Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Some thoughts about the ring

Here are some more thoughts about Claire's wedding ring as shown in Episode 107 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "The Wedding".

*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***

There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.


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In my recap of Episode 107, I made the following comments:
I am not unduly worried about the ring. It seems pretty clear to me that this is a "placeholder" ring, just something temporary that she can wear until Jamie manages to buy her something better. They must have decided that TV viewers needed a visual reminder of Claire's divided loyalties, and it's going to be a while yet before they get back to Leoch and Jamie can buy her a decent ring with his own money. I am confident that he WILL do that, when the time comes. Claire isn't going to go through the whole series, multiple seasons, wearing a crude iron ring fashioned from an old key. <g> Don't worry. The people in charge of this show are fans (this episode made that abundantly clear!); they know very well how important that silver ring is going to be, and they won't forget it.
Unfortunately, it turns out I was wrong. This ring (or rather, a sterling silver version of the ring shown in Episode 107) is now being offered for sale as "Claire's Wedding Ring Replica" on the official Outlander Store.



It's selling for $249.99, which seems really excessive to me (do they really think the fans will love it enough to pay that much??), but that's not the main reason I'm mentioning it here.



The photo above shows Claire's ring from the Author's Attic site. (The direct link to the Claire's Ring page is here. As you can imagine, that site has been overwhelmed with traffic in the last couple of days, so if you can't get to it, please try again later.) The design for this ring was used with Diana Gabaldon's permission. It's based on a sketch that appears on page 349 of the OUTLANDISH COMPANION, and it matches the description in the scene where Jamie gives Claire the ring:
Reaching, he took the package from my lap and tore away the wrapping, revealing a wide silver band, decorated in the Highland interlace style, a small and delicate Jacobean thistle bloom carved in the center of each link.

So much I saw, and then my eyes blurred again.

I found a handkerchief thrust into my hand, and did my best to stanch the flow with it. “It’s…beautiful,” I said, clearing my throat and dabbling at my eyes.

“Will ye wear it, Claire?” His voice was gentle now, and his use of my name, mostly reserved for occasions of formality or tenderness, nearly made me break down again.

“You needna do so,” he said, looking at me seriously over his cupped palm. “The marriage contract between us is satisfied--it’s legal. You’re protected, safe from anything much save a warrant, and even from that, so long as you’re at Leoch. If ye wish, we may live apart--if that’s what ye were trying to say wi’ all yon rubbish about Laoghaire. You need have little more to do wi’ me, if that’s your honest choice.” He sat motionless, waiting, holding the tiny circlet near his heart.

So he was giving me the choice I had started out to give him. Forced on me by circumstance, he would force himself on me no longer, if I chose to reject him. And there was the alternative, of course: to accept the ring, and all that went with it.

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 23, "Return to Leoch". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
That scene has always been one of my favorites. Listening to it in the audio version often brings tears to my eyes. And as anyone who's read the books will recall, the silver ring goes on to be even more important as the series progresses. During those long, aching years of separation, it was one of Claire's very, very few tangible reminders of Jamie:
His fingers touched the silver ring and stopped there, holding the metal lightly between thumb and forefinger.

“I never took it off,” I blurted. It seemed important he should know that. He squeezed my hand lightly, but didn’t let go.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 24, "A. Malcolm, Printer". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The silver ring with the Celtic interlace pattern is beloved by OUTLANDER fans around the world. Why would they mess with that in the TV adaptation?

The answer, according to Ronald D. Moore and Terry Dresbach in the Episode 107 podcast, was that they wanted to give Angus and Rupert a role to play in the wedding preparations. And the key from which the ring was made is apparently supposed to be the key to the front door of Lallybroch, or something like that.

To say that I am disappointed with this decision is a severe understatement! This ring made from an old iron key is, frankly, not aesthetically appealing. I've seen comments calling it ugly; I wouldn't go that far, myself, but I certainly don't find it attractive. It might be something that Rupert or Angus would consider fitting for a Sassenach, but to say, "This is what Jamie wants"?? No. The Jamie we know from the books would want a ring as beautiful as Claire is!

And on a lighter note: Did no one point out to them that iron rusts? Considering how often Claire bathes or washes her hands, I'm betting that it will rust to pieces within a year. <g>

But there it is. This is the design they chose to use, we're stuck with it whether the majority of fans like it or not, and I suppose we'll get used to it in time.

