“Outlander” author Diana Gabaldon doesn’t mind a few sexy photos. Fans were thrilled to learn that the Starz drama was going to be on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, but some were disappointed with the photo used on the front. The sexy picture shows Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) embracing each other in very little clothing. However, the writer who created the characters isn’t offended.
“If you honestly think this cover is ‘smut’ or ‘soft porn,’ then all I can say is that y’all should maybe get out more,” Gabaldon told fans in a long Facebook post. “If you’ve ever watched television in the UK, you’ve seen more explicit things than this three or four times in an evening. If you’ve been watching ‘Outlander,’ (as theoretically you have) you’ve seen much more explicit sexual encounters on several occasions.”
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) February 25, 2016
Indeed, “Outlander” has had its fair share of explicit sexual scenes. However, many critics felt that the cover depicted “Outlander” as nothing more than a steamy romance. While Jamie and Claire’s romance is a major part of the story, “Outlander” crosses into many different genres. It’s a historical piece with elements of fantasy, but also a war drama with several mysteries. It isn’t just a romance, but Gabaldon didn’t expect the cover to really be able to express that.
“It’s one image; there’s no conceivable way for a single image to encompass this story, or a fraction of it,” Gabaldon explained. “A magazine cover is meant to do one thing: attract eyeballs. With luck, said eyeballs will zip to Jamie and Claire, but will also see the word ‘Outlander.’”
— Outlander (@Outlander_Starz) March 1, 2016
The author has previously rejected the idea that her book series, which started in 1991, is full of romance novels. She has another lengthy explanation on her official website in which she explains that her novels have romance, but don’t play out the way romance novels typically do.
“My books don’t fit the standard conventions of the modern romance at all. ‘Outlander’ alone has some elements of a standard romance – enough to make it appealing to romance readers in general – but none of the other books do,” Gabaldon wrote. “They deal with an ongoing relationship between two decent people who already love each other. There’s no falling-in-love, getting acquainted, now-we-like-each-other-now-we-don’t kind of conflict.”
Luckily the article inside Entertainment Weekly clarifies that “Outlander” Season 2 is very much a political story as the couple heads to France to try and stop the Battle of Culloden.
“[It] involves so much political weaving and maneuvering,” Balfe told the magazine. “[They’re] trying to navigate their way through French high society. That’s sort of the first hurdle that they face. Once they come back to Scotland, it’s the battle to save the Highland culture and to save Scotland, and they’re very much at the forefront of that.”
“Outlander” Season 2 premieres Saturday, April 9 at 9 p.m. EST on Starz.