My Thoughts On The State Of The Outlander Fandom: AKA The Art Of Sitting On The Fence – And Ten Positive Things I Feel We’ve Forgotten

I had wanted to wait a while before I wrote this to be honest. A week. Maybe two? But it’s been playing on my mind for the longest time and I will not be able to rest until I have said everything, I have wanted to say

As you may have guessed from the title of this blog… I have spent the better part of my involvement in the Outlander Fandom ‘Sitting on the fence’

If you’re unfamiliar with the term – that comes as no great surprise. I’m the only one I know that uses it.  It means I try and get along with all facets of the fandom… no matter how big or small those facets may be. It means I don’t exactly *fit* into any category or group of people – because I try my hardest to see everyone’s point of view.

Let’s begin by breaking this fandom down into its respective parts (As I see them. If I miss any -let me know)

Also, I am not here to flame on anyone by doing this- I just need to do it for the sake of getting my own thoughts out into the Universe.

 

  1. – who have read the books and watched the TV show
  2. Non-Shippers – who have read the books and watch the TV show
  3. Book readers – who watch the TV show
  4. Non-book readers – who watch the TV show
  5. Those that stay loyal to the books and refuse to watch the TV show
  6. Those that listen to the books via audio book aps and watch the TV show

 

And then, we break it down again into smaller groups:

 

  1. Jamie and Claire/ Sam and Cait fans only
  2. Roger and Bree / Rik and Sophie fans only
  3. Fergus and Marsali/ Cesar and Lauren fans only (They’re relatively new. But they’re included for the sake of this blog)
  4. Fans of other OL actors David Berry, John Bell, Duncan Lacroix etc, etc .. – They also are included here for the sake of this blog.

 

As you can see, once this fandom is broken down – there are a lot of groups and thus sub groups that make up this wonderful, glorious place known universally as the OUTLANDER FANDOM. On the surface -we’re all here because of our love of a story written over 20 years ago by an Author by the name of Diana Gabaldon. The story of how a WW2 nurse finds herself 202 years in the past and falls in love with an 18th Century Highlander.

There are 8 main books to date (Book 9 to be released at some point this year) plus many novellas, short stories and novels relating to different threads of this universe – which still somehow, magically tie themselves into the lives of the two main characters (At Time of writing – I still need to read all the other stories and the LJG novels. It’s the only reason I’m glad this Droughtlander is one year long)

In 2014 it was adapted for television and since then it has become a global phenomenon – with all of us falling in love with its larger than life characters, its scenery, the costumes, the sets and oh, the beautiful musical score we are blessed with thanks to Bear McCreary. I could go on and on … but there’s no need. We’re all on the same page now, I hope.

 

So, here we are. The end of season 4.  And we are all facing an incredibly long, long wait for our beloved show to return to our screens. Season 5 is due to start filming very, very shortly and we’ve got to wait till early 2020 till we see it again.

When I discovered Outlander in mid 2017 – It was like I’d won the lottery. I never felt more *at home* anywhere in my life. To explain… I’ve always felt in order to feel complete as a person, I needed to belong somewhere. Be part of a family. A wider community. It’s not something I’ve ever felt in real life – at least, as far as my actual family is concerned. They’re scattered and all over the place and generally tend to stay where they are – content to live in their own life bubble – not really wanting to connect with anyone else .. unless they have to. We still send the occasional cards for Birthdays and Christmas, the odd phone call here and there and drop a comment or two on FB – but away from that, we’re not a close-knit lot which is why, even after all this time, my Outlander Fanmily means so much to me. (Side note: Thanks to Outlander I discovered Sam Heughan/ My Peak Challenge and became a Peaker at the beginning of 2018. But that’s another story for another day.)

This is my 2nd Droughtlander. Well, two and a half if I’m perfectly honest. I came aboard about 4 months before the beginning of Se 3. By the time Se 3 went to air – I was reading ‘The Fiery Cross’, watched the first two seasons back to back twice and was following cast and crew across all social media platforms. During the hiatus between the end of Season 3 and the start of season 4 I finished reading all the books, re-watched all three seasons back to back at least 3 times, joined MPC and pretty much introduced all of my friends to this wonderful series.

So, it’s fair enough to say that by this point – I’m pretty well known amongst the fandom, cast and crew have a vague idea that I exist – due to the fact I tweet them a lot * Oops! *   and I have successfully made and maintained friendships with everybody right across the board.

Which brings me to the question: Why?

Why, over the course of 13 weeks … has this fandom torn itself apart and turned against itself?

I’ve seen book readers tear strips off TV watchers

I’ve seen team JC/ SC flame team RB/RS and visa-versa

I’ve seen shippers have unnecessarily heated arguments with non-shippers for no reason and visa- versa

I’ve seen TV watchers cry confusion when they don’t understand – only to stomp on book readers when they try to explain things

I’ve seen OL production turn tail and run away – when fans from all corners demand answers for their decisions (and don’t get me started on the MBR dramatic twitter exit towards the end of the season)

I’ve seen the powers that be throw their lead actors * Under the bus* as it were so they can deal with the dumpster fire this season has caused.

I’ve seen cast members block fans (Yes, I’m looking at you and you!) because … I don’t know… you’re having a bad hair day or something??

Oh, and if you see anyone who works in post-production – tell them I said they have a mountain of explaining to do.