I still loved the wedding episode. I think they did a fantastic job adapting it for TV, and I am determined not to let my disappointment with the ring affect my view of Episode 107 as a whole or the series in general.

And it's worth remembering that for those TV viewers who have not read the books, this IS Claire's ring, and always will be. The look of it, the details of its composition, are not nearly as important as the symbolic value of it <understatement!!>, and I'm quite sure that this ring will be just as meaningful as the original, to both Jamie and Claire. In the end, that's what matters.

32 comments:

Sara D said...

THANK YOU!! I, too, am annoyed because of the beautiful scenes around the ring from Leoch. And the whole part about Jamie getting the ring, the conversations it lead to, using Brian's ruby ring which shows up so often in late books.. Mmph. Not thrilled with this episode- all of the flashbacks made it feel too choppy and disjointed to me.

dksaga said...

Obviously it's been filmed already, so this point may be moot, but isn't it possible they could still be using the getting-the-ring-at-Leoch bit along with the going-to-deal-with-Leogharie (sp?)-on-the-return-to-Leoch bit? I mean, that whole incident, with Claire reacting to Jamie's disappearance on their return to Leoch and his having gotten the ring for her .... it's not a small moment in relationship development, you know? So there's no saying they won't use it. And there's no saying that she won't have a new ring.

Of course, I could be entirely grasping at straws here. LOL

dksaga said...

Oh, and I forgot to say in that whole maybe-it's-a-temporary-ring-maybe post that I loved the episode. Loved the flashbacks. Loved the pacing, everything. Can't imagine how it could've been better, even.
Okay, got that all out of my system.
:-)

Hippie Chick said...

Are you saying that this key ring is supposed to be the one she wears and cherishes?

LR1964 said...

Thanks, Sara D -- I feel exactly the same way. The ring is a bust & I enjoyed episode 107 less-than any of the others because it felt chopped up. I did enjoy it more the second time; today I will watch it a 3rd & am sure it will grow on me, now that I've heard Ron Moore's explanation for why the telling of the story of the wedding was arranged that way for television. I understand it now & can appreciate the change, but on initial viewing I felt frustrated & confused & concerned for viewers who do not know the books. I wanted to hear more of Jamie's story-telling of this life & his family during this; but again, I'm sure the change is to be able to tell the audience it in pieces over the next 8-9 episodes, so I'll watch it unfold with an open mind & just appreciate the beautiful way they've adapted the book for the small screen.

Amyrica said...

This ring seems genuine and doesn't bother me at all. The design of the ring really doesn't matter, does it? If this had met the description of the ring in the book, it still wouldn't have changed the story at all. It's rustic and old and made from something that is obviously special to Jamie. Therefore, it seems completely appropriate to me.

--Amy in Atlanta

M said...

I'm reserving judgement on how I feel about this until I see how they handle the scene at Leoch. The way it's written is so touching. If they can maintain the feel of the scene in some other way, I'll forgive them for changing the style of the ring.

Jenny Walker said...

I have accepted all the adaptations with grace since Diana has seen and approved but, the ring.....how does she let this go? If we go this long why would Stephen Bonnet even want to steal this ring?
Second and hardest to swallow, if they were meeting Franks' parents for lunch...What??????? what happens to Reverend Wakefield and Rogers' relationship?
It's getting harder not to think "Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive."

B McClenathan said...

Jenny Walker, what do Franks parents have to do with Roger and Rev. Wakefield? Frank is not related to Roger or Rev. Wakefield. I think you are confusing your family lines.

B McClenathan said...

I totally agree with you on the ring Karen. The decision to change that was an epic fail. Ron should have listened to Terry when she freaked about it. The look of it doesn't bother me as much as how the change will effect the story when they return to Leoch. You are correct, that is an important scene. Not sure how they are going to get here now.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog and your insights. It's so much fun coming over to the blog at the end of the week to see what's been going on.
Count me in as one who does not like the ring. If the sole purpose was to give Angus and Rupert and activity then WTH? I love those guys but this was the Wedding episode!!
As you said, the scene in the book where Jamie gives Claire the ring holds so much meaning and was so beautifully written. All along the way Claire makes choices that take her farther away from Frank and her 20th century life. They are all critical to the development of her relationship with Jamie and the producers just tossed this one out the window. Och.
And you hit the nail on the head when you you mentioned that iron rusts. Claire is an avid hand washer. Maybe the ring will rust off and Jamie will get her a new one. Or maybe there is some other treatment regarding the ring down the road that the producers haven't told us about. We can always hope. :)

Robin Manor said...

