I was on Facebook recently (okay, I am on it every day- so what?), and a post had the question- “Who is your favorite Romance Hero of all time?” Without hesitation, I answered, “Jamie Fraser”.
If that name doesn’t ring a bell, then you have not read the Outlander novel series, by author Diana Gabaldon. The hugely popular series has sold over 20 million books, and Starz has recently been given the order to begin producing a sixteen-episode show. Production is set to start in October 2013 in Scotland, where most of the first novel in the series, Outlander, is set.
This is fantastic news for fans of the series as it has been “in development” for several years. Speculation as to which actor will play Jamie may rival the lively discussions and Pinterest-pinning that the casting of Christian Grey, the Fifty Shades of Grey hero, has generated.
Jamie Fraser made his debut when the time-travel novel, Outlander (“Cross Stitch” in the UK) was first published in 1991. Part historical, part romance, all adventure, the first novel grabbed me right into the story and seven novels later, (and they are really long, averaging nine hundred pages each) I am still excited to read the latest one. Outlander begins the intricate tale of a WWII Army nurse Claire Beauchamp Randall, who is accidentally thrown back to 1743 Scotland, transported abruptly after an encounter with some mysterious standing stones. Without giving away too much of the story, she meets Jamie their lives are entwined thereafter.
So why did Jamie make such an impression on me? Let me count the ways:
He’s a Scot! I know, the whole obsession with Highlanders is passé, but there is just something about that accent, and the Scots attitude toward life. I also devoured all of Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander novels (before DarkFever), and while her heroes were always hot, I never got the chance to really know them like I did Jamie.
- He’s physically strong and sexy- very tall (over 6’) and fit. I usually don’t care for red hair, but it sounds like it looks damn good on him!
- He has honor and integrity. He has a code of honor which he stubbornly adheres to.
- He is brave. He survived countless battles, abuses, injuries and illnesses. Hell, if my memory is correct, he even fought a bear!
- He has a wicked sense of humor. The dry comments he makes that hit the nail on the head every time.
- He seems more “real” than other heroes, perhaps due to the level of detail in these novels. His age progresses through each book, so by the time I read Echo In The Bone (the most recent, published in 2009) I knew so many intimate facets of him- his body, his personality, his past.
- He’s a really good lover- passionate and caring. There is not a lot of sex in the series, but when there is, it fits the situation and is usually charged with emotion. I like the fact that Ms. Gabaldon doesn’t “fade to black”, but writes the sex scenes as a natural occurrence in her character’s lives. While not titillating or overly explicit, she does describe their feelings, physical and emotional. Enough to give you a real sense of the type of lover Jamie is.
- He’s smart. Not only book smart, but cunning. A great strategist who can think his way out of some of the most impossible situations. At one point, I knew I had several more books in the series to read but had no idea how Jamie was going to survive the current crisis at hand to make it into the next chapter, let alone the next book.
I could probably go on with this for days, but I will stop here and start counting the minutes until the Starz series debuts. In the meantime, if you are curious about what Jamie really looks like and can’t wait for the series, I have tip for you.
Ms. Gabaldon shared a YouTube video on her Facebook page recently, featuring a Gaelic band from the 1970’s called Runrig. She shared it because the bass player looked strikingly similar to how she pictured Jamie. I was pleased to find that he did indeed look quite similar to what I had envisioned. You can click for the link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXG0EX7rXZI
Let’s hope that whichever actor they choose to play Jamie captures the essence of his character, even if he does not match our collective mental images of his physical body. This widely admired series deserves the best adaptation available. My only concern is- what will they choose to cut? The novels are so detailed, condensation is a must.
I am looking forward to the debut, in any case. More Jamie, in any form, is a good thing. Who’s with me?