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Outlander Author Speaks Out on Laoghaire's Jump the Shark Moment


She's the woman fans love to loathe: Laoghaire. We now know it was Laoghaire's appearance and the subsequent events of episode 8, "The Fox's Lair," that led Diana Gabaldon to say she thought the show would "jump the shark."

MAJOR BOOK AND SHOW SPOILERS AHEAD - STOP IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOST RECENT EPISODE!!

In the television series, "Outlander," Laoghaire is a critical antagonist in the first season. She plays a major role in having Claire tried as a witch even going so far as to testify against her. Laoghaire did all of this, on the show, because of a monster crazy crush she had on Jamie. It's a far cry from the character's portrayal in the books, inflated to far more importance than she received on the page.

Now, in the most recent episode of Outlander, we see Laoghaire return for the first time all season. She's still in love with Jamie, but looking to repent. Despite clearly hating her and wanting to kill her, Claire teams up with Laoghaire to get Lord Lovat's men to fight. By the end of the episode, Claire urges Jamie to forgive Laoghaire for trying to have Claire killed. It's a total departure from the book, the events never having taken place. The storyline arguably makes for good television, but to fans of the book and Gabaldon, the whole sequence of events is a "jump the shark" moment.


We've documented at length Gabaldon's concerns about a moment on the show she thought was not in keeping with the book. You can read the article to find out what was said. No one knew which moment it would be or what she was referring to, but most guesses landed on Laoghaire. Actress Nell Hudson was spotted on set filming an episode for season two in what appeared to be a clear departure from the books. Fans speculated this was the moment Gabaldon had referred to.

Gabaldon confirmed this morning on her Facebook page that this was indeed the episode to which she was referring. Gabaldon went on to explain the major differences between the book and the screen adaptation where Laoghaire is concerned:


Gabaldon also revealed on her Compuserve board that in the original script for episode 8, Claire grabbed Laoghaire by the hair, and slapped her, repeatedly, while cursing at her. "I said I thought this wasn't Claire's style. <cough>" said Gabaldon.

The show's version of events is problematic because of Laoghaire's role in the subsequent books. As book readers know, Laoghaire ends up marrying Jamie Fraser, who is ignorant of her actions surrounding the witch trial. When Jamie finds out what Laoghaire did, more than 20 years later, he says, "The wicked wee bitch! No, I didna ken that at all - Christ, Sassenach, ye canna think I would have marrit the woman, knowing she'd done such a thing to you!"

The show, however, has revealed Laoghaire's duplicity to Jamie, who rightly believes her to be evil. Now they're trying to find a way to somewhat redeem her so that it will make sense when and if they have Jamie Fraser marry Laoghaire. Only time will tell, but it seems like the show's writers have a lot of work cut out for them to right this ship. <cough>

What did you think of the addition of Laoghaire? We want to know! Tell us below in the comments.
Outlander Author Speaks Out on Laoghaire's Jump the Shark Moment Reviewed by Deborah Thompson on 9:00 PM Rating: 5

40 comments:

  1. Just don't have Jamie marry Laoghaire. Problem solved. I hated that part in the book anyways. It was unnecessary drama created to make Claire mad at Jamie so they could fight and make up lol.

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    1. Yes, I am definitely on for that adaptation! Listen up, RDM: Just don't have Jamie marry Laoghaire!

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    2. I don't think that would be possible though unless they make more huge adaptations. Other major plot points include having to figure out where to get money to send to Laoghaire every year as well as her daughter going to the new world with them and marrying Fergus.