 

The Outlander fandom has been gas lit from end to end and it makes me so mad I could just cry. * Glares at those responsible for that for 84 years*

 

See here’s the thing about sitting on the fence .. You want to get in there and fix the shit show – but you can’t. It’s not your job. Instead, you try and see the positives in everything – because that’s the only way you know how to stop yourself losing your Goddamn mind.

Therefore, I humbly present – The Positives in Everything.

 

  1. This fandom is full of gifted, talented, creative people.

I kid you not. The OL fandom has some of the most creative people I’ve ever met in it. They write amazing stories, they paint incredible works of art, they sketch and draw likenesses of our beloved characters that are so realistic – It makes you wonder if it’s real. They knit, sew and crochet beautiful creations. Others can cook up a storm, cos-play like a boss or come up with concepts and ideas that are so amazing – it blows your mind.

 

  1. This fandom is hilariously funny.

 

I dare you to find a more hilariously funny bunch of people. Since joining the OL fandom in 2017 – there’s hardly been a day where I am not laughing at something. Whether it’s a meme or a gif or a line from DG’s books. The in-jokes this fandom has are some of the greatest ever invented (#KiltDaddy anyone) There’s always something to laugh at. Add to this, the stars of the show are often the cause of the hilarity and when that happens – no one is safe!

Never a dull moment – and I’m grateful for that.

 

  1. This fandom loves donating to charity

 

If there’s one thing this fandom is good at – it’s raising money for charity. As one we have raised millions of dollars for charity organisations around the world. That makes me proud to be part of this fandom – to know that we have helped people with our donations makes me very happy indeed

 

  1. We support other projects

 

Whenever one of our beloved cast members has another project – be it a movie, another TV role, an independent film or even if they’re running a marathon or two – you’ll find the OL fandom right there at the sidelines cheering them on. We don’t even give it a second thought. It’s just what we do.  We’re awesome that way.

 

  1. We support each other

 

Yep. Yep we do. Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to deal with Droughtlander together, would we?

 

  1. The Cast and Crew interact with us on the regs.

 

Now, I know having read this far, you’re probably wondering why I chose to add this as a positive … .and the truth is … because, over all, it is.  I can’t think of any other fandom where the cast and crew interact with fans as much as this one. It may not be smooth sailing all the time and we may be left shaking our heads a lot – but at least, they speak to us… which is more than I can say for any other fandom I’ve ever been in and I’ve been in a lot over the last decade or so (Giving away my age now – uh oh)

 

  1. We have the best looking cast ….. Ever.

 

Regardless of which side you’re on- you’ve got to agree that the cast of OL is, to use a quote from Derrek Zoolander – ‘really, really, really, ridiculously good looking’

…Shut up. Don’t @ me about this! You know I am right! Our Queens are to die for and …. Do I even need say anything about The King of Men? … Heh… nope. I didn’t think so.

 

  1. We can all agree that DG’s books are amazing

 

As I mentioned in the beginning – DG’s books are the reason this fandom exists in the first place. Even if you’ve never read a single word- you’re well aware that most of the dialogue used on the show comes direct from the pages of the books and that she’s won awards for her writings – mostly which are from the OL books.  And, if you have read a single word – if you’re anything like me .. those words become burned into your brain – never to leave and they are memorised eternal.

Love her or loathe her – we, as a group have so much to thank her for. For giving us this incredible, amazing story and blessing us all with the perfection that is James Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser.

 

  1. This fandom has single handedly done wonders for Scotland’s tourism industry.

 

It’s positively true. Thanks to both the TV series and the books – Scotland has become awash with tourists from all over the world wanting to see Outlander filming locations or in the hopes of catching the cast themselves on set somewhere. Year after year, people come in their thousands to visit the country that made us fall in love with the Outlander series in the first place. I plan to go there myself one day. People say it’s a beautiful country… If what I see in the TV series is anything to go by – then I honestly believe it

 

  1. Fandom Friendships are for life

 

They are. I’ve made some amazing friendships during my time in this fandom and my only hope is that we stay friends for the rest of our lives. I’ve made friends with people from all over the world thanks to Outlander and I feel extremely lucky to have found such friends. I love talking Outlander with them. Not only that – I love finding out about who they are and what the world is like for them.

They’re truly wonderful, fabulous hilarious, creative, clever, witty, funny people and I’m proud to say I know them.

 

So, there you have it. Ten positive things about this fandom. I think it’s very much needed after the last 13 weeks of shit storms and dumpster fires and *Fan-shaming* and *actor/ character bashing*  and temper tantrums and the verbal or metaphorical equivalent of *Picking up ones toys and going home because they don’t want to play anymore*, the blocking, the bitching, the complaining, the arguing, the crying and the general disrespect and disregard from everyone on both sides ( From fans and cast and crew) because this is not what we’re about.  We’re better than that. Everyone is.

We’ve got a year before the next season starts and it’s only going to be 12 weeks long. So, I ask you… Can you think of anything positive about this fandom until then? Can you? Because trust me guys, we’re gonna need it if we’re to survive the next 12 months.

 

Think about it,

 

Thanks for reading,

 

CJ

 

 

5 thoughts on “My Thoughts On The State Of The Outlander Fandom: AKA The Art Of Sitting On The Fence – And Ten Positive Things I Feel We’ve Forgotten

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