Sam was born on April 29th, and Jamie on May 1, which is Beltane.
Diana wrote somewhere that she thought perhaps it meant something, the fact that Jamie's birthday is on Beltane, but so far it hasn't seemed to matter. And of course in some kind of weird, metaphysical, spiritual, pagan kind of way, it seems eerie that Sam - who does such a great job embodying Jamie - has a birthday so close to Jamie's. "Two sides of the Beltane Fire," Diana wrote somewhere.
Another eerie thing? Apparently, Jamie's horoscope for that date is pretty true to his character as written by Diana Gabaldon. (But I guess that isn't really where I'm meant to be going with this blog post.)
Jamie and Sam, Sam and Jamie. Sam does such a good job acting the part of Jamie that sometimes it might be easy to forget that Sam is really himself, and not actually Himself, the Laird.
Having read all of the books Diana Gabaldon has written about Jamie - and having read some of them multiple times - I feel like I know Jamie really well. Diana writes him so clearly, so consistently. I've followed his life from "Virgins" through to the latest of the Daily Lines that she puts up on her facebook page, so you could say from his youth through his current age - about the same age I am. The books invite you in to his life with Claire, and often invite you in to his head - his motivations, his loves and fears, his spirit. That is some good storytelling, right there. I know Jamie from the inside out, thanks to Diana.
Through stories, we have clearer access to characters than we have to any living human. You can get right into a character's head and not question the veracity of it. (Of course this is assuming you can trust that the author is telling the truth; sometimes there is, maybe, a twist at the end where you find that it has all been a lie...) Generally, though... an author will take you directly into the thoughts of a character. The author will write, for example, "He looked down at me, and I knew what he was thinking. He was thinking, as I was, not of the present, but of the future.... " (ABOSA, p. 18) And, well, you really do KNOW what he is thinking.
This is a great trick. I wish it worked in real life. (Or do I? Hmm.) I have known my husband for more than 30 years. When he looks down at me, I know him well enough to have a pretty good idea about what he is thinking. For example, I may assume he's thinking about the same thing I'm thinking - perhaps, at that moment, something about the future. But sometimes, when I assume I know what he's thinking, I'm wrong. He's actually thinking about how hungry he is, and wondering what's for dinner. He's thinking about some problem he had at work that day. Or whatever. The fact is that I can never really KNOW what he is thinking. (Another fact is that most of the time, my practical husband is thinking something practical, while I, the weirder of the two of us, is often thinking something much weirder. Like about changing the future.)
If I know exactly what is going through the mind of a character, with no doubt, I know that character pretty well. Which is how I know Jamie. (And Claire. And Brianna and Roger and Frank... but right now, I'm talking specifically about Jamie.) I know everything that Diana has written about him, so I really do know him inside and out. And since he isn't real, there really isn't anything else to know. He doesn't have any other aspect of his "life" because he isn't alive anywhere but in the book. So I can know him completely with no problem.
(After re-reading that paragraph, I feel like it sounds a bit boring, to feel like I have such a complete understanding of the characters. It really doesn't feel boring. And I wonder if Diana would agree with me on this, or if she would feel that in fact only SHE can know completely everything about her characters? Possibly. But I've never gotten the feeling that she has held anything back from the reader, so I'm not sure.) (Actually, this is something that I would really like to ask her. I'll write again if I ever find out an answer to that question.)
Now, on the other hand, we have Sam Heughan.
Sam Heughan is a lovely young man. He is a very good actor, and when he plays Jamie, I think he becomes Jamie within the show. And now, his face and voice and body have become the Jamie in my head when I'm reading the books. (I'm not unhappy about this. My book Jamie wasn't far off, so it works for me.)
Sam has done a bunch of interviews, he interacts on social media, and I see him interact with Caitriona on videos promoting the show. I start to feel like I know him. But really, of course I don't. He has a real life that has nothing to do with acting. He has thoughts and ideas and motivations that are not the same as what Diana has written for us all to read as Jamie. I'd guess that they aren't even the same as what he has said on these interviews and things to promote the show. His private life is different than his public life.
So, my position on Sam, is - we should all let him keep his private life as private as he wants. Because he IS real, and he is entitled to be whoever he is. So I'm less likely to put much on this blog, for example, talking in depth about Sam's vacation plans or who he is dating. If he makes it public, it's fair game. But mostly, I just want to wish Sam well, and hope he stays happy portraying Jamie!