Don't forget about the beautiful inscription on the inside of the ring as well. Also in the book she is upset he went out to see Leoghaire when he returns and it turns out he went to get this beautiful ring he wanted for her. How do they play this out on TV will need to be seen.

sireesanwar said...

I really hope they are tricking us. I, too, fear they are not but I'm going to hope for it until the point in the story when Jamie is supposed to get her a good ring.

Jenny Walker said...

Sorry, I was headed out the door to work and mixed two thoughts together as one in my hurry to comment, I know Roger and Frank are not related and realized what I had done when I caught a quick peek at my post at lunch

Lesharon said...

Karen, I'm all for creative license but (Spoiler): this cannot be the ring that Claire fiercely protects from Frank in the hospital when she came back pregnant and it certainly cannot be the one she swallows rather than part with when they were attacked by Bonnet later on (especially if made of iron) so I too am desperately hoping that in their quest for authenticity of the period then this would be the most plausible quick fix for a ring given what little time the Highlanders had to arrange the wedding with the inscribed thistle flower one coming later.

I do have another issue with the ring in the book with Roger where she found out about the inscription as she claimed she never took it off. Wouldn't she have to when prepping for surgery? Would she have worn surgical gloves over the ring? This seems very unlikely to me.

Anonymous said...

Sad, but true, I imagine the producers figure fans of the 'Outlander' books are likely going to watch the series no matter what 'artistic license' is taken...can't say as I appreciate why the exercise of the latter has been thought necessary in most cases, especially when it comes to dialogue or characters.
Having said that, people who decide to read the books after watching the shows are certainly in for a pleasant surprise.

Anonymous said...

I felt the same way, I love the ring from the book and was angry about this ring, but the more I think about it, the more I actually like the ring. Not only for giving Rupert something to make him part of the wedding, but also because Jamie used the key to his home and now Claires home, there is significance to the ring. It may not be beautiful in appearance, but it is beautiful in meaning. I believe it was his way of providing for his wife, giving her his home, making her his family and the Lady of Lallybroch.
I also disliked the broken up aspect of the episode itself, but on my 2nd and 3rd viewing, I really enjoyed the episode more.

Teresa Epperson said...

Maybe the iron ring is a metaphor for Claire's intent with the marriage? For her, it's Temporary until she can get back to the stones. The silver one we want her to have is part of a scene where she fully accepts Jamie as her husband, and all that goes with it. I did see a post fromTerry to "trust us". We can hope . . . .

70f50da8-4397-11e4-8eb8-f71b53d9341a said...

Karen, I was also perplexed over the iron ring, especially because of the great scene back at the castle when he gives her the silver Celtic ring. I can only figure that they wanted a design they could merchandise and the older jewelry website already has that sort of copyrighted. Could it have been a cold, business decision?!

Cat K said...

The more I think about it, the more upset I am about the 'wedding ring'. It's hideous and such a departure from the books, that I see it as an insult to Diana and to add insult to injury Outlander's official store is selling replicas of this piece of crap for $250?! So it's supposedly the key to Lallybrock. I don't care if it's the key to the pearly gates, it sucks! If they wanted Angus and Rupert to be a part of the wedding episode, they could have done a much better job of the ring.

2 thumbs down!

Victoria Thor said...

Dear Ron, Stop making stuff up.

Jennifer B said...

I too am hopeful that this is a temporary ring - maybe after he gives her the thistle ring at Leoch, she gives him back the iron to be reshaped into the key? Because the ring means SO MUCH in later parts of the books, not the least of which is in DIA when she takes it off and sees the inscription and that's how Roger believes her. I get that they wanted something for Rupert and Angus to do, and I get that they wanted to have the symbolism of the two rings, but come on - this is THE RING we're talking about. Please don't mess it up!

Karen Charbonneau said...

Perhaps we should withhold judgement for now about the ring. After all, Ron Moore had originally wanted to use an old iron nail for the ring. Our only evidence that this is her permanent ring is that a replica of the "first" wedding ring is for sale in their store. He's been following the book pretty closely in my opinion. The more I watch "The Wedding", the more I like the way it was done - like having sorbet between courses of rich food.

DarrinsDaffs said...

Very disappointed over:
The ring. The pearl necklace. The church versus registry office. There was a perfect flashback set up. But would they use it? Nooooo! I could go on ad nausium about this, but I won't.

