‘Outlander’ Boss Responds to Rape Backlash and Explains Major Book Change

This is a really good interview The Hollywood Reporter had with Ron D. Moore about Epis7 and 8. Must read.

I went with what I thought was enough to convey the horror of it without lingering in it and making it too gratuitous.

~ Ron D. Moore, They Hollywood Reporter


There’s been a lot of controversy from viewers over how much of Black Jack Randall’s (Tobias Menzies) rape of Fergus (Romann Berrux) was shown onscreen vs. how much of it was in the book. Why did you choose to show more of it in the episode?

It’s been a while since I’ve read that chapter of the book but my recollection was the book was fairly explicit about what happened. I thought that what we showed in the show was actually the minimum required to convey the horror of what had happened and to understand from Claire’s point of view why she would change her mind about Jamie and about getting him out of the Bastille and come to an understanding about what made him break his promise to her and to really viscerally put her and the viewer in the point of realizing what had happened to Fergus. We had a lot of conversations about it with the cast and the director and then in editorial, and I went with what I thought was enough to convey the horror of it without lingering in it and making it too gratuitous.

Has the fan response to that scene surprised you at all?

I don’t spend a lot of time seeking that out, but from what I’ve seen, the overwhelming response has been positive. Everyone thought the show was very emotional and that it was a very gut-wrenching episode and the performances were amazing. I’ve seen pretty much a very positive response.

Are you going to be exploring that story going forward any more?

Not as much. Jamie is our lead character, and Fergus is a supporting role and it’s a different story. We’ve jumped ahead in the narrative to many months later and the war story has taken over. It’s a different thing for Fergus than it was for Jamie.

Let’s move on to this week’s episode. So many game-changing events happen throughout the hour, but what scene are you most proud of with the way it turned out onscreen?

It’s a tricky part of the story to try to convey, and I’m pretty proud of the way it all turned out. The whole story of Lord Lovat and trying to bring out the motivations of everybody in those scenes was tricky on the page. In the books, it wasn’t quite as clear as what we needed to make it onscreen. What did Lovat want from Jamie? What was he after? We brought in Colum to give two voices to the pros and cons of fighting the Jacobites. We got that to a place that finally worked.

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