11 Ways ‘Outlander’ Season 3 Differs from the Book So Far

Posted on November 3, 2017 by

Outlander season 3 is more than halfway over, and thus far, fans have had plenty of opportunities to dissect the ways in which the show is similar — or different — from Voyager, its source material. With only six episodes left to go, we’re rounding up the major Outlander season 3 changes from the book so far. Check out the list below — and be warned of spoilers ahead!

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1. Claire is confronted by Frank’s mistress.

At a Harvard memorial reception held in Frank’s honor, his former mistress calls out Claire for never letting him leave their marriage. In the book, Frank’s affairs were strongly hinted at, but no evidence ever explicitly given as to their details.


2. Jamie and Geneva’s encounter.

In both the book and the TV show Geneva Dunsany blackmails Jamie into taking her “maidenhead,” but we noticed some changes to how the incident played out on screen. In the book, Geneva has a moment of panic and asks Jamie to stop — to no avail. However, the absence of this moment in episode 4 was noted by many, including actress Hannah James who told Entertainment Weekly:

“[That moment] was never in the script. And I was so thrilled when I came across that.”


3. Claire’s goodbye to Brianna and Roger.

In the TV adaptation, Claire leaves Brianna and Roger in Boston to travel alone to Scotland and return through the stones to the 18th century. In the book, though, mother and daughter traveled to Scotland together. Although Claire attempts to leave without a scene, Brianna and Roger show up at Craigh na Dun dressed in period clothing to send her off.


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4. Claire’s time-travel outfit

In the book, Claire purchases a dress from designer Jessica Gutenberg, which is described in Voyager as “a deep, tawny gold, with shimmers of brown and amber and sherry in the heavy silk.” However, the show went a different direction with a blue layered dress. In fact, the costume actress Caitriona Balfe wore was so detailed and had so many extra add-ons that the crew affectionately referred to it as “the batsuit.” Costume designer Terry Dresbach told Entertainment Weekly:

“There are a lot of layers to that costume on purpose. The original layer is a top coat and a cape. She doesn’t peel back all the layers until she and Jamie are back together, and she’s available to reclaim that part of herself, which has been pretty much dead for all those years. She’s back with Jamie, and that romantic side of her is kindled again.”


5. The dual perspectives of Claire’s return to the past.

In the novel, this pivotal scene is told only from Claire’s perspective. However, the show gave us double the action, choosing to film the reunion from Jamie’s perspective as well. Director Ronald Moore explained:

“[Jamie] doesn’t know what’s coming and we all do. He’s living in Edinburgh and has this other life, who are all these people in that life? It’s a whole different atmosphere. I wanted to really relish and enjoy the tension of that waiting for the door bell to ring and to see what happened from his perspective. It was a fun way to set it up.”


6. Jamie’s reaction to seeing the photographs of Brianna.

Fans adored the scene in Voyager where Claire shows her husband smuggled photos of their daughter, Brianna. Jamie’s swoon-worthy reaction was one for the ages: “He buried his face in my shoulder and went quietly and thoroughly to pieces.” However, actor Sam Heughan decided his character should have a more subtle reaction to seeing his daughter for the first time. After fans expressed their disappointment, Heughan tweeted an explanation:

“I use action lines as guide only ‘Falling apart’ doesn’t have to mean tears, can be internal. Was my creative choice. Plus felt melodramatic.”


7. Claire discovers Jamie has a son with another woman.

In the TV show, Jamie shares that he has fathered a son while Claire was in the 20th century. In the book, though, Claire doesn’t find out about William until much later in Voyager — and she doesn’t find out from Jamie, but from Lord John Grey.


8. The death of the intruder.

So far in Outlander season three, the show has emphasized Claire’s devotion to her calling as a surgeon. For instance, in episode 7, a mysterious intruder dies at Claire’s hands after a failed cranial operation. In the novel, though, he dies via a gunshot wound, shot by Jamie’s Chinese acquaintance, Mr. Willoughby.


9. Archie Campbell’s personal character.

Archie Campbell, who meets Claire at an apothecary shop in Edinburgh while seeking help for his mentally unstable sister, is quite a different character from the book to the TV show. In the former, Archie is an uptight and upstanding Free Church minister. In the latter, though, he is shadily peddling his sister’s conduct as clairvoyance.


10. Young Ian’s bout with a prostitute.

In the book, Young Ian is very distraught about the possibility that he may have murdered a man in the print shop fire, so Fergus brings him to Madame Jeanne’s brothel to take his mind off of it. In the TV show, however, the amorous encounter takes place at the print shop before the fire and is initiated by Ian himself (although Fergus is highly encouraging of the idea).


11. The revelation that Jamie has an 18th-century wife.

Readers received the shock of a lifetime when Claire and Jamie return to Lallybroch in Voyager and are interrupted by a young girl who calls Jamie “Daddy.” It’s then that we learn who her mother is. On the small screen, however, several characters have already alluded to the fact that Jamie is hiding something from Claire, and Fergus even bluntly asks Jamie about his wife. It remains to be seen how the big reveal will happen in future episodes of season three.

What do you think about the Outlander season 3 changes from the book? Tell us in the comments!


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