How does Outlander season 3 differ from Diana Gabaldon’s book?

Claire and Jamie's latest outing is based on Outlander novel Voyager, but how true does the series stay to the original novel?

Sam Heughan Outlander S3

Outlander executive producer Ronald D Moore and his team turned to Diana Gabaldon’s third novel, Voyager, when writing season three of the hit time travel series – but how true does the show stay to the original novel?

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“I’d say it’s mostly true to the book,” says Moore, who admits he found the third novel far easier to adapt for the TV screen than its predecessor, Dragonfly In Amber. He’s previously said that the third season will make some departures from the original text, but how does it differ exactly?

“We played with the structure,” he reveals. “In [Voyager] Jamie’s journey is subdivided into individual chapters which we replicate in the show. It’s almost like each chapter of Jamie’s story in the book is an episode.”

Where to download the Outlander Radio Times special edition

Outlander Digital Edition Cover

Leading lady Claire’s narrative didn’t run in quite the same way, however, so Moore and his team decided to get creative when portraying her story on television.

“Claire didn’t have an equivalent journey in the book. In the book it takes place mostly from Claire’s perspective in 1968, while she, Roger and Brianna are doing research on Jamie – kind of where we left them at the end of season two, and then eventually she goes back,” Moore explains.

“We felt, ‘Well, let’s tell Claire’s story in the 20th century as well’. So in each Jamie episode you had a Claire story that was going on at the same time in the 20th century: about her relationship with Frank and the birth of Brianna, her decision to become a doctor and so on. And that didn’t really exist in the book.”

Outlander Claire Brianna Roger

Where did these new Claire stories come from then?

“We kind of brought that together out of disparate pieces,” says Moore. “Some were back stories mentioned in other books and previous seasons, and some were things we just sort of invented on our own. I’d say that’s probably the biggest change from the book.”

We already know of one big change that’s coming: author Gabaldon has confirmed that the show will give fans a definitive answer to a major question about Frank and Claire’s relationship.

Watch this space for all the latest book vs TV show changes as season three progresses.

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New episodes of Outlander will be released on Amazon Prime Video in the UK every Monday