- Outlander -'Outlander' Costume Designer Terry Dresbach Defends Jamie's Original Wedding Ring To Claire
Outlander book purists, prepare yourselves. Because original Outlander costume designer Terry Dresbach is here to tell you that you were wrong to hate on Jamie's first wedding ring to Claire. The wedding band was a sore spot for some book fans who wanted to see the silver band exactly as it was described in Diana Gabaldon's first book. But, as the designer of the Outlander wedding band in the Starz adaptation, Dresbach still loves it.
Dresbach stopped working on Outlander after Season 4. (Her husband, Outlander creator Ron D. Moore, stopped being the showrunner following Season 3.) But for the seventh anniversary of the premiere of Outlander, she has been spreading the word about the behind-the-scenes photos she has shared on her dedicated Outlander costumes Twitter account. (She also unlocked her research boards on Pinterest for fans to view.) In a thread with some of her costume inspiration, she brought up the wedding ring Jamie gave to Claire in Season 1's "The Wedding" and wrote, "And for the record, I absolutely ADORE this ring and I believe it completely. Everyone was so wrong about it."
Dresbach has stood by the ring over the years, acknowledging it was one of the first "uproars" from the book-reading fandom. Because, in the book, Jamie didn't have time to procure a ring for Claire ahead of their wedding. So he gave her his father's wedding ring temporarily – a "heavy gold circlet, set with a cabochon ruby."
When they returned to Castle Leoch after Jamie saved Claire from Black Jack Randall, he got Ewen the armorer to make her a proper wedding ring — "a wide silver band, decorated in the Highland interlace style, a small and delicate Jacobean thistle bloom carved in the center of each link." After their big fight, this acceptance of the wedding band marked Claire truly committing to being Jamie's wife.
The ring later takes on more significance when she discovers in Dragonfly in Amber that Jamie had put an inscription inside of it. (In the 20-some years since she had left him in the past, Claire had never taken the ring off :sobs:) Inspired by a love song from the Roman poet Catullus, the Latin words inside the ring say, "Da mi basia mille" — "Give me a thousand kisses." Right before Stephen Bonnet unsuccessfully tries to steal the ring in Drums of Autumn, Jamie quotes the inscription and Claire replies, "Dein mille altera" — "Then a thousand more."
The show version had one of Jamie's wedding "conditions" be that Claire would have a wedding ring. So Angus and Rupert went to the blacksmith and asked him to create a ring from a key. Jamie doesn't tell Claire what the key is to until "The Reckoning," when he reveals it's the key to Lallybroch — "so ye'd know the place was as much yours as mine." In a nod to the events of the book, Claire commits to their marriage following this talk (and serious love-making sesh).
But that doesn't mean that books fans were as committed to that wedding ring as Claire was to Jamie. A fan account started a Twitter thread asking that the book version with thistles be integrated into the TV story through a wedding vow renewal. And though it wasn't through a vow renewal, Season 4 did bring in the original ring. Instead of Stephen Bonnet stealing Frank's wedding ring from Claire in "America the Beautiful," he steals Jamie's wedding ring. Jamie then has blacksmith Murtagh make Claire a new ring from his mother's silver candlesticks with the inscription, "Give me a thousand kisses," and gives it to her in "Blood of My Blood."
Gabaldon told Town & Country that she thought it was "very clever" how the show brought in the original ring in Season 4. "I assumed it to be kind of their way of apologizing to the readers who were upset about the first ring, by giving them a ring that more closely resembled what they might have had in mind," she said.
But both Dresbach and executive producer Maril Davis have said that introducing the book ring was always part of the master plan. Dresbach tweeted that Moore had planned to add the thistle ring even before Outlander premiered. And Davis said in the "Inside the World of Outlander" video for "Blood of My Blood" that "we did not do the ring according to the book in the first season and I think we always wanted to get to that moment."
Even though he had handed off showrunning duties to Matthew B. Roberts by Season 4, Entertainment Weekly reported that Moore did explain that it wasn't just fan-service that Claire got her true-to-book ring in "Blood of My Blood." Because Brianna would later discover Bonnet with her mother's wedding ring (with devastating consequences), Moore said the show had Bonnet steal Jamie's wedding band instead of Frank's. "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," he said per EW.
Some book fans may never be happy with the great Outlander ring switch. But the show's version led to two of the most intimate onscreen moments between Jamie and Claire — Jamie explaining the ring was a piece of Lallybroch and confessing Claire is his home before reconciling in "The Reckoning" and Jamie giving Claire the new ring in the bathtub after she meets his son William in "Blood of My Blood." When you think of it like that, no wonder Dresbach thinks everyone was wrong about the key ring.