Some thoughts about the ring
*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***
There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.
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.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:
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.)
His fingers touched the silver ring and stopped there, holding the metal lightly between thumb and forefinger.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?
“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 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.