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The Starz hit Outlander has become known for many things during its five seasons on the air. While intense battle scenes, stirring drama, startling deaths, and wondrous sexytimes are among those positive attributes, it can't be said that the show is totally historically accurate at all times. Whenever history buffs look at a show such as Outlander, they often delight in pointing out whose hairstyle is wrong or who would be carrying a slightly different type of gun, but the author of the novels upon which the series is based, Diana Gabaldon, says she thinks it's just fine that the show isn't completely historically accurate, and she's opened up about why that is.
We all know that sometimes people can't just sit back and let a lovely, sexy, vibrantly exciting show like Outlander simply wash over them so that they can enjoy it. There are many who truly enjoy pointing out any historical inaccuracies they might find (which the makers of Bridgerton found out pretty quickly), and try to ruin the experience for the rest of us. But, Outlander's author, Diana Gabaldon, doesn't think those things on the show actually matter all that much, even considering that it's a time travel show about a 1940s nurse who's transported to the 1700s.
Gabaldon spoke with Parade recently, and when asked about historical accuracy, she talked about how she makes sure to do extensive research when writing, but also admitted that the television show based on her books "is a lot more…flexible, shall we say?" And, Gabaldon opened up about why that's not a big deal for her, even with all the trouble she goes through to make sure she gets her novels right, noting:
On the other hand, the story does have a strong fantasy element, and the fans are, for the most part, happy to enjoy that. Historical accuracy is really not why most people watch historical shows, after all; I think most are looking for a transporting or immersive experience, and Outlander definitely provides that!
Hmmmm. OK, I like it! You know, I really think that Diana Gabaldon made two interesting points here when talking about historical shows and accuracy. First of all, Outlander already has the benefit of being a fantasy, where people can use certain standing stones to travel back and forth in time across centuries. Sure, it might be true that someone can actually do that in real life, but we have yet to see proof of it, so right now it stands as a big ol' fun bit of fiction, which helps set the story apart from, say, someone's biography.
Secondly, to add to that point, Outlander is historical fiction. This means that while getting the scope of many of the historical details correct is important (We all would have looked at the show sideways had Jamie and his clan been driving around in cars when Claire showed up, right?), it's alright to let some, much smaller, details slide. And, while I love a lush costume, a period-looking castle, and a bomb-ass wig as much as anyone, I am not going to pause the show to see if Jamie and Claire's house on Fraser's Ridge would really look like that.
As Diana Gabaldon said, all of the details that do go into the show, along with the fantastic story, are what helps transport us, and, really, that's generally enough.