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    3. So I just started reading the first book and have probably watched every episode 5 or more times. Love it! As I read on as I do so slowly absorbing and picturing each actor to character, I knew when watching behind the making of S2 episode 8 "Fox's Lair" that there was reason of Laoghaire to come back and redeem herself "which I didn't think was all that redeeming, anyway discovering through the net of future happening ugh so disappointing but ok cause it will be forever before I get to read 2-8 since they aren't available kindle unlimited. I agree with the one who said this should be something he does in order to save someone he cares for. Maybe before someone died knocked the little beast Laoghaire up and he was only one to know and was made to promise in the absence of the father that he would not allow the child to bare the shame Laoghaire should! And no sex just literally a loveless marriage that he tries to get out of by being apart from her as much as possible!

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  2. He has to though to keep moving the plot along in the right direction. It's because of her monetary demands in the divorce settlements that causes them to go get some of their treasure. Which is where Ian is then kidnapped. Which then sets them on the course for the Caribbean and eventually Fraser Ridge in the colonies. It's also how Fergus meets his future wife, Marsali (Laoghaire's daughter).
    Without Laoghaire marrying Jamie, all of this plot unravels. Which is unfortunate because she is such a snot-nosed brat.
    I love this show and they have done a phenomenal job with the adaption. The only complaint is that I so dislike what the show runners have done to sensationalize her character. I see their reasons, but I don't think they're valid enough reasons to justify her characterization in the show. Because in the end, the shittier they make her, the shittier they make Jamie look for marrying her down the line.
    He is this incredible, moral, loyal character and yet in season 1 they had him "struggle with a moment of weakness" with this teenaged brat who tries to seduce him (like whathtehell?). In the book he didn't give her the time of day. Even in The Way Out episode, he hardly acknowledged her. He made out with her once and now suddenly he owes her an explanation of his marriage. No. All that did was make him look mildly pervy. And now they want to make her "redeemable" (from attempting MURDER, btw) by pity flirting with this guy for 5 seconds. Screw that.
    Having him KNOW what a petty little snit she is and still bring himself to marrying her for whatever motivations down the line, again, detracts from the awesomeness that is James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser. Because is book Jamie says, " ye canna think I would have marrit the woman, knowing she'd done such a thing to you!" And yet thats exactly how the show runners are setting it up, he's going to marry the woman knowing did such a thing to his beloved Claire. LAME.

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    1. You are spot on. Maybe they'll do something really jumping the shark like giving him Amnesia. hehe

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    2. Plus Jamie pays such a high price for marrying Leoghaire. Almost losing claire, having to recompense Leoghaire for the rest of his or her life to the detriment of his marriage to Claire because they are always desperate for money -I mean Jamie found the treasure but for all intents and purposes Leoghaire gets it ! The tv series really screwed up the Leoghaire -I hate that scene where she tries to seduce Jamie by the river -- and he almost gives in to her --and then he leaves Leoghaire "all hot and heavy breathing" and goes to Claire for sex ! Jamie met Claire and that was that for him -in the book he said to Claire "It was always forever for me , Sassenach" ! Just so out of Character for Jamie in the tv series ! And really not for any good reason. They should have followed the book for sure on this part of the books ! I have no clue how they are going to bring about the marriage of Jamie and Leoghaire after this part of the tv series . And by the way, I did not draw the conclusion that Claire was having Jamie thank Leoghaire as a way for forgiving her for what Leghair had done to Claire. My impression was that he was thanking Leoghaire for the part she played in helping Young Simon to stand up like a man to impress Leghair ! I was screaming at the tv by then and at the scene with Leoghaire by the river when she was trying to seduce Jamie ! Leoghaire is a catalyst-she causes things to happen in the books -- don't know how they will handle this thread in the tv show henceforth ! All I know is they have made a hateful character even more hateful and despised even more so and not for a good purpose !

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    3. Laoghaire is hateful in many ways but she was also delusional and a spiteful 16 year old..do you remember 16 all those hormones and refusal to see things as they really are. She is more pitiful than hateful she is a sad little girl who finally realizes that Jaime Never loved her. She is however a good and loving mother and essential to the story lines tofolloe.

