Why Outlander’s Claire Suffers From PTSD on the Show, But Not in the Books
Spoilers ahead for the most recent episode of Outlander.
As our favorite Scottish highlanders prepare for their battle against the British, Claire starts having flashbacks to World War II. Given how little she’s even talked about her experience as a combat nurse, you might wonder why it’s weighing upon her now — especially given that in the books, she wasn’t suffering from PTSD. (Or shell shock, as she might’ve called it).
“I was always curious about what happened to her in the war,” show writer Matthew Roberts explained. “Claire’s WWII story is kind of sprinkled in the books, but there’s not a lot of detail about it.”
Because Claire’s story, as told in the books, is very internal, Roberts tried to think of a way to visualize this aspect without a lot of voiceover. It seemed to fit with the episode where the soldiers are in training, so he pitched the idea of Claire suffering from PTSD — the writers’ room, as well as actress Caitriona Balfe, loved it. “I thought it was great, because everything that she’s gone through in Paris, she’s a more fragile woman than we’ve seen her before,” Balfe said. “Yes, there’s been a lot of healing, but her armor has definitely been dented.” (Plus the idea meant that Balfe could wear trousers again, “always a relief!”)
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