Outlander TV vs books: How was Claire Fraser changed from the books?

Outlander TV vs books: How was Claire Fraser changed from the books?

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Claire Fraser (played by Caitriona Balfe) was first introduced in season one of the time-travelling series. Over the years since, viewers have come to know and love the heroine of the show as she adjusts to the circumstances life throws at her. However, some may be wondering whether there have been major changes to her role from the source material by Diana Gabaldon.

How was Claire Fraser changed from the Outlander books?

In both the novels by Gabaldon and the television adaptation, Claire is the heroine of the time-travelling drama.

When fans first meet her, she is a headstrong former World War Two nurse who goes on a holiday with her husband Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies).

However, her story soon gets much more interesting as she travels through some magical stones to 1700s Scotland.

Here she meets highlander Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and soon falls in love with him.

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Most of the storyline elements of Claire’s background have been kept the same from the adaptation from book to screen.

This includes how Jamie and Claire meet as well as how their relationship progresses over the years.

However, there are some crucial alterations made throughout the series.

Several of these have included drawing storylines from other books and placing them at different points in the timeline.

But a number of them also pertain to Claire’s character development.

In the novels, most of the story is told entirely through Claire’s perspective while the series also focuses on the points of views of other main stars.

Another major change came in season five when the show ended with Claire’s kidnapping and horrific rape.

However, in Gabaldon’s books, this actually comes later on in the storyline in the sixth novel, A Breath of Snow and Ashes.

As well as this, some other fans of the show have argued the character also seems to be braver than her novel counterpart.

Posting on Reddit, fans discussed how the two portrayals of the character vary.


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User Dookiewaffles wrote: “I can’t fully love the book version of Claire as I do the show version.

“On the show, she seems bolder, braver, spunkier, and more resourceful. Book Claire seems a little weaker, in my opinion.”

Fan Imagination_Much pointed out how in the books she also has a sense of humour, which does not translate as well on screen.

They added: “The further you get into the books, you’ll definitely grow to love Claire more and will not see her as weak.

“She has a sense of humor and wit in the books that does not translate well in the show since it’s mostly an inner monologue and I love that the most about book Claire.”

User Propernice agreed, adding: “The show has lost something in making Claire face adversity after adversity without sprinkling in the things that make her well-rounded.

“The show does sometimes, but in the books, I feel like there’s time to explore her sense of humor and we get waaaaay [sic] more random conversations with her and Jamie that are lovely and completely missing from the show.”

However, some fans have pointed out how they don’t mind the differences too much at the end of the day.

Liyufx added: “To me, the book and show Claire have merged into one.

“I know they are physically different and the plot diverges a bit here and there. That doesn’t bother me at all.

“Show Claire gives book Claire a face that I keep in mind when reading; book Claire gives show Claire a more detailed back story and more internal voice.”

Outlander seasons 1-5 are available on Amazon Prime Video now.

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