I have been a lover of all things Outlander since I discovered the STARZ series in 2015 and read the books right after.
From the moment I saw Jamie Fraser sitting by that fire in Season 1, Episode 1, I’ve been hooked. Just ask my husband. I couldn’t watch the remaining episodes of Season 1 or read the books fast enough.
After that, I thirstily endured the waiting for Seasons 2 and 3. Knowing that Season 4 would see them, at last, in my home state of North Carolina, I survived the last Droughtlander by sheer will, determination and gritting my teeth.Then, it was here - the long awaited Season Premiere!
As much as I love Outlander, I do have a certain protective fondness for North Carolina. I was born and bred in NC, learned to walk, talk, work and play in the Tar Heel State. It’s where I have been all my life and I love it. So, during this much-awaited season of Outlander, I’ve realized that I’ve been studying the show from a North Carolina point of view. It wasn’t deliberate really. It just happened. The first episode was set in Wilmington and as much as I loved it, there were some things I hated. My studies didn’t end with the Season Premiere and reflectively looking back, there were things I have both loved and hated throughout the season. Now, now! Before you all get up in arms, I said “things”. I still love the show so if you’re thinking of
calling out the troops to get me in line, there’s no need.
Putting North Carolina aside, there are some other things about this season that I have both loved and hated. Maybe it’s because I’m a book reader and I find myself comparing the book to the show. (Was that a rock that just flew past my head?) Yes, I said it...book versus show comparison. As my punishment, I will write 100 times, “Never compare the show with the books ever again.” But before I do that, let me try to give some sort of reasonable explanation. I can’t count the number of times I have heard the statement “The book is what it is and the show is what it is” and yes, that is true and I agree with that for the most part. My problem with this season, I think, is that I re-read (or re-listened to) Drums of Autumn TWICE right before the season started. It’s hard to separate book from show when you have the words and the story of such a wonderful writer stuck in your head along with Davina Porter’s voice. With that being said, my New Year’s Resolution for 2019 is that I will NOT read The Fiery Cross right before Season 5 premieres. Dougal’s honor!
With only two episodes before Season 4 comes to a close (how did we get here so fast?), I decided I would make a list of the things I’ve loved and hated about this season. As I would prefer not to be tarred and feathered as was done in North Carolina back in the Frasers’ day, please remember that some of these items are from the perspective of someone who has lived in North Carolina all of her life and just wants to set the record straight about a few things. Also, as I mentioned, not all of my “loves/hates” revolve around NC. So, without further ado and if you’re so inclined, read on…. but please put down that bucket of tar first.
Love: Being a lifelong resident of North Carolina, I LOVE that the story is finally here! I love the mention of places like Wilmington, Cross Creek, and New Bern, the historical references to the Regulators, and seeing the characters of those who truly lived and breathed in North Carolina such as Governor Tryon. I love that the history of North Carolina is now being shared with the world!! I’ve learned (and am still learning) so many things I never knew about my own state’s colonial history as a result of Diana’s wonderful books. It’s sad to say but it is true that it took an author from Arizona to get me interested. Thank you, Diana, for opening my eyes to the nuggets of history which surround me everyday!
Hate: I hate that the show is being filmed in Scotland instead of North Carolina. I hear you all groan. I know, I know! There’s nothing that could have been done about that but I can still hate it, can’t I? Don’t blame this Tar Heel girl for wishing it could have been so!
Love: I love the stock images that they are using from North Carolina. If not filming here, at least we have those. The images of our mountains which the show is using are beautiful although extremely limited, not only in scope but in quantity.
Hate: Those CGI images. Ugh and double ugh!
These images do a real disservice to North Carolina. When Jamie & Claire are standing out looking over “The Ridge”, that is not, I repeat, is not North Carolina. Sorry, that's CGI. North Carolina abounds with beautiful scenery from mountains to shining sea. If you want to watch something which truly shows what the North Carolina mountains look like, check out “The Last Of The Mohicans”. It’s a great movie set in the 1700’s during the French and Indian War and was shot almost entirely in North Carolina. Or better yet, come for a visit! And that leads me to this...
Love: In the show, North Carolina is always cool if not downright cold. I love sweater weather, a hot cider, and a fuzzy blanket with snuggly bedroom shoes. I love a toasty fire in the fireplace, a big pot of hot soup simmering on the stove and warm cornbread drizzled with melted honey butter. As a North Carolina girl, it’s something I dream of... a lot….
