Earlier today, another Sam Heughan honor was announced in the form of an honorary degree — this time from the University of Stirling! This is a subject that we’ve covered already at CarterMatt, and it represents yet another peak on what we’ve already dubbed the “Year of Sam.” We’re not sure how a year for someone could be any better than what he’s experienced in between personal, professional, and charitable commitments.
For the sake of this article, we want to look at Heughan’s honor and what it means for the world of Outlander as a whole. It may not impact the story, but we think it highlights further the mutualistic relationship that exists between the series and Scotland.
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There are downsides that often come with big-budget productions, especially in locations that are not often known for TV and film. Not everyone is up for the influx of tourism, public locations are occasionally closed down, and there people who do want to see their region defined by something more than a TV show. Those downsides do exist with Outlander, but what we’re sensing in between these honorary degrees and other moves within Scotland is that they are perhaps happier to have Outlander than almost any other region has when it comes to a similar product.
Let’s play a quick game of before and now, shall we? Prior to the start of Outlander, most TV viewers would say Scotland reminded them of one of two things — Braveheart or the Loch Ness Monster. Book readers for the Diana Gabaldon series would have a different answer, but there is a disconnect sometimes between the television and literary community. Because of Outlander, Scotland has a new identity in the mainstream — a destination for romance, beauty, and history. Heughan has embraced that, but he has also been a wonderful ambassador for enjoying the Scottish outdoors and also giving back to the local community.
As we noted in the original piece, Heughan’s honorary degree is about so much more than Outlander. Yet, it’s because of Outlander that Sam has the platform that he has. He’s been able to leverage this show to support worthy causes, make sure that the culture of this place is celebrated, and also be an inspiration for people all over the world. He represents the best in what Scotland has to offer, and we can think of no better way to commemorate that than this degree. With this, the relationship between Outlander and the local economy and culture is perhaps stronger than ever. Maybe it will make everyone all the more excited about a season 6, which is already confirmed.
Do you think that this Sam Heughan honor will only continue to help Outlander more? Share in the comments. (Photo: Starz.)