Until very recently, I hadn’t listened to a “book on tape” since elementary school, when the librarian would play the story and flip through the pages for a group of us kids sitting on the floor with our legs crossed.
Flash forward a couple of decades or so and I’ve not only discovered Outlander the television series, but also Outlander the book series, and beyond that, Outlander the audiobooks. I give full credit to the ladies at the Outlander Podcast for the discovery of Davina Porter, narrator of the series. Being an audiobook narrator is a talent that not all people have. It isn’t just reading words off the page, it’s becoming the characters. And to me, the biggest feat is to convincingly portray the manliest (and arguably the sexiest) male character so well, that I forget who is actually speaking. Well, I can tell you about one woman who has absolutely nailed it.
It started with pure luck and persistence. Nosing around the interwebs can prove to be fruitful, especially when you discover your favorite author will not only be in town but for 2 different events in 2 places you’re very familiar with–the local renaissance festival and your university alma mater.
I mean, let’s talk about geeking out here.
Ever since I became obsessed with the Outlander book series (and television show) last year, I’ve been keeping close tabs on Diana Gabaldon’s event schedule, should she make her way east. And then, she finally did.
I spend quite a bit of time on Twitter these days. I find it the best way to keep track of breaking news and all of the things I fan over. It gives me a closer connection to the things I love. This time, it served to remind me of what’s going on in the world and the fact that I actually could help, even from so far away…
There have been quite a few polls/contests hosted by websites, where fans are asked to vote for their favorite actor/character. In fact, it feels like they’re never-ending. It can be a bit of fun (though, I won’t deny the feeling that so many of these challenges are more for website clicks than anything else). And if you’ve been a part of any of it, you know some fans are very dedicated to rallying the troops for votes. (Admittedly, though I do participate, it isn’t nearly as much as others.)
Outlander’s Sam Heughan really pushed fans to vote for him in the Radio Times TV Champion, and it was a lot of fun to watch and be a part of. His enthusiasm and engagement with fans around this poll was great. To me, when the actor is into it and turns it into a way to get ordinary people involved, that’s when I want to jump in and be a part of the action.
The Emmy nominations were announced last week and as much as I love TV, I’ve never really paid any mind to the nominations. I would be happy to hear that Game of Thrones or Downton Abbey received a few nods, but otherwise, it didn’t really seem to matter much to me. Not even the awards show itself.
But this year has been different. I’ve made it no secret that I love Outlander–the books and the TV series–and I’ve never seen acting that was so moving before. Never. So this year, I’ve been a supporter of the #EmmysForOutlander campaign, especially for Sam and Caitriona, but also costuming, set design, and many other categories that I would’ve thought were no brainers because they were just so good, so intricate, and completely on point with the story and the time period.
So as with most of the new episodes, I stayed up, drank wine, and waited until midnight. An hour later, when the credits began to roll, I sat there stunned. What the hell did I just watch?
Well, I’ll tell you what–the most horrific scenes and gut-wrenching performances I have EVER had the pleasure seen in my life. Ever. Every single actor was at the top of his/her game, but folks, I have to single out one man–the same man Diana Gabaldon wrote about the other day, the same one all of us fans have been praising every week….
Sam Heughan, this post is my open letter to you.
I’m sitting here trying to put together the write words to express how much your performance as Jamie Fraser in To Ransom A Man’s Soul affected me. I mean, I’m tearing up here in the cafe I’m sitting in just thinking about it.
In my shocked state at 2 or 3am, I began to just write down words that represented what I was feeling–
And never in my life would I have equated those feelings with COMPLETE BRILLIANCE. I prepared myself with wine, tissues, and a pillow. I didn’t get very far in the wine department because I just couldn’t stomach it. I was in as much pain as a girl can be, sitting on her couch in her pjs, hugging a pillow tight, heart racing. They say that nothing can be worse than your imagination, meaning that what we all read in the book and pictured in our minds would always be worse than what we would see on TV–WRONG. So wrong, and yet so right because my God, man, that was so good, it hurt.
Now, I’m just one of the many, many fans who are crying out #EmmysForOutlander on Twitter, but I hope the Television Academy is listening. There’s no room for consideration here, it’s just a must.
Thanks, Sam. Truly. And thank you to ALL of the cast and crew. You’ve set the bar so very high.
P.S. For those who haven’t seen this episode yet, or even seen this show, please do. I may be considered a bit biased as a major book fan as well, but this is what good writing and good television is and always should be.