This publication contains a frank discussion of season 4, episode 4 of stranger Entitled "Common Ground". Proceed with care.
It's almost too appropriate for Starz to broadcast this latest episode of stranger during the American Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The episode sees our time lovers traveling Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) find common ground, both literal and figurative, with the indigenous peoples who will be their neighbors in a new settlement in North Carolina that the couple has named the Fraser crest, by name. The episode makes a radical departure from one of the most popular and spectacular moments of Diana Gabaldon & # 39; s novel Autumn drums apparently as part of the program's ongoing attempt to correct some problematic racial representations in the source material.
In Gabaldon's book, which was written more than twenty years ago, the chapter entitled "Noble Savages" sees the Frasers meeting for the first time with the local Tuscarora tribe after Jamie has fought and killed a real bear. The men of the tribe, who do not speak English, respect Jamie thanks to his physical prowess and the honor he gives to the animal he has killed. However, in the show, the animal has become a native man with a mental illness that, dressed in the skin and the claws of a bear, hurts the animal and the human before Jamie knocks it down. This change was unpopular with at least some fans. ("GIVE US THE BEAR'S STRUGGLE, SHOW," demanded Vulture's summary in his absence). Although the change was, according to the producers and Gabaldon, at least something motivated by budget and logistics, this turn in the fans' favorite fight allows stranger to avoid some of the pitfalls of Gabaldon's book.
In a nod to Cherokees' real-life respect for their women, the bear-man in this episode was banished from his tribe for raping his partner: "Damaged his wife," Tawodi (Will Strongheart) he says to Jamie. "A year ago, he put her against her wishes, that's not our way." This is a particularly intriguing path for Outlander to trip considering the great controversy that both the books and the program have dealt with on the subject of sexual assault.
In addition to the illustrated view of Tawodi, which is sufficient to say that it does not exist in the book, the character uses English when speaking with Jamie. In Gabaldon's book, the native characters who meet the Frasers for the first time can only communicate through gestures and grunts. When he meets them, Jamie is reluctant to give them whiskey because he has heard that the natives have a drinking problem. The men of the tribe offer a pipe as a gesture of peace before one of them grabs Claire's chest to determine if she is, in fact, a woman. A faithful adaptation of this battery Autumn It is likely that the scene has not been reviewed, especially during a festive weekend when the question of white settlers and their attitudes towards the indigenous population of the United States is, in theory, in the minds of many people.
Talking with Vanity Fair about the program's plans for its native characters earlier this year, the executive producer Maril Davis He said: "Unfortunately, there are many story lines in this book that are not necessarily so flattering for Native Americans, we stick to the source, but we also want to be sensitive to Native Americans. [and] Show things from your perspective too, so it does not seem so one-sided. "To explore the non-white side of the story, the writer and executive producer Matthew B. Roberts , I flew to North Carolina and sought the opinion of a Cherokee leader.
This is not the first time that Starz's adaptation of Gabaldon's novels has attempted to soften some of the harsher edges of the author's description of non-white characters. Last year, Roberts explained to Buzzfeed some of the changes the program had made to the controversial non-white characters in season 3. In the same piece, Gabaldon herself, who identifies herself as a Hispanic half, vigorously defended part of the language and the attitudes in it. books. In Autumn drumsFor example, Jamie and Claire never stop calling their neighbors "wild". Instances like this, in Gabaldon's opinion, are meant to be a comment for both the Frasers and anything else:
Time travel stories offer writers many possibilities to socialize
comments, but very few books of this type comment on the
(always modern) traveler in time; it's very unilateral Mine kind of
they are not The main point here is that Claire is not (emphatically not)
"A modern woman." She was born in 1918 and became an adult on the eve.
of the Second World War. The point here is that Claire's attitudes and
The perceptions are those of a woman with her background, experiences and
perceptions They do not look much like the attitudes of an American
But the Starz adaptation does not always have room to thread the needle accurately. Compare Gabaldon's attempts to portray the appropriate intolerance for the period that Claire and Jamie could exhibit in their relationships with the black, native, and Asian characters with Jamie's speech to Governor Tryon at the beginning of this week's episode. When the Tryon disapproves of reports of the savagery Jamie might encounter along the Fraser Ridge, Jamie replies: "Savagery can exist in many ways, majesty … I have seen it both in the prince and in the beggar." . Speaking with Vulture, Heughan said he approved of the different version of the episode about Jamie's big fight, even though it deprived him of his "Revenant" moment. He calls the man-bear conflict "the beginning of the kind of understanding and mutual respect that Jamie has with Native Americans." This moment, really in their eyes certainly, gives them some respect for who he is and vice versa. "
Not all the attempts the program has made to deal with the treatment of the non-white population by white Americans have been well received. A two-week plot line of slavery, for example, attracted criticism for falling into a white savior trope, even as the program tried to confront the ramifications of Claire's well-intentioned but erroneous interference. Some stories particularly prone to controversy, such as one dealing with abortion among the slave population, have been eliminated from adaptation altogether.
But even when he actively avoids the controversy, as in this week's Cherokee plot, stranger He is still making headlines. Actor Will Strongheart, who delivered this week's speech on how sexual assault is not in the Cherokee way, was convicted in 2010 of two counts of assault on his then-girlfriend Melanie Rope. In a statement to the CBC after a Facebook post by Rope went viral last April, Strongheart wrote: "I have addressed this many times in my social media accounts, letters / etc." I made public and personal apologies , I took responsibility for the negative actions I had done and I hoped that every time it was the end ".
When faced with Strongheart's casting on his Facebook page on Sunday, Gabaldon replied, "I have absolutely nothing to do with the casting, and sometimes they tell me in advance who is going to play a particular role, if they are important. and they want me to announce it here when the means of communication they have chosen breaks it, but not in any other way … Naturally I do not think it's good for this to have happened … On the other hand, I do not think it's reasonable to ask the people of production that investigates the background of each actor that they hire for a smaller part ".
According to Entertainment Weekly, Strongheart will only appear in two installments this season, including an important role in next week's episode titled "Savages."
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