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  3. IMO the writers and RDM have written themselves into a corner and no matter how they try to spin it, Jamie is going to look like a jerk for marrying Laoghaire in season 3. Not sure how they expect to justify the marriage. Totally out of character for Jamie now. They never should have let him in on Laoghaire's part in the witch trial. Had they kept him in the dark they wouldn't have this issue. Not sure what the hell they were thinking.

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    1. Exactly on point. Disappointed in the turn RDM has taken here.

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    2. They had a perfect opportunity to get out of that corner by leaving Laoghaire with Lord Lovat. Would have been a great ending for her there! I would have been fine with that adaptation and repercussions! lol

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    3. They do not need to justify it..Jenny pushes for the marriage and at this point Jaime is at a what the h... point he has lost everything except Jenny and her family that he truly loved,...Claire, Brianna and William. The point is not why but why jot.

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  4. I look at it as a separate thing, one is a book and one is a TV show. I love, love, love the books. And I love the show, too. Murtagh didn't have nearly as much in the books as he does on the show, but I watch each week to see what he's up to next. I can totally understand how the writers need to inject some different items to make it flow. I'll keep reading, keep watching and definitely keep enjoying!

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  5. I think the Jamie/Leoghaire thing can be fixed if the writers can come up with a situation where Jamie is forced into marriage with her—-he’s protecting someone, saving Lallybroch, being blackmailed, etc--some REALLY good reason. That’s the only way I can see that they can keep Jamie in character after knowing of her evil deeds. It would only be believable if Jamie has a higher purpose in marrying her—not just that he’s lonely or persuaded by Jenny.

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    1. Yeah,but hard to think what that higher purpose would be. I can't see him getting into a situation where Laoghaire would have such power over him. They should've left what they did with S1 alone. With all that is occurring in Claire's life and the decisions that she is forced to contemplate, Laoghaire was still gnat in Claire's life.

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    2. I think JIMEE WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR jENNY JUST AS i THINK HE WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR cLAIRE. pROBLEM SOLVED. dON'T FORGET, HE MAY STILL BE A LITTLE GUILTY FEELING FOR THE bjr SITUATION, FATHER DYING.

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  6. Or perhaps he could just marry her and NOT HAVE SEX WITH HER. Problem solved. Fans happy.

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    1. How do you figure that. As it is, he does have sex with her and finds it and everything about their life together so unsatisfying that he stays away as much as possible. And makes it very clear to Laoghaire that he never loved him and never will and creates continued conflict.

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  7. Not a fan of the this twist, but actually more upset that we got only like 2 minutes of peace and healing at Lallybroch (voice over fail). In addition to that, the writers insisted we see Fergus raped, yet they showed us nothing of his recovery. I did love the scene with Jamie and the baby. I also could see more connected again between Jamie and Claire. And Jamie is emerging as the leader he is.

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  8. To be clear, in the show, Claire only asks Jamie to THANK Laoghaire, Claire doesnt "urge Jamie to forgive Laoghaire for trying to have Claire killed"...

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  9. Right, joanopolis...noted same thing. Asking him to say "thank you" is a far cry from urging him to forgive her. The writers have painted themselves into a corner. The Jamie in the books would NEVER marry Laoghaire if he knew what she had done to Claire. And as DG points out, RDM made her much worse in the show, which makes it even more implausible that he would marry her. Agree with one of the other commenters that they're going to have to come up with some honorable reason for him to do it. This all could have been avoided if they had stuck to the books and stopped trying to throw other women at Jamie (like with Annalise in Paris...totally unnecessary storyline). Book Jamie is too honorable and loves Claire too much to ever be unfaithful to her,so why insinuate it on the show? Most fans have no issue with altering the plot or timelines to move the story forward within the time constraints of episodic TV. The show is beautifully done and wonderfully acted. But changing the essential nature of Jamie and Claire's characters, and their relationship to each other? Why? Tens of millions of readers can't be wrong.

