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The Droughtlander ends tonight with the season four premiere of Outlander, which is the start of a whole new chapter in the lives of Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), based on Diana Gabaldon‘s novel Drums of Autumn.

After being shipwrecked in a storm, the two washed ashore in the New World and after contemplating whether to return to Scotland, where Jamie has strong ties, or stay and build a new life in the Colonies, they opt for the latter.

“For Claire, I think America is in her blood,” Balfe tells Parade.com in this exclusive interview. “She lived there for 20 years, she raised her daughter there, became a doctor there, and achieved so much there. She lived in America probably longer than she has lived in any other country, so I think there’s a real emotional tie and a real pull for her to that land.”

But being a woman from the 20th century, life in North Carolina in 1767 is a difficult one for her sensibilities. Claire first encountered the evils of slavery in Voyager, and risked a lot to save the life of a slave. But she finds it even more difficult to be in the south with the institution a part of everyday life, and Jamie supports her belief.

“I think this is what she loves so much about Jamie is that he has this emotional intelligence, and even though he is a man of his times, he is able to see the bigger picture and be much more compassionate than other people necessarily,” Balfe says.

As fans of the books know, season four doesn’t have a war or the Fraser’s crossing the ocean in search of Young Ian (John Bell), but it does finally have Claire and Jamie building a life together, and that is what Balfe is looking forward to fans seeing this season.

“Without saying too much, I think this season is this idea of home and family,” she says. “I think it’s going to be really exciting for fans to see the family.”

When you read the books, do you fall into the story or do you hold yourself back so that you can say , “Okay, I need to know this for my character?”

I think I fall into the story. Sometimes, especially with certain scenes, when it’s your character that’s driving a scene or driving an action, you do think about, “Oh, how would we do that?”  But at the same time, you do get lost in the story, too.

This season feels a little more personal to me. There are pirates and encounters with the Native Americans that are exciting, but it is more of a nesting season. Is it challenging to play Claire in just her everyday life?

I actually love those quieter, more relationship moments. I always relish when Sam and I get to do scenes that tell you more about the characters in quieter times. I think in the beginning, we’re always having to adjust to what the new requirements are for each season, and for me, this is a much quieter version of Claire. It’s a much more nurturing side of her, and she’s more invested in being the wife, the homemaker and the mother than we’ve ever seen in prior seasons.

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Outlander

Role: Claire Randall
Release Date: 2019
An English combat nurse from 1945 is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743.
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