Loved: how beautiful Claire and Jamie are together, clothed or not.

Catullus_1000 said...

Thank you for all your hard work on this wonderful fan blog. I have been enjoying the series and haven't minded any of the changes thus far. However, I feel strongly that they got it wrong with the iron ring -- the smithy had silver available and at the least could have made something simple yet attractive and included the inscription or a portion of it. This was clearly a mis-step but the rest of the episode was beautiful.

Kristin_Texas said...

If this is going to forever be THE ring, then Ron and Company do not love or even understand these characters as much as I thought.

I really, desperately hope this is still a placeholder ring but now I'm worried.

Especially after they left out the honesty speech in last week's episode, which is something I did NOT see coming at all. Up until today I really believed that the Starz production team would always at least keep the most important aspects of the story and characters in place.

"Fool me once..." is beginning to come to mind, but I hope I'm incorrect about that.

Fabienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Having read the first books soon after they were published in the early 90's, and then headed straight for Inverness to see the historical setting for myself, I consider myself to be more than a bit obsessed with these books! With the first 8 episodes behind us I can say that I have never been more pleased with a beloved book coming to life on the screen. Having said that, I must agree with DarrinsDaffs' disappointment over the ring, the pearls and changing the venue of Frank and Claire's wedding. But more than that, the secrets and honesty conversation they have on their wedding night which is left out. I am torn over the eighth episode and Frank's elevated role. But for me, that the near rape scene did not end as it did in the book is disappointing. Yes, she kills the redcoat deserter, but what happens next as Gabaldon writes it" We took each other then, in a savage, urgent silence, thrusting fiercely and finishing within moments, driven by a compulsion I didn't understand, but knew we must obey, or be lost to each other forever" (Chapter 18) Well, that doesn't happen and I think it is a pivotal moment and the lack of it is a sore loss for the episode. But beyond these details, I would say that those of us who live and breathe Gabaldon's series are being spoiled rotten by the incredible job that is being done by all involved in the Starz series.

Tharley said...

I, too, love the design of the ring in the book and the significance of the moment that Jamie gives it to Claire, as well as what she discovers about it later on. But in addition to that, isn't it really important for the stones after that first trip that she have a silver ring & a gold ring (they think)? I can't see how iron would be a decent replacement for silver in that respect. However, I'm still clinging to the hope that in the show they will replace this ring with the one we all know & love, even though this iron one certainly appears to have more current sentimental value if it's to Lallybroch. But it's fairly thin, maybe she can wear them together like we now wear engagement rings under wedding rings! I really love the way they are making the series, though, almost as much as I have read & loved the books. I think everyone involved is pretty much close to perfect (other than missing Claire's whiskey-colored eyes)! The points of contention I have are minor & have been mentioned by persons above, yet do not diminish my delight in seeing this series come to life so beautifully.

Tracey Lee said...

I have a theory about the wedding ring, i actually read the books after watching the series so am not upset about the ring change as all of the book fans seem to be, I am wondering if the key that was used to make Claire's wedding ring is Jamie's key to his home in Lallybroch???
If so, I think that is a gorgeous twist and am eager for April 2015 to find out.....

Dakota said...

Even if this is THE ring, couldn't the blacksmith have prettied it up a bit? Or melted the whole key down to something prettier? But they make a point of ONLY using the shank part. It leads me to think it eventually gets made back into the key and she'll get her special ring.
As for not taking it off to scrub, it depends on hospital policy. Also my own ring with stones on them don't rip my gloves so a band wouldn't either. Studies have shown that bands don't really carry a appreciable amount of bacteria with them, so it wouldn't have been much less sanitary. Especially at a time when Dr's weren't really even washing the blood off between patients, Claire was leaps and bounds cleaner than other Dr's at the time. Germ theory wasn't even a thing yet, lol. I shudder to think!

worrywrt said...

It wasn't til I was reading all the comments about the ring and I started to wonder...O
n their wedding night when Clair asked Jamie what the key was for, he was like oh nothing.Just something I had in my sporran. And I too wondered about how that story line would play out. But I've seen the trailer where Jamie and Claire are at Leoch and he is holding her hands and says to her, "You are my home now" I wonder if he's explaining to Clair that the ring was made from the key to his home, Lallybroch..but now she is his home?? Just a thought. :) Only a few more days til we find out for sure!! Yippee