Why wasn’t Old Alec used all that much in the Outlander series?

Outlander Season 1 -- Courtesy of STARZ
Outlander Season 1 -- Courtesy of STARZ /

Murtagh took over a lot of Old Alec’s parts in the Outlander series

Old Alec is one of those characters from the Outlander books introduced but not used much. Why was that the case in the Outlander series?

It’s hard to say for certain. I’m not privy to the decisions made in the writers’ room, but this will likely be linked to the need for fleshing out particular characters in the show in a shorter space of time. It all comes down to fleshing out Murtagh.

In the novel, Diana Gabaldon had more time to bring Murtagh to life at a later point in the book. We could easily be reminded about who he was partway through, and then get more time on his backstory then. In the show, that wouldn’t have worked as well.

It all comes down to what a TV show needs

While Old Alec was important for Claire’s transition into 18th-century life and explaining a few things, his parts could be taken up by others. Mostly Murtagh. Old Alec wouldn’t be a major part of the story after Leoch, while Murtagh would gain more importance throughout the season.

Whether the show knew it was keeping Murtagh alive or not after Culloden, getting to see his relationship with Jamie, seeing the bond with Claire grow, and just getting to know the character was essential. There wasn’t the need for that with Old Alec.

There are a few times when characters are missed out. Characters are combined into one, and it helps to tell the story but without the need for constantly introducing people. Just as you get to know a person, it can feel like they’ve been abandoned and you have to get to know someone else. That can be bad for a TV show, especially when it comes to those who haven’t read the books.

In my opinion, from a show point of view, giving most of Old Alec’s lines to Murtagh made the most sense. It may have been disappointing from a book reader’s perspective, but there just would never be enough time for everything on a TV show.

Next. 5 best Jamie moments from Outlander Season 1, Episode 2. dark

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