“Outlander” just returned for Season 4 on Sunday, but fans are already noticing deviations from Diana Gabaldon’s “Drums of Autumn.” One such change was the ring Claire lost.

In “Drums of Autumn,” which was published in 1996, Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers) and several pirates attack Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe), just as they did in the “Outlander” premiere. However, Bonnet didn’t steal Claire’s wedding ring from Jamie in the novel. He took the wedding ring from Frank (Tobias Menzies).

So why make the change? Well, the writers realized Jamie’s wedding ring was much more recognizable, and that’s important.

[Minor spoilers ahead]

Outlander Jamie and Claire
In the "Outlander" Season 4 premiere, Claire lost her wedding ring from Jamie but kept her ring from Frank, switching the events of the book. Starz

Brianna (Sophie Skelton) needs to recognize the stolen ring in order for a big plot point to happen, and Frank’s wedding band was just a simple gold ring — pretty, but not very distinctive. Jamie’s ring, on the other hand, is unique.

At the Savannah College of Art and Design Film Festival last month, executive producer Ronald D. Moore noted that the writers thought it was more understandable for Brianna to recognize Jamie’s band. “Thinking ahead for those of you who know the books,” Moore said during a Q&A session (via Entertainment Weekly). “Are we all friends here? Do we all know the books? The plain gold band wouldn’t be noticeable as like, ‘Oh that’s clearly my mother’s ring,’ whereas the other one clearly would. So that’s kind of why we made that change.”

Not all audiences agree with the reasoning behind the change, though. Gabaldon took to Facebook to respond to a fan’s criticism by hinting that Moore didn’t explain everything about the switch. “Will just note that the reason given for the ring change isn’t...um.._all_ there is to it... [sic]” Gabaldon wrote.

Another aspect fans weren’t expecting was the music. As Claire and Jamie were attacked, Ray Charles’ rendition of “America the Beautiful” played. With midterm elections on Tuesday, some viewers thought it was a political statement, but executive producer Maril Davis corrected them.

“The use of America the Beautiful is NOT a political statement,” Davis wrote in response to one viewer’s criticism on Twitter after the episode aired. “The purpose was to take a song that speaks to the majesty of this wonderful nation and the hopes and dreams of those washing upon its shores, juxtaposed with the harsh reality of what [Jamie and Claire] actually encountered.”

The couple will encounter more “harsh reality” in next week’s episode. They’ll arrive at Jocasta’s (Maria Doyle Kennedy) plantation and see that she is a slave owner.

“Outlander” Season 4 airs Sundays at 8 p.m. EST on Starz.

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