Why Outlander Made The Frasers' House So Different From The Book

outlander jamie sam heughan starz

Whenever you have a television show that's based on a beloved series of novels, there will be inevitable (and nearly constant) questions about how that show matches up with things in the books. The Starz time-traveling romance hit Outlander is no different, with many changes being made in the story and character arcs from the books so that the drama on-screen can become its own thing, while still satisfying those who adore the books on which it's based. Season 5 finally premiered over the weekend, and some fans are already questioning an odd detail: the size of Claire and Jamie's house.

I know that this seems like an unusual thing for fans to get worked up about, but, seeing as how Outlander is a story that takes great care to fill the screen with historical details, the apparent grandeur of the Fraser main house is exactly the kind of feature that people would notice and try taking the show to task for. And, as you can see in the above photo behind Jamie, the house is much bigger than the one they occupied in Season 4, when they first settled Fraser's Ridge.

They Need Room, Sassenach!

Matthew B. Roberts, Outlander's executive producer, has already noticed all you folks who took to Twitter to complain about Jamie and Claire having such a big...big house in the new world. But, he can lay out some very good reasons why the production decided to make their home as big as it ended up being. Here's what he had to say:

When Jon Gary Steele designed the big Fraser house, I saw some that were like, ‘Oh, that’s not what the way I pictured it.’ I’ve fallen in love with the big house. And I think when looking at images of the time, of the period and what houses looked like, you hope people respond like, ‘Okay, yeah, I can see this.’ The house has to look good on camera, and it also has a function. If we built it to the actual size, we could get the actors in there but we couldn’t get any cameras or crew. So anytime you see a scene where it’s just Jamie and Claire, there’s another 15 people standing just opposite them with two cameras, directors, supervisors… a lot of people. I think Gary and his team did a fantastic job of creating something that’s very functional but also looks fantastic on camera.

See? Aren't you glad you stopped your busy day to read this article now? Basically, Matthew B. Roberts admits that the home we see on Outlander is, indeed, bigger than the home author Diana Gabaldon wrote into her novels. But, it has to be. As he told Entertainment Weekly, (even though it's very easy for viewers to not consider this fact) whenever we see anyone inside the home, it's not just those actors filling the rooms, but a whole host of crew members, as well.

I Canna Say I Mind It Overmuch

If, somehow, a scene with Jamie and Claire only required Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe to populate a room in the main house, that wouldn't be a big deal, and the home probably would have been built much smaller. But, according to Matthew B. Roberts, every scene needs to have at least 15 other people crammed into any given room on the set, so there would be no way to accomplish that with anything smaller.

Plus, Matthew B. Roberts hopes that, if fans really think about the time period and look at the house, they'll realize that it could have been Claire and Jamie's home were they real people (they're not, but, man I wish they had been real). Not to mention the fact that it just looks good on camera, because it's all grand and romantic like the main couple themselves.

Season 5 of Outlander is finally (Did I already say finally? Too bad, it fits!) airing on Starz, Sundays at 8 p.m. EST. For more on what you can watch on the small screen right now, check out our 2020 premiere guide and Netflix schedule.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.