Laoghaire Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave…
The producers and writers of Outlander are perhaps pondering this old saying. Why? In which seems like an attempt to further dramatise the already dramatic plot of Outlander in Season 1 they turned a naive 16 year old girl into a unredeemable scheming plotter. The young girl in question, while not totally innocent, was portrayed quite differently to the author’s intent. While this might have made for devious TV fodder, it tinkered with the storyline to the extent that specific future events become hard to comprehend, like Jamie being willing to marry (when much older) the said scheming plotter.
“Book Jamie” does not know the silly young girl, Laoghaire, was responsible for writing the note which led Claire to Geillis at a time when Geillis was about to be accused of witchcraft. While “TV Laoghaire” actually has a satisfied gleam in her eyes as she sees Claire dragged off to the thieves’ hole along with Geillis. And, later at the trial we see TV Laoghaire sneering at Claire as she gives direct evidence against her. To “Book Claire” Laoghaire is quickly forgotten, a mere nuisance.
For all the words I could put together Diana Gabaldon is obviously the best person to comment on this debacle!
There was a feeble attempt to “redeem” Laoghaire in Season 1, episode 8 “The Fox’s Lair”, but all I felt after that episode was that she was even more sly, with fake regret, more scheming and a final bitter “under her breath” comment when she saw Jamie again (which definitely did not happen in the book). I’m not getting into a TV verses Book thing here, it’s a particular choice which was made by the producers and writers with a short term vision of producing “dramatic TV”. So, here we are on the cusp of Outlander, Season 3, knowing there is a big problem! Why would Jamie marry a woman who tried to have the love of his life burned at the stake? Sure, we can try to blame Jenny for her manipulation. Jenny was acting out of love for Jamie who was bereft of the kind of love she could not provide for him. However, “TV Laoghaire” should never have been considered a contender as a wife for Jamie after her shameful and unforgivable attempt to get Claire killed.
So, how do Ron D. Moore, Maril Davis and the writers dig themselves out of this hole? A hole as big as, and as damp, dark and cold as, the thieves’ hole itself?
Jamie, as we well know, is our selfless and honourable Laird. How many times has he sacrificed himself for others? Given this trait in Jamie, it seems to me the only way for him to marry “TV Laoghaire” would be as an act to save her, and perhaps more importantly, her daughters, from a terrible fate. I can imagine such a fate may include trouble from men wearing redcoats. Otherwise, I canna see our Jamie easily betraying the memory of his beloved Claire.
Of course, this is pure conjecture on my part, so as we await Outlander, Season 3 perhaps you could also consider a solution to this problem, uncharacteristically (for the TV show) created by altering part of Diana’s story. We congratulate the producers for making Murtagh a bigger character, and other positive tinkering, but the Laoghaire situation is difficult!
Yes, I did add a spoiler alert, however I really do think this should be redundant as the book has been very well read since its publication in 1993, so it’s contents are hardly news.