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    1. I agree with Anonymous above; the only issues I have had with the TV series are times when they have Jamie and Claire do things that are totally out of character.

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    2. Are they out of character or are they just not always their prefect selves...remember all humans are multi
      Faceted..and they make mistakes.

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  10. I can see the writers' need to "partially redeem" Leghair in this episode, due to the story line yet to come in future seasons (which I love the sound of!!). Claire asks Jamie to thank (not forgive) Leghair and says she'll explain why later to Jamie. Maybe she never gets around to explaining, leaving Jamie thinking years later, after Culloden, "well, if Claire wanted me to thank Leghair, maybe she's not so terrible now after all".

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    1. That is a possibility...however more than likely Jaime was never fully aware of Laoghaire extent of her involvement in her being arrested or her testimony. In addition her needed something to hold onto life..Jenny beefed it was a women...Laoghaire was familiar to Jaime, approved of by Jenny and she was never aware of what happened until Brianna tells them. Laoghaire was a delusional 16 year old and as Murtagh said very immature and would always be immature and not suited to Jaime.

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  11. The only things in the series that I have consistently disliked are the changes from book Leery to show Leery. I really disliked the scene by the river in Season 1 and her in Season 2. Agree with alot of what everyone else had said.

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  12. It's out of character for Jamie to marry that nauseating cretin knowing she tried to get Claire killed. If you ask me the writers are in deep shit trying to write their way out of this. They've got their work cut out for them. As for me I couldn't believe what I was seeing my eyes nearly popped out of my head when Jamie appologised to the idiotic Lherry.

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  13. I understand that things will be/have to be changed when you take a story off paper and put it on screen. Changes are inevitable, and not all changes are bad. BUT. When you change who the characters are AND change the story-that makes no sense. I understand wanting drama but there's plenty of other ways to get it without creating plot problems (and making their own jobs harder in the process I might add). It just doesn't make sense!

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  14. Instead of adding Loaghaire to the episode, they could have filmed different, more significant scenes from the book. The death of Alex and the birth of Mary Hawkins could have been included just before Jamie and Claire leave for Scotland. Loaghaire cannot be "cleaned up".
    Just my opinion.

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  15. Oops! I meant Mary Hawkins baby!

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    1. But that doesn't happen until they are in Scotland! One way out would be to have Jamie marry someone other than Laoghaire - I think the rest of the storyline might still work. Or there is more in this series where Laoghaire can truly earn redemption. But yes, would have been better if they'd kept her character closer to the book

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    2. But that doesn't happen until they are in Scotland! One way out would be to have Jamie marry someone other than Laoghaire - I think the rest of the storyline might still work. Or there is more in this series where Laoghaire can truly earn redemption. But yes, would have been better if they'd kept her character closer to the book

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    3. Laoghaire and her daughters are essential part of books can not have him marry someone else... have you read all 8 books.

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  16. Question have any of you ever experienced isolation and being cut off from your societies... If not talk to some pow's. Jaime lives 7 years in a cave, spent another 5 in prison and another 9 years on parole separated from loved ones and what was familiar to him. He consented to Laoghaire because she was familiar, a connection to life and something that his sister wanted for him. Until you have walked in similar shoes do not think this was because Jaime wanted Laoghaire. He needed a connection anything to hold his sanity and to hold him to life. Laoghaire was a very bad choice.

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    1. One of the most insightful points made. (I came late to the story - watching season one, over and over, have pre-ordered the season 2 DVDs, and waiting for book ONE to show up any day now...) But, I really feel you have framed the truth. I find as I grow older, alone, I look for more reminders of the life I lived when I was young. People do reach out, and back, for what they know, for what reminds them of a safer, happier, or healthier time.

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  17. The tv show is supposed to be different from the books, hence changed characters. That way, the writers get more people watching (this was said by Ron Moore)

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  18. The writers are stuck now. Totally changes Jaime's character if he marries her knowing what she did. Should have stuck to the book.

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