‘Outlander’ Author Diana Gabaldon Reveals She Is Very Close To Sam Heughan, Talks His Brutal Season 1 Rape Scene

It is no secret that part of the success Outlander enjoyed last season was due to the on-screen chemistry between Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) and Caitriona Balfe (Claire Fraser). However, there was another close off-screen relationship between Heughan and author Diana Gabaldon that also helped contribute to the overwhelming success the show has enjoyed so far. With Season 2 currently under production, Gabaldon recently sat down and discussed her close relationship with Heughan.

According to Scotland Now, Gabaldon revealed that her relationship with Heughan began soon after she first saw his audition tape. “I was very excited about his audition tape and I am on Twitter, so, [at the time], I took a quick look to see if he was on there as well and he was,” Gabaldon stated.

The author of the hit series went on to explain that Jamie is actually her favorite character in the series because he is more like her than any of the other characters. Additionally, Gabaldon also revealed that Heughan is one of the few actors in the series that constantly asks her about his character, and what some of his motivations are for doing what he does.

“We have very long, complex conversations on occasion — other times, just a few words… I did, though, talk with both Sam and Tobias [Menzies] at some length about the final episodes of Season One, and the background and nature of the characters and their relationship there.”

Speaking of the complex relationship between the characters played by Heughan and Menzies (Black Jack Randall), their prison interaction at the end of the first season was certainly the one of the hardest things to watch unfold. In fact, the intense sexual assault Black Jack perpetrated on Jamie was one of the darker parts of the first season.

Black Jack Randall tortured and raped Jamie Fraser in season 1 of Outlander. [Image via Starz] Black Jack Randall tortured and raped Jamie Fraser in season 1 of Outlander. [Image via Starz]With that in mind, Gabaldon recently told Radio Times that the rape scene was one of the main reasons why she waited until now to have her books adapted to TV. Back in 1991, when the books were first published, Gabaldon did not feel as though the industry was ready to explore such complex issues as sexual assault.

“It’s just a very long very complex book… It’s a very honest one and frankly, 20 years ago nobody could have done something like that on the screen so in a way it’s the result of television having matured to the point where it can take on these very emotionally complex and very emotionally honest kinds of material.”

Although Gabaldon may think that television audiences are mature enough now to handle these types of scenes, there was a lot of outrage when Game of Thrones recently showed a similar rape scene during the show’s fifth season. That being said, Gabaldon did discuss some of the reasons why she believes Outlander did not receive the same negative reaction from fans as Game of Thrones did.

Season 2 of the time-traveling drama Outlander will premiere in the spring of 2016. [Image via Starz] Season 2 of the time-traveling drama Outlander will premiere in the spring of 2016. [Image via Starz]“Well, for one thing it is in no way gratuitous… It occurs as a very integral part of the plot. They filmed those scenes pretty much straight out of the book – the scenes in the prison and so forth – and in the book it builds, this conflict which is actually a triangle you might say amongst Claire, Jamie and Black Jack Randall and you see it developing, the dimensions and aspects, through the entire story.”

In addition to the scene being a part of the storyline, another reason why it was not met with controversy was largely due to the producers and actors. “Ron [Moore, the show-runner] is a brave man. He’d read the book and the writers did a fabulous job in the adaptation,” Gabaldon admitted. “Beyond that it was the actors and Sam and Tobias were just fabulous.”

The first season of Outlander is currently available on both DVD and Blu-ray, while the second season is expected to premiere in the spring of 2016.

[Photo By Vivien Killilea / Getty Images]