Hate: Forget the sweater, the cider, the fuzzy blanket and bedroom shoes. Forget the
toasty fire, soup and cornbread. Give me shorts, a tank and flip flops with a frosty cold drink in hand. Yes, I hate that North Carolina is never portrayed in the show as being hot. NC might have two really cold months (January & February) but even then, there might be a 60 or 70 degree day or more in those months. In much of spring and fall, North Carolina is very warm if not hot. In summer, it is HOT as Hades - especially in the Piedmont and Coastal Plains. If you’ve never been to North Carolina and you come for a visit in summer, please do not bring arm warmers, cowls, shawls and deerskin coats lined with fur. Come as naked as you can without risking arrest and then still be prepared to be covered in sweat from head to toe once you’ve been outside for five minutes. If you choose otherwise, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Love: There really is a Cape Fear River that goes from Wilmington to Cross Creek (now called Fayetteville) and beyond. Also, Wilmington actually does exist very near the coast.
Hate: Geography, geography, geography! North Carolina is 500 miles long from east to west. Atlantic Ocean to the east, mountains in the west. I know we have to move the Frasers along but you truly can’t see Fraser’s Ridge from Wilmington. You also cannot travel from
Wilmington to Fraser’s Ridge on horseback in one afternoon. The best I can figure is that it would take about two weeks to travel from Wilmington to the area we believe is Fraser’s Ridge. A slow boat ride of 100 miles from Wilmington up the Cape Fear River to Fayetteville would take you about 5-7 days. From there on horseback, about seven more days (200 miles total). Forget these quick trips to Wilmington or Cross Creek ‘cause it ain’t happening.
Love: I love that they have kept to a lot of the lines and scenes from the book in many of the episodes even though they may not chronologically coincide with those that unfold between the pages. Some of the lines have been word for word and I love that.
Hate: The scenes they haven’t included from the book should be grounds for being sent to the pillory and one ear nailed!
No snake in the outhouse! No fish-swinging Claire trying to ward off the bear from attacking Jamie! No Roger trying to navigate the “rhododendron hell” - just to name a few. Incorporating the aforementioned scenes from the book into the show would have provided viewers some comic relief! In other seasons, there has been a good amount of humor to break up the episodes via the
characters. Look at Angus & Rupert, Prince Louis XV & Louise de La Tour, Young Fergus, Murtagh & Suzette. They weren’t major players in the books - some were hardly mentioned if mentioned at all but the writers were able to use them to give us a badly-needed laugh. Even Jamie, who is full of humor in the books, has been shortchanged in the humor department this season. Bless his sweet heart. The only real comic relief this season has been from Young Ian. Who is going to provide humor when… whoops! I shall say no more!
Love: Murtagh’s hair! I know it’s a wig but if no one has told him yet, Duncan LaCroix should let his hair go gray. What a silver fox he
is! Murtagh, you are wowing me this season!
Hate: I hate Claire’s and, more especially, Jamie’s wigs. Good heavens, they are horrendous and so obviously wigs. Can someone please send a message to the wig department and ask them to please do something different for Season 5?
End of Droughtlander
Love: I love that we didn’t have to wait until 2019 to start Season 4. It was a long enough Droughtlander as it was. I was on my fifth rewatch of the entire previous three seasons and was beginning to think I might have to look for other entertainment.
Hate: I hate the show didn’t wait to start back until 2019! This is a contradiction with what I just said, I know but seriously, I was so overwhelmed between Thanksgiving, Christmas, Christmas shopping, Christmas get-togethers, family time, sickness and even a new grandbaby that I, more often than not, wasn’t always able to watch the latest episode as soon as it was available on Amazon. Added to that chaos, I was also trying to keep my blog running plus being a presence on the Outlander North Carolina Facebook Group plus planning for A Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming 2019. You could say my head was spinning faster than my ceiling fan during a hot North Carolina summer. Hopefully, Season 5 will start after the holidays.
Beginning of Droughtlander 5.0
Love: I’ll have more episodes to binge watch during this
Droughtlander. Instead of 42, I’ll have 55. Just so you know, I’m trying to look on the bright side here as there is really NOTHING to love about it.
Hate: The beginning of Droughtlander - again! The seasons fly by SO fast and the Droughtlanders last SO long. When can we expect to see Season 5? I’m guessing Spring, 2020. I don’t have anything to back that up - just a guess. In the meantime, we’ll just have to rewatch
those 55 episodes, reread all the books, and listen to Bear McCreary’s soundtracks over and over and over again. Davina Porter has become my new best friend, by the way. She talks to me.
There it is. My confession to you of my love/hate relationship with Season 4. I made it through without anyone slipping me any of that nasty bitter cascara! (Don’t even think about it!) So, how about you? Do you have a love/hate relationship with it too? Have you ever been to North Carolina? If so, share your thoughts and loves/hates in the comments.
*Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed in this post are my own and may not necessarily reflect those of the owner of Outlander Print
Shop. (P.S. She made me say that.)
Thanks to Beth for taking time from her busy schedule to enlighten us on her take of S4!