week to find out, especially since the commercial for this coming week appeared to show some 1945 scenes that I do not recall from the book.